Following the unavoidable forty four hours of travel required to reach the fabled Uncle Sam Bank, one can only imagine the anxious energy of twenty four anglers awaiting our arrival and the beginning of their dream. I honestly believe that the energy I refer to harnessed would likely power Royal Star to our destination. Dawn on our day of arrival revealed splendid conditions, light breeze, a gentle rolling swell, and a sea temperature of seventy nine degrees. These conditions combined with reports of epic action on our bow were a promising omen of good things to come. In these situations the last two hours always seem to be the longest but our arrival time of just after eight a.m. and a huge eggs benedict breakfast soothed anxieties.
Thankfully we didn't have to wait long as Captain Toussaint got down to business putting Royal Star in catching position within ten minutes of our arrival. Notice I said "catching" position not fishing because that is a precise description of the action at the bank. There was very little fishing going on as the fifteen to thirty pound tuna were suicidal hammering every bait that hit the water for a five hour period. If it wasn't a nice tuna it was always something as small yellowtail and ravenous schools of giant triggerfish played the cleanup role and a even few wahoo joined the party cruising the perimeter zipping off the occasional bait, naturally of those who weren't using wire leaders. Following our tuna catching marathon that easily satisfied all desires and limits, we spent the remainder of our time at the bank targeting wahoo hoping to scrape up a few more of the speedsters that have been taking a serious beating here during the past week. Amazingly, despite this fact, we managed to pick a couple more of the prized game fish and had a few more missed opportunities as well. As we headed north at days end it all seemed surreal, a seven hour blur of bait flying, fish crashing, drags burning, and gaffs waving punctuated by brief rests to service tackle and maybe grab a drink of water. This was a day of fishing that does not take place anywhere but on a long range vessel out of San Diego. The capabilities of these vessels shine in these exact situations and as our refrigeration compressors ground this huge load of eighty four degree tuna in our "RSW" tanks to thirty two degrees in four hours I am both reminded and thankful of this fact.
Our day tomorrow will be spent in cooler climes dedicating a full day to the yellowtail effort in the "beach" zone. If our good luck continues and the yellowtail get with the program, we will finish in fine style with a cannery haul of fish and a wealth of stories to go with it.