Our kinship with this island is based on mechanics paid for in thousands of collective hours of discovery as much as instinct. A stunning dawn of velvet soft high clouds bordered in crimson revealed a setting completely opposite from the previous afternoon. One glance at the awakening sky told me the story I had hoped for; the weather change, palpable and poignant, broadcast the soothing tone so familiar here when things are right. The morning began with an immediate showing of 50 - 70 pound yellowfin tuna that proved everything was not lost in yesterday's dissapointing opener. They were here; and as so often encountered at this end of the island, preferred breakfast to dinner. Thank goodness.
Before I get too far however I must report that the signs we found, while significant, were not the mother lode. It added up to a couple of scattered spots of fish that didn't exactly receive our offerings with gusto, but did show enough interest to accumulate into sixteen beautiful, perfectly pithed, bled, and dressed trophies in our RSW tank.A handful were around fifty, a handful were 60 to 70, and a handful were 73 - 87 pounds. Needless to say all of us are ecstatic with the grade that offered a number of other missed opportunities for the ususal list of calamities; most of which the result of finicky fish requiring borderline light tackle to entice.
The news overall all is good - there definitely are premium size yellowfin tuna to be caught at Guadalupe. However, my immediate take is that the island is in the preliminary stages of the big change that typically ushers in the real deal quantites of tuna. Presently the water temp is still a little cold at 67 degrees Fahrenheit, and again, despite finding a modest quantity of the right grade yellowfin tuna, we did plenty of additional prospecting that uncovered no more. As for a predicted time line of when the change will occur I'll keep my notions within. Next week? Two weeks? Tomorrow? It is anyone's guess. For now the good news is that the stage is set. I believe it is only a matter of time before some real deal big hits on this beautiful grade Guadalupe yellowfin will happen.
Perhaps tomorrow will be the day. I'll never forget an early season trip about five or six years ago when we spent two and a half days here, hardly saw a thing in the way of tuna, landed a measly twenty some odd smaller yellowfin, departed for Cedros in an attempt to salvage our final full day of fishing seeking yellowtail, then received a report from my colleague who arrived at Guadalupe the next morning, anchored the exact same ridge where we had fished two thirds of the previous day for ten tuna, and found wide open fishing on 40 - 70 pound fish. The agony of that day is permanently etched in my memory. As I recall the winners on the other rig had somewhere in the neighboorhood of 150 of the bigger yellowfin that day. It can change quickly.
For better, the same, or worse we are here for the duration tomorrow. Hoping of course for better, no doubt we are in an improved state after the wealth of time spent prospecting and getting located today. If they are still around tomorrow, and conditions are similiar, I'm thinking we are better positioned to make the most of what they have to offer. We will see.
Photo today features angler Brendan Slagle and crewman Paul Caramayo with a fine, fifty pound class Guadalupe yellowfin to kick off the 2011 season. Needless to say we hope this is one of many to come.