05/31/10

Posted: 05:51:00

An all day fishathon would best describe the setting as we enjoyed flat calm weather and good catching on 35 - 60# yellowfin with a sprinkling of yellowtail in the mix. The standout feature by far was the surface showing around the boat as the tuna were in a feeding pattern ideal for top water presentations. The poppers, stick baits, chuggers, and of course standard surface irons all produced consistently with epic blowouts the norm for the guys employing these methods. While the top water rigs were catching their share, the entertainment value of the strikes alone was worth the effort.

With the present pace we are on, it is likely that one more day will fulfill our objective at Alijos. Though it is always difficult to leave good potential behind, we can rest assured that we received our share of the action. I have made the point many times over the past few years that we all need to self regulate as the world around us has changed. It's just the way it is. The old day's of behaving like the proverbial weasel in the hen house are past. As such we are rapidly approaching the moment of practicing what we endorse by moving on and leaving it to the next guys on their way down. Now days this is the coveted position to be in.

Before I step too far ahead however we still have some catching to do before we blast off in search of the next species to round out our goal of variety. I will say though that regardless of what we put on board here tomorrow we are in good shape. This has been very good fishing. And, based on all indications, promises to be good fishing for plenty more trips to come.

Today's photos feature angler Fred Nuss who came all the way from Kansas to make his first long range voyage on Royal Star. Fred is a great guy, quite the character, and a good fisherman to boot. I can safely say that he has successfully established friendship with everyone on board while experiencing long range fishing at it's absolute finest. The question "is it always like this?" has been queried. My answer: "I wish it was". This is good fishing.

Tim

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05/29/10

Posted: 12:59:00

We had a fine day of southerly travel enjoying the phenomena of sloppy weather becoming near flat calm by day's end. Reports of glory, and a clear road ahead, had a definite effect on our drive to put miles behind us though we did scrape up a handful of small bluefin and one albacore along the way. I have to say that the zone we found the fish in is very encouraging for upcoming weeks based on our long history of observing early seasons develop. I feel good about the potential. Otherwise it was a long, relaxing day of travel as we chewed up the miles and got everyone up to speed tending to tackle and talking techniques. We are ready as we will ever be to start fishing.

On a completely different note I want to bring an October schedule change to everyone's attention as we combined a couple of charter groups and created space for two new voyages designed for taking advantage of the incredibly consistent fall Guadalupe fishery as well as coastal options. As they are a result of a schedule change, both trips are attractively priced to provide anglers a little extra motivation to jump on. A brand new Tuesday through Sunday five day, and a Sunday through Saturday six day are now available on Royal Star prime time for Guadalupe island and beyond. These trips are a great value and fantastic fishing opportunity for anglers to take advantage of. Take a look at our schedule for the new dates.

For now the true test is drawing near as our early morning arrival tomorrow will tell the story, and hopefully quell the inevitable anxiety built up over the past two days of travel. Look for tomorrow's report with photos and details of the day's exploits and fun.

Tim

05/28/10

Posted: 12:58:00

After a flawless morning and perfectly executed departure, the southerly trek commenced with twenty three anglers and a Royal Star crew ready for good things to come. As forecast the weather deteriorated as we headed offshore becoming down right ugly by sundown. Fortunately for us, our south southeast heading kept the "growlers" on our stern quarter providing no more that fodder for conversation, a few good photo opportunities, and a sparkling clean deck awash from breaking seas. Yes, we are mighty pleased to be traveling down; mighty pleased.

The good news on the weather front is a significant change for the better is expected to begin tomorrow and persist over the next three or four days. This is to the huge benefit of the Memorial day weekend fleet that is charging offshore in an effort to get the bluefin and albacore relocated. As well we are throwing our hat in the pool searching in earnest as we steam south tomorrow.

Regardless of tomorrow's results we have vision's of grandeur farther ahead as reports from our colleagues suggest it is worth the ride. While traveling throughout the day tomorrow we will be rigging, preparing, and making new friends as we get this fantastic group of anglers up to speed for the fishing to come. Speaking for everyone on board, I can confidently report that we are ready to get down to what we all came for. The tanks are full of bait, the RSW tank is pressed and cold, the staple guns are lubed and loaded, and our pliers, seized from a month of sitting in their holsters, are freed from their rusty restraints.

After reading this you can probably tell who has had an excess of time on the beach this winter; and coffee this morning. Truthfully, right now I feel like the proverbial kid in the candy store. I love going fishing.

Tim

05/27/10

Posted: 09:14:09

So the final day of Revilla photos for 2010 ends with a very nice shot of Royal Star at anchor in Cabo San Lucas harbor backlit by the morning sun. Thank you again to Toke Aw for the great photos that kept me rolling in shots right to the end. Tomorrow is departure day on the first voyage of the official season that is brimming with opportunity. With wind that has been snorting all week soon to pass, and a good group of us departing for southern zones over the next few days, I have to believe that we are going to come up with something significant offshore to report on. Also, when that weather breaks and the door opens at Alijos Rocks look out. There is some very good fishing in the works in upcoming weeks.

There are also a couple of very significant schedule changes in the works for Royal Star that we will announce in the upcoming week. All in all we are ready to get out and join the fray after this extended period of down time. I will be taking the helm for the first trip of the season so look for reports to continue when the trip begins. Have a fine day and a final reminder that we still have a spot remaining on tomorrow's eight day for a last minute angler looking to jump on. Tracy will be in the office throughout the day and Capt. Sims, Capt. Toussaint, and I will be available to answer calls as well. It's time to go fishing!


Tim

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05/26/10

Posted: 15:34:55

The countdown begins as departure on the 28th draws nearer. Like I said yesterday, this is a perfect time to jump on the trip if you have been waiting for something to show up before pulling the trigger. Based on the reports from our good friend Jeff De Buys, it's on. It appears that the long term weather is shaping up to be fine next week opening the door to the offshore effort while heading towards the current promised land of Rocas Alijos. Give us a call if you can make it.

Photos today feature a few more fish shots as well as a couple of fantastic images of the master Cal Sheets at home in the galley and on deck. Enjoy today's selections and look the final round tomorrow.

Have a great day!

Tim

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05/25/10

Posted: 15:07:41

In case you haven't heard the first vessel down to Alijos is absolutely hammering 40 - 70# yellowfin tuna with good indications of both this grade of tuna and robust yellowtail all around. In addition, they found good indications of both albacore and bluefin tuna on their travels toward Alijos but rugged weather affected their ability to really focus on what they found. All in all I would say the set up sounds very promising. I bring this up because of the fact that we have two spots remaining on the eight day trip departing Friday, May 28th that is perfectly postioned to take advantage of what I believe are going to be very good fishing opportunities next week on Royal Star. At only $1650 all inclusive, this trip is an incredible value. If you can make it, give Tracy a call as soon as possible. This is an incredible opportunity to fish Royal Star in what is looking like a perfect early summer set up. If any more news comes up we will keep you posted. Give Tracy a call!!!!

Tim

05/25/10

Posted: 14:59:58

I threw in a few action shots today including a couple varieties of the tagging process. As you can see, the entire Royal Star crew is eager to be involved in the process, though admittedly, Kurt and Danny from the IATTC have it well covered.

We are putting the finishing touches on Royal Star in preparation for the official beginning of the new season on Friday. With the addition of Fisherman's Processing for Royal Star anglers this season, we are really looking forward to how this will streamline their day of arrival in San Diego. Between the incredible, pristine new facility, and Sean Sebring's crew of experienced individuals that are ready to make every aspect of this new operation right, everything possible is now in position to make Royal Star anglers long range fishing experience exceptional from beginning to end.

First things first though, we have the fishing end of equation to fulfill. Needless to say after a long spell of downtime this winter we are ready to make it happen. Look for a few more rounds of Revilla photos before real time commences.

Tim

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05/24/10

Posted: 15:34:03

Our gratitude to a great group of anglers on the weekend two day that made a good voyage of it in challenging conditions. This group demonstrated in every respect that a good trip is defined by much more than just fishing; or better said, just catching. The one constant, on any fishing trip we embark upon, is that the catching is not guaranteed. Fortunately, the significant majority of the time the fishing is defined by success. But there are those times when it just doesn't come together. In those times, individuals character really shines. In the case of the latest weekend two day, the glare was blinding. Tough conditions, and cagey yellowtail that were extremely reluctant to bite tested everyone's skills and patience, but the guys plugged away at it, enticed a few to come over the rail, and made the ride as comfortable as possible by taking full advantage of the island lee at every opportunity; especially at night for dinner service and anchoring - flat calm; safe haven. Again our thanks to a great group of anglers who toughed it out, got to know our guys and operation, and made a good time of it in the process. We sincerely hope for the opportunity to fish with all of you again!

For our photos today I am sending a collage of shots featuring both fish and fishing. I like all of these shots but my favorite is of the bow action during one of the many hot bites we experienced during the latest Revillagigedo tagging voyage. 120# class tuna up on the surface, lines seemingly everywhere, bent rods all around, and everyone is calm as can be. After the first few rounds everyone gets settled in and get down to business. That is just how we like it. We call it "production mode". Enjoy today's shots and look for this trend to continue for one final week before we are up and running with photos and reports of current Royal Star action.

Tim Ekstrom

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05/24/10

Posted: 15:32:00

We woke up this morning in the calm lee of South Coronado Island and headed out in search of spots of yellows. It took a little looking today to get in the right area, but once we found them there was no shortage of fish. We chased schools for a couple of biters in breezy conditions. With the fish not responding well to our offerings and the weather deteriorating, we headed back in to the shelter of the Island to see what we could come up with in calmer conditions. The local population of sea lions quickly shut down any thoughts of landing a fish so we headed for the coast. After a five drifts on the beach for no halibut bites we called it a trip and headed for the barn. We unloaded a happy group of anglers whose catch was filleted, packaged in ziploc bags, and iced to ensure a premium product for the table.

We will be heading out on Friday for eight days with Capt. Ekstrom at the helm.

Brian

05/23/10

Posted: 06:50:54

We left last night (Fri.)on a two day trip. We have an eager group of anglers onboard including a few first timers to Royal Star. Due to the unfavorable weather on the outside and the good local yellowtail bite, we elected to stay inside on the Mexican coast for our fishing today. We started off quickly in the morning boating a nice grade of yellowtail from 15-22#. The action was exciting as yellows boiled around the boat and bit the surface iron and the live bait. Things slowed down a little in the afternoon, but we managed to scratch a few more fish. We are staying put for the night and will be hard at it again in the morning.

Brian

05/22/10

Posted: 20:48:00

I'll make way for Capt. Brian Sims' report today but will keep the photos from the last Revillagigedo tagging trip coming. Going back to my earliest days of long range fishing, veteran Bob Yokoi has been a regular presence on board Royal Star and Royal Polaris. Today he does the honors showing how it is accomplished using the spinning rod and a Shimano "Stella", and then on the coventional tackle with which he has conquered endless big yellowfin over the past twenty years. In addition to being a skilled angler, Bob is always a pleasure to share the rail with. Look for the photos to continue and Capt. Sims report from the inside where they are targeting yellows today.

Tim

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05/21/10

Posted: 09:48:42

Photos today feature a couple of lighter moments during the last Revillagigedo with Stuart Exall and Kurt Schaefer doing the honors. Stuart was actually the first angler to bring the big spinners for throwing poppers a couple of years back. On that particular voyage, the wahoo were going nuts over the big poppers he calls "Stick Baits" that are made and marketed by "Jai" of Seven Seas tackle in Thailand. In what is by far the most exciting, dramatic surface strike I can imagine, the wahoo that hit the stick bait are typically at peak velocity and fly from the water to reach heights that are believable only if personally experienced. Anglers who have fished wahoo amidst a red hot stop are familiar with the image. I have to say that the sight of a fifty pound wahoo, fifteen feet in the air with a surface jig or popper clenched in it's jaws, never loses an ounce of magnificence to me. No matter how many times I see the image, it still elicits the same result. I am typically the first one hooting or emphatically exclaiming my awe.

So as I was saying a couple of years back Stuart brought along his big spinner for presenting the stick baits. After watching the show, and salivating at the sight of such tremendous explosions on the poppers, I was eager to take advantage of Stuart's gracious offer to try it out. From that point on, I was throwing that thing at every opportunity. It is good fun. But, that's all it is. I definitely would not recommend the surface popping method with a big spinning rod to any anglers serious about wahoo production. Overall the percentages of fish hooked to landed is poor at best. But, as I was attempting to describe, it is all about the strike. The sight of those big "skinnies" flying out the water is worth it every time. And then some.

I don't think the shot of Stuart pulling on a wahoo in Lunker Hole was one that he hooked on a popper, but the image does the trick anyway. Also, the image of IATTC senior scientist Kurt Schaefer testing one of the other "specialty" rigs favored by the Thai anglers on the February voyage does a fantastic job of representing what we call getting "reamed" on a big fish. In no uncertain terms, this would be an example of gear being pushed beyond it's boundaries by our standards. In this case we were having some good fun however testing the limits. Believe it or not, as I recall we landed this tuna that came in around eighty or ninety pounds. If we hadn't seen all the anglers from Thailand pull this off numerous times with the same equipment in February, we probably wouldn't have believed it possible outside the category of pure luck. Regardless, with Stuart observing closely, Kurt, applying the techniques of the highly accomplished Thai anglers, gave the battle all he was worth, and won.

I threw in a couple more tuna shots to enjoy as well. Don't forget about the new two day voyages we added in June, and, I believe we presently have one opening available on the first eight day departing May 28th. The boat will be out this weekend with Capt. Brian Sims at the helm then back in for a final four days before the season begins. Give Tracy a call if you can squeeze a trip in.

Have a fantastic day!

Tim

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05/20/10

Posted: 12:21:35

Many thanks to Revillagigedo angler Toke Aw who shared his many photos taken during the latest voyage to the islands. Until the first eight day departs on May 28th, all the photos I post were taken by Toke. Accordingly, Toke is featured today. Again my gratitude goes out to Toke, who put forth a tremendous amount of effort to take and share his photos with all of us.

Otherwise things are rolling along as we approach the weekend and the second of our two May weekend two day voyages. On this topic I want to mention that the June two days are of high interest with the trip over the weekend of the 18th - 20th down to one spot available, and the Wednesday - Friday trip already almost 1/3 full. These trips are limited to 24 anglers and are a tremendous value at $475 and $495 all inclusive. If you are interested give Tracy a call. After a short break, she is back in the office ready to get the season started.

Look for photos to continue and have a fine day!

Tim

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05/19/10

Posted: 12:57:21

Last week I mentioned that I would reveal details of how the addition of Fisherman's Processing will work into the system on Royal Star. As all anglers who have fished Royal Star understand our first priority, when it comes to your catch, is to send you home with the highest quality product possible. This was accomplished with professional consistency in the past, and will remain the standard looking ahead. On that note I want all Royal Star anglers, and everyone else reading, to understand that the addition of Fisherman's Processing was in no way motivated by anything other than our desire to expand fish processing options for all long range anglers, improve same day turn times so more anglers take advantage of and realize the premium quality product we work to achieve, and offer a first class processing facility for anglers to utilize. It was a business motivated decision foremost, but in no way was the addition of Fisherman's Processing motivated by anything onerous between us and Five Star or Sportsman's Seafood.

By this time I suspect that just about everyone is aware of the close relationship between Randy and I, and the owners of Five Star Andy and Sarah Saraspe. We put forth tremendous effort and support for Andy and Sarah's business, especially in the beginning, and share a history of over twenty five years as friends. We are still friends, and still support their business. Their friendship is important to us. Though we are now competitors in the fish processing business, we are still friends. We see it as very similar to how we are at sea with our fellow long range Captains. We are all individuals of character and integrity who have genuine affection for one another that transcends business. Though we fiercely compete for customers, and catches of fish at sea, we are still friends that would go to any length to help one another at any time. That is how we intend to operate moving forward with Five Star. So our message to any rabble rousers seeking drama and discord on the fish processing side of things is this. Sorry, there isn't any; and won't be on account of Royal Star. Anglers who choose to use Five Star will be supported, and their product will be handled with the objective of maintaining premium quality throughout the process.

On Royal Star we will now meet the boat with Fisherman's Processing totes dockside. Five Star fish will be separated into carts, then handed off to Five Star for sorting and placement into totes at the top of the dock. Sarah will now complete orders at the top of the dock as opposed to on board Royal Star, consistent with how they receive product from all other long range vessels. Anglers on Royal Star electing to use Five Star for their processing will simply mark their tags in red ink. Those fish will then be easily identified during unloading and sorted accordingly. We'll see how it goes. As this is all new, there will likely be a few points we need to fine tune. As we have discovered from much past experience however, it isn't too complicated.

I want to be completely forthright and again announce that we will ask for Royal Star customers to support our new endeavor, market the tremendous benefit of our new processing operation, and do our best to convince/persuade anglers to give us a try. All anglers electing to use Fisherman's Processing will be offered a one time, 10% discount on all processing and smoking services. I would encourage anglers to visit the Fisherman's Processing facility on their way to the landing for a quick tour. It is right on the way, easy to get to, and worth a look. The facility honestly speaks for itself and is a reflection of Sean Sebring's dedication to the endeavor and vast knowledge of fish handling. I believe that everyone who visits the brand new facility will understand that the new service, if even a close comparison to the facility itself, is worth a try.

Photos today are of an incredible fisherman and individual Len Cunningham releasing one of his hundreds of yellowfin tuna and counting in the name of science. Simply said, if I can live to be like Len, who at seventy eight years young out fishes and outlasts even the most formidable youngsters, I will attain my goal of good health, good spirits, and sound character. Len is quite a man, whom I value the opportunity to share time with on board Royal Star.

The final photo is an inside joke that all should enjoy nevertheless. Here they are Andy. Daphne and Lucy - the next generation of Royal Star canines.

Enjoy the day

Tim

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05/18/10

Posted: 12:41:35

A few shots to enjoy today of anglers Andy Cooperman showing his support for Ballast Point "Sculpin" ale, and Chris Lomax with an evening 160 that gave us a run for our money crazy in it's efforts to escape.
Also, I resent the shot of Carlos with his 160 hanging straight up and down waiting to be scooped. This shot was cut in half as it sailed through cyberspace a couple of days ago. I hope it makes it today as it is a perfect example of what is possible when fishing big tuna with the heavy gear. Finally, I included a photo that I snapped just after shoving a 140 over the side. I will keep them coming and all of you informed as we progress toward the weekend. Have a fine day.

Tim

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05/17/10

Posted: 19:15:39

A reminder today about the new two day voyages we added in the middle of June that I mentioned on Let's Talk Hookup Saturday. Wednesday, June 16th - Friday, June 18th. Friday, June 18th - Sunday, June 20th. Both voyages depart at 1900 hrs. and return at 1700 hrs. Prices are all inclusive at $475 and $495 for the weekend. Filleting services will be available upon return, or anglers may take advantage of the complimentary filleting offered by the crew on these voyages only. Capt. Brian Sims and I will be manning the phones again in the office today through Wednesday so give us a call to shoot the breeze or book a reservation.

Speaking of shooting the breeze I received much feedback from friends and listeners of the Let's Talk Hookup program last Saturday. Without fail everyone offered positive support for the ideas Rick Maxa and I expressed regarding responsible take and how we present ourselves as sport fishermen to the entire community. Not just in our community, but how we are perceived, as individuals and businesses alike, to the world outside. I have made mention on numerous occasions about the responsibility we all share to represent our fishery in a positive, mature, intelligent manner. In every respect anglers and professionals must understand the stakes, and recognize that we all play an important role in our future. Every time we act, every time we speak, every time we engage in dialogue, every time we enter the public forum, we must think clearly about what we are saying, how we are representing this fishery, and what consequences may arise from our words and actions. Especially in the age of bloggers, and virtually unregulated internet forums, it is crucial that individuals understand the words, thoughts, and behavior they display are received at face value by the world at large. And, represent the fishery we all seek to enjoy and preserve for generations to come.

While I would love to believe that I, and every other professional in sport fishing have the ability to manipulate the bad out of the equation through positive representation and advancing ideas through public media, such is not the case. The information age, freedom of speech and expression, and unlimited access to communication vehicles where even the grossest of mistruths can be disseminated assigns responsibility to all of us equally. Whether anglers are out on the water, yarning in tackle stores with friends, or sitting behind a keyboard at home I trust that 99% know the difference between right and wrong. With everything at stake, we all must apply correct principles to every contribution and extraction we are part of.

Photos of the day feature another full resolution repeat of my favorite sequence from the latest Revillagigedo voyage. Master southland angler Todd Phillips perfectly demonstrates the sentiment anglers feel throughout the process of capturing then releasing jumbo yellowfin tuna. The look on Todd's face as he pushes that 175# class tuna over the side is priceless. No sorrow, no pain, nothing but exuberance, triumph, and satisfaction. Another job well done. Kudos to Todd again for his incredible contributions to the success of the April 2010 Revillagigedo tagging project. Look for more tomorrow.

Tim Ekstrom

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05/16/10

Posted: 15:22:53

Today we worked back up towards home looking for yellows and stretching out our fishing time. We had beautiful weather for looking. We saw a good number of spots of yellows, but they were reluctant to bite our offerings. Our best stop was for eight of the 15 - 19 pound fish.

We'll see what Capt. Brian Sims has to report from the local offshore grounds yesterday. In the meantime I still have the pleasure of sharing photos. I have yet to dent the number of images taken during the last voyage so I'll keep them coming until the regular schedule resumes in a couple more weeks. Today's sequence details the process of dragging a 150# class yellowfin tuna around the stern in position for scooping. In the case of the giants, we bring the scoop to them. But, we have discovered that it is actually quite simple to drag them around when using heavy equipment and facilitates the process with less difficulty for everyone at the rail. The subject in today's sequence is Carlos Sanchez from the National Observer Program in Mexico. In addition to being a great guy, Carlos has a tremendous background in fisheries spending the last five years working at sea on everything from large tuna vessels to small coastal shrimp boats. As evidenced in these photos, he thoroughly enjoyed the opportunity to fish with us on Royal Star while overseeing tagging activities. This is the second voyage he has joined us on the the delight of anglers and crew alike. Enjoy today's shots and have a fine Sunday.

Tim

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05/15/10

Posted: 15:21:00

Today at grey light we were driving in beautiful, clean blue, 62.5 degree water. For the entire day I expected to see,meter or hook a tuna at any time. We found a lot of kelps , some of which held yellowtail for action. In the afternoon we saw two spots of jumping albacore. One of which was less than a quarter of a mile away. We got a very good look at them. Unfortunately for all of us we could not elicit a bite.

With a day of laying groundwork behind us.we will be up the coast tomorrow looking for action where ever we may find it.

Brian

05/14/10

Posted: 12:51:20

A few new developments to report today, the most important of which is the sign of both bluefin tuna and albacore reported by a vessel fishing 105 miles from San Diego yesterday. At mid afternoon it sounded like the boat landed in an area where there were several different spots of bluefin that showed little enthusiasm for biting, but laid under the hull for long periods of time. In addition, there was some yellowtail action on kelps in the same zone. Things are waking up - just in time for the two day departing tonight on Royal Star. We do have at least four spots available if any of you are interested. Capt. Brian Sims and Tracy will be in the office all day. Remember the all inclusive price of $400.00 includes complimentary filleting by the Royal Star crew. This is an incredible value to take advantage of.

Also in the new development category is the word on our first June five day that was scheduled to depart June 16th and return on June 21st. Though it was an incredible price, at a fantastic time of year, we finally threw in the towel and cancelled due to near zero interest. Though it is a huge disappointment for us to cancel a voyage with such fantastic potential, we now look forward to the new schedule that will include an additional set of two day trips based on the popularity of the May weekend voyages. Wednesday, June 16th - Friday, June 18th, and Friday, June 18th - Sunday, June 20th are the dates of the new two day voyages that will depart at 1900 hrs, and return at 1700 hrs. The all inclusive price is $475.00 for the 16th - 18th, and $495.00 for the 18th - 20th. With another full month for the offshore zones to develop, the potential for Bluefin tuna and Albacore on these voyages is superb. With a return time of 1700 hrs., Fish processing services from Fisherman's Processing will be available to anglers on these voyages. Filleting will also be available on board. With the popularity of the May two day trips I am enthusiastic about the opportunity for anglers to experience Royal Star on voyages of this duration. If either of these trips fit your schedule, and you would like to treat yourself to a first class fishing voyage on Royal Star, I urge you to call and book as soon as possible. Between the good offshore fishing that I feel is on the way, and this unique opportunity to fish with us on a shorter, mini long range, trip, I expect availability on these voyages to be limited in very short order. Speaking of limited, I forgot to mention that all Royal Star voyages are limited to 24 anglers. These new June two day voyages are a great opportunity and excellent values. Give Tracy or Brian a call to reserve a spot.

Finally, photos of the day are a little different. I have to admit that with the opening of Fisherman's Processing I am probably a little over the top in my enthusiasm. It is all new to me. And, I am filled with pride in the whole operation. Once anglers see the facility, and use the new service, I know they will understand the reason for my excitement. For a fish processing plant, and a representation of San Diego sport fishing, Fisherman's Processing is a home run. Any and all anglers arriving for voyages can easily drive by the new facility and take a quick tour as it is right on way to the San Diego landings. If you are inclined, visit the fishermansprocessing.com website for directions. It is worth an extra five or ten minutes to see what we are offering to all San Diego long range, local, and private boat fishermen.

Though not the best quality, the first two photos feature the inaugural batch of wahoo and yellowfin tuna to come out of the smoker at Fisherman's Processing. It is just smoked fish. But, we invested an incredible amount of time, effort, and resources to set up the smoking area following the strictest health codes and food industry standards. It was very rewarding to see the culmination of our efforts prepared by master smoke "chef's" Jorge and Pedro, who boast many years of experience from their long history with Anthony's. I can assure you that after some astute "quality control" this product tastes as good as it looks.

On the fishing end, I threw in one more photo of master angler Warren Sakamoto pulling on a jumbo in glorious conditions at Roca Partida. Have a great day and I hope you join us on Let's Talk Hookup tomorrow.


Tim Ekstrom

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05/13/10

Posted: 11:50:04

I forgot to mention that there was a change in the Let's Talk Hookup schedule and I will now be hosting the show on Saturday, May 15th with "Rock Cod" Rick Maxa. As always I am really looking forward to the opportunity. After all the years I still consider Pete's show the best fishing forum, with the broadest scope, and finest guests in Southern California. For anglers who like to stay connected with the latest advancements in methods and tackle, the political issues that affect our favorite past time, the individuals that are a significant part of the fishing business, and the fishing itself, Let's Talk Hookup is unsurpassed. Pete and Ricky do a fantastic job of bringing out the best in their guests, while keeping the show interesting and entertaining.

Also, and everyone who reads this daily narrative know how keen I am on this topic, Let's Talk Hookup features live guests, with real faces and names, who are connected to the fishing business as a part of their livelihood. They are accountable for the information and opinions they share with all of us on the radio. This is a big deal to me in the age of anonymous "experts" who spend their days on the blogs. Let's Talk Hookup is the real deal. Every time I have the opportunity to be part of the show I am proud and satisfied to know that I am connecting with thousands of anglers who love to do exactly the same thing that I do.
Pete and Ricky do a tremendous amount of good for sport fishing, represent our fishery and industry in a professional manner from which we all benefit, and definitely should have your support. Represent our fishery in a manner from which we all benefit - think about that. That idea is paramount for the future of our fishery in California and Mexico. Every one of us, anglers and professionals alike, bear responsibility in this arena.

Speaking of representing our fishery in a positive way, today's photos feature tagging veterans Andy Cooperman and Len Cunningham (shoving tuna over the side) who have done an exemplary job by releasing hundreds, literally hundreds, of tuna in the name of science over the last six years. These men have embraced the tagging project with zeal while continuing to join us on other Royal Star voyages equally pleased to stock up the larder. Also, I had to repeat another photo of fishing giant Steve Kimbrough with his 220 in the scoop coming on board. A bona fide fish killer, Steve also set a fantastic example for all his peers by embracing the tagging project with genuine enthusiasm. It is our future to win or lose. Ours...

Tim Ekstrom



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05/12/10

Posted: 07:50:28

A little lighter subject matter today as I got a good laugh from one of the photos I am forwarding. Three shots today, one of the master Steve Kimbrough with his 220 subdued in the scoop, one of master machinist Cal Sheets and Capt. Brian Sims hamming it up in a rather original ale endorsement, and the final shot detailing some of the tuna's diet we flushed from a captured tuna for evaluation. This is another one of those shots that I already sent, but is worth another look at full resolution. As you can see the opportunistic feeding habits of tuna's lead to a wide variety in their diet. In this quick study we found remnants of puffer fish, some kind of lancet fish and/or snake mackerel, small mesopelagic fin fish we call lantern fish (probably incorrectly), various squids, and even a few legs from pelagic red crabs. This is a pretty good example of what tuna feed on around the Revillagigedo islands.

Otherwise time marches on as we countdown the days before we are up and running again full time. For any and all interested we have a handful of spots open on the first weekend two day departing Friday, May 14th, returning Sunday, May 16th. I believe the eight day on May 28th still has a few spots available, and the June 21st - June 26th five day is wide open. The five day will go with the number of anglers presently on the books, but it has plenty of space yet available. At $1295.00 all inclusive, at that time of year, it is an incredible value that in all likelihood will not be seen again due to sharp increases in all expenses. If you have the time to squeeze a trip in, this is a great opportunity.

As I mentioned yesterday, give us a call in the office if you have any questions. Capt. Brian Sims and I will be manning the phone for the next couple of days as well as the first part of next week. This is a great time to call and talk shop or have any inquiries addressed by the guys that actually get out there and do it. With all the blogging that goes on these days I know the idea of conversation with a live individual has become somewhat daunting. But, I urge you to try it. Imagine how refreshing dialogue with individuals who are eager to share knowledge can be. Especially accredited individuals with history and experience validating the opinions, advice, and knowledge we freely offer. We hope to hear from you.

Have a great day!

Tim Ekstrom

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05/11/10

Posted: 09:47:15

On the Fisherman's Processing front everything proceeded according to plan with the highly experienced fillet crew turning product like the seasoned veterans they are. Before the first Royal Star voyage of the season, and periodically during the year, I will provide information in our daily post on how we will be handling the new processing option on Royal Star. As usual, there is some absolute nonsense, grand conspiracy theories, and preposterous notions about the new service drifting around the sport fishing community. If you have any questions, any concerns, any doubts, any angst, any anger, a sense of injustice, any fear, of anything related to the addition of Fisherman's Processing, I urge you to call Randy or I. As preposterous as it sounds, there is some real B.S. flying around perpetuated by baseless fervor.

The irony of this is that in every respect the addition of Fisherman's Processing will dramatically improve the day of return, and processing services for everyone - whether they select to use Fisherman's Processing or not. The new processing service will bring the number of processors meeting anglers upon return of their long range voyages back to three; Anthony's closed their doors to sport fish processing at the end of 2008. The addition of Fisherman's processing will alleviate dockside congestion on days when multiple long range vessels arrive. Wait times for same day customers will be much shorter. It is a winning arrangement that benefits customers and long range businesses alike. And yes, it is a huge benefit to us on Royal Star as we now have the ability to play an important role, to influence, manage, and affect every component of our angler's long range experience. We are now in position to be accountable for our customers complete fishing vacation. From the time they call Tracy, to the time they drive away from Fisherman's Processing with their catch expertly dressed and packaged, Royal Star anglers will be taken care of by us - the individuals who have been providing professional, first class fishing adventures since 1996 as Royal Star Sport Fishing.

As I stated above I will provide further details about what anglers can expect on their upcoming voyages, and the advantages they realize when selecting Fisherman's Processing. To cap this topic today I do want to emphasize, with every ounce of strength and conviction I am able to convey, that all Royal Star anglers will have the option of using any of the three processing services available. There will be no effort to coerce, bully, strong arm, brow beat, or guilt trip Royal Star anglers selecting processors other that Fisherman's Processing. It is your money to spend as you see fit. We will do our best to ethically convince anglers to try our new service. Those who do will not be disappointed. That statement comes with a 100% guarantee from Randy Toussaint and I, Tim Ekstrom.

Photos today feature anglers Doug Taylor just after hooking a good one on the kite, and Bobby Yokoi in position at the rail; and with the vanquished; though in this case it was the vanquished tuna's lucky day. Enjoy the photos and have a fine day. Oh, and again, if you have any questions - please, call.

619-224-4764
rs@royalstarsportfishing.com

Tim Ekstrom

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05/10/10

Posted: 15:15:08

Well today is the first official opening of Fisherman's Processing as we receive fish from a returning long ranger this morning. I will send a few photos tomorrow updating the progress. Otherwise we are in a holding pattern on Royal Star anxiously awaiting the time when we get up and running full time again. Little projects are being addressed on the boat, but all in all she is ready as ever to begin a new season. On the office side Capt. Brian Sims will be manning the helm for a few days. It is a fantastic time to call and talk fishing if you are inclined. Whatever the topic (fishing related of course), Brian is about as personable and knowledgeable as they come. Give him a call this week if you have the time.

Photos today feature anglers Bob Yokoi and Dave Hall enjoying a serene moment on the bow of Royal Star in the flat calm lee side of Isla Socorro. Both men were pulling on bigger yellowfin when I snapped this photo that perfectly captures the beauty of the total Revillagigedo tagging experience. The ability to tuck up against the island counts for a lot, especially when the weather is blustery on the outside. The next couple of photos feature Chef Drew Rivera a.k.a. "Griddle Jockey" who most of you know is quite the fisherman. When Drew first began working with us four years prior he would occasionally head to the rail during slow times and almost always hook something in short order. It didn't take long for us to recognize that it was not a coincidence.

All kidding and name calling aside Drew is almost as exceptional a fisherman as he is a chef - almost. As demonstrated in today's photos, it just so happened that Drew drew the lucky hand dropping a bait in his secret spot (the bow) right on top of this 236 during our visit to Roca Partida. Luck of the draw or otherwise he made short work of this beauty then returned to the inferno to resume preparation of a spectacular evening meal service. Although without question the galley crew of Chef's Drew Rivera and Jeff Grant have the most difficult job on Royal Star, especially in tough weather, there are a few perks unique to the position. The photos of Chef Rivera, Capt. Brian Sims, and yours truly do a fine job of demonstrating a strength of the occupation, for a fisherman anyway.


Tim Ekstrom

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05/09/10

Posted: 07:43:54

Happy Mother's day to any and all mom's reading. A word of encouragement to everyone else. Please, remember your mom accordingly. She is the reason you are here today. On the Royal Star front I want to remind everyone that next weekend is the first of our May two day voyages departing 7 pm on Friday the 14th, returning 6 pm Sunday the 16th. $400.00 all inclusive is a great price for the opportunity to experience our first class operation with a maximum of only twenty four anglers! Tracy, Randy, Brian, and I will be available all week to answer any questions about upcoming voyages. Also, don't forget about the eight day departing Friday the 28th and the couple of June five days that have plenty of availability. Both are fantastic values and position anglers to take advantage of some very good fishing to come. Mark my words - very good fishing is imminent on these trips. The eight day and five day's are looking as if they will go out light so it appears that anglers on these voyages will enjoy the extra bonus of "ultra limited" load conditions.

Photos today continue from the Revilla tagging voyage with anglers Mike Shannon, Stuart Exall, and a repeat of an earlier image of Kurt Schaefer and Tom Cahillane with two beauties coming over the rail in the scoop. As I have to shrink the shots down considerably to send them at sea, a couple of these were worthy of a view at full resolution. Enjoy the shots and look for more throughout next week.

Tim

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05/08/10

Posted: 09:54:13

A few more shots of Fisherman's Processing today including a portion of the lobby that is still a work in progress albeit one that is very close to completion. As you can see the walls are decorated art work from our favorite west coast artist/photographer Bill Boyce. Mr. Boyce's incredible tile work, prints, photographs, and distinct graphics will be featured throughout Fisherman's Processing. The lobby area will serve as an exclusive gallery for Mr. Boyce's amazing talents that are all directly related to what we Southern California sport fisherman love to do most.

I can not tell you how impressed I am with Mr. Boyce's images. The opportunity to feature his work in our facility is an incredible opportunity for all of us. The shot of the lobby I am sending was taken just after Bill hung the first round of images. After the lighting is directed, and the lobby is complete, striking is the word I believe will best describe the first and lasting impression Fisherman's Processing customers will have of our new venue. That is our goal, To establish a new processing business with standards and service that are above and beyond consistent with how we run Royal Star. With Bill Boyce's art work as a premier interior feature, we are well on our way. Also, speaking of what we fishermen love to do most, I had to re send a photo today of a big foamer I took just east of Clarion at full size. Enjoy the weekend and look for photos and reports to continue.

Tim

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05/07/10

Posted: 18:15:00

As we received our final inspection yesterday and passed with flying colors, I thought I would send along a progress report on Fisherman's Processing. We are open for business! Please, if you are in San Diego, or if you are a local, stop by for a full tour. The lobby is just about complete and features a wow factor that is off the scale. I'll let the photos of the processing area in back speak for themselves. I can say with certainty that there has never been anything like this available to San Diego fishermen. Tremendous credit goes to Managing owner/partner Sean Sebring who suffered and overcame the struggles of construction and bureaucracy. If this is any indication of how the business will be operated, and I am certain it is, anglers will well taken care of. Enjoy the photos and look for more featuring the lobby and other areas tomorrow.

Have a fine day!

Tim

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05/06/10

Posted: 10:35:00

Important announcement today about a new arrival in the Royal Star family. Sunday, May 2nd welcomed Jace Reed Bickel at 7lbs 9oz. to proud father Sean Bickel. Any Royal Star anglers who have fished with Sean are well familiar with his character, ability, and value to our operation. As second Captain and chief engineer, Sean's contributions to the operation of Royal Star are vast. But, more important to anglers is Sean's unique personality and focus on customer's overall experience. Our happiness for Sean is immeasurable as he begins life anew with a healthy strong family to support - and support him. Congratulations and best wishes for the newest little fisherman on the dock.

Photos today feature a variety of shots. IATTC senior scientist Kurt Schaefer and Warren Sakamoto pulling on big fish with Roca Partida distant in the background. Russ Styer with a 150 - 160 in the scoop. And Kurt Schaefer and Danny Fuller with a tagged 150 on deck and a proud display of Ballast Point "Sculpin" ale. It is tough duty supporting sponsors. But, everyone understands the importance of the Ballast Point "experiment" and pitches in at "Grog" hour with the same enthusiasm they show for the tuna tagging. Thanks for the dedicated effort men. And a reminder to everyone with a penchant for fine ale to try Ballast Point brews. After much scientific scrutiny and evaluation they come highly recommended. Enjoy your day.

Tim

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05/05/10

Posted: 18:22:46

Happy Cinco de Mayo to any and all. If nothing else, for us Americans it is a good opportunity to sample southern libations - all of which may lead to good times. On the information side of things our office e-mail was down for a couple of days due to technical grief that was finally ironed out yesterday afternoon. If you were one of those left with a e-mail unanswered, or were perturbed by an inquiry that received no response, our apologies. We were unaware that the address was affected until yesterday morning. It took a day to straighten things out. Now we are back on line and will again be answering any and all e-mail correspondence promptly.

Photos today feature anglers Toke Aw, Tom Cahillane, and Dave Hall. All veterans to the tagging project, these men have a keen awareness, and appreciation of, just how special these voyages are. In particular today. the shot of Dave with the jumbo in the scoop strikes a chord. From my perspective, it is another one of the many fantastic photos that capture the distinct nature of the Revilla tagging project. Take a look at the photo and ask the question. Has there ever been anything like this in the history of sport fishing world wide? If anyone comes up with an answer please let me know. I'll conjure up a new project to occupy my perpetual forward drive. Have a great day!


Tim

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05/04/10

Posted: 14:07:43

We received an update from IATTC scientist Dan Fuller regarding the two re-captures made on Royal Star during the latest Revillagigedo island voyage. Most interesting to me is the fish that was recaptured by angler Chris Lomax at Clarion on April 24, 2010. That fish was 99 cm. at release and 141 cm. at recapture. This is roughly the difference between 50 - 60 and 135 - 145 pounds; in one year! The fish was released at Socorro island in February 2009. The most amazing detail is the fish was recorded at release as a probable mortality due to significant bleeding. There are those times when a fish comes up bleeding or injured and we have no choice other than to tag and send them on their way with best wishes. I recall countless conversations with Danny in which he asserts how many times tuna have been recaptured that he thought were hopeless. As little tagging as I have participated in by comparison, this is the second recapture from a Revilla voyage of a fish that I thought was certain to die and/or be consumed by sharks. This latest recapture is a perfect example of how much we have yet to learn. One thing for sure is that they are a heck of a lot tougher than most of us imagine.

For comparison the second fish recaptured was released at Clarion on April 22, 2009 and recaptured on April 25, 2010. It was 101 cm. at release, and 141 cm. at recapture. The fish at Clarion appeared to have a better time of it as it grew a little faster; must have been superior groceries at the "Big C". Actually, a multitude of factors could account for the difference. It goes back to the having much to learn statement above.

Photos today feature tagging veteran Bruce Posthumous. What can I say other than Bruce is an angler worthy of tremendous respect. He has a unique appreciation for the Revilla fishery dating back at least twenty five years. Bruce understands the idea of giving back implicitly. He practices what he believes in. And, is a great guy to share the rail with. Also, I am sending along a photo of the tag in a yellowfin tuna after one year. It had a little more algae on it before I snapped this shot, but this is a good example of what they look like regardless.

Tim

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05/01/10

Posted: 10:27:00

Apparently some wires got crossed out on the deep blue and the last photos posted of Phil Bruce were actually duplicates of Warren Sakamoto. We got it straightened out yesterday so the correct photos are up. As I mentioned we are beach bound for the next couple of weeks. Randy, Brian, and I will be around the waterfront attending to a few small projects on Royal Star as well as joining Tracy in the office. I want to encourage any and all of you with inquiries about trips, equipment, fishing, fishing prospects, or anything else to give us a call. We will be available and look forward to the opportunity to "talk shop" during this period of down time.

In addition to a few Royal Star projects, Randy and I will be working with Sean Sebring on the final details of Fisherman's Processing. As of now we are ready for business with only a few bureaucratic blessings to go before we are fully operational. Needless to say we are fired up about the new service that will be a huge bonus to Royal Star anglers, as well as the entire long range community. Faster same day turn times, relief for some of the inevitable congestion at the dock on days when multiple long range vessels arrive, improved customer service driven by free market competition, and a brand new fish processing facility that is certain to wow customers with a location and surrounding activities ushers in a whole new era for San Diego sport fish processing customers. We are very enthusiastic about the upcoming season. Especially during the first few months, Randy and I will be in the mix with Sean with our sleeves rolled up helping out in any and every way possible. Prior to the upcoming season, if any anglers would like to visit and tour the new facility, I can not encourage you enough to call us at the Royal Star office (619-224-4764). It would be our pleasure to host you.

Photos of the day feature a couple of action shots of the big man Steve Kimbrough, and the dynamic duo to Len Cunningham and Tom Cahillane. All in a day's work, these men were unstoppable in the catching department. We were glad for it as every occasion calls for pacesetters. Look for photos to continue tomorrow and beyond.

Tim

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