Long range report: World class fishing

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Trophy bluefin and yellowfin breeze offshore waters

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO— The series of shorter trips on the long range schedules were tailor made for the incredible volume of fish in northern Baja waters. The big boats, with their high-level fish catching acumen and abundant bait holding capacity have been posting impressive scores on the quality mix of 30- to 85-pound bluefin and 25- to 60-pound yellowfin. The experience of consistently catching world class quality tuna in local offshore waters has been a memorable one.

Star fishes short

The Royal Star was on a series of shorter trips looking at a nice spread of fish moving up into offshore waters. Veteran skipper Tim Ekstrom was at the wheel and described the opening day of a new trip like this, “One prolonged drift was the afternoon total for just shy of a couple of handfuls of fat, 65- to 75-pound bluefin. As for the showing, stunning is hardly adequate in description. Massive ‘foamers’ erupted in every direction tantalizing in their individual and collective performances. Wow. I’m honored, still, for the invitation to such spectacles. Nature’s glory; and a bad day to be an anchovy in that district. Camped for the night, sea anchor assisted, we await grandeur tomorrow, or whatever she is willing to yield.”

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A DANDY 80- POUND BLUEFIN caught aboard the Royal Star by Lindsay Joe. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

After another good day, the boat wrapped up the trip like this, “Good fishing offshore. 25- to 40-pound bluefin and yellowfin tuna mixed with a good sprinkling of 60- to 85-pound bluefin. Taking full advantage, we put together the best day of catching that we have enjoyed this season. How gratifying. Let’s hope it’s a trend. We’re out again tomorrow for four.”

The 4-day trip picked up where the other trip left off, “World class fishing aptly titled today’s narrative and relates a story of fantastic fishing, beautiful weather, and great camaraderie offshore, at the rail, in pristine, fresh air. A morning go at the 25- to 40-pound bluefin and yellowfin gave way to a seven hour afternoon drift on 60- to 85-pound bluefin with a good sprinkling of 45- to 60-pound yellowfin mixed in. Hot and heavy for a while then backing off to an easy pace. The tempo of the action late was dictated by the enthusiasm of each individual fisherman. Good times to be sure.”

RP goes short

The Royal Polaris was also on a shorter trip targeting the same offshore waters. Crewman Dharyl Shelbourne filed this report, “Today we got out into our first zone at around 1:30 pm. There were plenty of large foamers with finicky mixed fish but we were steadily picking them off on bait. We soon were over the boat traffic and made our way over to an area with a large volume of 30- to 40-pound bluefin and 30- to 60-pound yellowfin. We stopped on a few bird schools to ourselves and we were bit steadily, picking away. Our best drift was a sundown bite and the bigger yellowfin were abundant. This was a great drift giving most everybody a chance to catch a trophy-size local fish. All in all, this was a good day, catching plenty of fish and making sure the people are having a great experience out here on the water.”

A TROPHY BLUEFIN landed on the RP. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING

The next day more excellent opportunities, “They’re on the chew. Today we woke up in a zone with less than 10 knots of wind and overcast skies that seemed to linger all day. This zone was loaded with a solid volume of fish that were showing off in foamers and bird schools. We made several stops in the morning and had steady pickings on those 30- to 50-pound bluefin and yellowfin. As the day went by and the fish went down, we made a move after lunch. We started or first drift and we were on!”

The report continued, “They were 30- to 55-pound yellowfin and 60- to 90-pound bluefin. It was an amazing day to be catching this grade of fish so close to home. Everybody was able to get bit and make memories of a lifetime. Tonight we are drifting into our new zone with no wind and beautiful weather.”

The last day of the trip was another good one, “Today we woke up to absolute grease calm conditions with only a couple knots of wind later picking up too about 8 knots. The morning started off with Flat-Fall fishing in the dark for bigger bluefin. Later we moved on and kept looking for foamers, steady picking on 30- to 40-pound bluefin and yellowfin. Later in the afternoon we came across some sonar schools that responded well to some bait and we were on. These afternoon fish were a better grade bluefin weighing from 60 to 90 pounds. After a decent afternoon on these bigger fish it was time for one last sundown bite, and Capt. Jeff put us on just that. These fish bit well just into the dark. We even ended the day with a 150 pounder. Overall this has been one for the books.”

A KELP PADDY TRIFECTA, yellowtail, dorado, tuna in the American Angler slammer. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER

Supreme down below

The Polaris Supreme was down on the ridge plying the waters on an 8-day trip. The boat was experiencing excellent mixed bag fishing and filed this report, “We had a great first day of fishing. Full of variety and excitement. Today we mainly caught school-sized yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. However, there were some nice dorado and grouper mixed in as well. There is a lot of skipjack and small tuna by-catch, but we are able to weed through it for the keeper fish. Tomorrow we will have our sights set on wahoo and tuna.”

After the move the boat started well, scoring some wahoo, “Today we had a nice day fishing off the Baja coast. We managed to scrape up some wahoo to start off the day and finished the day with great fishing on yellowtail. Half the fish were around 14 pounds but the other half were beautiful 20-to 30-pound models. Absolutely great yellowtail fishing. Mixed in were some good grade yellowfin tuna, pargo, and grouper.”

A FOAMER as viewed from the bridge of the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING
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