Long Range Report: Bluefin in spades, yellowfin and wahoo on the cow grounds

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A 100-POUND CLASS bluefin tuna on the deck of the Big X. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING
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BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

Special to Western Outdoor News

SAN DIEGO– The Royal Star was the only boat on the cow grounds this week as the remaining trips to the tropical waters dwindle. It has been a good spring at Hurricane Bank and the Buffer Zone. Several trips have found excellent fishing on mid-grade 100-pound class tuna with a varied sample of cows. The wahoo fishing has also been outstanding with most boats posting daily limits between tuna bites. The rest of the fleet has been on the local bluefin grounds and for good reason. The bite has been steady with boats posting limits on most days. The grade has ranged from 30- to 40-pound schoolies to cows. Most of the fish this week ranged from 40 to 60 pounds with a few better kickers to 200.

Star on cow grounds

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After a few days on Wi-Fi blackout, the Royal Star, with Capt. Brian Sims at the wheel, sent this report, “A quick update from Capt. Brian Sims whose signal offshore went quiet the past couple of days. The news from the lower zone is fantastic. Big fish of the past two days came in at 246 for long time Royal Star veteran Warren Sakamoto. The action on mid range, 80- to 150- pound models continued, as well as more shots at prolific ‘skin’ but the focus has shifted in favor of trophies as the holds are loaded with plenty of epic RSW product.”

A TROPHY BANK YELLOWFIN landed on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

On the last fishing day of the trip, the boat went hunting for better models. The veteran skipper reported it this way, “For our last day of fishing, we focused exclusively on areas where we had seen trophy tuna. We found the 80- to 175-pound grade and one that was a 195. Unfortunately, the trophies were scarce. In the afternoon the small fish moved in on us so we threw in the towel and headed for the Cape. With a beautiful catch of tuna and wahoo resting in the RSW tanks, we are enjoying a nice ride up.”

Angler on bluefin

The American Angler has ben running a series of shorter trips targeting the local bluefin tuna. Familiarity has bred success as the boat continues to make impressive catches. Capt. Brian Kiyohara laid out the two bites, “For the night method, a 200-plus gram Flat-Fall fished on heavy tackle was the method. During the day, the hot ticket was 30- to 40-pound fly-line and 100-gram ColtSnipers.”

A CHUNKY BLUEFIN landed on the Angler. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER SPORTFISHING

The next day, the boat found some better quality fish, “Less action today but still opportunities for those 100- to 120-pound fish. We had a few epic battles, some were won and others ended in heartbreak. We finished with just nine bluefin tuna but four were over 100 pounds.” The next 1.5-day trip resulted in limits. “We returned this morning with limits of bluefin tuna. The fish ranged from 20 to 134 pounds.”

Big X local

After just completing an excellent trip down to the cow grounds, the Excel was back plying local waters for trophy bluefin. The boat sent this report after a 2.5-day trip, “We just finished up our first 2.5-day trip of the season and what a trip it was. We caught limits of bluefin up to 105 pounds and had very fun yellowtail fishing on kelps. Most of our tuna were caught at night on various knife and Flat-Fall-style jigs from 100- to 250-grams. The night bites were grueling but productive.”

Indy on bluefin

The Independence was also on the bluefin grounds on a 3-day trip. The boat got off to a good start, “We left yesterday on our 3-Day Graftech Rods Charter. So far we have been blessed with good action on bluefin tuna in the 35- to 60-pound range. We hope to keep up the pace and stay on the fish.”

Intrepid on local bluefin

Another boat on a shorter trip, bluefin schedule was the Intrepid. The big sportfisher with Capt. Bill Cavanaugh on the bridge sent this report, “We returned this morning from our Channel Islands Fishing Club 3-day. We had a tough trip and never really put anything together. We did have a couple of good opportunities on bluefin that never worked out. Lost some 100-pound plus bluefin and had a really nice school yesterday that didn’t keep biting for us. It is what it is.”

The report continued, “Our jackpot winners are as follows: third place went to James Gideon with a 50.8-pound bluefin, second place went to Gerald Yoshida with a 52.8-pound bluefin, and first place goes to Lloyd Doyle with a 60.1-pound bluefin tuna. Honorable mention goes to Amy Schneider with a 54.1-pound bluefin. We are out on a 1.5 day today.”

Supreme catch

            The Polaris Supreme has been on the local bluefin for weeks. The boat posted this report after the latest 1.5-day, “We just got tied up from a 1.5-day trip and finished with limits of bluefin tuna up to 120 pounds for our 24 passengers. The majority of the fish were in the 40- to 50-pound range. Real good sign of fish out there, we pretty much caught all of the fish on the Flat Fall yesterday morning.”

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