Long range report: Go west young man

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Big bluefin on the bite; parade of 100-pound plus fish hit the dock

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO — Where the big fish go, so goes the long range fleet. In a rare set of circumstances, the bulk of the long range fleet fished out west, behind San Clemente Island out to the Tanner Bank. The quality of the fish and their eagerness to bite made the western sail a no-brainer. The move paid off in spades as many of the boats boated a 100-pound class fish for everyone on board. A good bite on school bluefin and stout bank yellowtail filled out the catch. Meanwhile, the 8-day trips were finding solid fishing for speedy wahoo, big bank yellowtail and school yellowfin on the high spots that make up the Ridge.

Angler notches 17 over 100

The American Angler was west of San Clemente Island on a Curtis Rosenthal Charter and found a school of biggies in deep waters. Capt. Ray Lopez was at the controls and filed this report, “The bite was as good as it gets on 25-to 40-pound bluefin tuna then shifted to big fish as we boated 17 fish in the 100-pound class. Everyone had the opportunity to pull on a big one. We are all beyond cloud nine tonight and can’t even believe our good fortune.”

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JIM VLAHAKIS with a fat 238 cow bluefin on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

Intrepid on big blues

The Intrepid was also on the big bluefin grounds and encountered the same big boys. Capt. Sam Moore was in the wheelhouse on the Bart Ryder Ultra-Limited Load 5-Day and sent this report, “Amazing finish. Yesterday was as good as it gets on big bluefin. We were able to keep one to three going for most of the day. All of our fish were 120 to 220 pounds. We arrived Point Loma Sportfishing this morning with an impressive catch, limits of bluefin with 38 fish weighing over 100 pounds. It was a winner take all for jackpot and Stas Vellonakis with a bluefin weighing 150 pounds caught on a fly-lined sardine. Huge thanks to Bart Ryder and everyone else who helped put this trip together.”

Star goes big

The Royal Star was on the bluefin spot opting to steer the Mitch Otera 7-Day trip out west, under the tutelage of Capt. Brian Sims. The boat started with a bang boating some larger models on the first day, “We departed this morning on the Mitch Otera 7-Day trip. We elected to stay local and fish for bluefin to start the trip. This afternoon we got into an area of better-size bluefin and managed to land 4 fish from 130 to 158 pounds and an 84 pounder.”

The next day was better, “Today we witnessed an incredible show of big bluefin blowing out on flying fish. For hours, wherever we looked, there were 130- to 250-plus-pound bluefin flying out of the water. The challenge was to deliver our baits to their location with no wind to assist in an aerial presentation. When we got one in the right place, we got a bite. And then like a light switch, it was over. We kept looking and found a little action from a couple of kelps and scratched a couple more 90-pound bluefin in the evening. Overall, it was a nice day of trophy hunting in great weather. Jim Vlahakis landed the big fish with a 238 this morning.”

BIG BLUEFIN TUNA landed on the Intrepid displayed at Point Loma Landing. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

Indy on bluefin

The Independence was another boat plying the western waters. Capt. Brian Pifer was driving the boat and filed this report, “What a trip the guys had. We started our trip traveling 95 miles out to the Tanner Bank. We woke up the next day to a feeding frenzy of 25- to 65-pound bluefin tuna. We ended up with 58 bluefin (limits) and 6 yellowtail for our day.”

The report continued, “The last day of our trip was even better. The second round of hungry bluefin at the bank were on the chew at 0600. We caught what we needed and left the bank around 11 a.m. We pointed it toward the ‘big bluefin zone’ and it paid off. We caught 6 fish from 90 to160 pounds. Finished the trip up with 174 (limits) of bluefin tuna and 12 yellowtail. One for the books.”

MARK CONROY, longtime WON reader poses with a 40-pound wahoo caught aboard the Indy on the Ridge.

Supreme day

The Polaris Supreme was also fishing outer waters and found a stellar day on the big bluefin. Capt. Alec Robbie sent this report, “Today we finished up fishing for these big bluefin tuna. It was an amazing finish. Everyone on the boat landed a fish 130 pounds or bigger up to 220 pounds. Incredible fishing for these big bluefin and enough to go around for everyone. We will be in the dock tomorrow to get a final weight on these things.”

Rooster lands super cow

The Red Rooster was also on the big fish, besting the fleet by landing a super cow. Capt. Andy Cates sent this brief message, “We were fortunate enough to find a couple schools of jumbos that wanted to cooperate. Everybody was able to get a nice fish on the kite. All fish were over 100 pounds with 3 cows and 1 super. Great day with great people.”

HOT RAIL! A fat wahoo comes aboard the RP.
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