Long Range Report: Fleet finishes strong

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Wahoo, yellowfin, and yellowtail fill holds; boats return home for the holiday

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO – After watching a big fish bite on the lower banks peter out, the long range fleet retreated to the Ridge and decked good catches of school yellowfin, big mossback yellowtail and a nice sample of wintertime wahoo. What looked like a developing bite on the lower banks fizzled out with just a sample of trophy fish in the bag. It is an area, however, that the fleet will keep an eye on. The good fishing was on the high spots that make up the Ridge where conditions were ideal for a late fall catch.

Indy 10-day

The Independence was on the lower banks in search of those big bruiser yellowfin tuna. The boat, with Capt. Brian Pifer at the wheel, arrived as the bite waned. “Beautiful weather for the guys today. There is no shortage of big fish down here but getting a bite is a whole other story. We put in a lot of effort for no rewards. We’re gonna go try to find some biting fish tomorrow.”

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A 215 COW taken off the lower banks on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

The move to the Ridge was a good one as the boat experienced a solid day of mixed bag fishing. The skipper sent this message, “The guys had an awesome day pulling on yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. All smiles and fun today with steady action. We’re gonna try out a new area and hope for another great day tomorrow.”

Another high spot, another catch, “A good day of fishing for the guys. It was slow in the morning, but we went looking and it paid off. We had great action on yellowfin tuna and yellowtail again. We’ll be heading up the coast hunting for yellows tomorrow.”

Intrepid on lower banks

The Intrepid arrived on the lower banks just as the bite turned scratchy. The boat with Capt. Bill Cavanaugh on the bridge, filed this report, “We arrived on the Lower Banks the day before yesterday. We looked at a different area that had good life but no tuna. We scratched at nice-sized wahoo that day. Yesterday we had some shots at big ones. We hooked 5 big tuna during the day and managed to land 2 of them, a 215 and a 177. We are trying for big ones again today. Our weather is a bit breezy but not rough. We have high hopes.”

The next day, another shot at the big tuna, “The morning was spent trying for big ones. With the opportunities we had the day before and the sign of fish that was seen, we had high hopes. Unfortunately, we never got a bite and really didn’t see much fish. After catching some grouper, we took off to try for wahoo. We managed one wahoo late in the day. That was our day. We are currently catching yellowtail and school size tuna on the Ridge. Pretty good fishing actually.”

A DANDY RIDGE YELLOWFIN landed on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

With the writing on the wall in terms of the big fish, the sportfisher turned its attention to the Ridge, “We had a very good day of fishing yesterday. Steady action all day on school-size yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. We ended up with limits of yellowfin and 69 yellowtail for our day. Everyone is stoked. We are trying this again today.”

Another day, more limit-style fishing, “We experienced another good day of fishing yesterday. We scratched at yellowfin in the morning and made a move, middle of the day. Late in the afternoon we located some of the best biting yellowfin tuna we have seen all year. What made this even more special was that we had yellowtail mixed in with the tuna. It was wide open. When the dust had settled we had limits of yellowfin tuna and 45 yellowtail. Our weather was flat calm all day.”

Star 10-day

The Royal Star was also down below and took a shot at the big fish. The tuna didn’t cooperate, but the boat ran across some giant mossback yellowtail. Capt.Tim Ekstrom commented, “One heck of a show on big tuna throughout the day, including a mid-afternoon, breathtaking detonation when the school of giants that had been on us chased a bait ball from under the boat and went to town while we gasped and wildly cheered them on. Maddeningly however, we were able to drive the hook home in a measly handful converting on a mere two of the opportunities. The real saving grace was a bonus school of jumbo yellowtail that set up shop today providing a ton of hard pulling battles for those who chose to engage.”

A GIANT WAHOO landed on the Rooster. PHOTO COURTESY OF RED ROOSTER SPORTFISHING

The veteran skipper continued, “At a 40- to 45-pound average, the yellowtail were bona fide bruisers that were among the healthiest I have ever seen. Broad shouldered and fat, those fish are going to be superb on the table shared with friends and family for weeks to come. They weren’t the giant yellowfin that we were hankering for but believe me, we were more than grateful to every one that made the ultimate sacrifice on our behalf, day makers to be sure.”

A BIG JIGGED YELLOWTAIL. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING
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