12/12/14

Posted: 00:04:36

12/11/14

A good time was had by all. Fair winds and calm seas we're the parting note as we glided over booming northwest ground swells stretched into huge intervals from their journey spanning thousands of miles. No obstacle to us in calm winds and zero seas the lengthy rise and fall of our able hull provided a welcome nautical feel as miles passed and toasts were dedicated to the continuing success of this Let's Talk Hookup sponsored 12 day adventure.

Based on the success of this run, and our steadfast philosophy of adapting to trends and conditions rather than following, we have made a significant change to this voyage for 2015 and beyond. This voyage will now become a 12/15 day offering the option of flying home from Cabo San Lucas. The new dates for 2015 are as follows:

Depart S.D. Monday November 30th. Return Cabo San Lucas Saturday December 12th. Return San Diego Tuesday December 15th. By adding the fly home option the list of fishing opportunities expands significantly on this run. First and foremost we craft our schedule as fishermen. I am very confidant that this change represents and exponential improvement in fishing potential. The fly home option for those who care to miss out on nigh four days of ten knot travel to the north is a bonus distinct and worthy.

Back to the present this run ends on a note of success incredibly unique. We had a slice of good fortune this time akin to legend. Yellowfin tuna fishing below was fine but by far the wahoo fishing to and from, especially from, eclipsed everything else by a wide margin. As rare as opportunities are to really get down on those wary skinnies this run will be long remembered. Good times.

Our most gracious thanks to Rick Maxa, a.k.a. “Rockcod Rick”, who always does a stellar job of representing all of our passion for this fishery. Also, tremendous gratitude is extended to all the anglers on this run who demonstrated patience and perfection when it came to making good on the opportunities that this voyage offered. We now tie up Royal Star for the holidays attending to a few maintenance projects next week in preparation for our busy Winter schedule that begins December 26th.

Two final voyage photos first feature another angler from the far north, Roy Kirby, with one of the school size, sixty pound yellowfin he landed right out of the gates. On a side note Roy did an exemplary job of learning and adapting to these fishing techniques getting and staying right in the game with consistent catching throughout the voyage. Photo number two features a quick going home image snapped as we pumped a little RSW off the top of one the loaded tanks to determine if we could slide in a few more skinnies. This is a pretty sight at the end of a voyage for any Captain. Look for at least a couple more updates next week in advance of our next voyage.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...
Photo Here...


12/11/14

Posted: 01:52:37

12/10/14

Good times ending the fishing portion of this run leisurely catch and releasing calico bass and other coastal varieties in the most beautiful scenery imaginable. Standing in stark contrast to yesterday's lightning pace demolition derby today was all about a relaxing slow pace and enjoying the ride. To an individual I am confidant that the day's objectives were accomplished.

Closing out the day in grease calm conditions beneath the towering cliffs of one of our favorite island havens the bass were biting, spirits were flowing, and conversations lively. Chairs were again out on the back deck and festivities reigned as recognition of the moment, and overall success of this annual Let's Talk Hookup twelve day run, manifested in sentiment and atmosphere. A good time was had by all.

Now the final travel leg is in store as we grind up the line in nice conditions forecast soon to become otherwise. Good news for our position is the southerly head of the approaching front will strike us from behind, and likely remain there until we reach safe harbor. A following sea and booming northwest groundswell shouldn't upset our progress by much, if anything, at all.

Photos today feature a couple of triumphant tuna anglers with their prize. Long time Royal Star veteran Mike Ryan does the honors with a morning captured one forty. Master angler Neil Barbour closed out our time below with the last fat yellowfin landed on this voyage, a robust 155.

On a final note we still have a couple of spots available on the December 26th – January 9th fourteen day run. Based on signs down below I am certain that this next round will feature abundant opportunities at both trophy yellowfin tuna and wahoo. If you're of a mind to go but need a little convincing feel free to give Tracy or I a call in the office tomorrow or beyond.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...
Photo Here...


12/10/14

Posted: 03:15:40

12/09/14

About as perfect an outcome as one and all could ever hope for. We arrived at our first destination to find a spot or two of eager wahoo ready to get down and bite. We arrived at our second destination and encountered a mother lode volume of wahoo that I have not seen in very many years. And while the first round had a few spicy moments, round two defined everything one has ever heard about complete fishing insanity associated with wahoo. Even the veterans today were treated to something special and rare. This caliber of wahoo fishing just doesn't happen that often.

I have detailed the tragic humor of the characteristic wahoo “train wrecks” before. Usually tragic because they result in missed opportunities that can not be replaced today it did not matter. When four or five hooked fish would get wiped out by a heathen liberator ripping down the side or under the boat turning the unfortunate, helpless, trailing angler's line into a hundred yard long streaming razor blade, anglers on the losing end of the exchange simply re-rigged and hooked another. While a little costly in the tackle department those occasional mishaps after the first few stops today elicited nothing more than whoops and laughs.

Perhaps the best example, among the multitude of crazy events that occurred today, is when another of the Canuck contingent, first time long range angler Roy Kirby, was grinding in his first “skin” of the afternoon hooked on the troll. Line trailing out perfectly behind the boat roughly twenty yards with the fish gradually giving way another wahoo, chasing a lure being retrieved by angler Rich Ellis off the stern corner, takes to the air in a champion, at least twenty foot long leap, maybe longer. Right in front of God and everybody the leaping bastard, jaws agape in route to the rapidly moving lure, intersects perfectly with Roy's line about fifty feet ahead of the hooked fish. And that was the end of Roy's fish, and marauder; instantaneously gone. At least in this exchange Rich administered some justice; the jail breaker was hooked and apprehended and is now on his way at 30 degrees Fahrenheit to San Diego; but not before justifying his sacrifice.

I could write a volume about the sights and experiences of today alone, and perhaps someday I will, but for now suffice it to say that we departed our final long range destination ebullient, sated, and satisfied. It's a very special occasion these day's when anglers get the chance to pull up a chair at the wahoo table and eat 'till they're full. Sweet dreams were made today, and relived tonight; a day to remember in all respects.

Photo number one today features another of the Northern Contingent Blair Barr who valiantly battled through heavy casualties to triumph over this dandy forty five pound class skin. Photo number two features long time Royal Star master angler Jeff Cox with one of his many beauties landed during the adventure. Jeff had a vision frozen in time today when a jumbo wahoo flew about fifteen feet out of the water chasing a surface iron that I was retrieving. The big skinny was coming straight at Jeff but fortunately crashed into the side of the hull rather than castrate him by clearing the rail. Had I not stopped winding the jig about fifteen feet away from the boat, a standard wahoo fishing precaution, the tale told might have been different. But it wasn't, and we got a good laugh out of it. For certain it's a sight Jeff will forever remember.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...
Photo Here...


12/09/14

Posted: 03:18:48

12/08/14

Chugging up in calm seas festivities took precedence among a full afternoon, out of doors assembly of anglers and crew trading laughter amidst an incessant stream of rich anecdotes. Nothing stands as prettier music to my ears. Satisfied in the knowledge that we did everything possible in the time and zone we had to work with still no Captain's perspective of success, or otherwise, usurps prevailing opinion. To hear such sincere revelry, to palpably receive such expressions of satisfaction, justifies all the angst, all the anxiety, all the sleeplessness and stress inherent in the Captain's role.

The mind twisting calculations and strategic planning, the attempts to account for a fluid, near infinite array of possibilities, the exhaustive vigilance of conditions, weather, and mechanics – all those requirements of consistent offshore fishing success, and so many others, meld into a domain of achievement only capable of being validated by exactly what anglers exhibited today. Of course there are other forms of celebration, it doesn't have to been an all out fiesta, but anglers themselves are the only ones that can do it.

That said the fishing on this run is not over. We still have a few stops to make looking to expand on both the variety and quantity categories. Judging by the weather forecast I'd venture that we are going to have to earn them; but there's nothing new in such prospects on this run. It makes the achievement aforementioned all the much better.

Speaking of achievement Royal Star veteran Ed Abate scored this nice, 110# class yellowfin on our final day below after a challenging series of fits and starts. Maintaining his always positive disposition the fish gods finally relented and made the whole thing worthwhile.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...


12/08/14

Posted: 01:08:57

12/07/14

A few puffs of current mid afternoon infused the setting with enthusiasm. Believing all along that any kind of movement would lead to more consistent fishing opportunity the shift indeed did freight what was predicted. The fact that baited lines moved away from the boat alone was a bonus worthy of note. But the catching, along with the fish finally reacting to our liberally flung overtures, added to the sense that we were finally in our element. A steady pick on the sardines with some impressive eruptions on the outside did the trick; and served as the perfect parting note.

All told the run on current only lasted about two hours. Then we were back to the old “Benny Goodman” (“The King of Swing”) scenario where one could easily find themselves circling the boat while fishing without even hooking a fish. By this time however all were so accustomed to the condition that humor reined supreme. Jokes were flying as everyone laughed off the change and remained at the rail diligently until the last fish was boated. It was a strong finish satisfying in every respect. Suffice it to say that this time every single jumbo yellowfin landed around here was a result of well directed effort. Such conditions are simply not conducive to luck, which is not a bad thing.

Looking to break up the ride north we took leave of the hallowed grounds in favor of a day or two of fishing up above. Little in the way of morning action around here and extraordinary prospects to the north are strong motivators. Fine traveling conditions are forecast for the first leg north so we look forward to a smooth ride. Always a good thing when running up tomorrow will be a day of relaxation and recovery as we grind out the miles in search of opportunity.

Photo number one today features first time Royal Star angler Bob Jones who arrived from the northern climes of Canada to try his hand at trophy yellowfin tuna fishing. The tough fishing conditions took some getting used to but Bob again proved the age old fishing adage of success following time and effort. This 130 pound class dandy is proof positive. Photo number two features long time south land and Royal Star fishing master Bill Moore with a “stock” grade one hundred pounder. Catching or otherwise Bill always demonstrates that a day of fishing among friends old and new is reason enough to celebrate; in any circle a good rule to live by.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...
Photo Here...





12/07/14

Posted: 00:06:23

12/06/14

Grinding it out accumulating them one at a time until again the late afternoon/early evening hit provided the steady action we were looking for. Biggest fish of the day came in at 188 while the remainder of the tuna, aside from a few 60 – 80 pounders, came in well over the one hundred pound mark. Very tough fishing conditions – absolutely zero current and moderate breeze required a big sense of humor and incredible patience at the rail.

I've seen a lot of fishing conditions over the years none of which were more difficult than those anglers are presently contending with. Getting any kind of bait away from the boat is a monumental challenge. Between the boat swinging around and no flow whatsoever even the most proficient anglers are spending a wealth of time repositioning, starting over, and switching sides as hooked tuna and other critters run the gauntlet wreaking complete havoc. Success in these conditions requires incredible determination; nothing else overcomes the inevitable.

“It is what it is”, an old favorite we draw upon when factors beyond our ability to affect test our mettle. The obvious positive side is that we are blessed to have something to work with; the fish are here and we are catching them. Present conditions simply stand in stark contrast to those opposite periods when fishing goes by the numbers; easy living with everything right. Truth be told these are the kind of conditions that make fishermen out of anglers. No accomplishments worthy of note, no honor, accompanies a cake walk.

Photo today features long time Royal Star veteran Russ Ung who is no stranger to the endless variety this ocean serves up in the way of fishing and conditions. Russ had one good opportunity today that he fortunately converted into a freezer filling achievement. This dandy 188 received the big fish of the day title.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...


12/06/14

Posted: 00:01:19

12/05/14

Somewhat of a text book, old school day on the lower grounds. The prolific, huge bunches of fish were less abundant – to the eye anyway, but we were able to maintain a pace on something throughout the day. Fortunately wahoo picked up the slack for their tuna buddies that were less than eager to get with the program. A marked lack of current – completely slack, straight up and down, was easy to blame for the stagnant production. It's not too often that we contend with that foe in these parts, but the past has provided some pretty convincing results when we have; none of them good.

So we waited and ground it out putting in time at the rail and logging miles in search of where we wanted to hang our hat for the final push. As it turned out, in classic form dating back way before my time, the fish moved in on cue about a half hour before sundown. And a sweet hour and a half of real deal, down and dirty, trophy yellowfin tuna action ensued.

There are a number of anglers on board new to this brand of sport fishing. And despite adequate preparation for exactly what occurred this evening, and expectations such fun, no one can really imagine how incredible the scene is when yellowfin tuna in the one hundred twenty to two hundred pound class get with it and bite. Throw in the usual, un-inivited suspects – a full cadre of offensive guests ranging from small nuisance fish to big sharks, and the challenges and amazing twists at the rail double, triple in proportion. Hot and heavy as a description barely does the setting justice; exactly how we like it.

When the action settled and the smoke cleared satisfaction for a catch hard earned was shared by all. Now to keep the ball rolling. Easier said than done we definitely have our work cut out for us. Present conditions and a wily, moving target are testing our wit and mettle. The good side of the coin is that we have enough time for at least a few more shots if we find ourselves in the right place at the right time. Rest assured that we are well prepared in the event lightning strikes twice.

Photo today features a grab from the previous when master angler Ethan Dahlkamp got us started with this fine 177. Today's setting was far too hectic for any kind of camera work. Thankfully Ethan had our back beforehand. He did his part again this afternoon with a couple more slightly lighter than the featured trophy.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...


12/04/14

Posted: 22:51:51

12/04/14

Can't say that this turned out exactly how we would have preferred, yet. A boatload of not biting fish, actually several hundred boatloads, taunted and tormented showing themselves from mid morning through the late afternoon leaving no doubt about the potential of this zone. Insanely beautiful weather – again – took a lot of the sting out of the lack of production, but admittedly the bridge perspective was pretty clinched.

But the good news of course is that the sign is here and so are we. We still have time albeit not a surplus of it. We need some big time assistance from the fish gods at this point; everything else is as we look for. We're not out of tricks up our sleeves either, or ground to cover. But it would be a whole lot nicer to get the job done here. And that is exactly what we aim to do.

A few anglers today set to getting the job done despite the finicky disposition of the hoards of yellowfin tuna we pursued in vain. Colin Chimienti, out here from Florida taking his first stab at west coast long range fishing, had one chance. It turned out to be the right one made good on through smooth technique and application of the age old big fish principals - big gear, meticulous rigging, and taking full advantage of the coaching provided by veteran crewmen. Here is Colin with the results; 224# for his first trophy west coast yellowfin is a good start. We couldn't be more pleased for Colin who earned this one the old fashioned way; a job well done.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...




12/04/14

Posted: 00:05:27

12/03/14

Sublime passage is grease calm conditions. No wind, no speakable sea or swell – a sailors nightmare; a power boater's dream. Rigging again was on the docket as we opted for another day of running in favor bigger tuna below. The lower banks aren't doing it right now, not even a little bit, so a longer haul on this run is implemented out of necessity. Now time will tell if the investment in travel yields reward. For certain, if anything hungry is found, we have the horsepower to get the job done.

Photo today features master angler and stellar individual “Rock Cod “ Rick Maxa. Known to most as one of “Southern California's Sport Fishing Voices” Co-hosting Let's Talk Hookup with Pete Grey, Rick is also a bedrock member of the team at Fisherman's Landing tackle. Genuine is an ideal word to describe Rick's personality and actions. A fishing expert in every respect his passion for this fishery is unsurpassed. I have never experienced a more effective ambassador. Sincere, professional, always volunteering to lend a hand with anyone's tackle preparation and provide succinct tidbits of advice at the rail with tact and impeccable timing, everyone is fortunate to share time with Ricky whenever he hosts any Let's Talk Hookup adventure. Here is the master with one of several fine “skinnies” he subdued.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...



12/03/14

Posted: 01:29:13

12/02/14

The original idea – to stop, shake the kinks out, and pull on a few fish – became a whole lot more. Good skinin', real deal wahoo action, introduced one and all to the distinct flavor of long range fishing. During a handful of stops the big skinnies went on a tear absolutely destroying everyone, no one escaped the blood letting, that is almost comically standard in hot and heavy wahoo fishing.

A description of fishing that is “too good” is difficult to grasp. But that is typically the case in the classic wahoo “train wrecks” that become so through nothing other than the frantic behavior of the fish themselves. Flying out of the water at sixty miles per hour five feet from the boat to grab a jig, bait, or bomb the forward momentum alone creates a near inevitable disaster. Multiplied by five or ten the “near” portion of the aforementioned is abandoned. Exciting in these cases, that typically, mercifully occur only during the first couple of rounds, is a statement that barely captures the intensity.

Honestly there is no way to adequately describe such invigorating disasters. There is nothing to compare. And most often the frustrations of coming out on the losing end, which everyone shares in, are immediately forgotten when that first fat skinny hits the deck. The sense of triumph, vindication knows no end when one of those deserving bastards finally gets what they have coming; never mind their five or six buddies out there laughing at your unbelievable contribution of gear to the cause.

For these reasons, and so many others, long range style wahoo action sits square in a category of its own. There really isn't anything like it. In the end I'd venture that we squared up a little behind the curve but packing a good start in the hatch despite the challenges. It was a fantastic note to start off on. In beautiful conditions we traded blows with the big speedsters until they were done – for today anyhow. We'll see what tomorrow brings as this epic weather continues.

Photo today features Royal Star legend Ed “Skip” Dahlkamp who has graced the pages of our daily narrative many times before. Ed took a few on the chin himself today before righting the ship and reciprocating some well deserved punishment. This dandy, fifty five pound class “skin” is a testament to Ed's record of success; this and a couple others.

Tim Ekstrom

Photo Here...


 
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