We can sum up today's fishing with one word, brutal. We saw no sign of big fish where we saw them yesterday or anywhere else we searched . We did see a little sign of 100lb fish this afternoon but couldn't get them to bite. As this was the only sign of fish today we're going to start here tomorrow in beautiful weather hoping this was just a down day.
We had to borrow today's shot from earlier in the trip which shows Ron Seater who came down from Alaska to boat a personal best 197.
No current and zero wind made for tough cow angling conditions today but we managed to boat six fish, four of which were 205-251 with a couple 180's. We're spending the night hoping for better conditions tomorrow.
With this warm water and consistent sign of fish I wouldn't be surprised to see good fishing here for at least another month, unfortunately we don't have any more trips to take advantage of this area. Tim leaves on our first tagging trip to the Revillas the day after we get in.
Today's shots show a good one at gaff in glass calm seas while Royal Star regular Floyd Abbott shows off a personal best 251.
Slow again today with 12 fish going in the hatch, most of which were 40-90lbs with a 190 and 217 being top fish. We did see very good sign of cows at dark so we're hoping we're on them in the morning. Our flat calm weather continues.
Today's photo shows Jan Abbott getting a little help from crewmember Blake Wasano with her 251.
Slow this morning for us so we opted to go prospecting in search of greener pastures to no avail. We managed to scratch on 40-90lbers this afternoon when we got back to our hotspot to somewhat save the day but had no shots at the bigger fish. We are sitting tight tonight in beautiful weather with high hopes for tomorrow. Jan and the guys said hello Kamell and wish you were here, the seafood is epic.
Today's shot shows Jerry Nguyen with a 222.
Another nice day of scratching at quality tuna while enjoying beautiful flat calm weather. We ended up with fourteen fish today, most of which were 150-185 with three over the mark that went 205-230. With lots of time left and a great weather forecast we have no intentions of going anywhere else.
Today's shots show a cow coming over the rail for long time Royal Star angler Greg Fox while Brandon Zimmerman shows off his first deuce, a 225.
Slow picking but the quality made for a nice day. We ended up with 14 fish, six of which were 203-295 with the rest ranging from 100-197lbs. Everything was on the 100- 130 flouro and a flyline sardine with the exception of one cow taken on the chunk. Our weather is flat calm and the forecasts say we can look forward to at least three more days of this. As most of you know from following along with the reports, the weather is critical on these lower banks so good forecasts are a cause for celebration. We are sitting tight tonight with hopes they're on us again tomorrow.
Today's first shot shows Jan Abbott and Bruce Lozekar hanging on heavies while Bruce shows off the results in the second shot, a 295.
Most of our first day of angling down here on the lower banks was spent looking and trying to get things located after the terrible weather of the last few days blew through. We finally got located in a promising area this afternoon and had a decent show on big fish. We only managed to hook one but it was a beauty that weighed in at 232. On another bright note the weather glassed off this afternoon giving us high hopes for tomorrow.
Today's shot shows Marius Coetzee who came all the way from South Africa to boat his first 200lber.
The guys spent the day rigging and preparing while heading south in steadily improving sea conditions. Based on the most recent forecasts it appears that they will be in fine shape once the fishing begins with fifteen knots of breeze and plenty workable sea conditions. As the week progresses the forecast is for conditions to reach almost flat calm so they should have a good handle on what is available in the lower region within a couple of days. Captain Toussaint's report's from the grounds will begin tomorrow and continue over the next twelve days. We have high hopes that the action on giants will continues as conditions remain excellent throughout the big fish zone. Time will tell.
After a couple of extra hours at the dock to assess the weather and allow a little extra time for things to settle down, the guys got off without a hitch, heading southeast towards the big fish proving grounds on the inside. With plenty of time on this fifteen day, the main focus will again be on trophy yellowfin that have shown no indication of vacating the "local banks" region. Look for Capt. Randy Toussaint's reports to commence tomorrow as they work their way down the coast in preparation for the fishing action slated to begin on Monday.
Also, I will be Sunday's featured guest on Let's Talk Hookup with Pete Gray and Rick Maxa looking forward to the opportunity to field calls and share some exciting new information with all their listeners. If you have the time don't miss the program with all the latest greatest on current events and what more is soon to come.
Upon return I was informed that several of the daily reports I diligently authored and sent in timely order did not make the web site on the day, and some not for several days, after they were sent. In addition, apparently the sequential order was mixed up and needed some rearranging. The good news is that all is now in order. If you haven't already determined it for yourself, those who were following the voyage details can now scroll back a few days and fill in the gaps.
Just to reiterate the message sent in yesterday's posting, Royal Star is at the dock through Friday the 22nd when Captain Toussaint departs on the annual Braid fifteen day bound for the lower banks and what I confidently predict will be another very good round of giant yellowfin tuna action. Tracy, Randy, Brian, and I will be available all week in the office. If you have any questions about the voyage Friday, or any other topic of interest, now is a great time to call and talk shop. In the meantime have a fine week and look for reports to continue on Randy's voyage departing Friday.
Timing was back in our favor today as we enjoyed a relaxing day of travel and breaking down in light to calm wind conditions with a gentle, rolling northwest ground swell that cushioned the ride. There is very little to report in the way of activity here other than the usual chores we tend to in preparation for our arrival and subsequent departure that in this case does not come until next Friday. Actually, in light of the weather reports for the middle of next week, it is probably a good thing.
By far the exciting news to forward is the continuing steady action on giants down below with the guys again logging big days. Needless to say I wish we were still there. All in all we had a very nice trip that produced an adequate quantity to both mid ranger and giants stored in both frozen and fresh condition. Any twelve day voyage that yields fifteen over the two hundred mark, with two of those over three hundred, and a quantity of fish that put us into our center hold is a glowing success by all standards.
But, I have to say that in one way the conclusion of this voyage left me wanting as the one big day, that one hit that launches a voyage into the epic category, despite our best efforts, just didn't happen. For whatever reason after we dedicated all of our effort to the big fish zone we had to fight, claw, kick, and scratch for every fish that came over the rail. Not that there is anything wrong with working for them. When it comes to that type fishing we maintain our status among the very best. But, as a true fisherman, I am always yearning for, always seeking, and never completely satisfied, until we achieve that big hit. For whatever reason it wasn't meant to happen this voyage. Our timing simply didn't coincide with the big day. Again, we have plenty of fish and plenty of big ones - a good trip by any and every standard. It is just inherent in my nature to desire better and seek more. That is what separates the average fisherman from the highliner. Who would you rather have leading your fishing trip? The Captain who at the end of a marginal day relaxes, satisfied that it was good enough. Or the Captain, who at the end of the same day, is pounding his fist on the dash then tossing and turning all night pining on what he could have done better and scheming on what he will do to make it better the next day.
So, with the set back handed to us by the weather a couple of nights ago, we will arrive at Fisherman's Landing around 1100 Sunday morning ready to pitch off this beautiful load of fish and prepare the boat for our next departure. Our final photos of the voyage feature long range veteran Bruce Chisholm who proved that age is no excuse to prevent anglers from tackling these giant yellowfin tuna. With two over the two hundred mark this voyage, Bruce is a living example of the "old bull and the young bull" fable. Bruce is pictured here in action pulling on his first "deuce" of the trip, a 244. And then with his prize on the scale highlighted in the early morning sun. Finally, I am throwing in one more shot of James Cahillane looking on as his 277 comes through the gate.
In closing, I want to extend our gratitude to this fantastic group of individuals who melded into an exemplary team of anglers at the rail while enjoying themselves every step of the way. Through every stage of the voyage there were smiles, laughter, and good times being had. In the end, that atmosphere is the true measure of a successful long range voyage.
We will be at the dock until Friday, January 22nd so look for Randy's fishing reports to commence thereafter. We may have more information to share throughout the week however so keep checking daily to keep up with any news or reports.
Well the bill for all the good weather came due in a big way perfectly coinciding with our departure. Once in a great while we experience some real weather out here that requires all hands, and experienced seamanship to safely navigate. As uncommon as they are, these situations are extremely adept at exposing any and all weaknesses in a vessel's ability and a crew's performance. Simply said, we all find out what we're made of when the shit hits the fan.
Although we knew there was a good blow coming, I have to admit that we didn't expect quite the intensity encountered as the evening progressed. With plenty of experience to draw on however, we performed some quick ballasting, buttoned her up tight, eased back on the throttles, and settled in to a pattern of watching ahead like a hawk and throttling down to idle when the really big combers reared up on our bow. It made for a bumpy ride that nevertheless reaffirmed my confidence in Royal Star's sea worthiness after eighteen years out here working on her. Without fail this boat handles such conditions as every angler investing in a offshore fishing voyage should expect. In addition to the creature comforts and functional systems she boasts, she is one tough, rugged vessel that advances through poor conditions without a hitch; not that we are looking for extremity to prove our mettle. We much prefer flat calm. In fact, if I could arrange it so we would never had to face crappy weather, I would sign a contract right now. Such is not the reality of it however. And as such, we are well heeled when the challenge is upon us.
Along with the boat's flawless operation the good news is that the worst of it only lasted about six hours then we were back up to about three quarters speed for the remainder of the morning. Even better news, and in line with my telling the guys that strong northerly blows rarely last more than twenty four hours in that region, by four p.m. it was over. Like magic, the wind simply stopped, and the remainder of the afternoon and evening was enjoyed as anglers emerged from below returning to the deck to find sunshine and calm seas. Even after twenty five years of working at sea such profound changes in conditions out here never cease to amaze me. It is almost impossible to believe that the ocean at three a.m., complete with towering fifteen to eighteen foot seas and thirty to thirty five knots of wind, could transform into a tranquil setting of one to two foot seas and calm conditions a little more than twelve hours later. It really is amazing.
So, with all the drama detailed, the fishing front is the real news of the day as the guys still down below had another fantastic day on big ones despite the weather's best attempts to throw a wrench into the works. The sign of fish around that zone is phenomenal. With the weather flattening out, get ready for some big reports to come in over the next few days as a couple more of the guys are arriving and have plenty of time to work and keep track of the fish. Along those lines we have the Braid fifteen day departing on Friday, January 22nd that promises to be an ultra limited load targeting giant yellowfin in the lower bank region. As of now we have plenty of space on the trip for any anglers interested. Captain Randy Toussaint will be running the show that has as good of potential as I have ever seen for giant yellowfin tuna. There has been no perceptible change in conditions and, if anything, there appears to be even more fish showing up all the time. If you are considering a voyage, you will not encounter a better time or opportunity. My advice is to go if you are able.There will be much more giant yellowfin tuna action down there in the next few weeks. I am certain of it. And Randy is going to prove me right. I hope one, if not more of you can finagle it so you can be there with him.
Photos of the day feature anglers Wayne Nichols with his first cow weighing in at 214.5 and long time long range veteran Chuck Greenstone pulling on what was to be his 237 for the trip. Congratulations to both anglers on your great catches. Look for our final voyage report tomorrow.
And the trend of change continues as the final day dawned featuring twenty five knots of wind, a giant northwest ground swell, choppy four to six foot seas, and understandably waning angler enthusiasm; especially following the prior six days of flat calm conditions. If we wanted them today we were going to have to work for them. In this region these conditions make for a heck of a time trying to anchor effectively as the predominately soft, muddy bottom is leagues from ideal for grabbing. And with the exact condition to severely challenge the effort manifest so began one of those long days sardonically coined the "dragathon" where we basically set up long, controlled drifts sliding down the two mile long bank boat length by boat length hoping to collect fish along the way. To make matters more challenging, the zone featuring the best concentration of life was naturally the worst bottom on the bank for anchoring.
This is the real life of a long range fishing Captain. These situations, that are common to us, and nothing beyond the ordinary demands and challenges we contend with while trying our consistent best to put fish on the boat, are best overcome with a sanguine perspective bolstered by confidence, fortitude, and determination. There is no room for quitters in this environment, and no reward for complacency. Likewise any lack of preparation, experience, or understanding of the stakes out here typically leads to the expected result of very little in the hatch when the fishing time comes to an end.
So, with little time remaining, horrible conditions to work with, and rapidly diminishing enthusiasm for the challenge among anglers, we did what we always do on Royal Star in these occasions - we doubled down. Just when one would have expected the trip to be called, the bell to be rung, or to hear the shrill pitch of the robust feminine soprano, we gave it another try employing a strategy that I have successfully established in the past. Contrary to a few skeptics and doubters, the result was a final evening hit that unfortunately ended in the agony of defeat for three out of four anglers fortunate enough to hook big cows, but elation for about ten other anglers who closed out their voyage with final 100 - 140# yellowfin tuna prime for the ride home in premium, RSW storage. One 215 was mercifully boated by long time Royal Star favorite Mike Norenberg amidst hideous, extremely challenging big fish conditions. In the end we were very pleased and grateful for the final hit that ended the voyage on the high note we strived for. I can definitely report that in the face of very difficult conditions, we demonstrated what we are all about as fishermen on Royal Star. When I spent four summer seasons and one full year working for west coast fishing legend Eddie McEwen on the Pacific Queen our motto was "Fish with Fishermen" In fact, the logo on the old boat t-shirts was emblazoned with a little caricature and this quote. Twenty five years later, Randy, Brian, our entire crew, and I carry this sentiment as a foundation on Royal Star every voyage. Fishermen can rely on it.
Photos today feature two very deserving, highly accomplished anglers whom I am very glad for the opportunity to share this voyage with. Jay Love, and John Cox demonstrated their skill as anglers throughout the voyage landing their share of the action in every circumstance. As important, and certainly of greater significance, was their unsolicited assistance with the overall effort as both men, after taking a reasonable amount of fish for themselves, volunteered several of the big fish they hooked to anglers at the rail with less thereafter. As an example of character, kindness, and ability, Jay and John's effort was unsurpassed.
Jay's photo with a fat 206 is a little fuzzy from the night perspective, but definitively does the proportions of this beautiful specimen justice. John's 219 glows in the morning light after succumbing to a well placed squid chunk fished way back. Thanks to both Jay and John for your assistance in making this a memorable voyage for all of us.
As I was mentioning yesterday no two days have been even remotely similar on the fishing end this voyage. True to the pattern of there being none, we awoke to a good go around on mid grade, 40 - 120# tuna with only one in the 160# class. Where yesterday's action was almost exclusively trophy yellowfin in the 180 to 330# class, today's action almost exclusively featured mid graders. Go figure. In fact, the bank appeared very much like our second day of this voyage with the mid size class fish making an impressive afternoon showing blowing out on local bait and constantly crashing around. But, unlike the earlier catching result when we observed similar signs, we were tortured mercifully by the almost complete indifference shown by these tuna that toured around and under the boat the entire day while only succumbing to the very occasional hooked bait. Maddening is how I would describe the setting from my perspective. By all indications - sonar, fathometer, surface sign, and conditions any fisherman would conclude that it would be game on. The fish demonstrated otherwise.
Regardless of the frustration it made for a great day of angling as there was always something to look at and was absolutely spectacular visually on many occasions. I will include a photo of one the spots that came up right next to us to demonstrate. With such a show going on all around us it was very easy to stay at the rail as there was zero doubt in anyone's mind that the potential was tangible. And ultimately, time at the rail was the only real strategy for success. Every once in a while, for no apparent reason, one of the countless tuna around us would make a mistake and we would capitalize. After about 0800, aside from a handful of tiny 12 - 15# fish we were happy to release in small pieces, everything that came over the rail was in the 90 - 140# class with a couple of standout 160 - 170's. With the amount of fish showing around we had high hopes for a traditional sundowner/evening hit that would round out the day's effort and provide anglers the chance to even the score for the relentless teasing they endured.
That chance indeed materialized and buttressed our total number of two hundred pound class fish by two. A 206 and a 244 were the highlights of the evening shot with a couple more high one hundreds and a few others in the 70 - 100# class. It was a therapeutic ending following a long day of hard effort. Not surprisingly, nearly every angler who put in the time was rewarded accordingly. Once again I get great satisfaction out of such results. Nothing pleases me more than seeing someone put forth a worthy effort and ultimately accomplish their goal.
Now, with our final day almost upon us, yet another big change is on the way. The weather man is forecasting breezy conditions tomorrow. As I write conditions are rapidly freshening and the sea state is on the increase. The flat calm honeymoon is finally over. Honestly, we have had such an incredible period of calm that I can't force myself to complain. So, we will see how the fish react as it promises to be a sloppy one tomorrow. We have caught plenty of them in such conditions before so we are ready to give them all we have before throwing in the towel at day's end.
Our photo of the day features well deserving angler Darrin Seiji who landed a bomber, 292 yesterday and another 244 today. Both were evening sardine fish, and both were the result of dedicated effort at the rail, and impeccable attention to his equipment. Darrin is a superb angler who earned these fish in every respect. Again - nothing lucky about this. The second photo features one of the big boilers that came so close to us we were actually able to toss baits into the maelstrom. Almost unbelievably, even a perfectly presented sardine, tossed right in the middle of this frenzy, didn't even draw notice. It didn't matter though. The show alone was well worth it. But admittedly, it would have been much better to clobber a few of these that were so close we could taste it.
The near record stretch of flat calm continues. That in itself is making for a splendid time of it. The whole setting is peaceful, relaxed, and very easy to enjoy and appreciate. On the fishing front we were not disappointed today. In fact, all of us had very good days with the percentage of two hundred pound fish exceptional relative to what was hooked.
We got off to good start with a handful of opportunities at great big ones just after daylight then, unlike the previous couple of days, were able to keep something on the end of the line throughout the morning. A shift in conditions, and a disappearing act by the fish around us elicited a mid day move, but the afternoon and evening came on again with a classic hit on big cows late to end the day on a high note. We are very pleased with the results that included one more behemoth three hundred thirty one pound brute for Miles Redman, six others from 202 to 292 pounds, and a handful of others that just missed the mark. In addition to our results in the hatch, the sign of these monsters was excellent with the main body showing itself for the first time since Saturday morning.
Needless to say we are mighty hopeful that they will follow today's example and stay in the biting mode tomorrow and beyond. One thing is certain based on what we have experienced here - especially over the past five days. There is no telling what is to come. Thus far every day has been almost completely different with the only consistent elements being the sign of fish and the weather. There is no predicting where to be other than the general vicinity, and no predicting what the pattern of the day will be. It makes for exciting times on the bridge to say the least as they appear determined to not make it easy. Regardless we will be here up for the challenge.
Photos of the day feature Miles Redman, who already graced the report a few days back but certainly earned an encore. The best part of Miles' exceptional catch is that the previous night, just after hitting the sack, he got up, headed back out on deck, and sought the assistance of crewman Blake Wasano to help him re rig. I don't recall the exact dialogue but it was something to the effect of " I can't sleep." "It is bothering me that this outfit is not ready and rigged like I want it for tomorrow." "Can you help me get set up?" Blake, who is a genius, meticulous tackle professional, took almost a full hour to replace Spectra, build a short top shot of Izorline 100# fluorocarbon, and prepare Miles for the day to come. Miles had a premonition of some sort. Right down to just before he got bit stating that "this bait is the one". When he did hook the giant, it absolutely smoked his Shimano Tiagra 30 leading to a full hour of the reel in the water on a backup out five to six hundred yards from Royal Star. It was an exemplary battle afterward that resulted in a significant victory for all of us, but none more than Miles who is presently on cloud nine; and rightly so. An extra comment about the Tiagra 30 is also in order as it preformed flawlessly after being submerged for over an hour. In over ten years of everyday use I have yet to see a Shimano Tiagra fail during a battle with a giant yellowfin. I have seen hundreds of yellowfin tuna over two hundred pounds, in every condition imaginable, put these reels to the ultimate test. In my opinion they are the best all round big fish equipment available today. Congratulations to Miles who earned his fish of a lifetime in every respect. Preparation, perseverance, and flawless execution when the time arrived. Like several other giant ones this season, this was not a "lucky" catch. This was a straight payoff for work performed. I love that. Well done.
A few bright moments early set us in the right frame of mind then the action quickly changed to all show and no go as the big fish again lurked, crashed, and dashed around the boat without so much as skinning a bait carrying a hook. It made for a long day.
Not that there was any suffering going on, between the grease calm weather, fine company, and fine fixings from Chef Drew Rivera, we all made a good time of it. But no doubt it would have been better, much better, if even a small percentage of the fish that teased us with incredible skill had provided some action. The reality of it is that this pattern has been well established. One day on, two days off. Two days on, one day off. Three days off, one day on; and so forth. What it comes down to is time, effort, skill, timing, and of course that ever important component that plays a pivitol role in every successful catch - luck; good luck that is.
So we head into day four continuing to feel optimistic though I have to admit my confidence got hammered yesterday. Missing out on a big hit is never enjoyed, and something I will never become accustomed to. I do recognize the mathematical certainty of such occasions however and begrudgingly accept that they can not be avoided altogether. Looking forward the big picture is still bright with plenty to fish for, epic weather, and a highly motivated group of superb anglers ready to mete out some justice when the opportunity does come. And it will. Our present focus is still on trophies but we are not above boating any of those mid rangers if they happen along.
Photo of the day belongs to long range veteran Clyde Smith who finally prevailed after a couple of missed chances at giants with this 210# yellowfin. This trophy paled in comparison to Clyde's 336# landed last year with Captain Brian Sims at the helm of Royal Star, but after two mis steps early this voyage, the victory was no less sweet.
Congratulations to Clyde on this catch and we hope there are many more to come.
Well whatever I was divining in the way of big fish certainly didn't happen today. Man were we out of sync. So much so that it is a good thing I have several photos of triumph to draw on from yesterday - because we caught nothing today. Not from a lack of sign, and not from a lack of effort. There are plenty, in all size ranges, to be had. But finding the right zone, and a spot of biters, proved to be too great a task for me today. Simply put, it was our day in the barrel. True to form, on the rare day I suffer such a fate, I don't go half way.
Now for the good news. The weather is epic; flat calm. The forecast indicates at least two more days of such conditions. The anglers, who easily could have succumbed to pity or discontent, did not. Everyone took the slow day in stride, enjoyed the weather, and remained confident that our time will come. With four full days remaining, we are still on the favorable side of the equation. So as far as predictions are concerned today I'd just as soon avoid any notions whatsoever. Tomorrow is a new day. And everything that could possibly be in our favor is manifest. Every once in a while a grounding event is necessary to build character and provide perspective. A big slice of humble pie goes a long way to this effect. For me anyway.
Photo honors go to Miles Redman with his personal best to date, a 155, coming over the rail. Also, Dan Esmay, who handled his incredibly robust 263 like the old pro he is on Royal Star. An exemplary job was done by both anglers who shared the triumph with all of us, then headed right back to the rail. Look for more news, and I hope a better disposition from this author, tomorrow.
Change is in the wind. As we roll past the first quarter and the weather remains ideal, we had a glimpse today, a taste if you will, of bigger and better things to come. In fact, bigger is now thrust of our efforts as the mid range size fish are prolific, eager, and threatening to consume too much of our available hold space at the present clip they are embarking.
This was a good day of fishing that was akin to the big fish action of days old when a few bruisers are mixed in the masses of their smaller brethren requiring anglers to gear up and weed through hoping that their lucky number would eventually be called. Most important in these circumstances is resisting the temptation to gear down and stick with the big guns as three big boys that weighed 332, 263, and 255 surprised attacked during the action as well as a couple more of their friends that won their freedom.
Without the time to get wordy today, suffice to say we are very encouraged by the signs and are geared up for tomorrow. There is going to be some very good big fish action here over the next few days. I can feel it.
For our photo congratulations to Jeff Crouse who battled an exploded reel with no anti-reverse during the final twenty feet to triumph over his three hundred thirty two pound fish of a lifetime. It was an incredible fish story that I will have to share later. Suffice to say it took all of our wits, and brute strength, to overcome a colossal hurdle that easily could, and probably should, have cost Jeff his massive trophy. Thank goodness it didn't. Again our congratulations to Jeff who did an outstanding job of landing his trophy from beginning to finish.
A placid day on the water that yielded decent action though overall the pace was much slower than one would imagine given the amount of fish we observed. We missed on a few opportunities at jumbos, landed one at 190, and claimed victory over about forty other yellowfin tuna mixed in size from twenty five to one hundred ten pounds. Needless to say our enthusiasm for the smaller fish was measured at best, but thankfully they only flashed us once or twice in the morning making way for straight 50 - 100# fish throughout the afternoon. Naturally we would love to see action on straight cows, but these fish fit the bill just fine for the beginning of the voyage providing anglers with the chance to find their groove with a few bites and some good jerkin and pullin. With the sign of fish around, potential for jumbos, flat calm weather, and a few in the hatch, we have no call to complain. In fact, the day any of us complains about catching fifty to one hundred pound tuna is a day we deserve a good dressing down - especially on a voyage of twelve days.
So we are satisfied with the beginning though admittedly our sights are set on the road ahead, and the presently unaccounted for significant quantity of giant yellowfin observed at various intervals down here during the past two months. Rest assured they are around. We know it, we feel it, and are dead set on rooting them out sometime during the next six days. With a handful of us working to find them, we are spread out in an effort to cover all bases. Our forecast promises the weather necessary for an effective search so it is up to us, and of course the fish, to get it done. Look for reports to continue.
Photo's of the day feature angler John Snider who took big fish honors with his morning 190 he made short work of on the right tackle. I have to say that his success was a perfect example of how efficient the use of a harness is when brawling with giant yellowfin. Ideally, a combination of using the rail when mobility is necessary, and a harness when the fish settles in is a winning formula for the vast majority of anglers. John's battle was exemplary and hopefully one of many to come.
Another heavenly day of travel and preparation in flat calm seas with one stop after dark to supplement our supply of kite and cut bait. The stop was successful as it produced a good quantity of bait, but noteworthy because the quantity came from only a couple of handfuls of massive, denizen of the deep size monsters that actually gave our anglers fishing for bait a good run for their money. The surfacing of these forty to fifty pound giant flying squid was as entertaining as it was functional providing plenty of comedy as the hideous, creepy demons struggled against their doom broadcasting slime, water, and ink amongst anglers without discretion. Lots of laughs and good times. Especially from my perspective on the bridge.
With the travel phase rapidly coming to an end we are primed and ready for what we hope will be a good beginning tomorrow. Reports from the grounds are very poor but we are not entirely discouraged as the cycles down here are well understood. All one can hope for is good timing as the change we seek is bound to come. Needless to say the notion generates a wealth of anxiety, but this is not our first rodeo. We know what to do when they come around. And with any luck we will be here when they do.
Look for fishing reports to begin tomorrow and continue through Thursday next week.
A good beginning to the voyage with flat calm seas setting the tone for a relaxing day of southerly travel rigging and preparing for the fishing to come. Other than plenty of time spent making introductions and enjoying good conversation, we don't have much to report. I did have a couple of conversations today that motivated me to pass on a few comments to everyone reading the Royal Star web reports posted by Randy, Brian, and I.
One angler in particular brought up an interesting point referencing another long range adventure he experienced that was not accurately represented on the vessel's web site upon his return. In the case referenced the fishing was less spectacular than reported (actually a lot less), and the size of the fish landed was also generously embellished by the author. Now I understand that all of us out here seek to represent the setting and fishing in the best light possible to encourage and motivate anglers to go long range fishing. But, the importance of accurate reporting far outweighs the desire to prop up any catch details in the interest of down playing a sub standard or below average day or voyage. They do happen.
Everyone following these narratives can rest assured that what you are reading is a one hundred percent accurate reflection of the fishing, catching, size average, and setting on Royal Star. I, in particular, have a tendency to carry on and provide plenty of flowery descriptions. But, the details are accurate. As are the details in all of our reports. The credibility of the information we are forwarding is of the utmost importance to our reputation, character, and integrity as individuals and fishermen. If the fishing is slow, or the size average is poor, accurate reporting of such provides excellent contrast when the good days arrive. In my thinking it is essential to report the down side of the cycles accurately to demonstrate the inevitable ebb and flow of the marine environment. So, again I want to emphasize with all my ability and conviction that every detail reported on the Royal Star web site is accurate and reliable. You can depend on this medium for correct long range fishing information.
That said, the prevalence of small, undesirable size tuna and yellowtail (8 - 12#) on the upper end of the ridge is motivating us to bypass in favor of better things to come below. We may try a stop or two just to shake out our muscles in the early afternoon otherwise we will continue the southerly trek arriving in the big fish grounds the following morning. Everything is perfect with gorgeous weather, a fantastic group of anglers, and a superb load of Everingham Bait Company sardines in our at capacity tanks.
After a quick, smooth turn around we are back underway for points south with twelve days to get the job done and everything in our control in perfect order. So far we are enjoying ideal weather and forecasts indicate there is more to come. Of course we hope this trend carries over to the fishing grounds as we know how historically important calm conditions are to the successful trophy yellowfin tuna effort.
So we head south fielding reports from the guys presently working down below while preparing our anglers and their equipment for the fishing to come. I have to say that it is a real pleasure to finally spend time with anglers once they are onboard. Almost invariably before their voyage angler's thirst for information and dialogue leads them to a wealth of opinion that is too often shy of substance. Once they arrive on Royal Star they finally realize the opportunity to discuss the details of equipment and fishing with professional crewmen and Captains who dedicate their lives to this fishery and have incredible amounts of experience to back their advice. I, and we as a crew, sincerely enjoy the ride down for this exact reason. It is an incredibly valuable, bonding component of every long range voyage.
Before signing off I want to encourage anglers to always feel welcome to call our office or e-mail any tackle questions, or questions in general that you may have. Between Brian, Randy, and I someone is almost always available to talk shop either directly or with a prompt call back. One does not have to wait until they are on board to receive expert instruction, advice, and opinion. We are glad to assist and prepare you for your upcoming voyages whether you are a Royal Star angler or not. Also, don't hesitate to seek the advice of expert long range tackle specialists like Ed Tschernosa at Baja Fish Gear and/or Doug Kern and Rick Maxa at Fisherman's Landing tackle in San Diego. These guys and quite a few others are well in the know and will not lead you astray when it comes to proper techniques and rigging.
The catch Capt. Brian Sims and his anglers returned with yesterday is perfect reflection of the potential we are heading for. Man what a beautiful load of fish. A vast quantity of premium quality 60 - 120# yellowfin tuna complimented by ten over two hundred pounds and a few more handfuls of 160 - 190's. The unloading spectacle definitely set the bar for this voyage. We will see how we measure up in the end. Needless to say we are fired up and ready for the challenge.
We enjoyed flat calm, sunny weather traveling up. We will arrive at the dock at 0600. Many thanks to Chartermaster Dave Rocchi for all of the work he puts in to these trips and to Richard Hightower of H&H Marketing for all he does behind the scenes.
Captain Tim Ekstrom will be at the helm for the next twelve days. So follow along as the next Royal Star Adventure departs.
I will be off the boat and visiting the fishing shows in San Mateo and Sacramento. Stop by the Fisherman's Landing booth if you have any questions about this fishery or just to say "Hi".
Traveling up today in flat calm weather our anglers broke down their gear and relaxed with movies or out on deck in the sun. Stories were being told and pictures shown of the fish we caught and the ones that escaped. All in all it was a great day to relax after fishing hard.
I had the time to reflect on the trip and how successful it was. How we started out catching medium grade tuna for action. That allowed every angler onboard to get bites, put some fish onboard and ensure they had plenty of fish to take home. Once everyone had fish and the pressure was off of our anglers, we went after trophies. We put in our time looking and had a banner day to finish the trip. All of this in good weather which just plain makes everything more fun. It worked out to be a well rounded fishing trip with both quantity and quality.
If you are on an upcoming trip, conditions still look very good down below. Bring your 60, 80, 100, and 130 two speed rigs. Most of the big fish were caught flylining sardines. If you have not yet pulled the trigger and booked a trip, we have a few spaces available on our 15 day which leaves Jan. 22. The opportunity to experience this world class tuna fishing is just a phone call away.
For our friends in NoCal here's Robert "Hot Bobby" Hirsch all smiles with his 240.
We elected to spend our last full day of fishing trying for big ones. This decision paid off in a big way as we had very good fishing today complete with flat calm weather and an incredible visual show on the surface. With the lack of wind and fish blowing out right next to the boat you could hear the boils as the fish ate our sardines. As far as the catching part goes, we had heavies hooked from mid morning till dark. Today's cows are as follows.
Derek Bolser 202
Don Bolser 204.5
Doug Taylor 220.5
Ron Hobson 220.5
Robert Hirsh 240
Nate Luginbuhl 255.5
Jaime Przybyla 260
Steve Busch 281
Tim Ziegler 300.5
We had eight other fish between 170 and 198 along with a few flurries on 25-50 pounders.
As we travel up tonight after a story book finish, I am looking forward to this trip next year. We have added two more days to next years trip. I can't help but wish we had them this year.
Nate Luginbuhl hooked the first fish of the day and was bummed when the hook pulled after about 15 minutes. He did what any wise angler does after that happens. Checked his gear to make sure it was in perfect shape and went back to fishing. He is pictured today with the second fish we hooked today his 255.5# beauty. We missed the company of the rest of the Luginbuhl clan this year but look forward to seeing them on a future trip.
Tim Ziegler had a great trip. He was on fire, getting bit and landing tuna like the accomplished angler he is. He capped off his catch with this fish that the scale fluctuated from 296 - 306 finally settling at 300.5.
Happy New Year to all of you following along from home. Our Year started off mixed as we had tough fishing, but great weather. We saw some fish, but they wouldn't stay with the boat and were very reluctant to bite. We did some looking around and finally settled in to wait them out. Patience and persistence paid off for Ron Hobson of Chino Hills who earned his 207# today.