This was one of the best days on premium grade Cedros yellowtail that I have seen in a long time precipitating a flood of memories about the "good old days" that are still a reality at the magical island we consider the yellowtail capital of the west coast of North America. Between the grease, flat calm conditions, epic scenery as a background, and dramatic setting of fishing right up on the beach in 20 - 50 feet of water I can not imagine a more memorable fishing scenario. Throw in 25 - 40# yellowtail crashing around and hammering just about anything anglers chose to fish with, especially our favorite - the long rod with a surface iron, and the most perfect yellowtail fishing scenario one can dream of was complete. There are a lot of ecstatic anglers down below right now reveling in the day's action that lived up to, and likely exceeded, every vision of yellowtail glory they previously entertained. Believe me the significance of this caliber of fishing is not lost on this veteran crew and I either as we invest a tremendous number of days in this region hoping for action on this grade yellowtail even half this good that doesn't come often.
Recognizing the significance of this incredible fishing on premium grade yellowtail, and having the full green light to hammer away at them to our hearts content, we hit the brakes at one hundred fifty fully content that we caught our share and then some. For this grade of fish, and the amount of other species we already have on board, to take any more would have been ridiculously greedy, piggish, and sick. The way fishing is you can never bank them for the next time, but these are the occasions that identify the modern, responsible long range fishermen who are well capable of self regulation. Knowing when you have caught enough, and exercising prudent judgment when the opportunity to really put the wood to them beyond a reasonable quantity arises, identifies the true character and mettle of sport fishermen. That goes for anglers on deck as well as Captain's and crewmen alike. Knowing when to stop is as important in today's times as the pursuit of fishing itself. When I espouse this notion I admit there is an element and/or motive of self preservation. But regardless, and most importantly, it is the principal all of us out here must embrace and respect because it is the right thing to do.
So now it is back to the pursuit of tuna heading back to the offshore zone where we hope to take advantage of the rapidly improving weather that promises plenty of opportunity. Perhaps more variety is in the cards as we work to the north where there just may be a few lingering albacore. We hope so. For now though larger yellowfin is our main quarry and we have the weather and time to invest in the effort. Today's photo features the two charter heads on this voyage hamming it up during one of the day's spectacular stops. Larry Brown did the catching and Ed Tschernoscha, proprietor of the premier southland tackle store Baja Fish Gear, provided the humor as the incredible grade of yellowtail landed today is prominently featured. In addition, Bob Leitelt does the honors with one of his many beautiful, cookie cutter, "premium" grade yellowtail.
We had to make a snap adjustment to our game plan that led to an uneventful day of offshore searching on our way to what sounds like may be the promised land. Calm weather and very good potential is calling so we will see if we can get back with the program following a quick morning hit on 20 -30# yellowfin tuna and a few yellowtail before our day of travel began. Thankfully, time is still on our side on this seven day voyage as we have three full days remaining to continue building the catch we are hoping for. The really good news is that with the first RSW tank loaded, and the second well underway, in every respect we are already in fantastic shape, fat and happy with more good fishing on the way.
So the day ended with high spirits as we motored towards our next destination with a lively group of anglers festive and celebrating with good reason. So far so good - and we aim to keep it that way. Photos of the day feature anglers Tammy Holden with her well earned late afternoon wahoo and Gerry McNamara pulling on a good one offshore. A special call out to Gerry's son Cameron from Dad who is looking forward to fishing with on you a future Royal Star voyage. So are we. A great day to all and look for tomorrow's report with more details.
First and foremost today is my son Duke's fifth birthday so a huge happy birthday goes out to him along with his first pair of XTRATUF's. The little guy is becoming quite a character and loves to come down and help his dad and the boys unload and pitch off our catches. Nothing warms my heart like watching my little son eager to help out and be part of our incredible team. Of course I could go on forever, but I'll spare you all any more of the proud parent jargon.
On the fishing front I have to say that we are living right again putting together a fantastic day of variety featuring 20 - 75# yellowfin tuna, 18 - 35# yellowtail, and even a handful of wahoo for the icing on top. The vast majority of the tuna are in the 20 - 30# class, and by mid day were so prolific that many anglers began releasing the smaller models to save room in their limit for bigger fish when and if they happened along. Aside from a few breaks to troll around for that special "skinny", the action was non- stop with one four hour anchor job of steady fishing being the highlight of the day. We are rightly thankful for our good fortune that I unabashedly attribute to good energy trickling down from the home front.
So that is our day that easily set the strategy for tomorrow as we have plenty of time remaining to squeeze out at least another day or two here. We will see. For now it is happy times as all enjoy the contagious spirit of the moment that only a day of fishing like this can produce.
Photos of the day feature two anglers in action during the heated fray. First Royal Star veteran and favorite of all is Don Moore hanging tough with a red deck below. The second features Bill Leitelt focusing at the moment of truth while crewman Steve Gregonis stands by ready to gaff.
We're off to a good start with one mother lode kelp discovered mid morning producing exactly what we were hoping for. Epic action on 15 - 25# dorado and 20 - 30# yellowfin tuna lasted for a good couple of hours thoroughly satisfying the catching urge until we supplemented the final tally with a few more from an afternoon find. The kelps were few and far between, and the weather was at best decent for looking, so we were thankful to get the job done scratching this species and mode of fishing off the list as we continue the southerly push in search of premium quality yellowfin tuna. So far so good. With happy anglers and a warmed up crew, we are ready to get down to business catching, handling, and dressing out quality yellowfin tuna in our distinct Royal Star fashion. If a few wahoo and yellowtail want to join the action, we will be equally pleased to welcome them aboard. The fish gods smiled upon us today so we will see if we can maintain the standard set with more good fishing for this group of fantastic anglers tomorrow and beyond.
Today's photo features Royal Star angler Frank Mocerino during a blissful moment on our late afternoon kelp caught in the background.
Following a short, planned, one day stint at the dock to address the usual small but significant projects that arise during three months of steady running, we are back at it departing in the late morning with a perfect load of premium sardines and an eager group of anglers ready to get started. Seven days is the time frame and prospects are encouraging with a wide variety of options to build a trip featuring the big three - variety, quality, and sufficient quantity. Of course there are a million variables to consider, and plenty of tricks Mother Nature is harboring for those pivotal deciding moments, but we are prepared for such and will be passing our first day pushing south in search mode for flotsam and any other sign of offshore fish. Good weather is forecast to grace the effort and promises to make an enjoyable, comfortable day of it at the very least. All is well here and spirits are high as we begin this Baja Fish Gear/Larry Brown seven day voyage pleased to be back out on the water. Look for daily updates to resume and have a fine Sunday.
We finished up the trip in fine style here at lupe this morning with a nice steady bite on quality tuna that started right at daylight. Our tally was 30 fish, half of which were 40-70lbs with the rest ranging from 20-35lbs. We also had a few nice yellows and a token wahoo to round out the catch. With 72 degree water and great sign of fish, I would expect good fishing here for at least another month.
We are traveling up in nice weather this afternoon with an eta of 0800 tomorrow. The boat will be in on the 25th and Tim will depart on the 26th for seven days so look for his reports to resume on the 27th.
Today's shot shows Matt Wilson again with his bonus wahoo.
We started catching fish at 0530 this morning and proceeded to scratch the rest of the day with a few good flurries mixed in. Our tally was 130 tuna, the bulk of which were 18-40lbs with 15 from 50-75lbs. Just a great overall day with biting fish, flat calm balmy weather, and the scenic splendor of Guadalupe as a backdrop. We are spending another heavenly night on the anchor and plan on finishing up the trip here in the morning.
Today's shot shows Jeff Scott with his 85lber that should be in the money.
We put together a decent day here at guadalupe in spite of the white sharks boating 15 yellows and 40 tuna, 12 of which were 50-85lbs while the rest were 20-30lbs. There was good sign of fish at a few different spots that put on quite a display boiling all around us but they just didn't bite very well. We are enjoying a beautiful night on the anchor with the hopes this fish turns on tomorrow.
Today's shot shows Matt Wilson who got the big fish count started with this 70lb class tuna.
Beautiful weather and wide open yellowtail fishing here on the beach today. The morning started out slow but right about the time we started to get concerned, the life came out of nowhere. Giant bait balls with huge schools of yellows, porpoise, and thousands of birds made for quite a show. Everything was working but the surface iron was very effective making for some fun angling. We were completely satiated by lunch and are ready to move onto bigger game prompting a move out to Lupe where we plan on spending the next two days.
Today's shot shows Bob and Mary Lou Hendrickson both hooked up during the thick of the bite.
We put together a nice catch of quality dorado here in the offshore grounds today while enjoying balmy flat calm weather. Unfortunately we never found any better size tuna to go along with the flats but a fun day of angling nonetheless. We are heading into the coast for tomorrow where we hope to make a catch on yellows while waiting for Lupe to get it's act together.
Today's shot shows Mary Lou Hendrickson with a nice dorado, she doesn't miss you yet Bob.
We departed this afternoon on what is to become our annual North county firefighter six day organized by chartermasters Jim Mickelson and Tim Marsall. We are presently traveling down towards the offshore grounds where we plan to begin the trip tomorrow looking for dorado and tuna on the kelps. With flat calm weather forecasted and a beautiful load of bait, we're hoping for a great trip.
Well we added a tremendous amount of color to the catch today rounding out the trip in the variety department with a couple of quick drifts on delicious bottom fish to the delight of all, but to the special delight of John Chiang, Derek Chan, and Jeff Liu, who will be enjoying the perfect "steamer" fish with their families tomorrow. The delight was also particularly enjoyed today in the form of an outstanding fresh fish taco spread prepared by Chef Jeffery Grant that could not be topped for freshness or flavor. We do not typically include this option as part of our fishing routine, but every once in awhile the final move just happens to line up for us to take advantage of the opportunity to fish for something completely outside our standard realm. As such we genuinely enjoy this chance to catch something different that comes our way only so often.
The ultimate finishing touch was near perfect traveling weather with gentle sea conditions dominant and forecast to continue in the upper zone for at least the next couple of days. For those anglers on the upcoming voyage do not fret over the small, tropical storm Marty brewing to the northwest of Cabo San Lucas. The comparatively small tropical cyclone will not reach the zone you will be fishing during the next voyage and if anything will likely produce warm, calm, balmy weather for your voyage up above.
So we finish this voyage with a fine, well rounded catch that includes the coveted three categories we strive to achieve on all of our adventures. Quality, sufficient quantity, and variety. All three were certainly accomplished this voyage though none of them came easy. With the exception of yesterday's crazy, wide open yellowtail action anglers had to work for their bites, and earned their accomplishments through perseverance and consistent effort. Our gratitude to all for their good humor and patience exercised throughout the trip. Also, our most gracious thanks to Dennis Braid who headed up this voyage as charter master to the advantage of us all. Dennis is a wealth of knowledge, brings along a ton of useful products for anglers to utilize, and is a fantastic, considerate, attentive angler to share the rail with. Again special thanks to Dennis for being a integral part of this voyage's success. Now Captain Randy Toussaint continues the schedule departing tomorrow on our annual North County Firefighters six day voyage. Prospects are still solid and don't be surprised to see Guadalupe get straightened out and produce more fantastic catches on trophy yellowfin in upcoming weeks. Otherwise there are still plenty of good options offshore and all along the inside so look forward to Randy's reports to come.
Photos of the day feature anglers Greg Welsh in classic form pulling on a Guadalupe yellowfin and long time Royal Star angler John Oross in action during yesterday's afternoon ripper on yellowtail.
As I was saying we headed inside behind the ball seeking justice in the form of good yellowtail action. Thus far the voyage has produced at least a little bit of action every day, but two of the three offered only quick hits that although were exciting, did not add up to much in the hatch at the end. So again we pushed a long way to the southeast hoping to spend the better portion of the day engaged in action that distributed among the entire group of anglers and lasted for more than a blink of an eye.
During the past round of voyages there has been very consistent, very reliable, incredible yellowtail action with a few tuna in the mix on the inside so we headed for the glory grounds with anticipation and confidence that we would remedy the missing element of wide open action this voyage in the hot zone. We arrived in the promised land just after breakfast to find perfect conditions just like the previous day and week that produced six consecutive phenomenal catches. The weather was perfect, we were fired up, all was ready for the shot of yellows that we were depending on to make the day and close out the final full day of fishing on a high note. The result - nothing. They weren't there. To our complete disgust the incredible school that has been camped out here for at least the prior ten days moved on and once again we were left holding the bag; another round in the crucible. Remember when I was commenting on an "easy" trip a few weeks back where everything just seemed to fall into place. On that voyage everywhere where we went the fish were there and eager to bite. This voyage not so much. Payback time.
So, after a depressing hour and a half of jockeying around desperately looking for the fish that weren't there, we threw in the towel recognizing that one more minute in this area was one less to dedicate to looking somewhere else. Not much choice in the matter, go looking and find them or sulk around with the disposition of someone carrying a load of crap in their drawers - the latter not even being an option in my book. Again I reference one of my favorite sayings - "when the going gets tough, the tough double down". It was definitely time to double down so we set to it working our way around in search of the glory that had craftily avoided us. It didn't take too long.
Three hours later, just after a hearty lunch, we stumbled upon them locating a couple of boomer schools that were absolutely voracious biting everything that hit the water in a couple of different stops that lasted over an hour each. As the fourteen to twenty two pound yellowtail poured on board anglers reveled in the opportunity to empty the tackle box throwing anything over the side to produce an instant bite from the waves of yellowtail surrounding Royal Star. The end result was a sated group of anglers and complete satisfaction and relief that combined to form the euphoric afterglow that is palpable and understood only to fishermen who have lived this moment. This is certainly among the many reasons anglers select long range fishing. There is no feeling like it.
So we ended the day working up the line enjoying the moment as well as spectacular scenery both in the surrounding ocean and along the rugged Baja coast. From our observations, and results, it appears that the main body of fish relocated to this new zone. We will find out soon enough as the cavalry is on the way. This time it was our turn to do our part and we are glad of it. Our final day tomorrow will be spent in transit but may include a couple of quick stops to snag a fish taco lunch if time permits. We have an epic forecast to travel up the line with calm winds and seas projected for at least the next couple of days. Needless to say we are grateful for it as well as our good fishing fortune. The satisfaction we feel in making it happen for such a fantastic group of anglers is immeasurable. It never gets old.
Photos of the day feature anglers Willy Cloyes and Bill Henry pulling to their hearts content amidst the red hot afternoon action. In addition, David Toepher does the honors displaying the nice size average of the yellowtail that made our day. Thank goodness!
Well this didn't exactly go as planned. Unexpected? Not really. The way this place has been over the past ten days there is absolutely no predicting what may happen from one day to the next. Such unpredictability is actually what lured us into remaining and giving it another try. And it was a good move. As my favorite mentor Steve Loomis used to say "it wasn't a bad move, it just didn't work out as planned". Just for the sake of conversation though I'll throw out the question to all the shore side strategists who follow the fishing along through the various vessels? daily web reports, what would you have done? I know among the seasoned long range anglers such conversations regularly occur down below during their voyages so here is your chance. Fifty six Guadalupe yellowfin tuna for our first day, beautiful conditions at the island, day three of a six day, plenty of premium sardines, and the island to ourselves. After the first successful day, and with these conditions to work with, would you have departed in pursuit of island yellowtail? I am going to speculate that most of you would arrive at the same decision.
The result? Zero. Nothing. Nada. No tuna, and almost no sign amidst near perfect conditions. Just a couple of consolation yellowtail before our fast departure for anywhere but here in the late a.m. Welcome to the world of fishing. After participating in various fisheries for twenty five years I can tell all of you that scenarios such as this are so common that it is well - common. Such is among the many attractions to this world however. There is zero predictability in the incredibly dynamic ocean environment that one can spend a lifetime studying and still find yourself regularly chasing your tail. Time and experience can definitely minimize the ultimate effect of swings and misses, but it cannot eliminate the inevitability of rapid, unforeseeable change. And remember this unpredictability works both ways. The perfect example being our first successful day at the island. We headed out there with marginal fishing reports and conditions at best. For the most part the place has yielded terrible catches for the better part of a week. Upon our arrival we found good conditions and good fishing. As upsetting as it can be at times the fact that the ocean is so unpredictable is actually the seed for the tremendous optimism necessary to be a successful fisherman. In fact, that optimism is presently in full force as we head inside in search of salvation. No doubt about it we are behind the ball now so we have to find them somewhere, get back in the saddle, and get the job done. Just another day in the crucible.
The final word on today's fishing is on the positive side and once again demonstrates the unpredictable way of things on the high seas. We took off for greener pastures at about 1030 seeking anything offshore along the way to break up the ride and salvage the day. By about 1400, with nothing to show for our tremendous efforts, easy, gentle rolling seas, warm temperatures, and a hearty lunch of fresh, handmade gourmet pizza, the staterooms and bunks were serenading anglers with enticing prospects of a relaxing afternoon siesta. In fact, about half of the anglers seized the opportunity melting into the mattresses full, relaxed, and satisfied. Then, with no precursor and zero warning it happened - sonar school. Talk about a wakeup call. Eager, voracious offshore yellowfin charged the corner hammering anything and everything that hit the water for about ten full minutes as anglers scrambled, bumbled, stumbled, and fumbled their way to the rail shaking out the cobwebs amidst the instant pandemonium of wide open fifteen to twenty five pound yellowfin. It was short lived, we managed to land thirty two of the little buggers before they gave it up and moved on, but it was exciting to say the least. Afterward there was no more napping going on. We never did find anything else holding fish though. Good size kelps were nonexistent and we closed out the day steaming southeast grateful for the little bit of action we did encounter.
Our photo today features another long time Royal Star favorite Randy Toepher with his fifty nine pound Guadalupe yellowfin tuna landed during our first hit yesterday morning. I am glad to report that Randy is enjoying the opportunity to fish with his son David this voyage continuing a tradition that began almost ten years ago. I am venturing down the sentimental road again but I can hardly help it when I see these fathers, sons, and daughters that have fished with us and grown up over the years. The fact that the tradition of going fishing with dad continues well after the kids are out of the nest genuinely strikes a cord within me. Suffice to say I hope I will have the opportunity to do the same with my kids when they are older.
Look for tomorrow's report and have a fine day.
No doubt about, we were fortunate today as the Cybil like Guadalupe of late charmed us with a good day of fishing and the usual beautiful calm conditions this surreal setting is so well known for. Right out of the gates we jumped in the saddle with a good hit on the yellowfin that set the tone through the early afternoon. Of course the endeavor was not without the usual challenges - yes the sharks stole what they saw fit to and engaged in their usual show of confidant bravado, but the percentages taken, though still infuriating, were tolerable. It was a good day on the water.
Not only at Guadalupe either. The guys all up and down the coast hammered the tuna, yellowtail, and dorado as literally every area fished today produced excellent catches on the targeted quarry. Once again the month of September is living up to its potential kicking out excellent variety catches as warm conditions prevail. Honestly, this is no surprise as this month is traditionally known for this type of action. Not always of course, but more often than not. I love fishing at this time of year.
So with a good day for fifty six Guadalupe yellowfin under our belts we opted to give it another go as success and the lure of additional quality tuna has captured our attention and fishing drive. With the extra day afforded on a six day at this time of the season we are well positioned to fish here again tomorrow and still have the luxury of a day remaining to move inside if we so choose. We are off to a good start and hope to establish this as the beginning of an uptrend on the outside. Tomorrow will tell.
For our photos today I have a couple to send. The first features long time Royal Star angler Dave Cabot, with whom I go back over twenty memorable years, and Captain Greg Tanji with a robust Guadalupe specimen that perfectly demonstrates the extraordinary quality of yellowfin tuna this island offers. The second again features the angling couple of Corbett and Sheri both tied into Guadalupe yellowfin from our morning hit. Fortunately both fish were landed - barely in Sheri's case as Whitey was in hot pursuit during the final, tense moments of the battle. I won't get too carried away with the mushy sentiments but this photo really touches a soft spot in my admittedly hardened demeanor. A happy couple pulling on big tuna alongside one another. How could it get any better?
Well I almost blundered it completely but thankfully recognized the pattern before it was too late. With the help of my crew up top and on the mast we found a couple of afternoon kelps that weren't exactly day makers but definitely were day savers in this case. Actually the day began right with some action on a good kelp right out of the gates, but that was the end of it for about seven hours as kelps were few and far between and the ones we did find were not productive. Had I known then what I know now the morning zig I made would have been a zag that would probably have resulted in a better catch at day's end - probably. These are the questions and scenarios that continually torment us fishermen who inherently believe that it is or would have been better somewhere else about ninety five percent of the time. Even when we are getting them this perpetual notion troubles us. Especially when fishing among the fleet where competition is friendly but fierce.
Regardless of today's results, that ultimately included a few good hits for fifty five nice dorado and just over thirty 18 - 35# offshore yellowfin tuna, it would have been nearly impossible to make a bad day of it as the weather was epic for offshore looking. The slow portion of the day was taken in stride by anglers who enjoyed the fine weather and on deck camaraderie while waiting for us to get our act together topside. I can report with confidence that in the end a good time was had by all.
Now it is time for bigger and better things however as we head for the outside island hoping for a big change to have occurred. It is no secret that Guadalupe has been less than paradise during the past week as the trophy yellowfin action ground to a halt and the local great whites stepped up their campaign of terror. The ocean's ability to completely transform overnight, and our ability to make due if it does not, is the optimistic foundation we are working from. I can't tell all of you how many times over the years that I have witnessed and/or participated in phenomenal catches being made in areas that were completely dead the day before. It is the nature of fishing. Sometimes you just have to go. Sometimes it works out, sometimes it doesn't. Regardless we are taking our shot at Guadalupe tomorrow hoping to find changed conditions and an up day when the trophy yellowfin are in the biting mood. We are well prepared to make the most of it if they do with a group of anglers presently fine tuned to the opportunity this incredible island offers.
Today's photo features one of those extraordinary Royal Star anglers with whom I share many good memories from many good times together on Royal Star. Actually the photo features his wife Sheri and one of her kelp paddy dorado taken in the midst of our most productive stop of the day. Corbett Wright, who is the angler featured alongside Sheri, did us the huge favor of convincing her to make a Royal Star voyage with him as opposed to sending him off this time with good wishes. After fishing with Corbett for many years and becoming friends, I am very glad for the opportunity to fish with both him and Sheri who is a pleasure on board and right at home among the guys having a great time fishing and enjoying the open ocean. In reading this I hope that maybe a few more of you guys will take note and bring your gals along with you sometime. Between the incredible, totally unique sights and fishing experiences on a long range vessel there is nothing in the world to compare. And, I guarantee that they will be well attended to by all of us. Enjoy the photo and look for tomorrow's report.
We're off and again underway on the annual Braid Products six day adventure with Captain Randy Toussaint and I both on board keeping the operation tight, consistent, and smooth as we continue along with our busy schedule that now features six and seven day adventures through the beginning of October. As I mentioned yesterday, the time to discover a fresh offshore zone has arrived. As such we are heading south with a game plan tomorrow that includes looking and more looking. Preferably the plan will include a good amount of finding, catching, and plenty of action as we are in the market for a good start that will line up a variety of options for our next move. So the challenge is set forth and we are up to it ready to get down to business at daylight and commence the search.
I do feel that prospects are favorable as we have a pretty good picture beginning to develop from the cooperative efforts of our group transiting up, down, and through during the past couple of weeks. At the very least I can tell everyone that we have a solid handle on many places not to look and that information is equally important to the effort when we fan out in the quest for new areas of fish. We will see. At present I am feeling optimistic with a good weather forecast and this phenomenal crew of fishermen on the mast and the bridge looking tomorrow. One thing certain is that we could not be better positioned for success between the veteran Royal Star crew looking, the collective efforts of five vessels working together to get on them, and this fantastic group of anglers that are well prepared and ready for action.
Finally, I want to mention that the 2010 - 2011 Royal Star brochure and schedule is completed and due to be mailed in the upcoming week. In addition, Capt. Brian Sims will make a run or two up north to hand deliver plenty of copies to tackle shops for any and all anglers not on our mailing list wishing to view our new schedule and pricing. As we all understand thus far 2009 has been a challenging year in just about every business and it is no secret that three significant factors have resulted in widespread price reductions and discounting throughout the sport fishing industry. Between a significant decrease in demand for fishing trips, recent expansion of the fleet, and an unanticipated decrease in the cost of diesel fuel, long range fishermen are benefiting from aggressive competition between vessels for customers in the form of lower prices.
The silver lining in this equation is that Royal Star anglers win as our all inclusive pricing will remain unchanged for 2010 and Winter 2011, and on select voyages is reduced offering some incredible values to veteran and prospective Royal Star anglers. In challenging economic times it is our intention to pass through any reduced costs to anglers in the form of stable or, in some cases, lower pricing. It is our way of saying thank you to Royal Star anglers who have supported our operation over the past fourteen years with incredible loyalty. Rest assured as well that the quality of our product, meaning the complete experience that anglers receive on all Royal Star voyages, will remain consistent with our determination to uphold the apex standard of long range fishing steadfast and unchanged. Long range anglers will not find better, or in my admittedly biased opinion, even equal experience, dedication, fish handling, and ability among crewmen than what is routinely presented on Royal Star. The most compelling testament to our superior operation is the consistent support and colossal percentage of anglers who choose Royal Star for their long range voyages again and again. We are sincerely grateful for it and pledge our commitment to upholding, and improving the standards you all expect from our operation.
Last but not least today's photo features one last shot from the Mike Ross five day voyage with angler Bob Anderson taking the honors. I have to say that the choice of tackle may have been questionable for Guadalupe class yellowfin tuna as he definitely had a run for his money in this battle that ultimately, perhaps better said amazingly, resulted in triumph for Bob. Congratulations Bob on a great catch and thanks for your good sense of humor while enduring the friendly ribbing about your bass/tuna rod. Look for reports to continue.
Well we were swinging for the fence anyway. The best we could come up with was hardly even a chip shot though as we found one boomer kelp with big potential that resulted in wide open action on almost straight throw backs. Following our mid day bonanza kelp, that produced a total of a half dozen fish we could retain in good conscious, we extended our search farther to the west as we had obviously ventured too close to the nursery. The remainder of the day was spent searching in vain as the right fish were again either down or have finally flown the coop. Only time will tell. One thing certain is that conditions are still favorable and there is plenty of reason to believe that the big albacore and beautiful grade offshore yellowfin are still around somewhere. I'll put it this way - it would surprise me more if they don't reappear than if they do. Now it is simply a matter of dedicating effort on the outside. That however is becoming a tall order for those of us on longer voyages as the time of year when the pull from the south is dominant has arrived.
So with a somewhat lackluster ending we finally threw in the towel at the bitter end coming to grips with the fact that it just wasn't meant to happen for us this day. Thankfully it wasn't a total disaster. I have endured much slower days offshore than this, but it certainly could have been grander with a catch of big albacore to show for the effort. As I have said many times before "sometimes you have to kiss a few frogs". The cup half full part of the story is that the weather that was forecast to get sloppy went the other direction and other than an occasional pitch or roll we had a very pleasant ride on the offshore grounds. With that as a foundation, these fantastic anglers took the day in stride enjoying the time among good company bolstered of course by a few ice cold malt beverages. How does the saying go? "The worst day of fishing is better than the best day of work" That might be taking it a little too far but I'm certain you all get the picture.
In closing I want to extend our gratitude to Mike Ross for his incredible efforts towards the success of his annual five day, soon to be six day, Royal Star charter. I believe we are approaching ten years with Mike as a charter master and I can report with complete confidence that if he is not the best he is certainly among them. A great guy and a fantastic fisherman Mike has developed a loyal group of anglers who make a great time of any voyage they embark upon. So again our thanks to all the anglers who make up this fantastic group. We look forward to fishing with all of you again next year! Also, we missed fishing with you this year Mike due to your knee injury so please get that thing back up to speed in preparation for next season and beyond.
Now we look forward to the next annual Braid Products six day voyage departing tomorrow with both Captain Randy Toussaint and I again combining our efforts toward a successful trip. Prospects remain solid and we are ready to get back out and continue finding and catching our portion.
Final voyage photos feature long time Royal Star angler Andy Allen with a fine dorado he landed today among the small fish mayhem. Also, first time Royal Star angler David Kush victorious with his first forty five pound class Guadalupe yellowfin tuna. Congratulations men and again our thanks for your company at the rail.
And in the end we averaged about fifty percent with half of what we hooked either sacrificed to the seemingly bottomless meat grinders or lost to the usual calamities, and the other half coming on board. It made for a full day of fishing that provided major contrast from the previous day in the action and size department. Suffice to say in both categories nothing was even nearly similar as the action today was barely good enough to call a scratch and the size class of the Guadalupe yellowfin overshadowed everything landed yesterday by at least twenty five pounds. In the end the long trek was well worth it in every respect as the outside island is presently the only reliable destination to target trophy grade yellowfin tuna. But, being the typical fisherman, I, and I suspect everyone else on board, had much higher expectations than the day ultimately produced.
So we took our shot and came out with fifteen fifty to sixty five pound yellowfin tuna for the effort. Mission somewhat accomplished. Now the final phase of the initial strategy is at hand. The quest again shifts as we head offshore for our final day in search of the jumbo albacore and quality yellowfin that have now been incognito for the past six days. My instinct tells me that they are still around, and the opportunity for a big hit on one or both is still tangible, but it is going to take some leg work to get back on them. With any luck tomorrow will be the day as three of us are combining our efforts combing the westerly regions in search of quality offshore tunas. It appears that we may have a slight obstacle in the form of sloppy weather, but not one significant enough to dampen our determination to seek and conquer. Nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Today's photo features long time Royal Star angler Jeff Kindness who broke the ice with this fine, sixty pound class yellowfin tuna. Also featured is Royal Star angler Dave Walker who continued his amazing streak of good fortune at Guadalupe with another fantastic catch of three trophy yellowfin today. Congratulations to both anglers and enjoy the shots.
By 11:00 a.m. all our troubles and worries were washed away. We had a morning that by any standard qualified as pure catching as the actual fishing part of the action was limited to a very brief periods between hookups. Yellowtail, a sprinkling of nice grade yellowfin tuna, and even a few rogue dorado were the prize and these anglers were fired up when opportunity knocked kicking into high gear and absolutely clobbering the frenzied gamesters until fully sated in the late morning. It was a very good morning of fishing - exactly what we needed to continue forth with our original voyage strategy.
Between fantastic, flat calm, balmy weather, beautiful island scenery, and incredible variety fishing that produced a regulation load of perfectly cared for RSW product for our anglers in short order we could not ask for a whole lot more. As we headed west for the outside island we even managed to mix in some more dorado and tuna action on a few kelps though there was considerable vetting of undesirables in the process. Regardless this day of fishing is recorded in the log as a complete success thanks again to the information passed along by one of our invaluable colleagues.
That's right, though I would love to relate some Magellan tale of how we broke trail and discovered the mother lode, it did not go down that way. This time, like so many others, we were guided to the main vein by the efforts of our working group; one vessel in particular. Of course it is our pleasure to return the favor, and we do our part contributing to the success of our group more often than not, but this time we were the recipients of great favor. What comes around goes around. Once again the unmistakable advantage of information sharing is presently chilling in our RSW tanks. Ultimately the real winners are the ones who matter - the anglers who invest so much effort in these adventures they wait for all year. We are ecstatic that as a result of our position we were able to deliver.
This day of glory is over however and the quest continues as the effort shifts to quality in the form of Guadalupe and offshore tuna. First off we will see what the big island has in store for us tomorrow hoping that it will be an up day when the caliber of the action overwhelms the appetite of the local denizens. Look for reports following with the details and enjoy today's action photos featuring Kerry, RD, Sparky, Andy, Tony, and the rest of the guys at the rail having a good time.
Not a whole lot to report for our efforts today as we slid down the line in full search mode scraping up a few handfuls of quality yellowtail and releasing a few handfuls of junk in the process. Good weather graced the worthy task but it just wasn't meant to be as our efforts went largely unrewarded while covering very good water in traditionally productive offshore country. So be it.
The beauty of long range fishing is time, and at this point we still have plenty of it. I venture that notion with extreme caution however as every one of us working out here knows how quickly the equation can tip and send us scrambling into full recovery mode. One day can do it and as such we are positioning ourselves in a different zone tomorrow hoping for a little, actually a lot, of island joy to sooth the sting of a unproductive opening day.
Despite a slow beginning spirits are high as this fantastic group of veteran anglers are no strangers to the up's and downs of offshore fishing. With good weather, good friends, and the vacation atmosphere of Royal Star providing the motivation, a good time was had by all as the time was passed with libations and conversation. Throw in a little fishing and there you have it. All is well.
Tomorrow is a new day and needless to say we will be hard charging to get this party started with a catch of fish to boot. Look for tomorrow's report with the details and sorry about the photo today, or lack thereof. It honestly slipped my mind. I'll send two tomorrow Mike.
And with the passing full last week, and a significant blow that stirred things up, came the expected change on the outside offshore grounds that sadly was not for the better. Fortunately Capt. Brian Sims made a key decision that positioned his anglers to take full advantage of the limited opportunity on bluefin tuna realized by only a handful of boats. Otherwise the big albacore, and droves of quality yellowfin offshore stuck their noses in the mud and have yet to reappear. They will though. The up and down pattern of offshore tunas, especially this season, is one we are all well familiar with and to be surprised by such rapid profound changes only conveys inexperience in this arena. So for now we wait keeping an eye on the westerly zone while moving the search to a new region.
After baiting up with a beautiful load of near perfect sardines we are back underway on our annual Mike Ross five day voyage with a veteran group to Royal Star ready to begin fishing tomorrow and beyond. The sloppy offshore weather has again abated with calm conditions returning and a favorable forecast for the next three days. Though the westerly offshore zone went cold there are still a variety of favorable options at hand. Tomorrow will find us in search mode seeking new grounds to expand the list of options for our group and upcoming voyages. Conditions are ripe and potential is high as good weather and a significant warming trend is continuing to change the offshore grounds for what we hope will be the better. Look for reports to continue as we are feeling good about the overall setting. As always on Royal Star we have a great group of anglers to share time at sea with and can't wait to throw some good fishing into the equation.
For today's photo I grabbed a shot of a Guadalupe moment anglers can only dream about from a few trips back. This "secret" spot is one that we occasionally try and is usually good for at least one or two of these monster yellowtail. For all you Guadalupe enthusiasts out there take a stab at where this is. Enjoy and congratulations Darrin on a fantastic catch.
During our day of prospecting we covered a lot of miles of historically productive waters. We found some life in the form of small tuna and yellowtail. We practiced true sportfishing, releasing all but two of the tuna and all of the yellows. This is not the way I would have liked this day to work out, but thankfully we have a beautiful catch already aboard. We will be in at 0715 and Tim will be at the helm for the next adventure.
Erica Beneze with crewman Gregg Tanji just prior to gaffing a bluefin.
The island was a beautiful place to be today. Nice weather, scratch fishing on quality tuna, and some variety. We had to work for our fish today but managed to scratch about two fish per rod. The average tuna came aboard at about 60 lbs. We also managed a few yellowtail and got a bonus with three wahoo. We are currently heading offshore to go prospecting in a new area for tomorrow.
A very happy Trent Pike shows off the first wahoo.
After yesterdays all afternoon drift we had high hopes for a full day in this area. The morning was slow as the spots were scattered and boat shy. In the afternoon we had a school that hung around and bit a little. When that one quit biting we looked for another to no avail, all the while gathering information. Armed with reports from other boats and the weather service we are busting a move and heading down to Guadalupe Island. Today's photo is of Erica Beneze with one of her bluefin.
Today we went prospecting a new area. We spent the first half of the day burning through the glasses. With four 20# bluefin to show for our efforts, it was looking like a slow day. We then received a call that there was clean water within striking distance.
The next call was that the clean water was holding 25 - 45 # bluefin. Needless to say we didn't hesitate and headed for the area at full cruise. Upon arrival we promptly found a school and kept 3 - 6 going until dark. We finished up with just over 100 bluefin and a few yellowfin for our efforts. Needless to say we will be starting here in the morning.
Heading out to the offshore grounds in nice weather, with a fine load of bait, this trip feels like a reunion. With so many Royal Star regulars aboard it feels like going fishing with a group of friends. The atmosphere on deck is friendly and relaxed with anglers and crew catching up on events that have transpired in the last year while rigging gear for the angling which awaits us. We know that the serious work of locating and capturing offshore game fish begins tomorrow. So without further ramblings the rack awaits. Wish us luck for tomorrow
And for the grand finale - more jumbo albacore and another couple of handfuls of 20 - 30# offshore yellowfin to end this epic five day voyage on a high note. Grease calm weather didn't hurt either as balmy conditions complemented the albacore action while we searched in vain for the bigger bluefin. Of course that would have been the ultimate finish, a shot at trophy bluefin to send this already phenomenal voyage in to the stratosphere of long range standards. But, we just had to settle for four straight days of epic fishing for quality tunas less the bluefin. If this is the worst we must endure, sign me up for more.
By far this was the first "easy" trip of the summer that I have been a part of, if there is such a thing, where every move fell naturally into place, and every day produced very good fishing. Throw in four days straight of flat calm weather and it all comes together. Mind you when I say "easy" I am not referring to the work involved in making and/or processing the catch and maintaining our exceptional standards on board, such an animal does not exist on Royal Star. But there are those rare occasions in fishing when everything just seems to go the way you want. This was one of those voyages. I don't know what the percentages are but I can say that during the vast majority of fishing voyages the guy on the bridge is sweating bullets and employing every ounce of effort and ability he possesses to produce a worthy catch. It is simply the nature of fishing. There always seems to be something to create a challenge, considerable obstacles to surmount, and brain racking strategic decisions to be made. It makes these exceptional occasions, when mother nature opens the door and willingly relinquishes her bounty, immensely gratifying. Needless to say there was a lot of smiling and a lot less tension on the bridge as a result. We are thankful for it.
But this one is now over as the schedule marches on. We will see if Capt. Brian Sims a.k.a "Gerbie" can keep the ball rolling in the right direction on the annual Labor Day five day adventure that is filled with promise in light of what we are observing on the outside. As I mentioned the other day, the set up for more fantastic action to come is exceptional with very good quantity of beautiful quality albacore and yellowfin offshore, excellent sign of tuna at Guadalupe, and very good sign of yellowtail still on the inside. In addition there was a good showing of life on kelps offshore down below indicating even more good fishing for dorado and school size yellowfin tuna to come. I'm certain that there will be the occasional lull in the action due to weather and conditions during upcoming weeks, but my best guess is that we are going to see very good fishing both offshore and at the islands through the entire month of September and possibly beyond. There is just too much sign of fish around to believe otherwise. It is the ocean however so nothing will surprise me. Suffice to say though that I will be much more surprised if it doesn't happen than if it does. As I said there is just too much fish around. If you are on upcoming voyages prepare accordingly and fasten your seat belts. You are going to get them.
In closing we want to extend our gratitude to Ty Breitman and this fantastic group of anglers who did a stellar job at the rail this trip putting forth a tremendous effort while maintaining complete respect and courtesy. It makes a huge difference when every angler considers one another. Like all Royal Star voyages this group of anglers did a phenomenal job of making a catch and focusing on having a good time and a great vacation in the process. So again our thanks to all and we look forward to the opportunity to fish with you again. Enjoy today's photo of the man himself (Ty) with a jumbo albacore he obviously had a great time landing during one of today's plentiful stops. Job well done.