By Gundy Gunderson
SAN DIEGO — The long range fleet shut down this week with the mounting concerns and threats of the Covid-19 virus. Fortunately, much of the fleet is in the boatyard and few trips are scheduled for April. There will be a few trips canceled. If the stop order runs into May, then there will be more trip casualties.
Meanwhile, the Royal Polaris finished up a 16-day trip that saw scratchy tuna fishing with just a handful of cow-size fish. The trips brightest spot was an outstanding wahoo bite.
Royal Star statement
The Royal Star made a statement on the closure that reflects the general feeling of San Diego’s long range fleet, “As stated in the previous post, current events dictate our policy looking forward. Foremost is our concern for the safety of Royal Star anglers. It is a sacred responsibility that we honor in every facet of our operation. The Covid-19 virus has upended all of our lives to say the least. Until the climate improves we are forced to the sidelines. Or, in the case of Royal Star, literally tied to the dock. Back in the water and ready to run, we wait. The upcoming Chris Yamada 12/15 day voyage has been cancelled. The safety of our clients and crew is too important. The fish will have to wait.”
The post continued, “In closing, we want to assure Royal Star anglers again that our decision making process places the safety and well being of those in our charge foremost. We will NOT compromise when it comes to this sacred responsibility. Looking ahead we are hopeful that this crisis will abate within the next 4-6 weeks. After that, with new cleaning and sanitizing procedures in place, the Royal Star 2020 Summer/Fall schedule will commence UNCHANGED. Huge gratitude from the entire Royal Star family is extended to one and all. We wish everyone safety, strength in the face of adversity, and strong health, love of family, and vitality. Together as one.”
RP on the grounds
The Royal Polaris was on the Hurricane Bank trying to turn around a season that has been marred by long streaks of, downright, tough fishing. From weather, to shifting current, to a lack of fish, to a lack of biting fish, to a lack of quality fish; the fleet has seen the gamut of tough conditions this year. The current Royal Polaris trip with Capt. Roy Rose at the wheel, would be no different. Every fish is earned.
After a lukewarm start that saw, a cow and a few larger teenagers, the fishing began to pick up. Crewman Dharyl Shelbourne filed this report, “Well, things are starting to look up for us. Wahoo continue to move in, and the numbers are showing it. The sharks are still a problem, but we are starting to win the battle. As far as tuna goes, we did lose a few big one’s today, for one reason or another.”
The report continued, “Mike Brown caught the big fish again today, a nice 180- pound yellowfin tuna. It seems like Mike is the lucky name for this trip. Mike Montiel, also from South Carolina was on a fish for over 2 hours, only to lose it 50 feet from the boat, as the hook would work it’s way out. Fishing is picking up for us, but the weather is still on the down side. We still have 15 to 18 knots of breeze, but we have lots of sunshine.”
One day later, another report, different conditions, “As far as yellowfin, it was a tough day, and the bite was very slow. The yellowfin we did get, were all school-size fish (20 to 30 pounds). The sharks also beat us up pretty good this trip, so we are going to lick our wounds and head north. We should arrive to Alijos rocks day after tomorrow. So tomorrow we will be traveling north. So with that note, wish us luck and we will keep you posted.”