“Fish Whisperer” takes the helm on Sea Adventure 80: MacDaddy is back!
BY BOB SEMERAU
Western Outdoor News Staff Writer
Point Loma—Owner operator, Scott McDaniels, had been out of the wheelhouse for a while. Sidelined when, after 20-years of fighting chronic embolisms in his left leg, the skipper decided to have the thing removed.
Typical of the “get-it-done” attitude Captain McDaniels has displayed over the years at the helm of Sea Adventure 80 and other San Diego sportboats, the decision was swift and final. MacDaddy, as he’s known on the H & M Landing docks, was fitted with a prosthetic, and began learning to walk on the new limb, at last carrying 5-gallon buckets around the backyard to build stamina. The two-year battle has been long and difficult but through it all the skipper has remained dedicated to supporting his family, the boat, and the crew.
“You just have to do what it takes because people rely on you,” explained the seasoned captain. “I want to give the crew a chance to gain experience and pass along to them something of what I‘ve learned over the years. In order to do that I needed to be back in the wheelhouse. We want the crew to be professional and the guests to have fun while catching fish.”
Scott’s son, Captain Mike McDaniels, still remains in charge of the boat, with Cpt. Scott acting as relief skipper for eight trips so far this season.
A recent 1.5-day run to the tuna grounds with this reporter aboard had SA80 fishing just south of Santa Catalina Island on a pick bite. Before heading north, night driver, Cpt. Rob, gave an entertaining an informative seminar on how to get it done, SA80 style.
“We’ve been getting bit on these great ‘dines fly-lined and with small weights out at the islands,” explained the second skipper as SA80 rolled out of the harbor at San Diego. While anglers waited to board for the trip, Capt. Scott had taken the time to pre-load many-day-cured sardines into the massive 500 scoop bait tanks.
Some of the fleet still lingered off Oceanside, where the bluefin had set up camp for days prior to the trip. Cpt Rob stopped and let anglers throw baits for a while, but the area proved less well stocked with tuna than before.
Sea Adventure 80 moved up the line just as a rain squall headed in and anglers hit their bunks and staterooms to rest up for the day to come.
The first drift was set up five miles off Catalina just before sunrise and anglers lined the rails in hopeful expectation.
Not long into the morning, the call of “Hookup!” rang out, as did the tuna bell set up above the bait tank, announcing another fish on the line for Sea Adventure 80.
The pick bite, with a few fish taken on every stop, remained steady through the day, and Captain Scott began using his unique skills to get fish to bite.
Experienced anglers say the skipper has a psychic connection to the fish and has been known as the “Fish Whisperer” by some. Whatever the opinion, MacDaddy finds fish and while the rest of the fleet struggled, SA80 found school after school of bluefin tuna with willing biters up to 40-pounds.
Counts for the day, at 32-tuna, show the fish-over-the-rail numbers could have been better, but that’s tuna fishing.
With a full day of fishing on the 1.5-day schedule, Sea Adventure 80 remained on station until after dark, giving anglers plenty of opportunities to score before beginning the overnight run back to H & M Landing.
Fortunately, there are still a couple of spots left on the 2.5-day Western Outdoor News SA80 charter scheduled for September 18, 2021. Sign up online at www.wonews.com , or call Lori or Michelle at (949) 366-0827.
Aboard Sea Adventure 80 the crew, the skippers, even Leonard, the cook, are invested in getting guests on fish and making the most of their fishing day.