Long range report: More monster bluefin tuna

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Ridge lights up with slug wahoo and night bite yellowfin

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO – In a stunning run of trophy bluefin tuna fishing, the long range fleet landed 4 more super cow class bluefin tuna to go with several cows and dozens of fish in the 100-pound class. The run of big fish was the best of the season. When the western option slowed, the fleet made a bee-line for the outstanding fishing on the Ridge. A batch of bigger wahoo and terrific night bites on yellowfin tuna to 40-pounds highlighted the action.

AA on big tuna

After sticking 370- and 380-pound super cows, the American Angler decked 2 more weighing in at 326 and 355. Bill Randell got the 326 and Richard Tanaka, the 355. The Reel Wildfire group landed 4 supers on the trip. Capt. Ray Lopez was on the bridge and filed this report, “How do you coin this trip? Trip of a lifetime, memory maker, epic, never seen anything like it in all my years of fishing, unprecedented. None of those cliches do the experience justice but the one thing that makes this history sweet is all members onboard have been fishing with us for years.  Who better to appreciate the beauty of catching these monsters than those who will appreciate it the most. Four over 300, and many over 200 and 100. The scales at the dock recorded Bert Withsosky 366, Tim Messer 365, Richard Tanaka 346, Bill Randall 323. Congrats to JP winners, 1st place, Tim Messer with a 163, 2nd place, Mike Casey with a 113 and 3rd place, Mike Dantona with a 95.”

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FOUR SUPERCOWS landed on the Angler. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER SPORTFISHING

Star bluefin bite

The Royal Star has been putting a lot of time on the jumbo bluefin out west. Capt. Tim Ekstrom was at the helm on the most recent trip and the veteran skipper sent this report after landing a supercow. “By the numbers we are relishing good fishing for beautiful, trophy grade bluefin offshore in primo weather. Beginning with a solid, predawn hit on the Flat-Falls we picked at jumbos for the majority of the day drifting along the bluefin highway. Once again, still, the sheer quantity of fish is stunning, the real deal.  Lon Mikkelsen, founder of our favorite OTR harnesses, got the one he was waiting for at 328. This beast coming through the gate made quite an impression.”

Another day, more giants. “With the quantity and variety categories well satisfied, we passed the final day in near sole pursuit of jumbo grade bluefin. Not that we would have snubbed our noses at any good-size fish brave enough to latch onto our lines but we didn’t target smaller models intentionally. A fine deuce at 228, a handful of 120s and 170s, and one behemoth that weighed in at a whopping 376 were the reward. What an incredible fish, stunningly beautiful, that made quite an impression. Between the epic battle waged and final, white knuckle minutes when the denizen was so close, so huge, and still so far from vanquished, the moment of truth was a massive victory for all. Pat Moorehouse was the triumphant angler earning respect and admiration in the process. Next season hosts the 20th annual Humboldt Fishin’ Lumberjack voyage. We already look forward to opportunity to fish together again.”

RICHARD TANAKA with a 346 supercow on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

RP on the Ridge

The wahoo fishing has showed signs of improvement and the Royal Polaris was well situated to take advantage of the trend. The boat with Capt. Frank Lo Preste at the wheel, sent this report, “Well our morning started out with a bang. We pulled our anchor, started trolling, and we didn’t move 30 seconds, and a 4-way on the troll.  Not only did we have a 4 ‘hoo on the troll, we had iron and bomb fish hitting the deck.  We almost had one wahoo come on the boat, chasing a bomb, from one of our anglers. That was the good news, but the bad news, we couldn’t stay long, the water temperature was coming up fast so we had to leave or kill our bait. When we departed the area, the water temp was 83.5 degrees, and climbing.”

The following day more action, “So we started heading north, hitting all the high spots. We would pick a few wahoo on each spot. We arrived to an area that Frank wanted to try for some yellowtail. The first 3 anglers down, got hammered. Not by yellowtail, but the monsters of the deep (grouper). We would not land one, but the action was fun, and then the 25- to 30-pound yellowtail moved in, and our anglers were ready for these. The action was over as fast as it started. Weather today was gorgeous once again, as we had 5 knots of breeze, sunny, and very warm.”

Another day, add some dorado, “Well it’s another day on the Royal Polaris, and boy what a day. We had good wahoo fishing and excellent dorado fishing for our anglers today. The wahoo were in the 35- to 50- pound range, and the dorado were in the 8- to 15- pound range.”

COMING IN HOT on the RP. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING

Supreme night bite

The Polaris Supreme was another boat down on the Ridge and experienced a wide open night bite on yellowfin tuna. The boat sent this report, “Last night was awesome for yellowfin tuna, the guys stayed up most of the night into the early hours of the morning catching these good grade tuna. When daylight came, we did not have the same luck on the tuna. However, we did manage to land some wahoo. Hopefully tonight we have a similar experience with the tuna.”

The next night, the tuna bit at night again, “Another incredible night of fishing. especially during the first half of the night. About half the fish were 20 to 40 pounds, awesome night fishing. During the day we had a few hits on wahoo and another incredible dorado bite.”

A 376 ON THE ROYAL STAR. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

Indy on the Ridge

The Independence was on the annual Tackle Express 10-Day hosted by Brett Edmondson. Capt. Matt Kaullen was at the wheel as the boat began the trip on the Ridge. The skipper sent this first report, “We started out bright and early this morning catching yellowfin tuna and yellowtail long before the sun came up. After daybreak we scratched away on wahoo and there were some real trophies brought on board in the 50- to 60-pound range. The plan for tomorrow is more of the same and focusing on the elusive skinny. We have a little more breeze now but no complaints.”

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