05/08/05

Posted: 09:23:00

Before I tell our story I want to remind everyone of the one most consistent feature Clipperton island boasts that sets it apart from any other destination we visit. Actually I have probably begun to sound like a broken record sounding off what I will now simply call the Clipperton Mantra. Change, change, change. The one thing we can depend on when fishing Clipperton is that every day will be different. There is no place I have fished in the past twenty years that has the ability to transform as rapidly as Clipperton and that is what gave us hope as we began our final day at this magical island.

I have to admit that it was tough to rally the troops and keep the fire of optimism lit when dawn broke and it appeared that another tough day was on the calendar. The first welcome difference however was the lack of rain and sloppy seas that had hounded us the past three days. This welcome change was the spark for what would become a blazing inferno of yellowfin tuna action that both adds to the legend of Clipperton as well as the Ekstrom predilection for waiting until the bottom of the ninth with two outs to pull off a miracle.

Well before we rounded the corner this morning the radar was telling a different story than previous days. Miles of birds lined one entire side of the island and as they came into view a more beautiful sight was never seen. Yellowfin tuna in every size class were everywhere, blowing out and wildly chasing flying fish across a eight square mile area. Needless to say it was a long last mile heading towards the melee that promised the salvation we were desperately hoping for. We were not to be disappointed today. The first stop was actually a little slow and I had some serious concern although we did land a one seventy. It seems they just needed a little time to warm up though as the next stop produced a one ninety nine, a one seventy, and four others from one forty to one sixty. And so it began as we chased huge bird schools and jumping trophy yellowfin landing two over two hundred pounds in addition to another ten from one hundred forty to one hundred ninety six pounds over a period of four hours. We were on a roll that promised to continue through dark when to our dismay and disappointment glory was snatched from our grasp by yet another tropical squall line that put all the birds down and us out of commission for a good hour. When the torrential rain finally cleared the fish were gone and we had no choice other than to head back in towards the island to see what we could scratch for the afternoon.

So close but so far was the sentiment but little did we know the best was yet to come as we approached the island. Before I relate the end of the story I have to take a step back and mention that the best stops any of us have ever seen at Clipperton are instigated by the arrival of some floating object in the vicinity of the island that is carrying bait. When these objects hit the edge where the fish are patrolling all hell breaks loose as they charge the bait and get to the business of what they do best; eat. It seems as if every fish at the island races to get in on the act and before long one can imagine the scene as thousands of tuna, sharks, dolphins, rainbow runners, and any one else big or bold enough plows through the bait claiming their share. This is exactly what occurred following our rejection from the outside and once again our anglers were treated to a show that one might see once in a lifetime outside this spectacular arena. A huge section of rope was the object and thousands of scoops of bait triggered a chain reaction that began around four thirty p.m. and lasted through dark. Interestingly, the action did not begin immediately and I was amazed by the school of fish we were seeing and the lack of enthusiasm they were showing towards our offerings. We were definitely catching a few tuna in the seventy to one hundred thirty pound class but nothing like I though we should be with the amount of fish we were looking at. I can't really say what triggered the event but it wasn't long after we arrived that the ocean literally erupted and all of these anglers Clipperton fantasies became reality as the fish charged and every rod in the water had a seventy to one hundred ninety pound tuna on for the next two and one half hours hours. As exciting as the catching itself, perhaps even more exciting, was the surface show around the boat as hundreds of tuna flew from the water in every direction and chased a big portion of the bait to Royal Star that effectively became the new floating object holding bait. As we had prudently conserved our bait supply for this exact scenario, we had plenty to add to the maelstrom pouring it over the side adding to the chaos above and below the surface. Late afternoon blended to evening and aside from a couple of welcome short moves to thicker spots of birds and other foamers we finished out our day knee deep in beautiful Clipperton yellowfin tuna and chest deep in glory.

The finishing touch was a flat calm dinner in the lee of the island celebrating our final few hours at long range sport fishing's most spectacular destination. As the revelers enjoyed lively conversation and enjoyed the light tropical night breeze outside, one could only marvel at our good fortune in being able to experience the magic of this island.

Now the reality check begins and once again we are to be reminded of why Clipperton is the marvelous fishing destination we have come to appreciate. It is a long way away and thankfully so. This is not a voyage for the faint of heart or under equipped and as such it has remained a jewel in the middle of the eastern pacific ocean. We will be seeing plenty of this ocean over the next seven days, the first leg of which is the three day ride up to Cabo. I will report in as I think of more to say on the ride up the line.

 
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