Long range report: Lengthy trips make hay

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Combining a north and south itinerary has been the hot ticket

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO — The window of time that a 7- to 10- day trip offers is key to the success of these longer trips, especially when you consider the up and down nature of the bluefin bite on the outer waters. The long range fleet will either begin or end the trip on the trophy bluefin grounds depending on the attitude of the fish. If they are biting when departing, the boats will start out west. If not, the boat will start down south on the Ridge and Rocks then finish up north. A longer trip will offer two shots at targeting the fish. The fishing on the Ridge and Rocks is dependable this time of year offering flexibility. The wahoo fishing, however, has been scratchy.

Intrepid 10-day

The Intrepid was on the annual Dave Berutich 10-Day and began the trip fishing open water yellowfin tuna. Capt. Sam Moore was at the wheel and sent this first report, “We started our trip with good action on school-sized yellowfin tuna up to 35 pounds. We had a steady pick all afternoon. It was finesse-style fishing with light line and sometimes long soaks. Thirty-pound test line and a size 2 hook was the key to getting a bite. We also managed to land a few trophy-sized dorado in the middle of all the action. It has been a good start to the trip. We are going to give this tuna another try and see if it keeps up.”

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The boat continued down the beach looking for coastal yellowtail. The skipper sent this message, “We started our morning anchored up catching one at a time and at 8 o’clock in the morning everything started to get more lively. For two hours we had great yellowtail fishing keeping three to four going all the time. Yo-yo jigs and dropper loops were the most effective. The grade of the yellowtail was impressive with most going 18 to 25 pounds. At around noon the show was over and conditions had changed.”

FIRST TIME ROYAL STAR ANGLER Russ Voge with an incredible 318- pound behemoth taken on the Flat-Fall “after hours.” PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

Indy 10-day

The Independence departed on the Indy Shootout 10 Day and Capt. Brian Pifer made the decision to begin out west in search of bluefin and yellowfin tuna. The move was a good one as the bite in outer waters was on the upswing. The boat began tight to San Clemente Island fishing on the pick and filed this report, “Started our morning fishing yellowtail. We had action right away at gray light. It was a yellowtail and bonito frenzy. As the morning went on, so did the weather, making it difficult to fish. We ended our day with 43 quality yellowtail.”

The following day, the bluefin showed up, “The bluefin tuna were on the chew. Our group did a great job catching limits of bluefin tuna from 25 to 45 pounds. It seemed like every bait that hit the water was bit. And to add on top of an epic day, we caught two 70-pound yellowfin tuna.”

Big X finishes 10-day

The Excel was also down on a 10-day and experienced the excellent mixed-bag fishing that these length trips are known for. The boat began on the Ridge then finished the trip on the bluefin grounds. The boat sent this message “Excellent yellowtail fishing to be had on numerous spots. Biting pretty much anything that you want to throw at them. The Ridge had hot water for us (84 degrees) and the tuna pulled a no-show. We did catch a few dorado and one lonely wahoo. We made the run out to the Rocks where we wrestled 25 wahoo away from the crazy aggressive sharks. We’ve also managed to pick up some dorado on kelp and have had some chances at skin on kelps too. Everyone has plenty of fish now to take home and we are on the hunt for more wahoo and dorado on kelps.”

The big sportfisher finished up with a bang on the bluefin grounds, “Got into some good action here in the upper zone with the big boys. Landed five cows, a 291, 250, 235, 225 and 224. We still have one more day, let’s see if we can add more trophy fish to the count.”

A FAT WAHOO ON THE SPINNER aboard the Excel. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING

Star scores big

The Royal Star was also out west hunting big bluefin to begin a 7-day. The boat had a fantastic day. Capt. Tim Ekstrom was on the bridge and sent this report, “A 205, 238, 238, 248 and 318. Those five, eight others in the 150- to 180- pound class, and a couple of 120- pound ‘dinks’ made for one heck of an afternoon. In an arena abundant with opportunity, the trick was finding the biters, then converting on the opportunities. Conditions were ideal; perfect wind, perfect seas.”

The report continued, “Closing out the day (night) with a final jumbo on the Flat-Fall, we headed south for the remainder of the voyage confident that our job above on the big fish grounds was well done. Variety will be the name of the game now as we slide down in search mode seeking colorful leapers and coastal selections.”

RP turns red

The Royal Polaris was down on the Ridge and rolled up on one of the high spots to find shiners of spawning pargo. The boat went to work putting in a great day of catching the good eating fish. The boat with Capt. Roy Rose at the wheel sent this report, “Today we had a surprise catch, something that we haven’t seen in a long time. We caught a load of pargo and snappers. Around 0400 hours, Roy woke everyone up, because it was raining pargo and snapper. Anglers that woke up and put the time in caught 4 to 5 each, while others decided to stay in bed and recoup from yesterday’s tuna fishing.”

Rooster searches for wahoo

The Red Rooster was another boat on the southern grounds in search of wahoo. The bite has been uneven in recent weeks. Capt. Andy Cates sent this report, “It was tough fishing on the wahoo this week. We did manage a dozen of them between the Rocks and the Ridge. Unfortunately, we had to cover a lot of area for the chances we had.”

A CHUNKY RIDGE YELLOWTAIL landed on the Rooster. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING
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