Aside from a pleasant ride up the line, not much to report. We will arrive to the dock 0700 tomorrow and will have a night in. Tim departs on another 10-day trip on the 2nd so look for his reports on the 3rd.
We spent the day leisurely working up the ridge for 10 wahoo, 15 yellows, and a few school tuna that were released. We are presently enjoying a beautiful ride up the line and plan on finishing up the trip tomorrow fishing yellows.
Another epic day of cow fishing in flat calm weather, what more could you ask for. Similar to yesterday in that one long drift produced 20 fish with 3 to 8 going at all times. The grade was once again incredible with 12 fish from 201-253 with the rest going 170-199. I can't stress enough the need for those of you scheduled on upcoming trips to gear up and be prepared as this cow fishing is as good as it gets. Heavy gear was the way to go, we used nothing less than 100lb and when they came through they bit everything. Don't go overboard on the short topshots, fluorocarbon, and all that other scratch fishing BS. The following is a list of RS anglers that boated 200lbers today:
Jim Barber 239
Phil Arnold 202
Duane Feisel 207
Jim Beard 231
Paul Zedonis 241, 221
Dave Hill 214
Mark Twedell 203
Richard Milanesa 236
Mike Green 215
Casey VanAlten 220
David Green 235
Today was our day. We awoke to beautiful weather and three fish out of our grey bite, 2 of which were 175 and one at 207. We got on another spot shortly after daylight for another 4 fish, 1 at 180 and 3 from 217-240lbs. After a midday dry spell we got on a school of cows that produced incredible fishing until dark. We ended up with 10 fish out of this stop but don't let the numbers deceive you as 8 of those were 210-290lbs, bringing our day's tally to 12 over 200lbs. This was the best bite that I've personally seen with as many as 11 200lbers going at once. Like Tim mentioned last trip, this is clean cow fishing, every time you set the hook it's a 160lber or better, no junk to deal with. Needless to say we're spending the night here to give this one more day before working back up the line.
Following is the list of anglers that landed 200lbers:
Dale Prichard 208
Jim Simondet 212, 240
Brian Zimmerman 287
Paul Zedonis 205
Richard Milanesa 235
Duane Feisel 267
Dave Hill 230
Jim Barber 218
Todd Steckel 270
Tim Wilson 253
Mike Rode 220
Today just wasn't our day. We picked up 21 tuna in the morning from 30-70lbs but we completely struck out on the big fish. A couple of our code boats had banner days though, prompting us to spend the night and hope we get our shot tomorrow
We started on the lower end of the ridge today for some 20-30lb tuna but unfortunately the wahoo didn't cooperate. Our afternoon was spent prospecting offshore as we worked down towards the big fish area for a few kelps that produced 25 nice dorado and 2 wahoo. We are going to top off our bait tonight and hope for trophies tomorrow.
We started the trip today on the upper end of the ridge for a good afternoon of angling on 20-30lb yellowfin and a handful of nice wahoo, one of which tipped the scale at 98lbs. We have our fill for now on this size tuna and are presently running down to the lower end of the ridge where we plan to start the day tomorrow, putting us in position to load up on bait and be in the big fish grounds the following day.
After a smooth turnaround yesterday we are enjoying a nice ride down the coast doing seminars and rigging gear. We are presently on course for the ridge where we hope to start off the trip tomorrow on school tuna and wahoo before continuing down for trophies. Our one code boat in the big fish area today is reporting similar sign as last trip, so hopefully we can keep the ball rolling.
What we found on our final day of fishing were remarkably good fishing conditions off the beaten track, but despite this fact very little went in the fish hold as what we found was small fish and plenty of them. Particularly interesting was the sign of twenty pound yellowfin in this zone but once again other than a few samples we did not produce any real results to crow about. So be it and regardless of the day's catching success we did have a good time fishing as well as enjoy the beautiful scenery of the rugged Baja coast up close and personal in warm, sunny, flat calm conditions. Flat calm that is until we headed for home at which time reality struck us in the face as we turned the corner heading into building wind and seas. It presently appears that the honeymoon is over as we earn the miles heading north towards home. Not that the ride is horrendous by any means, it is just typical of what to expect when traveling northwest in this part of the ocean. A little bump and a little roll along with a few hundred gallons of water coming over the top of the boat every once in a while. Fortunately we experienced the finest weather during the first and most important leg of the voyage; fishing time. We arrive in San Diego tomorrow and depart again on our annual Ventura County anglers ten day voyage with Captain "Big fish slayer" Toussaint, back from his annual lobster fishing hiatus, at the helm. For those of you departing tomorrow on Royal Star as well as those on upcoming voyages with our contemporaries, be certain to include you heavy arsenal as the trophy yellowfin zone continues to kick out incredible catches of big fish and indications promise more to come. Look for photos of our fine catch tomorrow and Captain Toussaint's reports to commence within a few days.
Before turning over the helm to Captain Toussaint, I am compelled to comment on this current run of trophy yellowfin tuna that will very likely go down in history as the finest opportunity ever to catch a two hundred pound class yellowfin on a fall ten day long range voyage. Of course that is what we said the last time we saw incredible fall offshore fishing for giant yellowfin ( a mere three years prior), but this time the percentage of two hundred pound class fish in the area is significantly higher. The fishing we experienced last week that has continued for every vessel that has since visited that area is literally the material of fantasy - perfect, clean offshore fishing for straight trophy yellowfin; no junk fish, no sharks, no small fish. In short it is the most perfect sport fishing set up for trophy size yellowfin we could ever hope for; the kind of fishing we spend years on the ocean without seeing hoping and waiting for the day when we encounter this exact opportunity. It is that good right now. In fact it really does, and can not, get any better.
Again I have to urge all anglers on upcoming ten day voyages to prepare accordingly as what we see could certainly last a good while providing the weather and conditions treat us kindly. Bring your harnesses and big gear and if you don't have the equipment to fish for giant yellowfin make arrangements with the office to provide some. This present fishing is a genuine opportunity if a lifetime that we hope everyone on upcoming voyages can take advantage of.
Aside from the weather being a little bumpy in the morning, we enjoyed a nice relaxing day of ridge fishing that gave everyone a chance to wind down following the previous two days of high stakes trophy yellowfin tuna fishing. With a good catch of fish in the hatch and a fall ten day trip that is already considered fantastic by any standards, all anglers really enjoyed the opportunity to catch a few fish and take in the scenery free from the pressure to rack up a big score of fish. Not that we wouldn't have taken a few more wahoo or even some nice yellowtail if given the opportunity, but our catch of tuna is heartily satisfying and that is the majority of what we encountered on the ridge yesterday. As such we will be moving north again tonight in search of yellowtail on the coast tomorrow; our last full day of fishing. With weather that improved significantly as the day progressed, we are presently enjoying a nice ride up the line heading for the "beach" zone.
For a day that began with an incredible run of bad luck that cost us at least four two hundred pound class yellowfin tuna for a variety of reasons, the most significant if which was an unfavorable change in the weather, we managed to tread water until the odds came around preventing a humiliating debut as the village idiot. This was a bona fide day of trophy yellowfin tuna action that saw all five of the long range vessels in this area score multiple two hundred pound class fish in addition to decent scores on one hundred fifty to one hundred ninety five pound models. I simply can not relate the impact of these stops where herds of giant yellowfin come crashing out of the water throwing bait, spray, and themselves in every direction. It is these moments that we live for. These moments that drive us to challenge, compete, and prevail. Simply put: this is the apex of Southern California style live bait fishing.
If it hadn't happened for numerous consecutive years on fall ten day voyages I could talk about how amazing or unusual these big fish in this zone are but the history is impossible to ignore. Ten day fall long range voyages in the months of October through December have become consistent producers of yellowfin tuna in the one hundred fifty to three hundred pound class. Not every trip mind you but it seems that at least one or two, some years more, trips a season return with tales of unreal offshore giant yellowfin action and trophies in the holds to prove it.
Speaking of trophies I have to return to my original story of hard luck that befell us yesterday right from the get go. There were plenty of opportunities to go around and we were certainly getting ours, but true to the nature of big fish angling, the margin for error is zero and we were on the wrong side of the equation. It never ceases to amaze me that even when everything is perfect one little shift in the trend can throw your game off, and once the snowball begins rolling down hill, it can be very difficult to stop. A perfect example of this was our first day where we were living right landing an amazing ninety percent of the big fish we hooked contrary to the traditional averages of about fifty to seventy percent; fifty percent of course being a bad day. On cloud nine with swollen pride, we began day two ready to resume our activities and were torn down, kicked about, ravaged, and reduced to sniveling by dumping the first seven big fish we hooked. That's right, seven in a row! Needless to say tensions were high and a few expletives were thrown about as several of the trophy class bruisers were lost within plain sight only yards from gaff (another common occurrence in trophy yellowfin angling). Landing the last two from our banner morning stop did wonders for morale and the next stop, two and one half hours later, the odds definitely turned in our favor when we landed the first fish we hooked at about one sixty, the second at three hundred six, and the third at two hundred thirty. From the bottom of the barrel to the top of the heap in a snap of the fingers; or in this case a couple of grueling, hour long battles.
To top it off mastman and long time Royal Star crewman Joey Conrad made the spot of the year picking off a area of crashing trophy yellowfin a mere ten minutes before full blackness in windy, choppy conditions with four to six foot seas. This amazing feat of talent and perseverance propelled into our final stop of the day that produced momentary pandemonium as the voracious giant yellowfin came up the line meaning business hammering about seven of the first ten or twelve baits to hit the water. When the smoke cleared from the initial rush we had four fish remaining and managed to land three a one seventy, a one eighty, and a final two twelve to finish our day on a good note.
It was a long story I know but it is a great example of just how this trophy yellowfin tuna fishing goes down. Needless to say we are especially pleased with our exceptional good fortune landing the three hundred pound trophy as well as all the other big fish yesterday. The newest member of the coveted three hundred pound yellowfin tuna club is Ernie Adams who definitely earned his fish of a lifetime the hard way. Like all of the fish in this area, I have never seen a fish pull harder or put up a more valiant effort. Damn are these fish mean and tough! Huge congratulations to Ernie and all the other fortunate anglers to land trophies this trip.
Now the giant yellowfin phase is over as we head up the line contending with a weather change as we do so. We hope to offer a few more opportunities at variety tomorrow before continuing up the line to fish our final day on the coast.
Luck was definitely in our favor yesterday as the beautiful, flat calm weather gave us a perfect opportunity to search as assess just what this big fish zone had to offer. The morning began slowly but typical of fishing during the full moon period the afternoon came on with a bang as what we were seeing began to show interest in our offerings. I can only say that once again the fall ten day trips are producing legitimate opportunities at trophy class yellowfin. If you are booked on a upcoming ten day be certain to bring your heavy outfits as one hundred pound line is the gear of choice in this arena. We ended our day with three over two hundred, two at one ninety five, a one eighty one, and half a dozen others from one fifty to one sixty, all landed after three in the afternoon.
Needless to say we are very pleased with the action as well as what we see in this zone. With plenty of time to give this another day we are hoping tomorrow will provide a few more opportunities at this trophy size yellowfin.
Just what the doctor ordered today as every angler on board enjoyed the opportunity to work up a good sweat pulling to their hearts content on beautiful, school size, 30 # class yellowfin tuna. In addition to the yellowfin we also enjoyed classic "ridge" action with a fair mix of variety in the fishing including a few handfuls of wahoo and yellowtail. On a special note, I have to commend this fantastic group of anglers who once again eagerly embraced the yellowfin tuna tagging project headed up by Kurt Schaefer from the IATTC. We are very pleased to report that between Alijos rocks and the ridge we successfully released seventy five prime grade yellowfin tuna carrying electronic "archival" type tags, meeting the goal for the trip. Every one of these tagged specimens were volunteered by individual anglers to whom we extend our gracious thanks. Special mention must be made of top anglers Len Cunningham and Pat Maloney who released an amazing twenty five tagged yellowfin between the two of them!
With a good day of action under our belts we finally reached the moment we have been setting up for. We will be dedicating what we hope will be at least two full days in the lower zone where we can only pray the fish gods are with us. We have the bait, time, weather, and group of anglers to get the job done so now it is simply up to fate whether the cows are there and willing to bite.
We got the job the done in fine style today with good mid morning action on 30 - 50# yellowfin that turned into 70 - 120# fish as the day progressed into afternoon. A fair sprinkling of wahoo kept things lively with every half hour or so producing another rooster tail of spray accompanied by that unmistakable slicing whoosh of monofilament tearing through the water at mach three. Naturally following this adrenaline pumping audio and visual display is the desperate angler attempting the almost impossible feat of following their fish heading out and beyond. One can only hope that the fish does not head under the boat in the area of the bow, particularly near the anchor line as many a tale are told of the razor like qualities of monofilament with a wahoo on one end. Unfortunately we were able, again, to verify the truth in these fabled instances as we fell victim to a slack anchor line, sawed off at the water's surface, at the peak of our mid day action. The story improves from there and short of typing a short novel it will take too long to relate, but unbelievably enough we not only recovered in the fishing department but recovered our lost gear, anchor and all. The beautiful weather continues and with that in mind we are perfectly satisfied with our present state of affairs. We are making a jump inside tonight setting ourselves up for a shot at cows down the line following a day of what we hope will be good "jerkin' and pullin' "action tomorrow.
A good start to our fishing beginning with fantastic weather and good conditions with very good indications of wahoo around alijos rocks. Although the fish have been beat up over the past couple of weeks they continue to give us plenty of opportunities with good of action on both the jigs and live bait. The only downside of the day was the lack of tuna sign that has been showing here steady for the past couple of weeks. That however did not discourage us from giving the rocks another day as the yellowfin probably just took a day off touring the deep water on the outside.
Departing with a epic load of bait on our annual Larry Fancher 10 day voyage, we were greeted with fine weather and many encouraging reports on our bow a short two day's travel south. Especially intriguing are the reports of giant yellowfin down the line that already have our hearts pounding and hopes soaring in anticipation of what may be in store. In the big fish game weather is of critical importance, so first and foremost, we hope for favorable working conditions that allow a move into the prospective region. That move however is quite a ways off as we have a primary destination of wahoo and school size yellowfin country in mind.
On another note we are once again joined this voyage by the scientific team of Kurt Schaefer and Danny Fuller from the Inter - American Tropical Tuna Commission (IATTC) who will be placing electronic or "archival" tags in seventy five yellowfin tuna volunteered by anglers throughout the trip. Now in it's fourth year, this program has been hugely successful providing a wealth of information on yellowfin tuna movements and behavior in the Eastern Pacific Ocean. Return rates of tags deployed on Royal Star have been close to fifty percent identifying this tagging project as one of the most successful to date. We are very pleased to reports that anglers have embraced this program with enthusiasm gladly volunteering their tuna for tag and release. Of course we will keep everyone updated on the success of the tagging project as the cruise progresses.
We traveled up all day in beautiful weather.We made a stop at San Martin for a nice halibut.We will be arriving at Point Loma at 0700.
Our marauders were deployed at first light as we worked in towards the ridge. The first fish of the day was captured by Mr. Reyburn, a 70.3 lb. wahoo.Immediately upon our arrival at the ridge we went bendo on the tuna until we had our fill. The rest of our day was spent wahoo fishing as we worked towards Mag bay for bait.
We started out fishing for yellowtail on the beach,but we were challenged by the weather all day.We finished up in the lee of Cedros for not much action
all day.We are going to eat dinner here on the anchor then head for home.
The weather has improved even further here today at the rocks and it is just beautiful.Our day started out with a hand full of nice tuna and some live bait wahoo. By noon the tuna signal wasn't really around us but the guys working hard at the skins were being rewarded. Tomorrow we will be at the ridge for what we hope will be successful day.
We had another good day of scratch fishing. We are going to stick it out here for one more day. The weather is getting better all the time and we hope we can keep scratching away.
We had a good day of scratch fishing. The weather has not given us a break yet, but it should start to improve.We are going to stick it out here another day.
We started out offshore with high hopes, they were quickley squashed with bad weather . A little bit of dorado is all we caught for are effort.We are going to continue to Alijos in hopes are luck will change.
We arrived this morning at Guadalupe island to find beautiful weather on the lea side.Shortly after our anchor hit the bottom we had hooked several nice yellowtail in the 25 to30 lb. class, but our luck slowed after awhile.As we worked our way down the island the traditional signs of life were not found.When the updated report on hurricane Otis came out we were relived to find that it had diminished to a tropical storm and was heading up the baja coast and out of our way. Our anchor will be pulled at Guadalupe for the last time tonight as we will head for the off shore grounds in search of dorado and other pelagic spices as we make our way to Alijos rocks.