Long Range: RP starts skinny

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ANOTHER GOOD ONE comes over the rail. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING
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Wahoo on the chew; a 250 yellowfin hits the deck

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON

SAN DIEGO- After a flurry of activity on the traditional trophy yellowfin tuna grounds, the winter tuna season has been reduced to a single boat on the Hurricane Bank. The rest of the long-range fleet retreated to the shipyards of San Diego for annual maintenance protocols. Being the lone boat on the grounds has pluses and minuses. The biggest advantage is having no other boat traffic or fishing pressure. The fish act as they should. It’s tough enough to make a catch under normal conditions. Boat traffic and fishing pressure makes things a little tougher. The downside is that there is no coverage. Getting a report from, let’s say, the Buffer Zone would not be possible. You would have to fly blind, if you made a move. Nevertheless, you fish the trip on the schedule and in this case, no traffic on the bank resulted in excellent wahoo fishing. When targeting wahoo, you like to roll up on the high spot where no boats have fished in days. A 250 yellowfin also got the trip off to a good start.

A FAT WAHOO landed on the ROYAL Polaris. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING

RP and John Collins depart

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The Royal Polaris was the only boat on the trophy tuna grounds this week with many boats in the yard for scheduled maintenance. The boat began with the standard traveling south, routine, “We departed on the Collins trip, with 19 happy anglers. We have a great load of bait, and high hopes of getting some action in a few days. Today, John had the great raffle for his trip. He has supplied lots of giveaways for his trip, and I would have to say, he’s one of the best, it not the best charter head that I’ve seen in 30 years of working on the Royal Polaris”

The next day of travel saw tackle prep and seminars and the arrival in the afternoon at Alijos Rocks. The boat sent this report, “Well, the morning started out with a great breakfast, then Roy went to work with his seminar. Once Roy was done, the crew went to work, helping passenger rigging, getting their tackle for the big battle we look forward to in the next few days.”

The report continued, “We made a quick stop at Alijos Rocks. The yellowtail were not on the bite, so we caught a few whitefish for our fish fry. We then started heading south once again. The weather continues to be a bit rocky but going downhill is nice. The weather is coming down as I’m doing the report. John raffled off reels, rods, sunglasses, hats, hooks, tackle, you name it. Everyone wins something.”

The next day, more travel,  “The weather is a bit windy, but we are going with it. I would not want to be going north in this weather. Hopefully it will change for the better. The crew was busy today, helping passengers get their kite leaders and heavy bait leaders ready for battle.”

COMING IN HOT. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING

With great anticipation, the boat arrived on the grounds. After two days of fishing, the RP filed this report, “The wahoo are on the bite. The weather is good, and so is the bite. The yellowfin tuna fishing is on the slow side, but the wahoo more than make-up for the non-biting yellowfin. We see plenty of big tuna splashing around but they are just not on the bite yet.”

The report went on, “The yellowfin tuna that we did catch are all over the 100-pound mark, with one over 250-pounds. The lucky angler for the big fish was Ron Lewis. We did have a good number of wahoo for our efforts, with most of the wahoo in the 30-to 40-pound range. So, for our first two days of fishing, the wahoo have kept us busy as we continue to figure out the yellowfin tuna.”

A 250 yellowfin tuna poses with angler Ron Lewis on the RP. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING
WHOOPS! PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL POLARIS SPORTFISHING
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