Bob Vanian's 976-Bite Hot Bite

Bluefin, yellowfin, dorado and yellowtail biting offshore!
The incredible run of big bluefin tuna continues and there are yellowfin tuna, dorado and yellowtail on the offshore menu as well. The bluefin bite has been on the United States side of the Mexico border and there is a chance at picking yellowfin, dorado and yellowtail in the same areas where the bluefin are biting. The better yellowfin fishing is for boats fishing the offshore waters below and outside of Ensenada and there have been some dorado and yellowtail in the mix with the yellowfin for boats fishing in this zone.

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The bluefin have been big fish that have gone up into the 270 pound class with most being in the 60 to 150 pound range. Private boater Ray Millman of the Go the Distance had one of the best catches of the season on quality sized bluefin on Monday when he was fishing outside of the 182 Spot and caught bluefin of 218, 216 and 120 pounds. Millman reported that the 216 pound and 120 pound fish were caught on Yo-Zuri Bull poppers fished on a spinning rod with a Shimano Stella spinning reel and said that the 218 pound fish was caught on a slow trolled mackerel fished on an Okuma Makaira 2 speed conventional reel.

A tip from Millman was that he said that he uses the factory treble hooks on the Yo-Zuri Bull poppers. He reports that the hooks held up well and did not straighten out under the pressure of catching the 216 pound and 120 pound bluefin. Millman said that they were able to land one of the big popper caught bluefin in just 10 minutes and he credits the quick catch to having both treble hooks lodged deep into the mouth of the fish.

The bluefin have been biting from a variety of methods which mostly involve finding breaking, breezing, puddling, finning or shiner spots of fish and then working them with baits, poppers and iron. Productive methods have been using poppers, yo-yo iron, surface iron, sardines, mackerel and Yummy Fliers (the Yummy Fliers are trolled from a kite.) When using the live baits anglers have reported success while flylining, slow trolling or fishing the live baits from a kite while drifting. The best style of yo-yo iron has been using the thin blade metal style jigs such as the Colt Sniper, Flat Fall, Megabait or Laser Minnow. Good choices for surface iron have been Tady 45's or Salas 7X lights.

There is also a very occasional trolling strike from a bluefin or United States waters yellowfin and cedar plugs, X-Rap Rapalas, feathers and Halco jigs have hooked an occasional bluefin or yellowfin on the troll. An interesting report from this morning's fishing is that a Skipper reported trolling a couple of poppers through a spot of breaking tuna and hooking and catching two fish that were each were foul hooked on the side of the fish.

Private boater Ed Tschernoscha of Baja Fish Gear and the boat King Fin took some friends in the fishing tackle industry out fishing on Tuesday and reported about the trip. They fished the region between the 289 Spot and the 209 Spot, the 181 Spot and the 138 Spot. Tschernoscha reported seeing lots of spots of breaking, foaming and breezing bluefin and yellowfin tuna and reported catching a bluefin tuna that bit on the troll while fishing outside of the 181 Spot at 40 miles 281 degrees from Point Loma. The bluefin was caught on a vintage Mexican Flag color feather with a slant head.

The bluefin have been widespread and there have been a few dorado, yellowtail and 15 to 100 pound yellowfin tuna caught in the same areas where bluefin have been located. The best areas of the past few days have been fishing the waters from 8 to 15 miles off the coast between San Onofre and La Jolla as well as in the region of the 209 Spot, 181 Spot, 182 Spot and 312 Spot. Some fish have also pushed further up the line with occasional showings of tuna reported off the East End of Catalina as well as in the region of the 267 Spot outside of Dana Point.

Further south, there has been pretty good to good fishing for a mix of what are mostly 10 to 20 pound yellowfin tuna, 8 to 20 pound dorado and 8 to 25 pound yellowtail that have been biting for boats fishing offshore banks below and outside of Ensenada. The action in this sector has been originating from trolling strikes, kelp paddies, sonar marks and porpoise schools. Once a school of yellowfin is located, anglers have been able hook baitfish on drifted flylined sardines. The fish down this way are currently being found while working from 62 to 90 miles below Point Loma while fishing from the deep water between the Banda Bank and Inner Bank on down to the area between the Peanut Bank the Lower 500 Bank.

Captain Wayne Slahor of the 6 pack charter yacht Osprey out of the Islandia Hotel in Mission Bay reported about fishing a 2 day trip down to the offshore banks below and outside of Ensenada on Tuesday and Wednesday. Slahor reported catching 19 yellowfin tuna and a dorado on the trip and said they had most of their action from trolling strikes found while fishing a short way outside of the Banda Bank at 64 miles 152 degrees from Point Loma. The yellowfin were running from 12 to 24 pounds with most falling in the 12 to 15 pound range. Slahor had yellowfin action on the troll that came from blind strikes, trolling near kelp paddies and from trolling in porpoise schools.

The surface fishing around the Coronado Islands has been very good for a mix of yellowtail, bonito, barracuda and calico bass. Some of the better trips have posted limit catches of yellowtail and bonito. The current hot spot area is Pukey Point at North Island but during the week there has also been good fishing at the Rockpile, the South Kelp, the area inside of the south tip of South Island and the Ribbon Kelp.

Look for meter marks, sonar marks and spots of breezing fish to locate the yellowtail. Much of the fishing on the sportboats is being done while sitting on the anchor and raising fish with chummed sardines. Surface iron and sardines have been working best for the yellowtail and barracuda with most of the yellowtail being caught on the flylined sardines. A private boater might also want to try slow trolling sardines to locate a school of yellowtail and then use surface iron and drifted flylined sardines once a school of yellows is located.

Private boater John Carroll of the Huachinango reported about fishing at the Coronados this morning (Friday morning July 22, 2016.) He was back at Point Loma with his boat on the trailer by noon and said they caught limits of yellowtail along with catching and releasing a lot of barracuda and bonito. Carroll said they slow trolled sardines for the yellowtail and after getting a strike on the slow troll they drifted and fished with sardines and iron. He said they lost a lot of fish to the seals but that there were a lot of fish around and that they were still able to easily catch their limits of 15 to 20 pound yellowtail. He said that when they drifted in close to Pukey Point that they had the yellowtail bite drop off and started catching lots of bonito and barracuda.

Private boater Harry Okuda of the Alfresco III reported fishing 2 trips to the Coronados during the week aboard the Liberty out of Fisherman's Landing. Okuda reported excellent fishing on both trips for mixed bag catches of yellowtail bonito and barracuda. On Monday's three-quarter day trip they fished most of the day sitting on the anchor at the northwest corner of the Rockpile and had a fish count of 26 anglers catching 70 yellowtail, 40 bonito and 5 barracuda. On Thursday's three-quarter day trip they spent the entire day sitting on the anchor at Pukey Point at North Island and posted a fish count of 28 anglers catching limits of 140 yellowtail.

Okuda said that on Monday that an estimated 80 percent of their yellowtail were caught on flylined sardines and that 20 percent on surface iron. On Thursday, he estimated that 90 percent of their yellowtail were caught on flylined sardines and that the remaining 10 percent were caught on surface iron.

These are quality sized fish with most of the yellowtail in the 15 to 20 pound range and with the barracuda going to 8 pounds and with the bonito being in the 3 to 8 pound range.

On Wednesday, private boater Mike Seymour of the Sea Section reported giving the area inside of the south tip of South Island a try in the late morning hours after spending the morning chasing spots of breaking tuna around outside of La Jolla. Seymour said the fishing was excellent for 3 to 10 pound yellowtail along with a lot of bonito and barracuda.

The surface fishing along the San Diego County coast has been producing a mixed bag of yellowtail, calico bass, sand bass, barracuda and bonito along with an occasional white seabass.

The Point Loma Kelp Beds have been producing good numbers of calico bass along with an occasional flurry of action on bonito, barracuda or yellowtail. An occasional white seabass has been biting at the Point Loma Kelp Beds as well. Productive areas have been the Whistler Buoy, the hard bottom to the northwest of Buoy #3, the Dropoff, the Lab, Green Tank, Point Loma College and Hill Street.

Up at La Jolla, the upper end of La Jolla has been best for a mix of calico bass, bonito, barracuda and a few yellowtail. Most of the fishing is being done while sitting on the anchor on the outside edges of the kelp beds or while fishing outside of the main kelp beds at the kelp stringer and hard bottom area of Northwest.

Captain Joe Cacciola of the Sea Star with Sea Star Sportfishing in Oceanside reports that there has been very good calico bass fishing to be found at kelp bed areas such as the Barn, Yellowtail Kelp, Carlsbad, Leucadia and Solana Beach.

Cacciola says that 5 to 6 inch sardines have been great bait for the calicos and says they have also done well while using Berkley Gulp plastics that are rigged with a 3/8 ounce dart head.

The summer fishing season is rolling along in fine style be it offshore, at the Islands or along the coast. I hope you get a chance to get out on the water and enjoy the fun fishing sometime soon!

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It is my goal to provide you timely and accurate information in these reports containing news from right off the water. If you require more details that include the specific location of where significant catches have been made, I refer you to the daily Member’s Reports at www.976bite.com . Those Member’s Reports contain additional specifics that include latitude and longitude coordinates and other descriptive references about where and how fish are being caught. Make the most efficient use of your precious time on the water with the use of timely and accurate information.

Jonathan Roldan's Blog

Next level Baja vacation
So, you’ve done the Baja/Mexico thing a bunch of times.

Yawn… — You did the booze cruise. Check.

— You’ve danced the Macarena until dawn. Check.

— Photo taken with the Tijuana donkeys painted like zebras? Done that.

— Photo taken upside down at the Giggling Marlin. Want to forget that one, but Check.

— Ensenada love boat/cruise ship. Check.

— Zipline and dolphin swim. Right.

— Flirt with skin cancer without a shirt on the East Cape. OUCH. That too.

— Camel riding? Uh… that one can wait.

So, what next? I was thinking of my personal list of “must do” things if you wanted to go outside your comfort box and maybe take your next Baja trip to the next level. Here’s some suggestions.

Eat at a Mexican food cart — To some of you, that’s as natural as pulling up to the McDonald’s drive-thru. To many locals, it’s exactly the same. I saw some statistics that show 85 percent of Mexicans eat 70 percent of their meals from carts.

However, you’d be surprised how many gringos either really want to try it and don’t know where or how or scrunch their nose at the idea. Give it a go.

Just like back home with a burger joint, go to the place that has a line around it, especially late at night. You can’t go wrong. Not only economical, but some of the best tacos, tortas (Mexican sandwiches), fresh seafood, burgers (served with ham… called a “hamburger” for a reason), burritos and hot dogs (Mexican style wrapped in bacon and slathered with chili, mustard, mayo and onions!)

Befriend a Taxi Driver — If you ever run into a taxi driver you really like, hire him for the day. Most of them jump at the chance to have regular work and not only do you make a great friend, but probably the best tour guide you ever had.

Taxi drivers know the best places for local food, shopping, and tours. Sure, it might be their cousin Sergio’s place, but so what? You’ll probably get extra special attention and better prices than at the tourist places. Tip well and make a friend for the rest of your trip.

Go to a Farmers Market or Open Market — Every Mexican city has an open market. Often in a warehouse, permanent or semi-permanent booths offer fish, seafood, vegetables, cheeses, household items and artisan handicrafts. And the food booths offering empanadas, sopes, menudo, tacos, carnitas (roasted pork) and other delicacies served at food counters or picnic tables are not to be missed. Get some true “local flavor” on all levels. You can smell the barbecue and chilis a block away!

By the same token, many open air “farmer’s markets” are popping up as well. Here’s where folks like us often purchase our organic groceries and vegetables, breads, cheeses, sauces, eggs and chicken. But, many vendors also sell barbecued meat, pies, wine, pastries, pasta and other goodies. You may have noticed a “food theme” in this column this week. Very neighborly atmosphere!

Visit a Church — As in many Spanish-speaking nations, the church has been a religious, cultural and social center since the days of the conquistadors. Take a visit, especially to one of the older churches. If you can, hopefully, you’ll catch a Mass, wedding, baptism or First Communion. If you really want a sense of the local community, this is it.

Be respectful. Guys, take off your hats. Go easy with the cameras. Leave a small offering.

If it’s one of the older churches, don’t forget to look at the architecture and artifacts… the massive beams… the stonework… the craftsmanship borne of religious dedication and simple back-breaking work. Imagine the energy it took in the Mexican heat to build the structure or get some of those items from the old world.

Get Wet Higher Than Your Waist — Our captains and I know what you’re doing when we see you walk out into the water only up to your waist! But seriously, take the plunge hopefully up-current from your buddies. At least step away from the hotel swimming pool!

I fished in Baja for years before I decided to bring a mask and snorkel. That led me to eventually get my dive certification and eventually become a working divemaster. I never regretted it.

It’s an entirely different world “down there” and even coming from Hawaii, Mexico has some of the most intensely beautiful waters in the world and surely more sea life. Jacques Cousteau called the Sea of Cortez the “aquarium of the world” and to-date, more than 700 species of fish have been identified. It will give you an entirely different appreciation and respect for the fragile incredible ecosystem.

Find a Park on a Weekend — Find a bench. Feed the birds. Listen to free performers and musicians. Buy an Indican carving. Purchase some pastries from a food booth and wash it down with some icy sweet watermelon or cantaloupe agua fresca. Listen to poetry readings or school kids doing plays. Join into a game of checkers (no Spanish needed) or for a few pesos buy a card and play Mexican bingo with the locals.

Get yourself invited — I love telling the story of one of my fishing clients who was walking down the street after dinner one night. A retired school teacher, he got stopped by some young men. They invited him to a “party” the next night and said they would pick him up at his hotel.

He came to be a bit anxious and asked me if he should go. Without having been there or knowing more, I told him getting in the car with a bunch of young guys to go to a party might not be a good idea.

I found out later, he went anyway.

It turned out to be a bunch of college students taking an English class and they were on a scavenger-hunt-of-sorts to “bring a gringo” to dinner. The whole class was there for a barbecue along with several other “captured gringos.”

Being a former school teacher, he told me what a great time he had answering questions about life in the U.S., movie stars, English words and phrases. “The girls wanted to know about fashion and how many celebrities I knew. The guys wanted to know about American girls and pick-up lines!” He said it was one of the best experiences he ever had.

If you can make friends in Mexico (like your favorite taxi driver or fishing captain or waiter), get yourself invited to a dinner or a wedding or some other social event. Of course, don’t just wander off into a dark alley or jump in someone’s car, no matter where you are in the world. Use common sense! But, some of your most treasured moments of your vacation are often found away from the hotel swim up bar or buffet line. Be a good guest!

Bill Varney's Blog

Four Favorite Summer Road Trips
Part 1 of 2-part series


When it comes to summer I like to pack the car and skedaddle out of town on a surf fishing road trip. The dilemma I’m always presented with is whether to go north or south. Summer offers great fishing in both directions with a better shot at slab perch up north while there’s always an eight-pound corbina waiting for me down south.

In two installments we’ll take a look at four of my favorite summer surf fishing trips and everything they have to offer. Today, we’ll follow the swell and start down south with one of my favorite surf fishing spots in Carlsbad, then move north to discover Santa Barbara County’s Carpinteria State Beach.

South Carlsbad State Beach is just one of the many great surf fishing spots in San Diego County. This state park offers year round fishing. Located in Northern San Diego, Carlsbad features swimming, surfing, skin-diving, fishing, camping and picnicking. The large bluff top campground is very popular, especially in summer. Stairs lead to the beach.

Located at 7201 Carlsbad Blvd. in Carlsbad California this State park offers bluff-top campsites with beautiful views of the Pacific.

You’ll find great fishing here for barred surfperch, walleye surfperch, corbina, halibut, both spotfin and yellowfin croaker, sharks and corvina. This spot is mostly sand beach with a few small rocks. A light action 8’ rod matched with a 6lb mono-filled spinning reel makes for a good setup.

SOUTH CARLSBAD SPOTFIN — Carlsbad offers good spotfin croaker fishing all summer long.

For bait, look on the beach between the access stairs during high tide periods. Many times the crabs will be located near areas of rocks. Other baits like lug/blood worms, ghost shrimp, mussel and clams work well here for bait. Use the Carolina rig with a 3/4th ounce egg sinker and a 20” fluorocarbon leader. A sharp, #2 Owner mosquito or Gamakatsu split shot hook, with a slow retrieval toward shore, is what gets you bit.

When fishing, the best idea is to stroll the beach and fan cast for fish. There is very little structure here so most fish will be in holes or the inshore trough.

You will many times encounter kelp here. So much in fact, you won’t be able to effectively fish. But don’t fret! Fish this area from low tide to high tide. I like to start about one hour after low tide (especially in the early morning) and fish as the tide rises. That way most of the kelp is still on the beach. Both the rising tide which attracts fish to the crab beds on the beach and the reduced amount of kelp and eel grass make this a fun place to fish.

Try casting to both the inshore trough at medium and high tides and to the outside trough at peak low tide. A good place to get a view of the beach is from the cliff-side campgrounds above. Take a few minutes during low tide and scan the beach from above. Look for troughs and holes then line those spots up with something above the cliffs so you may go back at high tide and fish right in that trough. Some of the biggest surf fish on the coast will be found here.

And one last thing: Just south of the campground is Ponto Jetty. Although the inside of this estuary is closed to fishing, the outside jetty provides some great fishing for perch and corbina. This spot is also known for kicking out a few orangemouth and shortfin corvina commonly taken on a Lucky Craft Flash minnows, Rapala XRAP or a Krocodile.

Park information: 760-438-3143 or 619-688-3260

Carpinteria State Beach is just south of Santa Barbara. This is one of my favorite places to camp and fish. It’s the only place I’ve ever camped where you don’t need to take a lick of food. Within a short walk from the park you will find Linden Ave. This is the “main street” of Carpinteria where you’ll find dozens of restaurants, galleries and stores all laid out on a beautifully landscaped avenue. Sports bars, food establishments and entertainment are just a short walk from the campgrounds.

The park itself is large and has over 200 campsites. Camping here is great for both motor homes and tent campers. The park offers interpretive programs weekly where you can learn about both the history and the environment of the area from park rangers. As with most of our State parks, camping fills up quickly and a reservation is required.

LATE SUMMER AT Carpinteria means big corbina for patient anglers.

Carpinteria State Beach is located between the Salt Marsh Reserve to the north and the Cliff Bluff Open Space area to the south. The beach that runs between these ends offers three miles of great surf fishing for perch, bass, shovelnose guitarfish, seabass, corbina and an occasional silver salmon.

Fishing here is great for a variety of surf fish. The beach is made up of both rocks and sandy areas. Fishermen hike in both directions from the park to look for fish along miles of beach. To the north near the Salt Marsh you will find good fishing for both perch and halibut. The estuary opening to the ocean is an especially good place to target halibut at peak low and peak high tide. Use a Krocodile, Rapalla or Lucky Craft here.

To the south there are a great many places to find good fishing. Just in front of the campground you’ll find excellent perch fishing. Throughout the summer, early morning and late evening can be spectacular perch fishing with a bite almost every cast. The beach here is generally loaded with sand crabs which make great bait for perch. Also due to the large number sand crabs you’ll find quite a few corbina, especially in late summer.

Farther to the south and around the point (which can be identified by the massive amount of coal tar that covers it) you will find a series of rocks and an active oil pier. Both provide fantastic habitat for perch. If you are really searching for a trophy perch this is where you will find barred, calico and walleye perch.

I would use natural baits in this area (although halibut do hit the lure here) like ghost shrimp, sand crabs and various worms to target the largest perch. Find rock areas just off shore and exposed by the tide. Cast just in front of these areas with a ¼-ounce sliding sinker on the Carolina rig and a short 12-inch leader. Perch use the eddy circulations around these rocks to find food. Search for the big fish here but be ready to reel fast or they will take you into the rocks.

Great fishing spots are both north, south and in front of the campground. Take time during low tide to walk the beach. Look for the numerous rock piles to the south and estuary features to the north. Find rock clusters at low tide, line them up with a landmark on the cliffs or shore and return at high tide to fish there.

When you encounter kelp walk until you find where it ends. There will usually be a break between clumps of debris. Fish in between these masses of kelp and along their edges. This is where you’ll find the fish!

Park information: 805-968-1033 / 805-585-1850

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Bill Varney’s passion for surf fishing is detailed in his how-to book: Surf Fishing, The Light-Line Revolution available at most tackle shops and on line @ www.fishthesurf.com. Attend Bill’s upcoming on-the-beach surf fishing clinics at both of these beaches. Sign up under the “Seminar” tab on his site.

Grady Istre's Blog

Shooting, hunting and dogs
Most hunters have their own ideas about training dogs, hunting and shooting — all three very important rudiments of the bird hunting sport. Getting together to share and explore ideas with your hunting cronies is a great way to expand your knowledge on any of these subjects. But when the conversation starts to flow, be sure the person doing the talking knows something about what he’s saying. If possible, find out about his particular experience and credentials, if any.

If the topic of conversation is one in which you have a great deal of interest but in which you are not well-schooled, it’s better if you first listen before offering advice. Have you ever heard someone make a neophyte’s statement about a specific topic, and felt that he will regret his words after he learns more about the subject? That can be embarrassing. Especially if some journalist should quote his words (Just listen to some of our politicians running for office.)

I recently read an article in a sportsman’s magazine where the author quoted some uninformed, obviously naive, wanna-be dog trainer discussing the merits of a not so popular breed of hunting dog. This trainer/breeder was quoted as proudly saying, “Many hunters who own one of these dogs take them out hunting without ever putting a day of training into the dog. While that may be possible, I did not hear him discuss how well the hunt went using this untrained dog!

To what level of hunting expertise do you expect your dog to be trained? That does not seem like a complicated question, but the answer usually bring up more questions than conclusions. Unfortunately, many guys who hunt with dogs have never even been exposed to a really well-trained and obedient hunting dog. If they had, their hunting life would have been made much simpler. I remember one young hunter telling me, “ You only hear stories or read about such wonderful hunting dogs in some magazine—it’s not possible for someone like me to own one.” Why the hell not? If you are willing to put in the time to find a puppy with good blood-lines to purchase, and are able to spend the time and money necessary to have the dog and yourself properly trained, you too can have a dog that someone writes and tells stories about. It’s a commitment, but a commitment with huge rewards.

Hunters who hunt with dogs naturally gain a greater understanding of a hunting dog’s talent than the guys who don’t use dogs. But even these more knowledgeable hunters usually cease their handling and training education after learning only the rudimentary skills necessary to handle their dog in the field. I believe that a hunter should not be satisfied with a dog that is trained only to perform basic hunting skills. Nor should he be satisfied with a beginner classification as his handling skill level as well. I urge every hunter to take the time and spend the money to learn to become the team of handler-and-dog that other hunters talk about. When I go hunting, my goal is to retrieve every bird that I hit whether crippled or dead, I believe that there are very few excuses for leaving a downed bird in the field. If you and your dog are trained well enough to work as a team, there is very good chance that you can find that downed bird. Make the effort to learn how to handle your hunting dog fellow hunters, and you may be the subject of the talk around the fireplace.

Have fun training!

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Grady’s column appears in WON every other week and he can be reached at reibar.com

Merit McCrea's Blog

The side cast
Every now and then you get the chance to see tuna crash the stern and "eat the corner." After the first mad rush to the stern, multiple hookups quickly following, anglers lines work their way up the windward rail. A handful of hookups are knotted into the windward corner and a couple more lucky ones have followed their hooked fish to the bow, away from the fray. The rest of the lines work their way up the windward side. The downwind stern corner opens up. Then the fish come crashing across the stern. It's game-on!

As the tank man flows bait out off the lee corner by steady ones and twos the fish respond. This is the kind of stop we all hope for, more than the handful of hookups on the slide. At this point the first anglers back to the tank are tossing back out. About half will simply swing the bait out, pitching it underhand just a few feet and letting it go.

The rest come to cast the stern, then follow their baited lines around the windward corner, and up the windward rail, all the while paying out line and hoping for it to start pealing from the spool as a fish takes off with their bait.

But it can become chaos out on the stern, no room to safely overhead cast, swinging gaff handles, mission minded fellow anglers. Plus, for some reason sardines don't swim all that well after splashing down hard at the end of a high arching cast. And you can literally see the scales fly when the big baits hit.

There is a slick and easy way to cast back there long and low. I first saw it when Robby Church was fishing 40 and an anchovy in heavy wind for albacore. He went to the usually clear downwind corner, held the rod tip low below the rail, out of the wind and side-cast the bait far out off the stern.

That day the big advantage was keeping the cast out of 20-knots of breeze, sending it out rather than down-wind. As easy as the technique is, you seldom see any but the extremely experienced using it (boat crews, captains).

The full suite of advantages are: keeps the back-cast away from the busy deck, the lee rail is usually clear, cast tends to cause the bait to land much more softly because it's not nearly as high in the air, and it keeps any big wind off the line until it's well on its way out.

Here are the basics, and it will of course take a little practice. It won't take nearly as much as you might think though. After pinning a bait on, slide over to the no-man's land of the downwind corner, just forward of the stern rail. While facing aft, reach the rod tip down and out with just a few feet of line out, bait just above the water. Gently swing the rod tip back up the rail toward the bow and then smoothly bring it forward fast, out to the side just enough so the rod tip clears the water. Let 'er fly.

The flex of the rod tip sends the bait sailing out off the stern and slightly up-wind. As it flies, the wind of course catches the line and pushes it back down so it lands, more or less, straight back. You want to put as much force into the cast as you can without flipping the bait off the hook.

The higher the platform (deck), the easier it is to do. It works great off the bow too. Plus it also works with the iron and popper. In this case you can really put some arm into it.

It's a lot safer cast when you're fishing a popper -with 6 ultra-sharp hooks bristling out everywhere. And you can get some major distance with it too. Capt. Keith Dennet casts the popper for Puerto Vallarta's monsters this way, SOP.

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Merit McCrea is saltwater editor for Western Outdoor News. A veteran Southern California partyboat captain, he also works as a marine research scientist with the Love Lab at the University of California at Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute. He can be reached at: merit@wonews.com.

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