We finished up the trip in fine style here in the offshore grounds with 80 albacore from 25-40lbs and a handful of bft. After the slow offshore reports from the last week we were on a total search mission with nothing to run for so needless to say we're ecstatic to have had such a great day. We saw very good sign of albacore in this area and feel it has great potential for the upcoming trips. We are traveling up the line this afternoon in flat calm weather and will be in tomorrow morning. Tim comes back out on a 5-day which is poised to take full advantage of this new area, look for his reports on Monday. The action was a little too hot and heavy to get a shot today so we have a few from the rocks. The first shows Steve masuda with a 94lb yft and Steve Moss with a 103lber.
Very good day of yellowtail angling in nice weather here at Cedros today. We were fortunate to get on a spot on the anchor and sit all day picking away at 18-30lbers amongst an incredible surface show. We put together a fine tally and had all we wanted by 1700 prompting our departure for the offshore grounds where we hope to finish the trip with a shot at bft and albacore tomorrow.
Larry Higashi is in today's shot with the only wsb today, a 35lber.
We got up to Cedros this afternoon and had a nice drift on 15-20lb yellows that put on a good show. As it got later they became reluctant to bite and shut off completely before dark. We are enjoying the night on the anchor and are hoping for a good shot at the yellows tomorrow before continuing up the line. Today's shot shows the results of our first drift with the guys rinsing them of all blood before putting them in our RSW tank. It's very important to not only bleed the fish but to rinse them thoroughly, the guys do it religiously to keep the water in the well as clean as possible. Glen Backherms shows off a 35lb class yellow in the second.
The bite started out slow this morning but gained momentum as the day progressed. Very good show all day with 40-100lb fish boiling all around us but like yesterday they wouldn't bite more than 40lb. We ended with a fine catch by dark with 82 yft from 40-105lbs going in the RSW tank. With the weather coming up we bid the rocks a fond farewell at dark and are heading into the beach where we hope to finish the trip in good weather targeting yellows. Our first shot is a rare photo of our chartermaster Mike Doi with a 105lber, he usually loses all the big ones he hooks. The second shows Jim Nomura having some technical difficulties with his spinning gear.
We got the trip off to a nice start here at the rocks with a nice steady pick on 50-110lb tuna that bit until just before dark. Very good show most of the afternoon but they didn't let their guard down, most of the bites were on 40lb and even 30lb. The conditions are good for wahoo but aside from a few bite offs they were absent from the mix. We are going to spend the night and hope for another good day tomorrow. Today's shots show Erik masuda with a 115lber while Kelley Hall gets a hand from Blake 'beefcake' Wasano with her 75lber.
Uneventful day traveling down to Alijos where we plan to start our Doi 7-day tomorrow. Offshore reports are a bit ugly at the moment making the move to the rocks the obvious choice. Fishing has tapered off a bit at the stones from last week but we're hoping for it to get back on the upswing tomorrow.
We ground out a day in the lower albacore zone scratching up one here and two there with the exception with one afternoon flash in the pan that sparked some hope, but fell flat of expectations. All told it was a typical day of offshore albacore fishing when the fish were either scarce or down. After about ten minutes in the area my evaluation was the former - not much fish. Recognizing this however is not a matter of pessimism taking over. It is very important to how we set ourselves up to fish the area, and our mind set.
I know in my case, and the case of the vast majority of fishermen that run offshore fishing boats, we possess an over the horizon mentality that compels us to strike out and push on to find the main vein or mother lode of fish. I have spoken of it before. It is the main driver behind the spectacular catches long range anglers consistently enjoy; that notion that if it is good here, or not, it is certainly better somewhere else. While this is true in every respect there are also times when the "Megellan" mentality drives one right out of the fish into left field where the agony of catching zero is exacerbated by the zone left behind producing. Those occasions are a particular joy that do a stellar job of making one feel and look like a donkey.
Taking this into account today was one of those times when the fishing was marginal, but much better than catching nothing. The catching nothing part was demonstrated at the end of the day by several colleagues who struck out in search of glory - and struck out. The writing was on the wall. It was one of those days when necessity called for hunkering down and making the most of what we had. So we worked our little cherry patch up and down, back and forth, and side to side until the husky call of the corpulent alto reverberated in our ears. At 1645 we were out of there on our way north with our nineteen albacore for the day; not any kind of day to be reveling in the highliner category, but a day we made nevertheless.
Now it is on the next seven day Michael Doi charter that will feature Capt. Randy Toussaint at the helm. Capt. Toussaint will head up the voyage that promises to make the most of any and every opportunity presented as is his trademark. There is no better fisherman out here. It is a fact. God help the fish when Randy is around because he certainly won't. Look for Randy's scant reports to continue as the voyage progresses. He is a man of few words, but lacks nothing when it comes to action. He is the man - plain and simple.
Last photos of the voyage feature two of the finest southland fishermen I know. Greg and Todd Phillips have earned their reputation fishing for everything from kelp bass to tuna offshore. Recognizing their expertise and savvy, Shimano sent them out with a wealth of equipment to test and try this voyage. They are the reason I had the opportunity to test drive the new Trinidad 14A I think so highly of. So, here it is again. My new love the Trinidad 14A with a couple of albacore subdued by it's flawless features. Greg and Todd are the appropriately featured anglers with scowling crewman Blake Wasano and a placid Capt. Sean Bickel doing the gaffing honors. Our sincere thanks to the Phillips Steel/Wood Group annual charter for a great time on the water. Until my next round of voyages good fishing to you all. I'm out.
We got the day started right with a couple of hours of very good action on 14 - 18# yellowtail. In fact, the action was such that we filled our limits in short order and left them biting as wave after wave passed through us. Even after we departed I continued to see schools of yellowtail one after another for several miles above the area where we were fishing. There are a lot of yellowtail around. Appropriate thanks for the "Yellowtail Triangle" on all our behalf. This zone has been the savior of so many voyages in the past twenty five years I have been fishing down here that I couldn't even begin to recall. Between the scenery, consistency of production, and protection from weather when it comes, it is the finest area to target California yellowtail in the world. No where else even comes close.
With our quota of yellows prime in the RSW tanks, the time to venture out was again upon us. Always up for the task, and never one to shy away from a looking expedition, we struck out in search of tuna sign in slightly choppy seas. It took some time, and I'm disappointed to report that the results of our afternoon in the hatch would have been identical if we found nothing, but we did bump into a couple of decent spots of bluefin that unfortunately exhibited the same behavior they have been confounding us with since the beginning of the month. No bites. Fish crashing right under the bow, fish on the fathometer, and fish on the sonar around us, but, no bites. As the afternoon progressed into evening, the signs continued to improve, but with daylight running out we couldn't quite make it up to the final spot of fish we were headed for that Capt. Gregg Tanji spotted no less that five miles away.
I am not exaggerating or embellishing in any way. Between Gregg, Capt. Sean Bickel, and Capt. Brian Sims' eyes and experience, we regularly run on fish spotted in the three to five, even six mile range. It is a huge advantage. So many catches we make are attributed to the eyes of Gregg, Sean, and Brian that I can't count. Crewmen Steve Gregonis and Blake Wasano are no slouches either. They put us on spots that pop up along side or behind us regularly. Throw in the legendary eyes of Capt. Randy Toussaint and my confidence in our ability to effectively cover the water we are passing through is tremendous. I was speaking with one of my colleagues a few days past and he made a comment that spoke volumes. We were discussing some area I was planning to look, or some zone where the signs of fish were extremely subtle and he said "You guys will get on them. Your crew is fishy." While this may sound remedial, or even corny to some of you I can not express how complimentary this statement is coming from a peer I highly respect.
As an angler considering a long range voyage this should be a significant part of your decision process when choosing a vessel to invest your time and resources with. I have probably said it a million times now - experience is the key to success. It is not about luck, bumbling into something, or following all the other boats to the "spot" and driving around until they latch on. Sure, any of the above stated can and will make the occasional catch. But, success out here is about consistency. Making the most from every day, every opportunity, and every set of conditions the ocean offers up, every time. Experience is the only advantage anglers can rely on. This is a bit of wisdom I picked up during the past twenty three years out here. Every one makes catches when the fishing is easy and/or wide open. When it gets tough the real fishermen with salt in their veins, and experience to draw upon, stand out.
Photos for the day feature the bow action during one of the hot rounds when the yellowtail hit us all at once. And, a nice dorado that fell for one of the Shimano "Wax Wing" lures that up to this point have proven themselves to be incredibly effective on everything we have fished for during this trip. More from the offshore grounds tomorrow where we hope to put our highly touted "experience" to good use finding some fish. It is not looking to be easy - just how we like it. If there was ever an opportunity to stand out, this is it. Have a great weekend!
So yesterday I revealed my love at first sight reaction to the new Shimano Trinidad 14A. Between the perfect dimensions for any hand size, and flawless balance of torque and precision, my instinct was triggered the instant I saw it. Of course I didn't know completely about the torque component. Precision yes; Shimano has never introduced a product that doesn't feature precision as an inherent quality, but, based on everything I know about previous Shimano reels, I took a guess that the new Trinidad 14A would not let me down when it came to cranking power.
As I put my rear end on the line by offering my glowing recommendation out of the gates. I felt obligated to run the new Trinidad 14A through the Tim Ekstrom test mill today. After subjecting the little devil to extreme standards while pulling on a number of fish my opinion is even stronger about this reel. It is even better than I imagined. The thing is not only sweet and smooth - it is a little tractor. It's like one of those little Bobcat's that are so versatile and tough they are capable of performing almost any feat imaginable. What a reel. As a final example of just how highly I think of the new Trinidad 14A I will offer this. It made me want to fish with it. Master angler Greg Phillips, who along with his brother Todd brought along tons of fantastic Shimano reels and products for anglers to use this trip, was using the 14A as well. I kept a close eye on him always ready to take advantage of every opportunity to grab the rig and fish when he set it down. I even went as far as bugging him to let me give it a try after he caught a few on it a couple of times. Every fish I caught with the thing made me want to use it again to catch another. I am rarely this appreciative of a new product. Shimano has nailed it with this one. Along with the entire Talica and Trinidad series, as well as the old faithful Tiagra's, it is impossible to not recognize how consistently Shimano is on the cutting edge. Their reputation is well earned.
On the fishing front we had a great day. Yellowtail, yellowtail, and more yellowtail was the theme in flat calm, scenic conditions that the "Yellowtail Triangle" has become so famous for. Fifteen to twenty two pound fish were prolific and cooperative entertaining anglers with a morning and early afternoon of great fishing before we moved on to target trophy yellows, or "premiums", as we like to call them. I can't say the hunt for "premiums" was all that spectacular, but the scenery was. Grease calm, blue water, island background - cocktails and malt beverages were the evening call as the sun settled into the Pacific and we made fast for the night in heavenly conditions. Yellowtail and offshore will be the call tomorrow as we forge ahead on day three of the adventure.
Photos for the day feature angler Rob Duby who was on fire with the butterfly jigs and "wax wings" using the Shimano "Stella" spinning reels with great success. Though I probably won't be the one using it, I have to say that the butterfly method is very successful - especially for yellowtail both offshore around kelps and in the shallows. It's not just when they are biting nails that I base my opinion on. I have seen numerous occasions when the butterflyer's nail a yellowtail, or two, three, or four when the live bait and standard west coast jigs aren't getting the job done. Today's shots do the system, and Rob, who definitely put forth the effort, some justice. Look for reports to continue.
It was another one of those mornings that elicited an early bailout as we recognized that regardless of the amount of fish we were seeing, we weren't going to get the job done where we were. And so began another long search that produced various short stops on uncooperative bluefin tuna and other attempts on kelps. Not a lot of excitement to report until about 1800 when we found one kelp that rousted anglers from their slumber with good action on 15 - 20# yellowtail.
It was a quick hit, producing only seventeen fish, but again I extol the virtue of relative success. When you have nothing, a little something becomes significant; those 17 yellows, and the twenty minutes we fished from a stopped boat , had a palpable effect on morale. The fish crashed around, ate a few surface jigs, and hit us a couple of times; one in particular that saw eight or ten anglers hooked up at once. The atmosphere on board was transformed from angst and anxiety to hope and relief. Isn't fishing great? Although I struggle with the grief of inevitable defeat when the odds come around, I am driven to no end by the boundless gratification of success. I frequently recall a thought shared with me in my younger years by my good friend and huge mentor Jack Webster, who now heads AAFA (American Albacore Fishing Association), and fishes pole and line for albacore in the North Pacific. Jack expressed his love for fishing, actually the act of catching fish, as the second best thing in life. I agree. I'll leave it up to you all to decide the context. There are times however, albeit a rare few in my world, when I have to admit it can be a toss up.
On a different note, I have a love affair with a new reel that I have to recommend as the finest in it's size class I have ever seen. I am going to get not just one, but two, one for me, and one for my son Duke, as fast as possible. As always, Shimano is at the forefront. The new Trinidad 14A is perfection. For live bait fishing a sardine or anchovy with fifteen to forty pound test, or casting a swim bait or new Shimano "wax wing", no better reel has ever been produced. It is that good. You all know that I don't hang my hat on every latest trend or gimmick that comes along. I've seen plenty come, and plenty appropriately go. The new Trinidad 14A is not just a home run; it is a season winning grand slam. For an angler looking to upgrade their arsenal I can not recommend this reel highly enough. As always Shimano is on the ball. We endorse and use their products for good reason. The newest addition to the Trinidad line is a perfect example of why.
Photo of the day features the man himself, Todd Phillips, with the results of the new Shimano combo. Using the Trinidad 14A and a "Wax Wing" lure, Todd subdued this 20# class yellowtail in short order. In addition I am including a couple of shots of the lure and reel so you all get a measure of the dimensions. What a rig. I can't wait to catch a few myself tomorrow and report accordingly.
A quick turn and we are again en route south to the offshore grounds. After unloading the RSW tank packed full of beautiful grade albacore and bluefin tuna, we are highly motivated by the quality to try our hand on the outside again. We are going fishing. This is a good point to make in light of the fact that thus far the 2010 offshore season has been identified by a constantly changing set of conditions that sets up every day as a new challenge. Following the beginning couple of weeks of early June, when the fish were actually settled in and the picture was stable, the playing field has been shifty at best, and about as unpredictable as one can imagine. Added to the stubborn to develop conditions are the cursed not biting fish that confound, confuse, and thwart all reason - especially the albacore that are typically reliable about climbing on when we do find them.
Capt. Sean Bickel and I were talking about the set up as we rolled down today and he said it perfect. "We are going fishing". It really is as simple as that. This has been one of those seasons when victory offshore is a particularly sweet success to be savored. In contrast to the early June period when I made the analogy about the incredible fishing being like going to the supermarket and loading up the cart, present times are the exact opposite. This is more akin to searching for victuals in a fertile valley on a exceptionally dry year. There are fish to be found, but only in little shifting pockets of small groups - for now. So, we are going fishing hoping we position ourselves in the right place on the right day. Actually, we have four full days on this five day "Phillips Steel/Wood Group charter to find the right zone. We are glad of it.
With more good weather on the way we have the most important component of offshore success in our favor. Our photo today features Royal Star angler Mike Neal and crewman Blake Wasano with a "fatso" albacore. It's a little gory, but does the trick. More from offshore tomorrow.
Another dubious beginning as we awoke to find brilliant, glassy seas, perfect, almost identical conditions to the previous day that produced steady fishing, and what seemed to be excellent fishing prospects - until we began fishing. At one hour after daylight without a fish landed in the area we were a little concerned; but they didn't wake up early yesterday either. At two hours after daylight without a fish landed between us it was becoming painfully obvious that something more dire had occurred. The fish that were so prolific yesterday had moved. We were in big trouble. Typical albacore fishing.
Nothing like coming into the final day, with the success of your trip hanging in the balance, and having the whole thing shut down. Being all too familiar with this scenario however, we recognized that the only solution was to hit the road and get to looking. It took until about 1400 to get things located. And it just so happened that the fish showed up almost exactly where we were headed - a lucky strike.
We finished off the trip with a fine afternoon of steady fishing on 28 - 35# albacore and a good mix of bluefin including a pair that weighed in at 56 and 57 pounds. Sixty and twenty one were the numbers that did a stellar job of elevating spirits and ending the voyage on a high note. It was just what we needed after what was an uphill battle for the first half of the trip. All's well that ends well. With a fine load of albacore, bluefin, and yellowtail resting in the RSW tanks in premium, Royal Star condition, we head up the line satisfied and grateful that the voyage ended well. Now it is on to the next Phillips Steel/Wood Group five day charter departing tomorrow. Yours truly will continue the narrative as I have the pleasure of taking the helm.
Photos today feature two very familiar Royal Star veterans who are superb fishermen and even better friends. Warren Sakamoto is all cheer pictured with Capt. Brian Sims and his fifty seven pound bluefin landed in the bottom of the ninth to upset the jackpot. Len Cunningham, pictured with Capt. Gregg Tanji and a fat albacore, also landed one of the two bigger bluefin alongside Warren. Len's came in at 56 pounds to capture second place. Look for reports to continue and have a fine day!
Scratch albacore fishing all day combined for a respectable total in the end. Good weather, and plenty of action throughout occupied and entertained although there continues to be a maddening number of attempts that confound our best efforts. All I can say is that there is going to be some hell to pay when these albacore finally drop their guard anytime I am around.
So, with a catching instinct only placated by today's results, we are ready to give it our all again tomorrow, seeking to finish up the trip on a high note. If the fishing matched today's action, we would plenty satisfied. But, honestly, we are hoping for a lot more. Thus far the fishing has been just good enough to whet our appetite. A grand finale, where the fish bite with any kind of abandon would fit the bill perfectly. Without frowning on today's 105 albacore and 6 bluefin in the least, we are hoping to really clobber them tomorrow. And mind you while I moan and snivel about not loading up easy, our anglers are having a fantastic time. Fortunately most individuals do not suffer the "just over the next hill" curse I and so many fisherman are afflicted with.
The camera was finally liberated today capturing two images of our quarry and their conquerors. Ann Van Dyke, whom many of you recognize as the familiar, friendly voice in the Royal Star office with Tracy, landed the fish of the day, a forty pound albacore, during a late evening stop. Capt. Brian Sims does the gaffing honors for angler Bob Vogelsang and his 35# bluefin tuna.
We got all we wanted in the way of scenic variety. In fact, it was one of the more spectacular opportunities to fish and explore some rarely traveled country in grease calm, tropical conditions. All the cameras except mine were clicking away as the background set a primeval tone. While I can report the morning yellowtail outing a limited success, I can't say much for the afternoon. Plenty of quality yellowtail lurked among the rugged structure, but little good was made of what we found. In short, we battled a stubborn lack of current that kept the fish lazy, disorganized, and unwilling to bite with any consistency. We had a few flashes in the pan, and a few moments of excitment when the yellows came up and looked they were going to get with the program, but they didn't.
Recognizing that our goose was cooked by mid afternoon, one of those pivitol moments typical in this fishery was upon us. With a finite amount of time to make it happen, one can not vacillate when crunch time arrives. We are definitely staring crunch time square in the face. Make or break.
Boy we did and incredibly effective job of dodging, missing, evading, and avoiding, every good stop on albacore to be had today while fishing directly among them the entire time. The result was not completely due to our impeccable effort; I have to assign some credit to the albacore and bluefin that continue to confound with their penchant for not biting. But, there were a few good ones that the guys made the most of despite a majority of stops to the contrary.
I can not provide an explanation for our results other than it turned out the way it was. For whatever reason it was our turn to struggle. Oh, we caught some fish; it was far from a bust, but I have mentioned the relativity of success, or lack thereof, on countless occasions. Whenever we get out fished, or out foxed, I get twisted up beside myself about it. It doesn't matter if the fish or our colleagues administer the defeat. My competitive nature will not allow a complacent reaction. Every good fishing Captain I know is the same. If they are not, they will not consistently succeed. The day we don't care about coming in second, or worse, is the day we become just another boat driver. You won't find that on Royal Star. That I can assure you.
Taking the day into account, a change of pace and scenery is in order. With time still on our side, and favorable weather in the forecast, our ultimate strategy is to focus offshore. But, not before taking a day to stop and smell the roses, or in this case yellowtail, we hope. Tomorrow will tell. Look for results in the continuing narrative and my apologies for the lack of daily photos. While pining on the glass being half empty, the camera remained imprisoned in a wheelhouse drawer. I suppose there are those times when I should just get over it. It isn't likely to happen anytime soon.
Another flawless turn we head south on the next five day adventure with no specific starting point, no bulls eye, no clear zone to hang out hat on. Really since about the middle of June this has been the consistent theme. Every day is different, the results of which are dictated by the whims of bluefin and albacore that are spread all over hell and gone gathering in small pools of favorable conditions that break down as fast as they form turning us out to look anew almost every day. I have commented several times about the good quantity of fish we are consistently seeing, and the potential this represents for very good fishing down the pike, but we are obviously in somewhat of a holding pattern until conditions better organize and provide a consistent pattern to work with.
The good news in the big picture is that we have fish to work with. Every day, just about every where, we are seeing signs of both bluefin and albacore. Getting them to bite is the continuing challenge. So tomorrow we throw our hat in the pool re joining the offshore effort in search of the day's hot zone. The number one component - good weather, is in our favor so we head forth in fine spirits ready to harvest our share. Look for reports to continue and have a fine day!
Today we worked offshore looking for a few more tuna. Our weather was good, but the fish a bit scarce. We did manage to come up with a few better grade albacore before we had to call it a trip and head for the barn. Doing the honors of displaying his albacore is Ron Martin who had a hot stick all trip.
We will arrive at the dock at 0730 on Thursday the 15th. Tim will be back at the helm as we depart on our next adventure.
Today we enjoyed flat calm weather, biting yellowtail,and beautiful scenery. What more could you ask for? Our first picture shows a happy Tim Chevalier and his 38# yellowtail. The second is of Jeanne Kelber pulling on a big yellow in flat calm weather in front of beautiful scenery.
We had a great first day of fishing today on 22-35# albacore with some 25-38# bluefin in the mix. Our best stop was for 29 fish so we got to experience a short time of cast and swing style fishing. The weather came up a bit in the afternoon, but it didn't affect the fishing. We are currently changing locations looking for a different sea state and target species.
Today's picture shows Brian Friesen with one of his albacore.
We are currently headed offshore for a little bit of prospecting while the weather is down. We are hoping that things will change soon and the fish will return to a biting mode. With good amounts of fish being seen in a lot of areas it's only a matter of time until they bite again.
Scratchy at best on the albacore grounds today with plenty of spots seen, but plenty of perfectly presented baits ignored. I don't know if any of you have noticed but this sure seems to be the theme of this trip. For whatever reason we are in one of those periods when the majority of the fish are not in the mood to really get with it. I marvel at how many times I have experienced similar patterns. There are those times when whether you are at San Benitos, or four hundred miles in any direction, that regardless of how many fish you find, they have the same reaction. Moon phase, tides, cold water (my best guess this time), or any other excuse from the extensive list relied upon by fishermen to pardon less than epic fishing all add up to the same thing.
That said in no way am I bemoaning the amount of fish, the caliber of action, or the overall result of this voyage. We caught a load of fish, enjoyed fantastic weather the entire time, enjoyed thrilling scenery in many forms, and had a great time in the process. Chalk this one up as another Royal Star success. But, I would have enjoyed clobbering the bluefin and albacore just to be sure. Such is fishing. And such is a perfect example of the diversity of long range fishing experienced year to year. Actually, no better example than this Kashiki seven day comes to my immediate recall. Over the past eighteen years this group has experienced every type of fishing, for every species available, in every degree of success, and otherwise. That diversity is what keeps long range fishing so interesting, entertaining, and enlightening year after year.
Our final voyage photo features long time Royal Star friend and angler Dennis Nishimine with crewman Captain Greg Tanji and a fine, twenty five pound class albacore landed during one of our successful attempts today. Look for reports to continue as Captain Brian Sims takes the helm on the next four day voyage departing tomorrow.
Good luck to the group, and good fishing.
After a full day in search mode, with three fellow adventurers fanned out over fifty some odd miles, we are now well acquainted with roughly one thousand square miles of ocean; the combined result of which was one fish. It was a long day. Although, I have to relate that after the extended search, I am not discouraged by what we found. As hard as it is to believe, I actually survived the day in good spirits with a much better idea of the present set up. In particular, we came across conditions at day's end that showed genuine promise, including a couple of schools of tuna that raised our adrenaline levels, but unfortunately continued to chafe by not biting. Well, one did anyway. And, with that lone twenty two pound yellowfin tuna bled, dressed, and deposited in the hatch, we highlined among those of us looking today. At the least, the joke made for a good laugh among us at day's end.
So tomorrow is albacore day that appears will transpire in continued good weather. Reports from the grounds indicate a fair spread of fish and good distribution among vessels. As such we plan to dedicate a full day to the effort and claim our share recognizing however that every day offshore is different and ripe for surprise - good and bad. Regardless, after what feels like an eternity of travel, we are ready to resume fishing. Better said, we are ready to resume catching. We have been fishing like mad men to no avail.
I missed the shot of yesterday's outstanding catch so I am pulling one from a few days prior. Charter Master John Kashiki is a long range legend. Earning the title by fishing these boats since I don't even know when, John sets the bar at a level most of us can only hope to achieve. At somewhere around ninety years young, John is still at the rail catching his share, still enjoying every aspect of the voyage, and still entertaining us to no end with his keen sense of humor, and incredible vigor. I admire Mr. Kashiki tremendously. As an example of what is possible, we are all fortunate to know him.
Have a fine day and look for tomorrow's report with final trip details.
About as idyllic a day of coastal yellowtail fishing as one could imagine with stunning scenery, grease calm weather, and steady paced action beginning just after daylight and lasting through the late afternoon. It wasn't slam dunk, knock it out of the park, load up in one stop type action; one had to put in time at the rail to reap the rewards, but the easy pace stretched out the day and enabled us to enjoy the setting to it's full potential.
By far the day's highlight came during a mid day tour that perfectly coincided with a brief showing of jumbo yellowtail right along the shoreline as they chased a huge ball of sardines out of the surf. The whole thing was over in about forty five minutes, and the stop itself produced only a couple of handfuls of the coveted "premium" grade fish, but memories of the spectacular event will last a lifetime. Between the cathedral like island walls towering overhead, the cacophony of birds calling, sea lions barking, sea elephants baying, and the actual sound of jumbo yellowtail slashing and tearing the grease calm sea surface into a cauldron of sardine demise, there was so much sensory stimulus that it all blended into an incredibly intense space in time.
Though this is not what one would typically find in the brochure, such fantastic occurrences are a huge attraction unique to long range fishing. I don't know of anywhere else in the world that can consistently measure up to the raw scenic exposure long range anglers experience on almost every adventure. It may not be a significant component to some anglers. But, it is difficult to not recognize how special the opportunity to see the grand mechanism functioning unedited really is.
With our fill of yellowtail in the hatch, we are headed back outside in search of albacore and bluefin for our final two days. There is plenty going on in a variety of locations but tomorrow will be dedicated to prospecting a new part of the ocean seeking good biting schools. About a week or so back we got off the mother lode of albacore down below. Boom or bust is tomorrow's theme as it is one of those times when we are compelled to simply head out and cover new ground in search of. All of you following along are plenty familiar with my many sojourns into the abyss. It is a trademark I host with pride, but employ with varying degrees of success. The bust side of the such looking missions is inherent, and as such, often inevitable. The one certainty however is that they won't be found by not looking. As such we are heading west with our jaws set determined to make it happen. Believe me we have come out on the winning side of the equation plenty. Here we go.
Today's photo was snapped amidst the blazing beach action on big yellows. Note the proximity of the shoreline, and the imagine the exuberance of Royal Star veteran Bob Ryan as he pulls on what ultimately became a premium, thirty five pound class yellowtail. Long range fishing at it's finest.
While our first attempt in the morning was a flop, it ultimately resulted in a lucky find that provided clean offshore action on 18 - 25# yellowtail. Once again we were somewhat frustrated by the fact that the vast majority the meaty spots we approached did not bite like one would hope, but enough did that it made the effort well worthwhile. In addition, the surface show was epic adding a thrilling dimension to the action that occurred in continuing flat calm conditions. It was a pretty day to be on the ocean.
It was an equally pretty day to be fishing as the morning action dwindled prompting another move that led to satisfaction and success. Between the scenery, the action, and production, we could not ask for more. Any woes and worries lingering from the prior two days were erased by the entire setting today. We are grateful though we are not done by a long shot. As such, we are finally stopping the boat, dropping the hook, with plans to remain stationary as long as possible. Ultimately we will return to the offshore tuna pursuit. For now though, we are going with the bird in the hand.
Photos today feature two shots of the bow action while hitting spots of boiling yellowtail offshore. The first image features one of the many boilers itself. The second features angler Fred Lemay, and many others, tied into our quarry. As one can imagine, this situation was ripe for the long rods and surface iron. Fred did the occasion justice hooking his share, and then some on the plug. A good time was had by all.
It is difficult to say for certain, because we can never be in two places at once, but my fishing instinct yesterday nagged me into believing that a morning zig instead of a zag cost us some opportunities. Of course we will never know. It very well could be my imagination working overtime. It does seem consistent that the majority of fishermen regularly torture themselves with the notion that if they aren't loading up, or even sometimes when they are loading up, that it is better, or could be better somewhere else.
Regardless of my sufferings we made an afternoon of it offshore in beautiful weather. Today's theme was typical for bluefin that have earned their reputation as the most challenging tuna to target for good reason. Numerous spots were found and attempted throughout the afternoon that produced plenty of excitement and anticipation - all the way up to the catching part of the equation. We did have a few stops where they stuck around and yielded a handful or two, but the majority were far more interested in extending the suspense by continuing their crashing and jumping while ignoring our baits. Typical bluefin.
It was a fine day for offshore fishing, and we saw plenty of fish, but by the end of it we were ready to try our hand elsewhere. Looking for a change of pace we are relocating tonight in search of something that shows more interest in biting tomorrow. We have a fair foundation to work with, plenty of time, and the drive to make it happen. It sounds like things are beginning to wake up on the albacore grounds above so we are looking forward to a little better cooperation from our quarry moving forward.
Photos today feature a handful of anglers enjoying one of the hot and heavy afternoon moments when the bluefin dropped their guard and gave us a few shots. And, long time Royal Star veteran Dave Bookin happy to display the thirty pound size average of the bluefin landed yesterday and today. Look for tomorrow's reports with further details.
As the 1830 hour approached and we had yet to see or catch a fish the optimism I expressed in yesterday's narrative was beginning to unravel. The second guessing had long since begun and a thousand strategic alternatives revolved in my thoughts as the crushing notion of failure tightened my countenance. The steady stream of visitors on the bridge, excited to fish and full of enthusiasm, tapered down to zero as the atmosphere thickened and our focus narrowed to the sole and unrelenting task of finding any sign of fish. Yes, it was another one of those countless occasions that compact minutes into what feels like years, adds a few grey hairs, and deepens the creases on our faces. In short, another typical day of fishing.
So with anxiety surging, and the day rapidly fading, we finally saw our first school and got down to what we came for. It wasn't a whole lot, and definitely left us wanting more, but, at the very least, the eventual couple of stops validated the day's effort, and located us for tomorrow's effort's. The main component of success - good weather, is in our favor, and time is on our side. Forty bluefin was the day's total, and one harbinger of El Nino - a sole yellowfin tuna caught in 63.5 degree water.
That is a joke in case any one reading took it seriously. I would say that everyone one of us out here, including yours truly, were thoroughly blind sided by the absence of warm conditions that appeared set to dominate the picture as early as April this year. Mother Nature threw us an epic curve ball stoking up about two months of solid north west winds upwelling the ocean for about three thousand miles with significant seas and strong southerly currents. Once again we were acquainted with the fact that we haven't any genuine insight into Mother Nature's thinking. It's kind of like a man attempting to figure out a woman's thinking. We all know how well that works out. Actually, that is an incredibly accurate parallel to fishing in general. One is much better off reading the signs and acting accordingly rather that trying to figure it out ahead of time. There you go. Tim's fishing tip for the day.
No photo today as I freely admit that when we finally did get on the fish snapping a photo was as far from my mind as the thought of me becoming an astronaut. When the stress level subsides I will get back with the program. Look for reports to continue as we ply the offshore grounds tomorrow and beyond.
Happy fourth of July to all as we celebrate Independence Day on Royal Star heading south in search of offshore glory tomorrow and beyond. Today another successful turn was flawlessly executed as the annual "Barking Spiders" eight day returned and the John Kashiki seven day departed. With a superb group of anglers, a very favorable weather pattern forecast to begin, and everything else we can muster presently in our favor, optimism is the departing theme.
Otherwise the most news worthy item I have to report is that the team at Fisherman's Processing is really beginning to shine as the organizational details are fine tuned and improved. As one would expect it took a few loads of fish running through the plant to figure the most efficient systems of production. As I have been a part of the team almost every time Royal Star fish passed through the facility I can say that the improvement I saw yesterday was nothing short of incredible.
Originally our intent was to improve the turn time on same day orders as the vast majority of the feedback we received from customers indicated a need for this option. We set up our fillet and packaging line to maximize our ability to process orders rapidly and efficiently. The past couple of trips, but yesterday in particular, the plant was in full swing as same day orders from two vessels were processed simultaneously and customers headed home for 4th of July celebrations with their premium fresh product in hand in near record time. This was the goal we set out to achieve.
Looking forward, I can't encourage anglers strongly enough to take advantage of the same day option available at Fisherman's Processing on your day of arrival. Regardless of what vessel you return on we will transport your fish to the plant immediately and get to work filleting and packaging your order so you can be on your way home with a minimal wait. With the improvement in our total system that I witnessed yesterday, and the certainty that we will only continue to advance, I am feeling very good about the improvement in fish processing services that Fisherman's Processing represents to all long range fishing customers. And that really is the bottom line - customers win when there are more and better options to choose from. The addition of Fisherman's Processing is huge win for every angler returning to the San Diego water front.
Back to what we are here for, our voyage will begin targeting offshore varieties before continuing the southerly trek. With information pouring in it appears that our list of options has expanded significantly over the past week. Throw some long overdue good weather into the equation and the set up is complete. Now we need to hold up our end and find our anglers some fish to catch. We are more than ready to get down to doing what we do best. Reports with the details will continue.
Uneventful day traveling up the line in improving weather while hitting a handfull of bluefin boilers that didn't respond. Tim is leaving tomorrow on our annual kashiki 7-day so a more detailed report will resume on the 5th. The weather pattern is setting up nicely for the next few days which should bode well for the offshore scene. Kurt Dearie shows off one of his 40lb yellows taken yesterday in our last shot.
An epic day of yellowtail fishing made even more special by sunny flat calm weather to enjoy it in. The day started out with wide open fishing on 15-20lb fish that just kept biting better as the day progressed. We had our fill on this grade fish by lunch and spent the rest of the day targeting the premiums and were not dissapointed. We got on a handful of different spots of 30-45lb fish that put on an incredible show as they came through the stern in sheets. In spite of the show they were a little reluctant to bite but we were more than happy with the 35 we landed. We are heading up tonight and plan on looking offshore tomorrow weather permitting. Mark Mayeda poses with the results from one of our better stops on the premium yellows in today's shot.
We pieced together a decent day for 85 yellows highlighted by an incredible afternoon show on 30-40lb fish. The premium grade was reluctant to bite but we managed to boat 21 of them by dark. With choppy weather offshore we've opted to spend the night here in the lee and hope it bites tomorrow. Today's shot shows Russ Ung with a 40lb yellow taken on the jig.