We celebrated the last day of 2009 with very good fishing on 40 - 100# yellowfin today. Things started in the grey as a school got on us and started biting. We managed to keep between three and six going for the morning. After we had a respectable number of this size fish we took off in search of larger models. As sometimes happens we came up empty in our search this afternoon. But we saw some and therefore have high hopes for tomorrow.
Steve Busch of San Diego gets the glory today, posing with his 90# yellowfin and the tiny Avet SX Raptor used in it's capture.
Today was exactly what the doctor ordered. We stayed at anchor all day and had fish going all day with just a few short exceptions.The fish today were mostly 60 - 110 lbs. and biting the flyline. Our weather is good and we are hoping for more good fishing tomorrow.
In today's first shot Mike Carlson hoists one of his fish .
The second picture is of Hide Beppu with a nice one coming over the rail.Jaime Przybyla battles one in the background
Today we started out looking for Trophy yellowfin. Things looked good early as we had good water and current conditions. We hooked one early and had a heartbreak when an 8/0 mutu pulled out at color on a cow. We then watched the life slowly dissipate from around us and it was time to go looking.
We put in our time today burning through the glasses. We came up with two dabs of fish. The first one we hooked one and unfortunately it escaped. The second one was late in the day but it stuck around and bit a little. We ended the day with 15 yellowfin from 80 - 122 lbs. Its very satisfying to end the day with a little something in the well for the effort.
Today's first picture is of cross country runner and traveler Derek Bolser who came out from Florida with his dad. Here he shows off his 98 pounder.
The second shot is of Mike Hein (foreground) and Derek Bolser happily engaged in battle under the watchful eye of crewman Isaac Sullens.
We traveled down today in good weather with jigs in the water. We had a few stops on small tuna ( released ) which broke up the ride and provided a little action. We will be in the lower area looking for trophy yellowfin tomorrow.
Today we enjoyed beautiful weather traveling down. We spent our time in seminars and rigging tackle. After lunch we had a nice raffle where anglers received prizes from Newell Reels, Hyabusa, Seaguar, Yozuri, Catchy Tackle and H&H Marketing. Many thanks to our fine sponsors who dug deep in these tough times.
After a short break to celebrate the holidays, we are headed down on the Newell / Hyabusa 10 day trip. We spent the day relaxing and did a little bit of light rigging. The real work in getting everyone set up will be done while traveling tomorrow. With perfect weather, a great load of bait, and eager anglers onboard the stage is set for another great fishing adventure.
For our final voyage report I wish to extend our most sincere appreciation to all Royal Star anglers and those family members and friends who support them. Never more than this past season have we understood the value and depth of your loyalty both in your ridership and in your help spreading the word about the quality fishing experiences we consistently provide. There is no greater compliment to our efforts than repeat customers and referrals. It is the foundation of our successful history as Royal Star Sport Fishing.
With this in mind, and the holiday's upon us, we are filled with gratitude. We are true to our customers and guarantee every Royal Star angler that not only will our visionary, first class standards be maintained in 2010 and beyond, they will be improved upon. There is always another advance on the horizon and our tireless drive to improve and operate the most efficient, professional long range sport fishing vessel is motivated by this philosophy.
Every one of these long range vessels, and how they are operated, is an extension of the owner's, Captain's, and crewmember's core values. That is what differentiates one vessel from the next. As a prospective long range angler, or a long range angler who has not fished on Royal Star, I urge you to appreciate the difference. More than anything what I want is for all long range anglers to realize the experience they expect from a professional operation when embarking on a long range voyage. I want every angler stepping off one of these boats to feel that it was incredible experience that they will seek again; even better seek again with family and/or friends. I know that these goals and expectations are met and exceeded on Royal Star. We are dedicated to it, and guarantee it through our hands on management. Randy, Tracy, Brian, and I are here, in any combination of two to four of us, committed to creating exceptional long range sport fishing voyages for our anglers every day of the year.
Finally, I would be remiss to exclude our veteran crew who are the extension of our standards working their magic daily on deck as both ambassadors and professional fishermen who take great pride in the job they perform and reputation they have established. This crew of Captain Sean Bickel, Captain Gregg Tanji, Captain Isaac Sullens, Crewman Steve Gregonis, and Crewman Blake Wasano earn the credit and compliments they deserve through a routine upheld by exceptional ability, focus on their responsibilities, and confidence in their results. A better crew has never worked the deck of a long range vessel. Of that I am sure. And of course the galley team of Chef's Drew Rivera and Jeffery Grant, and assistant, budding pastry chef Tommy Grant, can only be heralded as the finest Chef's in the history of long range fishing in both the consistency of their unmatched, exceptional cuisine and their outgoing, welcoming characters.
All this said it again is our time to say thank you to all Royal Star supporters and all of you reading along. I am especially appreciative of all you readers who follow my narratives and provide excellent feedback and mostly compliments. I enjoy it and enjoy the opportunity to entertain and perhaps occasionally enlighten you. Have a tremendous holiday season and enjoy and cherish the time you have to spend with family and friends. All of us at Royal Star wish everyone a safe, happy, healthy, fulfilling New Year with all good things to come.
And last but not least our final photos of the voyage feature two long range veterans who have earned a flawless reputation as accomplished giant tuna anglers who carry their status with the composure all of us can respect and admire. Stas Vellonakis, who was there when I made my first voyage on Royal Polaris twenty three years past, is probably the finest all around angler I know. I am not just considering fishing ability but the overall character of an individual who is a pleasure to spend time at the rail with, and a generous wealth of knowledge without being assuming in any form. Stas is pictured with his second three hundred pound yellowfin tuna caught in 2009 on Royal Star - a healthy 307 landed with incredible finesse on the mid day fished sardine. The second photo features Kevin Leong and Stas both pulling on giants in unison. Like Stas Kevin is an unassuming individual but his knowledge of fishing, and ability as a fisherman is legendary. Kevin is another one of those guys who is open and free with his incredible knowledge but doesn't seek the spotlight to trumpet his achievements. Both guys are a fortunate addition to appreciate and respect on any long range adventure.
Thanks again from all of us at Royal Star.
Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays, and Happy New Year!
Ann Van Dyke
It was another great day for us traveling up in flat calm weather thoroughly enjoying the ride. We have definitely paid some dues on a number of northerly runs this season so I suppose we earned this one. Less any obstacles in the form of contrary weather or current we are lined up to make our 0800 arrival in San Diego on Tuesday the 22nd. For anyone interested in seeing a fantastic catch of giant yellowfin tuna, or if you would like to take a look at Royal Star, Tuesday would be a great time to come down to Fisherman's Landing. If the kids are out of school haul them along as well as the sheer proportions of these fish is something they won't see too often.
Normally I would have more to say but the serenity of this ocean, with the brilliance of a million stars reflecting on the glassy surface like Christmas lights, has my thinking at bay. About fishing anyway. Right now it is near impossible to not grasp and be intensely grateful for the good fortune all of us out here realize. Nothing cements the fact like one of these surreal transits.
For today's photo I thought I'd share something a little different. Many times I have been asked the question of how we get these big fish into the fish holds. Today's sequence features Captain Sean Bickel providing a perfect demo. This RSW tank was nearing capacity so it actually took three of us as we called in the "beef" utilizing crewman Blake Wasano's superhuman strength to get things moving. In the end however it was simply a matter of finding the right angle. When we did Robbie Mc Adam's 364 slid right in. We even got a few more in after this.
One note of interest in the photos is the seawater in and flooding out of the tank after being displaced by the giant tuna. Notice how clean the water in the tank is while being near full of fish. This is how it is supposed to look if one expects to achieve a premium quality product after seven days. The blood and slime must be thoroughly washed from every fish before they are deposited. Otherwise the RSW becomes something else that no one in their right mind would want to eat a fish coming out of after five to seven days. This shot is an excellent example of the care, professionalism, and standards we employ in the handling of our angler's superb product. Look for tomorrow's final report and photos before we sign off for the Christmas break.
Following a seamless arrival, disembarkation, and departure from Cabo San Lucas, our journey up line commenced as the flat calm weather that set up two days prior continued. Typically, the ride home is long, tedious, and bumpy to say the least as we spend three full days in motion clawing for altitude against the prevailing wind and seas along this coast. I can't say that many of these transits fall into the enjoyable category. There are those rare occasions however when the ocean shows the serene side of her temperament and the uphill portion of the ride is of little consequence. On those occasions the long and tedious description still applies but is accompanied by a huge sense of relief. In my practiced opinion any flat calm day on the high seas is a good day to be appreciated and enjoyed.
As such we enjoyed the opportunity to tend to small projects and tidy up while steaming northwest in grease calm conditions. Of course the standard movie marathon commenced and admittedly there was plenty of loafing around as the crew and I wound down following the past seven day stretch of going hard at it nineteen hours a day. Following their tremendous effort and a job well done the boys earned themselves a good break.
So other than a couple more days to work our way up the line there will be very little happening on board worthy of mention. It sounds like the fishing outside is similar today with plenty of fish crashing around but wary and reluctant to bite with any kind of abandon. The most important feature to report is that the overall sign of fish is still tremendous for sport fishing with individual fish in varying size classes seen jumping all around the area. Additionally, the water temperatures are so perfect it is almost hard to believe as we are now approaching Christmas and still seeing surface temps in the 75 - 77 degree range. As I have said this bodes extremely well for the upcoming trips.
Look for reports to continue tomorrow as I am sure I will conjure up something more to say. In the meantime enjoy today's near perfect photo of the man himself, Bart Ryder, with an early morning 231 interestingly highlighted by the rising sun . Shot number two features Bob Palatella pulling on what turned out to be an incredibly spirited, tackle busting 198 that put us through the ringer employing nearly every trick in the book to win it's freedom. Fortunately we prevailed and Bob landed the tenacious beast about twenty minutes after I took this irresistible sunset photo.
After six full days of hammering away investing a tremendous amount of time and effort at the rail this group of superb anglers finally began to show signs of slowing down on day seven. It could have been that the fishing shifted back to a slower pace. It could have been the beautiful, flat calm, balmy weather and accompanying languid atmosphere. Or, and most likely, it could have been the afterglow from yesterday's boomer hit on big ones carrying over as everyone is obviously fulfilled and satisfied. Not that the guys didn't put forth the effort or were out there clowning around. Again the fishing effort was sufficient to catch what was there to be had. But, there was a tangible sense of satisfaction among everyone and more than a twinge of excitement about packing it in at the end of the day and heading for Cabo San Lucas.
In every way this voyage has been a huge success with the original intent of creating an ultra limited voyage to specifically target giant yellowfin on the lower banks manifesting as a dream come true. With only thirteen anglers, all of whom share an impressive resume in the world of long range sport fishing and a passion for catching big ones, a better opportunity could not be contrived. This was the dream voyage in every sense.
Without exception there was never a period during the seven full days we spent fishing on the anchor when an angler could not head to the rail, toss out a bait, and have a real chance at hooking a yellowfin tuna over two or even three hundred pounds. I know we have had some amazing fishing for big ones on these lower banks going all the way back to 1997, but the consistency of this seven day period is the real standout. It is pretty rare in fishing to not have conditions change or have some kind of wrench thrown into the works that sets you back on your heels and requires a shift in the approach and strategy. Not this time. In seven days we moved the boat only three times either because we slipped on the anchor or to kick the bait that had gathered beneath us out to stir things up. For both Randy and I this is a first that I figure will not be easy to repeat.
Who knows however as we see a very robust amount of fish that continue to fill in around this bank. In fact, today's action on giants was interrupted by the arrival of a new wave of 70 - 120# class fish that showed up in force crashing all around the bank and setting up camp around all of us there. I have already said it a couple of times this voyage but it is worth saying again. There is going to be some incredible fishing down here during the next six to eight weeks. Mark my words. Between the mid range tuna, and the giants lurking among them, this action will continue and may just get better.
So, our final day ended with plenty more action but the bigger fish were mixed with mid rangers that on any other occasion would have been well received. Needless to say with 29 over two hundred pounds and four over three hundred in the hatch these thirteen anglers were not in the market for any quantity of fish and were exclusively focused on targeting giants. In the end we weeded out another four over the two hundred mark and another ten from 150 - 190. After 0800 the fish went back into that wily mode we have become accustomed to blowing out in every direction while showing almost zero interest in biting. We got our share though. As such we put it on course at day's end heading for an early morning arrival tomorrow. Without question everyone on board is ecstatic and reveling in the epic results of this adventure. I will have three days to add a few more thoughts as we head up the line so look for reports to continue. Photos today feature anglers Damon Digregorio in action pulling on a big one, and Gary "Big Fish" Sato with another 230 that succumbed to a well positioned chunk fished on the big gear.
This was the day we have been waiting for. The weather went flat calm and true to form these fair weather biters came up and got with the program. But for a few short lulls we were able to keep something on the line throughout the day while again enjoying the spectacular surface show of bona fide giants constantly blowing out all around the boat. In the end we landed twenty five of the beasts with nine over the two hundred mark, a handful in the 100 - 140# class, and the remainder from 160 - 198 pounds. Of the nine cows, one weighed in at 307 and the other, a behemoth, prehistoric looking beast of obscene proportions, weighed in at a whopping 364!
With our final day now upon us we are primed and ready for one final push though I have to admit that our expectations and hopes have been met from any perspective. Anything this ocean is willing to yield at this point is pure bonus. We are here, and have plenty of fight remaining so we will see how the last hurrah unfolds. Needless to say the action on giants yesterday engendered plenty of motivation. The weather forecast is for primo, flat calm so the stage is set if the fish are in a biting mood. I have stated it plenty during the trip already but will say it again. There is no shortage if sign.
Before signing off I have to tell a quick story of the big fish of the day that was a profound example of fishing effort and expertise. I really appreciate seeing an angler put forth a tremendous effort and reap such a fantastic reward. Rob McAdam, after suffering three consecutive heartbreaks on big ones, two of which were potential giants that may have pushed the three hundred pound mark, Rob was definitely down, but not out. What I really respect about this catch was the fact that Rob, after having his rear end handed to him a couple of times, did not lower the bar; he raised it. Upgrading his tackle in the event he hooked a huge one again, Rob did everything in his ability to position himself for success. He wanted a giant, specifically targeted a giant, set up his gear for a giant, then hooked the exact fish he was after and caught it. It is a pretty rare day in fishing when the luck factor is marginalized. And though I admit there is an element of luck in everything, Robbie's catch was a result of a pure targeted effort, attention to detail, and determination. In addition, his story is a testament to staying positive, and moving forward when the situation serves up a disproportionate amount of tough luck. Our most sincere congratulations to Rob for making this catch he earned the old fashioned way and certainly deserved. The first photo of the day features Rob with the behemoth 364. Our second photo was an action shot I took of Rob's brother Mike Mc Adam who is no slouch either landing a couple of big deuces today and doing an incredible job of setting the pace with Rob on his first long range voyage targeting giant yellowfin tuna. Now a seasoned veteran, from all outward appearances Mike has caught the big fish fever. I suspect we will be fishing for giants together again after this beginning. Congratulations to Mike as well as he has been hammering them this trip.
Another day of scratching at big ones that began ominously with a fat zero for the entire morning before the fish finally moved in a gave us our token couple of handful of chances. The surface showing is almost indescribable as giant cows plow around the boat leaving bomb craters in their path while they slurp down bait after bait. Nothing keeps anglers motivated better than the sight of massive boils right next to the boat. Actually, not just the sight. The audible commotion created by the beasts breaking the surface is crystal clear often alerting us to turn and look in that direction. And when we do, if we are not fishing already, it is almost impossible to resist to urge to toss another bait. The potential pay off is too great to resist.
On that note our photos today feature a couple of anglers with the big pay off in hand. Ron Medak, father of New Lo-Ann owner and former Royal Star Captain and first class crewmember for many years Markus Medak, scored the fish of a lifetime late yesterday afternoon landing a 330 on the fly lined sardine using 130# Blackwater fluorocarbon. The second photo features Ran and former Major American League Baseball MVP Jeff Burroughs who simultaneously battled and conquered his 295 while Ron pulled on his. Congratulations to both men who earned these trophies in every respect.
Needless to say we have no plans other than to take full advantage of this fantastic, made to order opportunity for the duration of the trip. We are still sitting pretty with a huge amount of bait, two full days, near ideal working weather, and a highly motivated group of anglers ready to hard charge to the bitter end. For any prospective anglers still thinking about one of our upcoming voyages, the sign of both these jumbos and "mid rangers" in the 70 - 120 pound class continues to be excellent. They are not in the best biting mood this week, but that is certain to change. The most important thing is that there is plenty of sign of fish. To my thinking, based on all I have seen and done, that is the most important component of success - they have to be in the area first. Rest assured they are and that there is plenty of very good fishing to come. You will either read about it or be here. I sincerely hope it is the latter - especially with us on Royal Star.
Well we definitely had our chances again landing another four over the two hundred mark and a few others that just missed. It was a slow scratch at best, but the real standout feature was the fact that everything we hooked, and I do mean everything, was in the trophy category. Anglers that put in their time working at it were rewarded with at least an opportunity which is all a fisherman can really ask for in this arena.
What we are encountering this voyage in no uncertain terms are the many hazards and obstacles that come with trophy yellowfin tuna fishing particularly when using high performance tackle designed for fly lining sardines. Regardless of how high tech we become the brute strength of these monsters has a tendency to break things down into the crudest form. Giant fish pitted against down sized, high performance equipment designed to entice them to bite generally re calibrates the law the averages in favor of the triumphant trophy tuna. I guarantee everyone that after the last three days right now there are a few handfuls of emboldened monsters swimming around this bank empowered by their string of victories over their tormentors. As the saying goes - "That's fishing".
So, in addition to the fantastic opportunities targeting giant yellowfin exclusively, the other highlight of the day was the gratefully received weather change that brought near flat calm conditions to the grounds and restored the festive atmosphere. Anglers again enjoyed the afternoon and evening with good company and easily flowing libations in high spirits about what has been and more good things to come. We will see. The signs of big fish continue to be excellent and we still have plenty of time to even up the score and then some. With the weather coming down we are hoping the tuna will drop their guard and really get with the program.
Photos of the day feature long time Royal Star favorites Andy Cooperman and Rob McAdam in action pulling on big cows. Although these long range voyages feature many different incredible experiences and moments, I can say with a very high degree of certainty that the moments captured in today's photos are what it really is all about for anglers. This moment, and it's accompanying sentiment, is the near equivalent of that a little tyke experiences when flying down a roller coaster he/she has been waiting for months, or perhaps even years to ride. Pure adrenaline, exuberance, joy, and satisfaction as all one strives for in pursuit of their goal or passion manifests in reality. On that note Robbie extends his greetings to Jessica who is just now becoming familiar with what drives him to embark upon these offshore voyages. Today's photo of Rob, and perhaps the accompanying text, will add some perspective. The time out here is very special - even more so when the weather and fishing are good. And especially more so when you have someone special at home to look forward to seeing upon your return.
Finicky and fickle is how I would describe the tuna around us today that gave us fits in our efforts to coax them into biting while maintaining adrenaline levels well above normal with their spectacular surface antics. Especially in the afternoon, the trophy yellowfin that gathered around us were in top form crashing all around and regularly clearing the surface tantalizing anglers with a perfect visual of what we are after and why we are after them. There is nothing quite like a two hundred fifty pound yellowfin tuna exploding on a bait ten yards from the transom to strike the primal chord that fuels all big tuna angler's desire to pit themselves against these worthy opponents in raw, hand to hand battle.
Overall I would say the opportunities at best were few and far between with the day occasionally punctuated by the capture of a trophy class yellowfin tuna as we waited and watched the show. Such occasions are a real test of patience and fortitude. More often than not in these circumstances the last man standing, or better said, the angler who puts in the most time at the rail, reaps the rewards. Thankfully, similar to the previous two days, with the late afternoon/evening came the opportunity to even the score as the fish that gathered around us throughout the day dropped their guard providing a fortunate handful or two of anglers with a chance to stand toe to toe with a giant tuna in the main event. All told we came out of this round with another three over the "deuce", another handful of 160 - 195's, and another couple of good opportunities that went in favor of the tuna. Another day in the trophy yellowfin arena. We are not knocking it out of the park, but, with the average size of these beauties we are getting the job done.
So the quest continues as we wait out what we hope will be a short stretch of sloppy weather that definitely puts a damper on any kind of looking effort. Fortunately we are able to sit on the anchor and make the most of it keeping fish around the boat the whole time. Speaking of time we definitely have plenty of it remaining to get the job done. Four days to go and a forecast of improving weather ahead. The odds are still in our favor and we hope to keep it that way.
Photos of the day feature the uncontested hero Ron Medak with one of his two jumbos that weighed in at 259 and 261 respectively. In Ron's case today his success was a result of pure perseverance, and a little luck. Both count equally out here and Ron now has two beautiful cows in the hatch to prove it. Also, the famous Gary "Big Fish" Sato shows how it is done on the big gear reefing on his evening trophy in signature form.
Well we had plenty of opportunities today, and definitely finished ahead of the curve, but this would have been a very big day were it not for a costly run of hard luck on jumbos that served as a reality check for some anglers and admittedly chapped our hide; or maybe better said, chapped our pride. Honestly, if even one of these trophy yellowfin escapes, we consider it one too many. But, we are well acquainted with both the law of averages and inevitability when targeting giant yellowfin. So, regardless of our sentiments, we understand that we must accept a certain percentage of casualties as a matter of course.
Beyond my sniveling about the ones we didn't get, we landed another five over the two hundred mark as well as a sundown 312 for long time Royal Star veteran John Santella that was quite a story in itself. In addition to the fish over two hundred, that were 207, 217, 231, 255, and 283, another ten from 160 - 198 came aboard with a handful of those just missing the "deuce" category. Needless to say we are very pleased with the overall result and again are encouraged by the sign of big fish on the bank that spread very well between all of us fishing here. We have a little wind coming in the forecast so we will see if any kind of change comes with it, but for now we are plenty satisfied with what we have to work with. Lots of time, good sign of big fish, good enough working weather, and a perfect group of anglers to sit and target straight jumbos. We'll see if we can keep the ball rolling as we are off to very good beginning.
Photos today feature angler John Santella and his 312 that was another epic battle that appeared lost as his trophy took all his line, went out on a back up, then died and sank to the bottom only to become hopelessly snagged. As the big afternoon bite time was looming, and we did not want to take the chance at breaking off his rig or losing our position, we had little choice other that to tie it off to the boat, wait until after dark, then pull our anchor and see if we could retrieve the outfit and fish by heading out off the edge and pulling from another angle. From a strictly mathematical perspective we knew the odds of success were indeed slim. But, without other options, and nothing to lose by trying, we gave it a shot. Unbelievably enough, the attempt unfolded exactly as planned, and almost four hours after John hooked the three hundred twelve pound yellowfin tuna he has been trying for at least fifteen years, he had his trophy. It came up clean, stiff, and hooked directly in the tail as dead as could be. It was a real triumph for John in particular as he has suffered some bona fide heartbreaks on giants over the years. Photo number two features angler Tommy Nishi who had a repeat today with another jumbo that weighed in at 255. This time the photo came out well so along with it is Tommy's greeting to his brother Steve who we all wish was here to share in the fun.
After a full morning and early afternoon of looking we began the fishing portion of the trip on the right note with four yellowfin tuna over the two hundred mark and a couple of other missed opportunities at equally large ones. Needless to say we are enthusiastic about the significant change that has occurred as the guys during the last cycle of trips in this lower zone caught very little and did not see any quantity of these cows.
With any luck our timing is right and this is the beginning of a new trend. Although we did not rack up big numbers, everything we saw was in the behemoth size class, and there was plenty to be seen. As such we are doing our best to contain our enthusiasm and excitement. Presently we could not be better positioned with a brimming full load of bait, perfect weather, and six full days to work in this zone if conditions hold. As I mentioned on the ride down we have the ideal, ultra limited load of expert anglers on board, all of whom are seeking this exact opportunity. We'll see how our luck holds out. In the meantime we will keep everyone posted through the daily log.
Finally, I again want to encourage any prospective anglers to sign on one of our upcoming voyages either just after Christmas or the fifteen day in January. Both voyages are a real bargain and are aligned to take advantage of this zone that is showing every indication of holding up, or perhaps even really taking off, over the next six to eight weeks. Water temps are perfect and stable, the sign of fish and bait is excellent, and there is plenty of space available on both voyages that presently are a definite go regardless of whether additional anglers join us or not. For both Royal Star and angler's sake however, I sincerely hope at least a few more of you join us and take advantage of this excellent opportunity to target both mid range and trophy class yellowfin tuna in this zone. If you have the time and wherewithal give Tracy or Brian a call in the office to save a spot. In particular, if you are teetering on the fence, a five minute conversation with Brian should help motivate and/or inspire you to pull the trigger. Do it guys. You won't be sorry.
Today's photos feature the man himself Charter master Bart Ryder who broke the ice with a 234. Long time Royal Star veteran and my good friend Bob Palatella also started off right with a 217 taken on the fly lined sardine. Big fish of the day weighed in at 276 but the photo of victorious long time Royal Star favorite Tommy Nishi and I didn't come out too well. With any luck we'll get another shot tomorrow or beyond. Good luck to all of us working together out here.
I'd have to get pretty imaginative to spice up the action on deck today as we traveled down in continuing flat calm conditions focused on good things to come tomorrow and beyond. I can report that again a very good time was had by all these anglers who, in the spirit of yesterday and previous voyages, commenced the festivities early today and carried through well into the night.
A few trips back I wrote a piece about the effect of good chemistry within a group of anglers and the profound impact such camaraderie has on the voyage results. These anglers are the ideal example of this notion. With many voyages spent together on Royal Star these guys are relaxed, prepared, and obviously recognize that long range fishing is a unique opportunity to depart from the stress of the daily routine as well as an opportunity to pursue their sport of choice. All long range trips are certainly about the fishing; and even more so the catching. But without appreciating the many other outstanding aspects of these voyages an angler would be denying him/herself a boatload of enlightenment and fun. Not these anglers. As such we are ready to get down to business coming up with nothing during the run down today though I can't say we were surprised or suffered from crushed expectations. Our present plan is to focus on the big fish zone, and with a beneficial weather forecast for at least the next few days, that is exactly what we are going to do. Everything in our command is in order so we will see if we can put our practice to good use.
Traveling down in lake calm weather the leisurely atmosphere was appreciated and appropriately utilized as anglers prepared their tackle, relaxed in style, took in the sights, indulged in spirits, and spun yarns well into the night. There is something about a flat calm ocean that brings out the best in everyone's character. With every angler in this group boasting multiple previous long range voyages, they have a detailed understanding of how temperamental this ocean can be. As such the significance and comfort of the sea in an amenable state is received as an opportunity that must not go to waste.
Of course we hope the present condition is a trend that will carry well into next week as we are all now so familiar with the importance of good working conditions when targeting giant yellowfin tuna in the southern regions. The present forecast speaks to this and we are positioned to take full advantage of the opportunity if the weatherman is correct. For now we are continuing the southerly trek with plans to bypass the hoards of midget yellowtail and yellowfin tuna on the top end of the ridge and focus on fish worthy of a tag offshore tomorrow. As always Captain Randy Toussaint and I have our sights set high as we formulate our voyage strategy to maximize fishing time in what we believe will be the most productive big fish zones. Look for fishing reports to continue as we work down preparing for good things to come.
I've been doing a lot of thinking during this last round of voyages while I observed from the bleachers tethered to land by administrative and family responsibilities. From a fisherman's perspective there is nothing like receiving reports of outstanding offshore fishing in primo weather to manifest a case of claustrophobia cured only by setting forth on a voyage of your own and evening up the score.
I have to say that one thing in particular jumped out at me during this last giant tuna cycle that really is our trademark on Royal Star, and what I consider to be our greatest attraction and most compelling advantage. Consistent, professional results in every aspect of our operation is what Royal Star anglers receive every time, every voyage. Since 1996 when Randy, Tracy, and I established Royal Star Sportfishing we have focused on and delivered exceptional, professional standards with experienced Captains and crewmen dedicated to this fishery and passionate in their drive to exceed angler's expectations. When anglers choose Royal Star they receive a guarantee that the voyage will be led by a experienced, vested professional with a long history in this fishery and unique knowledge that can only be earned through time on the water.
Between Captain Randy Toussaint, Captain Brian Sims, our veteran crew of Captain Gregg Tanji, Captain Sean Bickel, Captain Isaac Sullens, Steve Gregonis, Blake Wasano, and I Royal Star anglers are one hundred percent assured that they are in the best, most capable hands with the most qualified, proficient, innovative team in the history of long range fishing. As bold of a statement as this is to make I forward it with complete confidence and certainty. I have been to sea with many different crews over the years and I have never seen our present veteran crew members outperformed. I am equally confident that following any Royal Star voyage our departing anglers agree. This is the core of our business and fishing strategy and why anglers choose Royal Star again and again. Genuine guarantees are difficult to come by now days. We confidently guarantee that you will not be disappointed by our effort, performance, and results on Royal Star.
Consistency though is the key. Again this is the trademark of Royal Star. Yes, the crewmen I listed are the best of the best, but our crewmen always are and always have been. Between Randy and I originally, and now including Brian at the helm as an owner/operator, our extraordinary standards drive and accept nothing other than the best. This is what Royal Star anglers know they will receive on every Royal Star voyage. It is not a crap shoot or wild guess as to who will be leading their long range voyage or who the on deck crew will be. Every voyage, every time Royal Star anglers are guaranteed the professional, experienced team they expect when booking a long range sport fishing adventure. There is nothing that bests experience. This fact is and has been proven in every respect over time.
So with my pride in this crew and our operation brimming we set forth on the next adventure with the man himself, Bart Ryder, heading up this outstanding charter. With ten days on the water before we drop this incredible group of seasoned anglers off in Cabo San Lucas we have the time to get the job done. Now it is just a matter of the big fish showing again and being in the right place at the right time. With a handful of us heading down and working together we will get on them when they show. Everything here is as perfect as can be with an ideal load of sardines, beautiful bait, and Royal Star presently in top form. Reports will continue for the next twelve days as we venture forth in search of giant yellowfin tuna to usher in some Christmas cheer.
We traveled up today in nice weather,broke down tackle and cleaned the boat. The guys had lively conversations about the battles they won and those they lost. Others were planning the next trip to chase the fish of a lifetime.
If you are thinking about coming down here to try your luck at big fish fishing, we observed several conditions that bode well for this area for the next couple of months. First there is a good volume of bait life in the area. Squid, bullet tuna, and red crab are all around in good volumes. Second there is good general life around. Birds, whales, dolphins and other pelagic fishes in the area. The "Cows" are definitely still around, in fact it is my feeling that more and more are filtering in to the area as you read this. Water temperatures are stabilizing. The effect of which is fish settling in to one area where we can target them. Add this all up, put it in a historical context, and the most logical prediction is that we will see a lot more trophy tuna taken before the end of the season.
Today's shot is of Willie Pennington who traveled out from North Carolina. Willie has a great sense of humor and kept us laughing at the rail and in the galley for the entire trip. He had the last fish of the day a few days ago.
Today we were in straight trophy hunting mode. We worked an area where if you got a bite the chances were excellent that it would be a very large yellowfin. After a long day of looking around and soaking baits on scattered sonar marks we were just about to call it a trip when Ken Ross hooked up. After a classic kamikaze run at the boat to give us a good look at him, just out of gaff range, The fish settled in for an hour long battle. With the sweat still dripping and out of time we weighed in a beautiful 298# trophy.
Ken gets the honors today with his hard won prize.
Today was another very good day of fishing. We had action, variety and quality.We had good scratching on mid grade yellowfin and mixed in two over two. We found a school of dorado which provided great action and kicked out a couple of handfuls of open water wahoo as well. We did it all in great weather. What more can a guy want? For tomorrow we will be in trophy hunting mode, hoping the big ones are ready to bite.
Today we're sending two pictures. First is Todd Burkdoll with the first cow of the day a 221. Second is Art DeAscentis with a beautiful 265
Today we got off to a fast start with 20 yellowfin beautifully processed and resting in the RSW tank by 8am. After that we continued to scratch throughout the day. The tuna were mostly 70 - 100 lbs. with a few bigger. We ended up with just over two fish per rod today. Our weather continues to be good. We will be in the same area again in the morning.
The honors today go to Royal Star regular and Barking Spider Jeff Cox posing with his 170# YFT.
Thanks for the cookies Tammy!
Today started off very slow with not a lot of tuna sign in the early morning. In the late morning we found some commons and scratched a dozen fish. They were mixed up from 18 - 112#. In the Afternoon we got on a batch of 80 - 100 # fish that wanted to play and had 3 - 5 going until dark. It's about time we got some action. We ended up with a respectable day with the biggest fish coming in at 160#. We have high hopes for more good fishing tomorrow.
Our picture is of Ray Musselman with his first fish over 100 Lbs.
Today we started out with a little bit of action on school size yellowfin and yellowtail. We then concentrated on wahoo getting a couple of good stops on nice size fish. After looking over the shallows we finished with a couple of drifts for grouper.
As is typical the grouper won most of the battles. Bill Moore took top honors with an estimated 120# Gulf Grouper, shown in the first photo. The second photo is of a few of today's wahoo. From left to right, Doug MacBlane, Dave Berutich, Rick Maxa and Bill Dunn.
With the weather coming down we will be tuna fishing in the morning.