Long Range Report: Cow tuna crash lower banks

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LOWER BANKS TROPHY on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING
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Big mossbacks, scattered wahoo and grouper fill out catches

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO – With the long range fleet prowling around for the last several weeks, the big cow tuna that show up on the lower banks in the late fall did not stand a chance of escaping detection. The boys got on ‘em this week posting several super cows to go with good catches of cows. The fish are a little late but appreciated none-the-less. With good numbers of blue colored cows caught early in the fall in local waters, it is serendipitous that the fleet would end the year catching yellow colored cows nearly 1,000 miles down the coast. It is the definition of long range.

Intrepid on lower banks

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The Intrepid was on the annual Seeker 10-Day Trip and with the length of the trip, had the time and scope to cover the lower banks in search of giant yellowfin. The trip began at Alijos rocks with a try at wahoo. Capt. Bill Cavanaugh was at the wheel of the big sportfisher and sent this message, “We started out our trip at Alijos Rocks. Literally minutes after we put out the first troll team we had a strike, ‘Hook Up!’ A nice wahoo to start things off. We also scratched at some trophy yellows throughout the day and had a few windows of opportunity during the night. All in all, not a bad start. We are headed further south to fish the Lower Banks for the next couple of days.”

TIM TURIS with a 305 on the Big X, his second super cow of the trip. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING

The move to the banks was a good one as the big tuna put on a show. “Yesterday was our second day fishing for big tuna on the lower banks. It seemed like we had at least one fish hooked all day and we had a couple of better opportunities in the morning and again in the afternoon. We ended up with five fish over 200 pounds and the rest of our fish were 160 to 199. We did catch one tuna that was 70 pounds. We lost a couple of bigger fish that just would not stop and with both fish, we had two back-ups in the water. A really cool day of catching big ones.”

The boat finished the day with a few frustrations, “Yesterday was our final day of trying for big ones. We started our day out with two bites, landed a 231 and had the Spectra blow up on the other. We had good fish on us all day but did not get another bite until the afternoon. We hooked two nice ones and had misfortune take place with both. On one, the hook broke, and the other, the hook straightened out. That was our day. Four bites on big ones and we landed one fish. Today we are experiencing good fishing on school sized tuna, picked up a couple of wahoo, and a few yellowtail.”

Indy on the big ones

The Independence was on the annual Fins and Feathers 11-Day Trip and also had the time and range to fish the lower banks. Capt. Matt Kaullen was at the wheel and sent this report, “We have covered some ground the past couple days and ended up in the big fish zone. We managed to catch 5 yellowfin tuna in the 200-pound class and watched a whole bunch more. Not as much cooperation on the fishes’ part, but the guys gave it a good try. They were sure hesitant to bite a bait with a hook in it. Nonetheless we scraped a couple handfuls and had some beautiful yellowtail to go with it in the 40- to 50-pound class for the effort. We are working up all the time in nice weather and in the hunt for more yellowfin.”

A BIG MOSSBACK landed on the Independence. PHOTO COURTESY OF INDEPENDENCE SPORTFISHING

BIG X on big tuna

The Excel was also on the lower banks on a Pelagic 11-Day. The boat sent this short message after boating two super cows and a gaggle of cows.We’re down on the lower banks on a Pelagic 11-Day Trip and it’s producing the first cows (and super cows) of the season. We’ve had excellent fishing on amazing quality yellowfin tuna.”

 RP arrives

The Royal Polaris arrived on the wahoo grounds on the annual OC Tuna Charter. The boat sent this report after a good start, “We arrived at our destination around 0530 hours. We dropped our anchor and hoped that the fish would find us. But things didn’t work out that way. After about an hour, we pulled our anchor and started trolling. It didn’t take long for us to locate the wahoo. We would pick at the wahoo most of the day, with most of the fish in the 40- to 50-pound range.  We caught wahoo on the troll, live bait, bombs, surface iron, and Salas 6x jr. Most of the wahoo were in the 30- to 50-pound category.”

A BIG WAHOO on the RP. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING
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