As a preface to the final fishing report I hope to encourage anyone waiting to pull the last minute trigger on a long trip this winter to act now. Speaking with Tracy in our office this morning she informed me that the upcoming 14 day voyage departing on Saturday, February 4th, returning Saturday, February 18th still has a few spaces available after a couple of
anglers sadly had to drop off. The giant yellowfin tuna fishing is presently at a peak, and promises to remain as such for the next run.
I don't stick my neck out and offer assurances about an upcoming voyage's success unless I am absolutely certain the signs are right. Right now, in several different locations, the signs are not only right, they are exceptional. All different size classes of yellowfin, Wahoo consistently in the mix, and, most important for the big fish enthusiasts, an overwhelming abundance of life. Best said this is one of those junctures when the entire zone down below is on.
It is a palpable thing. One can both see and feel that it is another season when conditions are right. The evidence is overwhelming. From the prior four voyages to the present the content of our hatches (fish holds) relates a compelling tale. If you can make it, now is the time to sign on. Tracy and/or Brian are in the office all day to answer any questions, and provide ample encouragement for any of you considering the upcoming trip. Give them a call. You will not be disappointed.
As for our final morning fishing results better magic can not be scripted. All voyage long we have been guarding space in the hatches awaiting the chance to fill capacity with big fish. Without question we could have filled the boat twice with the amount of eager 60 - 140# yellowfin around. But we didn't. We opted to wait patiently releasing the "smaller" fish beginning on day three metering a couple of handfuls of larger models into the RSW tanks every day awaiting the big hurrah if and when it were to come.
With the final morning looming, and sufficient space remaining to accommodate perhaps a handful more of 200 pound plus fish, we began our last effort at 0230 hoping that the pattern would return back to the previous several days when we were picking off two to four cows per morning. The prior morning sapped a bit of our confidence but there were far more favorable indications this morning suggesting that things were different. We passed the three a.m. mark, then three thirty, then four - nothing. Tons of bait that built up around us during the night, a veritable banquet for voracious tunas arriving from the deeps, was feasting on krill and tiny organisms around Royal Star confidant, and obviously fearless, from a lack of tuna sign.
Then, at 0430, in one snap of the fingers the bait vanished. It was a sure fire sign that elicited an announcement over the P.A. that they (the tuna) had arrived. And sure enough, within seconds of the notice, we were on! It wasn't a melee, there was no pandemonium, but there was definitely a bunch of action, the majority of which was on the grade we were looking for. "The Commander" started it off with a 215 followed by Dave Sumethasorn with a "PL 68" enticed 225. Along with another handful of 120 - 150's that went down, and plenty more released 70 - 100's, the remaining hatch space was getting eaten up in a hurry.
With the corpulent feminine soprano plainly audible the final big fish hour had arrived. We had capacity for about two more jumbos if they were to come and the clock was ticking. Then, wouldn't you know it, anglers Alfredo "Freddie" Salgado and Wayne Waldron almost simultaneously set the hook on a couple of real deal big ones. Fast forward an hour and we were done, hatched, at capacity after the boys did some rearranging in the last RSW tank to slide in the final two giants that weighed in at 278 and 279 respectively. It was as picture perfect a finish as a Captain, crew, and
group of anglers could ever hope for.
Appropriately, Freddie and Wayne nabbed the honors today with respective photo finishes that give a good name to perseverance at the rail. Both of these anglers made it happen; no luck, no gimme's; sheer determination, and
perhaps a smidge of divinity, landed these two behemoths in the eleventh and a half hour; well deserved congratulations to both men!