Long Range Report: Wahoo bite lights up

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Night bites on big mossbacks continue, no sign of trophy lower bank tuna

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO – A fall long range trip always provides a catch and it can come in many different forms. Last week big mossback yellowtail were on a nighttime terror. This week the wahoo came to play. Skippers must keep their eyes wide open and expect twists and turns in the narrative. But when all is said and done an 8-day trip or better will provide the most consistent catch in all of offshore fishing. Along with catching wahoo, yellowtail, dorado, grouper and school yellowfin, the fleet has begun prospecting the lower banks for monster fall yellowfin.

Intrepid down below

The Intrepid began the trip at Alijos Rocks then prospecting the lower banks for trophy yellowfin. The boat was looking to capture the typical harvest of the fall, wahoo, yellowfin and yellowtail. Capt. Bill Cavanaugh was at the wheel on the open 8-day trip and sent this first report, “We are currently trying for big ones down on the lower banks. Our weather is gorgeous, and we have good water conditions. No bites as of yet but it is early. Our last day at Alijos Rocks we had decent scratch fishing on the wahoo. Yesterday was spent doing some prospecting for tuna outside and below Mag Bay. We did not find any tuna in our travels but we did see good sign of marlin and hooked about 8 fish for the day. All were released.”

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LANNIE WOULFF with Capt. Blake Wasano and a 71-pound wahoo. PHOTO COURTESY ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

After a bit of looking around, the boat moved up to the Ridge. “Unfortunately, we did not find any tuna during our time looking on the lower banks. We gave it an honest check, looked at a few likely areas, and came up empty handed. That is fishing. The last two days have been spent fishing wahoo and school-size yellowfin tuna. It has been action packed with really good opportunities on wahoo both days. The tuna we are catching are 12 to 30 pounds. Our weather has been nice and we are going to try for wahoo again today.”

The following day, the wahoo cooperated, “What an awesome day we had yesterday. The best wahoo fishing we have seen so far this trip. A couple of our stops were absolute pandemonium with everything getting bit and wahoo literally jumping out of the water on baits and jigs. A super fun day for sure. We had one stop around lunch that will go down in everyone’s book as straight up epic. Some of our fish yesterday were around 50 to 60 pounds. Our weather was nice and we are going to try this again

Indy on the Ridge

The Independence arrived on the ridge in search of wahoo. Things started well but for Capt. Brian Pifer the bite soon petered out, “Arrived to our destination around 1 p.m. with no boats in sight. Had a couple 4-way wahoo strikes right away and thought we were gonna be busy but not much to report after that. Weather picked up.”

GOOD SKINNY FISHING on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

The following day the yellowfin tuna picked up the slack, “Pretty steady action all day for us. Group was having a blast catching a variety of fish. Excellent sign of yellowfin tuna. We had a sundowner that made our day. Traveling today and going to be at our new destination this afternoon. Weather is getting a little choppy.”

With the boat anchoring on the ridge, a night yellowtail bite took form, “The guys are pooped! Very long and cold night yellowtail fishing but what a blast it was. Beautiful quality yellowtail from 30 to 45 pounds. They didn’t start bitting until 3 a.m. but they were raining on, everyone had one hooked. The grade of yellowtail was incredible. We finished up on what we needed and will be traveling all day to search for wahoo and yellowfin tuna.”

Star on the wahoo

The Royal Star was another boat on the Ridge with Capt. Tim Ekstrom on the bridge. The boat began with a good day of school yellowfin fishing then found what they were looking for, biting wahoo. The veteran skipper reflected on the elusive, skinny adversary, “A fine morning of wahoo fishing replete with the usual calamities and hijinks that make this style of fishing the most memorable of long range. Rest assured that if there is a way to lose a fish, on any kind of rig or gear, wahoo will expose and exploit the flaw with maddening efficiency. I almost get the sense at times that they laugh at our futility enjoying the frustration they elicit with cartoonish delight. They are the ultimate tricksters, sly experts in cracking even the most stoic veneers. I’ve seen many a journeyman angler reduced to standing aside talking to themselves after dumping four, six, ten of the la-drones in a row. Believe me I’ve been among them. Anyone who has fished for wahoo long range style for any length of time has too.”

SLUGS IN THE DARK aboard the Indy. PHOTO COURTESY OF INDEPENDENCE SPORTFISHING

Rooster and Accurate

The Red Rooster III was on the annual Accurate Fly-Home 12-Day and began the trip taking a swing out to the Rocks. The boat sent this first report, “We left on our Accurate Fly-Home 12-Day with a light load of passengers. The first couple days we have focused on yellowtail out at the Rocks with a day and a half of big yellowtail and today on the Ridge with wahoo and school size tuna. Jack Neilson has been great with giveaways and Accurate daily jackpot prizes. Allan won the Accurate reel with his 51- pound wahoo on a Raider Jig.”

A FATTY, taken on a trolled orange and black Marauder aboard Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING
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