BY GUNDY GUNDERSON
SAN DIEGO– The month of March saw most of the long range fleet in the shipyard. A year of hard running necessitates a respite and rest for the crews and a top-to-bottom maintenance protocol for the boat. The first boat to return to the water was the Royal Polaris. The rest of the fleet will return as the month of April unfolds. Upon arriving on the grounds, the RP was greeted by incredible wahoo fishing which was good enough to put the yellowfin fishing on the back burner. With a few other boats scheduled to target the cow grounds in the near future, the initial reports bode well for the future.
John Collins 18-Day
Excited to leave the shipyard and eager to bend a rod, the Royal Polaris departed on the annual John Collins 18-Day Trip. The boat angled in to the beach on the journey down and took a swing at the coastal yellowtail with good results, The boat sent this report, “Well, we departed on our annual John Collins 18-day adventure. With 23 happy anglers and a good load of bait we are headed for points south. We made a brief stop to catch some larger baits for the kite, and to our surprise, the yellowtail started biting. Most of the yellowtail were in the 25- to 40- pound range. Weather is excellent, with the water temp around 72 degrees, and flat seas, clear skies and sunny. We will arrive to the fishing grounds tomorrow morning.”
With WI-FI issues, the boat was unable to report for a few days but when the report came in, it was good, “Well, for the last three days, we have had excellent wahoo fishing, sorry for the no reports, but we have been out of reach of our satellite reception. The yellowfin fishing was OK for the first two day, but the third day, the bite started in the morning, and it was hot, fast and heavy. Most of the yellowfin were in the 80- to 120-pound range. We also caught our first 200 pounder that day, lucky angler was Ron Lewis, long time long ranger.”
The report continued, “So far, everyone onboard has a few wahoo, bait making is a bit tough, so far, but we are hoping that will change for the better. We are just getting enough baits to fly the kite. Weather is good, with 8 to 12 knots of breeze, sunny, with clear skies.”
The next few days, the wahoo moved in thick, forcing the anglers’ hand, “The wahoo bite just took a turn for the better. We had limits (daily) of wahoo today, with most of the fish in the 30- to 45- pound range, just beautiful fish. It was hard trying to fish for yellowfin tuna, with this excellent bite on wahoo. Most anglers talked about how this was the best wahoo bite they have seen in many years. Weather today was 12 to 14 knots of breeze, sunny, and warm. Perfect for flying a kite. We are hoping the yellowfin tuna will make a showing tomorrow for us, and we will try to concentrate more on the yellowfin. The taxman only took one wahoo from us today, so that’s a good sign.”
After a few more days, the boat was able to send another report, “Sorry about the delay on the reports, but we’ve been busy and out of range for wi-fi. What a trip! It’s been excellent fishing for wahoo and yellowfin tuna. Most of the yellowfin were in the 70- to 90- pound range, with another group in the 120- to 140-pound range. We did have lots of heartbreaks. At the beginning of the trip, we had problems with spectra breaking, so we changed lots of line. It kept happening, then we found out the problem. We fixed it, or should I say the taxman got full. We are now headed home, with a beautiful load of fish.”