Mako Close Encounter & Big Bonitas off Clemente

Written by Ben Hyun on October 12th, 2014.

Another morning at Dana Point Landing and as always, I’m optimistic about this fishing adventure. Word was out that two personal boaters limited out on the dorados the day before…all quality fish ranging 20 to 25 lbs. Alan wasn’t feeling well so I headed out solo. It was calm in the morning with 2 to 3 foot swells and the water temperature dropped to 71 near the harbor. With 4 to 5 inch sardines and a few big macs in my bait tank, I head south towards the box canyon/kelp looking for temperature breaks and paddies. On the way, I found my first set of lids around the San Clemente area (10 miles of shore) and tossed in a lively sardine. The lights were on but nobody home.

The water temp gradually increased every mile south. Close to the box, I hit another paddy with big marks on my sonar. A PB near me is hooked up but wasn’t able to land it. Then the bite shuts down…completely! I head back north looking for more paddies/birds and found the expressway of beautiful paddies! One had a school of molas about the 100 lb range. After my first drift, a 200 lb Mako shot vertically out of the water targeting an unexpecting mola. Only being a couple hundred feet away, it was like watching Shark Week on the Discovery channel in pure high def. Needless to say, I moved to another paddy and was able to nail a couple of nice bonies, one at 9-10 lbs. I was fairly impressed with the fight by the bigger bonita. No dodos or yellows today, but I did have an incredible mako encounter I will never forget.