I started a conversation about the San Clemente Island (SCI) trip experience last week that spoke about how much fun this trip is before anyone steps foot in their kayak. We have come to enjoy the entire trip process knowing that most are initially focused solely on the fishing. It is fun to see people get fired up for this trip especially the ones the keep coming back (which is about 70% of the bookings every year).
As much fun as the pre-fishing shenanigans can be… the fishing is the reason we are all here right? Without the fishing… there would be no reason to get all excited in the first place. So… let’s dive in.
You can’t talk about how amazing this trip is without talking about the food and service on the Islander. Their food is top notch, restaurant quality, smack your momma good! And where else can you get food delivered to your kayak 60+ miles offshore?
Most wake up at the crack of dawn… maybe even shortly before that and start rustling to the smell of something delicious being whipped up in the galley. Chef Mike starts cooking up breakfast around 3:00 AM to have food ready by 5:30 AM, so that you can have a tummy full of food before you sit on a kayak all day. Breakfast will never be oatmeal and day old fruit… it is always something ridiculously delicious. Like eggs benedict with fresh blueberry pancakes (not made from a box) good. After food, coffee and a solid evacuation (pun intended)… you are ready for a day on the water.
The Islander doesn’t believe in sack lunches or crappy snacks. Instead they insist on delicious fresh baked cookies, muffins, granola parfaits for kayak fishing snacks… I mean COME ON!
You can guarantee that kayak anglers will be hungry come lunch time. The Islander crew makes it incredibly easy to stay focused on your fishing and just wait for your lunch to come to you. We have had stuffed bell peppers, baked pasta with garlic bread, gyros and bacon, blue cheese hamburgers just to name a few.
After 10-12 hours of fishing, anglers are pooped and just go to bed. Just kidding… not our groups.
Beers start popping at a faster pace, bourbon and wine start flowing as Chef Mike serves up what can only be an incredible meal. Jesse’s favorite pan fried duck, pot roast, steak & asparagus, and sides that are hard to pronounce like befuddled blueberries are just a few highlights of his better than restaurant meals. Food is always one of the top comments we get from these trips.
Have you ever woken up at the island? If the answer is no, you are missing out. Early mornings on the water at the island filled with thoughts of “what will happen today” are the best. You get settled in, you dial in your gear and get ready to go to battle. Some dart to the halibut sandy flats, others head to deep water to target rockfish and lingcod, while the bass hounds head tight to the island and kelp lines to target trophy calico bass. The pelagic hunters start trolling the waterways filled with baitfish, bonito and sea lions trying to find that yellowtail that will eat their bait, while others strike with a surface lure/iron when they breeze through. Either way… you are fishing and there is no better feeling. This isn’t a fishery where you can’t catch fish… the question is will it be a 5, 10, 20, 50, 100+ fish day depending on what you are targeting… the odds are stacked in your favor.
This trip, with 22 anglers, 60 + miles offshore wouldn’t be possible without the Islander’s skiff service. The key word in half of the Islander’s success stories end with the word “service.” The is where the Islander excels. The skiff service starts about 2 hours after first launch. The crew prioritizes getting everyone that is ready into the water before bringing the skiff down from the top deck.
The skiff provides safety support, fish pick-ups, water/beer deliveries, snack deliveries, lunch deliveries and even the “I forgot my paddle, would you mind grabbing that for me”. The skiff can’t be everywhere at once… however that doesn’t stop them from doing an excellent job of supporting 22 anglers spread out 2-3 miles in two different directions.
A favorite quote from a new customer on our most recent 3.5 day SCI trips… “You don’t get to complain about your lunch when it is freshly cooked and delivered by skiff.” That guy gets an invite from us every year now!
More to come in the next and final installation of the SCI Trip Experience…