Join Date: Feb 2007
Location: The Other Side of The Mountain
American Angler 12 Day 1/6-18 Report
Sorry, I'm the world's worst photographer; just not into it.
An easy drive down for me from Bishop, about 7 hours; my personal fuel surcharge about $150 in gas for the round trip. Spent the night at Joe?s house after meet and greet a bunch of guys at the Vagabond the night before departure. We had a gathering by the pool; anglers from my trip, the 14 day on Intrepid, the 15 day on Excel, and the 16 day on Independence. Separated at dinner time and visited again the next morning at the top of the dock.
Got to the parking lot around 6:00 to unload my stuff from Joe?s truck and got it onto the sidewalk to get in line. Of the four departures this day, two would be early, two would be later. Not a turnaround day for either Excel or Independence, so they got under way first. Captain Ray Lopez brought the Angler in first and they docked after an 11 day and unloaded a very nice bunch of Tuna. 10 Cows for us to feast our eyes on and a bonus 91 lb Wahoo! Way to go Zeke! Next we watched the pile of fish come off Intrepid. They had about 20 cows and one Super that went just over 320. If that doesn?t get your juices flowing, you?d better check your pulse; you may be dead!
Finally the time came for us to have our gear loaded onto the carts by the ?Red Shirts? for loading onto the boats. A very nice service provided to all Long Range Anglers departing from Point Loma Sportfishing and from Fisherman?s Landing. And away we go. Brian fired the engines and lines were cast off around 10:30. Do they bust ass getting the boat turned around? Oh, yeah. We have a good group of anglers from varying walks of life including one Father/Daughter team of Bill and Jessica. She?s enjoying her College Graduation gift from dad; a 12 day Long Range Adventure. Lots of guys from last year and some fresh faces, too. One special regular on the trip is Joe Machado of Everingham Brothers Bait Co. Can?t say enough about the bait those guys supply us with so we can go forth and slay. After the bait was loaded, some fine looking healthy Sardines and just enough little Greenies to start a fight, we?re off to points South. Brian Kiyohara is our Captain for this voyage; crew of Taro, Cameron, Bobby and Andrew, complemented nicely by Paul and Whitney in the Galley. Brian?s plan is simple, to head south for the next few days and since the Rooster and the RP are both at the Hurricane Bank, we?ll probably start off at Clarion.
Saturday, Sunday and Monday, 1-7-9
Yes it?s a long drive! Plenty of chores to do, mostly a lot of building topshots using a couple of different methods. I saw nobody serving so we didn?t have any of those ?Appliances? in the galley. Many anglers were interested in learning the engineered Nail Knot/Nub connection from Gary Teraoka, our chartermaster and pro staffer for both Accurate Reels as well as Calstar. A few diehards like myself still using up my Sato Crimps. I?m becoming more effective with the Nail Knots but am still faster with the crimps. Had a couple of guys to help set up with connections so we did both. Mark had 100 and 130 lb Blackwater fluorocarbon and Phil had some Seaguar Premier. Had a bit of work to do myself setting up some topshots with some 90 lb Seaguar Blue Label.
In addition to being the Instructor Extraordinaire on connections, diameters, and other items, Gary does a raffle on the way down where you get to pick your prize when your number is drawn. Lots of goodies to chose from including all the tools and line you needed to make the nail knots, bags of ringed Mustad 4X Strong Demon Circle Hooks, etc, I scored a couple of items from Accurate; a Pit Bull Clamp for my 870 and a Rubber Knob Kit which will probably end up on my friend?s 665H. Everybody got an Accurate Tee Shirt and several hoodies were given away as well. There were some very nice daily prizes for biggest fish. Calstar 770XXH Rail Rod, a 770XXXH Blank, a BX600 reel and finally a copy of Bill Roecker?s book, ?At The Rail.?
Then, it was time for Gary to match up all the loaner reels and rods for anglers to use on the trip. Plenty of ATD reels available for those who wanted to try one out or didn?t have the right stuff for the task at hand. Rods were all quality Calstar and some nice ones at that. Finally on Sunday, I got around to mounting up all of my reels onto the rods I had brought. My light rig for 50 lb was a Trinidad 40 on a Seeker Black Steel 6467H. Figured it would handle numerous tasks: Bait making, Wahoo Jigs, and if needed, YoYo iron for Yellows. (Sure came in handy at the end of the trip.)
Penn 30S on my Seeker Black Steel 6463XXH for 100 lb which did not see much use.
Avet 30W on my Two by Four for 100-130
Penn 50S on my newly acquired Super Seeker 6463XXXXH
Avet 50SDS on my Super Seeker 6463XXXH Roller Rod
I had borrowed three Accurate reels from a friend: ATD30, ATD50 and ATD50W along with two Calstar Rail Rods, 770XXH and 770XXXH and for the kite, a Super Seeker 6463XXXXH. Never got the kite rig set up and only had one kite rotation. Caught one tuna on the boat?s kite outfit, five with the ATD30 on the 770XXH and one with the Avet 30W on the Two by Four. The three 50 sized reels have a purpose, but the opportunity to use them never arose. 50S on 6463XXXXH with a 10/0 7691 hook tied to 150 lb for fishing the Salamis, but we never got any of those to use for bait. One for fishing chunk but no chunk line and one for fishing Sardines on 130 lb, proved unnecessary. But, I was ready.
Rigged and ready, I made sure of all of my connections, set drags and stretched my topshots. Looking around, I could say we had plenty of weapons and eager warriors; we were just looking for a battle.
Arrived Clarion Island a few hours behind Independence. The Royal Polaris and Red Rooster III were at the Hurricane Bank and the Excel was headed there. Clarion reports from Roy and Andy were not very good with some funky conditions but Brian decided to give it a try. Conditions change and fish have tails. We fished the Buffer Zone for a few hours but only half the anglers on the boat got a fish. I managed one of them. Headed in to check in at the camp and the Indy followed us. Once that was taken care of Brian got us back out into the Buffer Zone and we put the jigs in the water and had not a single jig strike all the way out past the west end of the island. We?re headed for the bank, ETA around 8:00 A.M.
Arrived at Hurricane Bank to see Excel pulling their anchor to go troll for Wahoo, and the RP sitting at anchor, only two boats, nice. We began to look around for Wahoo and soon were rewarded. Some small ones but some better grade mixed in as well. I began the trip with a built in excuse; a bummed up right shoulder, which might explain why I did not catch more Wahoo with the jig. I got my two with a Catchy Tackle 33 Pink/Black Swirl, but the Catchy Black Chrome as well as the Salas Tar Baby with Pink Tip were getting bit well. I?m guessing we had around 50 for the morning and when we were done, Roy called Brian in on his anchor spot. He was pulling his anchor with one fish hanging so they could begin their journey back north. We all got to wave and holler at each other on the two boats until our anchor came tight and they drifted away.
Tuna started biting almost right away. The kite went up and started to produce. I got bit and knew I had a good one. Once it settled into the up and down fight I could tell it was a heavy by the bend in the tip of the 770XXH on the rail. I was fishing the ATD30T at 29 lbs at strike. Eventually the fight moved to the starboard corner and the fish gained its freedom. It could have been a tangle that resulted in a burnoff but one of the connections is under suspicion and I?m going to recreate that and pull on it to see if it slips. This was a reel filled with 100 lb solid spectra connected to some 130 lb JB Hollow with the solid singled, no doubled, into the hollow secured with a couple of nail knots. I?ll get back to you. I got all set up again later, fished the Aver 30W with a 90 lb Seaguar Blue Label Topshot and caught three fish on the Sardine, one on the kite. One of the Sardine fish was in a four way tangle in the Starboard Corner. Sound familiar? Did I mention the current was running to that corner? The guys tried to untangle us but it was like all four fish in the tangle were being held together with a section of line. They had to cut me out of it; Cameron had the gloves on and held onto my fish while Brian tied the two ends back together with a back to back Uni Knot. Halfway through with one more knot to tie, Brian looked at me and asked if I trusted him. Had to laugh at that, like what choice did I have? They carefully put the pressure on the line and I came tight with the fish. I got the knot on the reel, pushed the drag to full and landed about a 90 lber. All four fish in that tangle would come to gaff and be spiked, then gilled and gutted and welcomed to the American Angler?s carefully tended RSW fish holds. Fishing remained steady throughout the day with us getting about 100 fish? I managed three Wahoo in the morning and four Tuna. No big ones for me to day as my fish were 90-120 lbs. But what a fun day of fishing!
This day started early with several anglers up and at ?em around 3:30 A.M. The plan of attack was to fish the sinker, a 2-4 oz torpedo rubberbanded up three feet from the hook. I observed as a few fish hit the deck and decided to give it a try. With the current the same, running to the starboard corner, it made sense to drop in up off the bow and walk your bait back to the stern. For me, this was difficult as I just couldn?t get with it, determining where the ?zone? was to get a bite. The crew was very busy gaffing the fish that were being caught, and giving them the treatment that would result in some beautiful Sashimi quality fillets.
Eventually as the sun came up we began to switch over to flylining the Sardines and getting some that way. You could bait up in the stern and go in on the Port corner, but would quickly be headed across the stern to the Starboard corner. I chose to fish from the bow, either getting my bait from the bow tank or pinning one on from the main tanks and handwells in the stern. I would cast a butt hooked bait off the bow and if I had one that would swim I could get it to swim away from the boat. Eventually, if you stayed with the same bait on a longer soak, you would end up on the rail on the Starboard side, just forward of the corner. I liked this as I had the bait in a zone that kept it away from the tangles in the stern and was productive for me. I fished this way most of the day on Wednesday as well. Nice to have that bait tank in the bow.
A little about tackle. There seemed to be no need for the heavier 130 lb fluorocarbon topshots as most of these fish were under 150 lbs. With that said, there's 100 lb and then there's 100 lb. Blackwater 100 lb is the sme diameter as Seaguar Premier 130 lb. And, although friends don't let friends fish 80 lb, that Blackwater 80 lb is pretty tough stuff.
A handful of good ones were taken with two over 200. Ed and David had the lead in the JP with fish of 206 and 209 taken yesterday. The Angler has a digital scale on board and any fish in the 120 lb and up category was weighed up and recorded. Not official for world records but I like it as you get a chance to look over the ?leader board? every once in a while and get a feel for what?s happening. And, these weights are used for the Jackpot so it?s all settled when you leave the grounds. So, most of us who had them were fishing our 30W size reels, like the ATD30T and Avet 30W and Shimano 30W. I saw a handful of Penn 30 size reels being used successfully as well. There were a number of anglers fishing the loaner 50 and 50 wide Accurates as well and they did pretty well also.
There were about an equal number of Seeker and Calstar rods on the boat but most of the loaner tackle was an Accurate reel paired up with an appropriate Calstar from the loaner quiver that Gary had brought aboard. This would account for a higher percentage of Calstar.
As I said earlier, we didn?t spend a night as Clarion so we didn?t get to fish bait and had no Salamis to use. That took the big bait fishing out of the equation. We did have a handful of small Green Macks mixed in with the Sardines provided by Everingham and I did manage to get one of my tuna on a small Mack. Hooks were mostly the ringed variety; 5/0 Owner Super Mutu and 6/0 Mustad 4X Demon Circle.
There was no chunk line so that never happened, either. The crew was so busy that they never got to put up the kite here on our second day at the bank. It?s a labor intensive business requiring one on the upper deck to fly the kite, one on the deck to get the outfit ready to go, and the guy on the tank who baits it up. Frankly, the crew was busy enough with all the fish on the deck; weighing up the bigger ones, spiking, gilling and gutting and then dropping them into the RSW.
Anyway, there were only two of us at the Bank at this time, the Angler and the Excel. We both pulled the anchor and went out Wahoo fishing. As is typical, the pressure that we and the Excel had put on them the day before resulted in a little slower fishing this day. But we got a few and each one regardless of size will be well enjoyed. Enough of that so it was back on the anchor for tuna. A little slower for me today as I only managed to catch two tuna. Again, nothing of remarkable size for me, but a couple of nice ones for the RSW. You know, talking with Sarah before the trip, she feels these 60-100 lb fish are the perfect size for filleting and eating. With Five Star handling them on the end of the trip and the constant attention given to the RSW wells, we end up with incomparable fish.
I don?t recall anything particularly amusing or amazing about this day, other than the fact that we were anchored up fishing nearly 1,000 miles from San Diego. This in itself is pretty astounding when you think about how privileged we are to be able to do this kind of thing. The weather had been remarkably good so far with the minor exception of a little squall that hit us mid morning with a little wind and a little rain. Some of us went below to grab another layer but it only lasted about an hour and suddenly it was warm and sunny again. Brian had discussed the weather the previous evening in the captain?s chat before dinner. He had been talking with Justin on Excel as Justin had been looking at the weather forecast and they could see a little something coming up from the south. Not anything major or life threatening, but enough to make life uncomfortable.
Fishing continued to be good, described by Brian in his report as ?We had a phenomenal day on the ocean...it started about 3am and from there it was beautiful, steady fishing throughout the day, with some 40-80lbers and the rest of the tuna being 100 - 180lbers.? There were a number of firsts: many had never been to Clarion or the Bank and there were also a number of personal bests taken. We fished until dark and some of the guys went back to the sinker to get one more shot and I believe one was rewarded. Then, with fish in all three of the wells and after they had been rearranged to make for more room, Brian decided to make the move. If we had stayed the night at the bank, we would have only had room for a dozen or so, maybe 20 of these beautiful tuna and we would be done. We would also have been 16-18 hours further south than we were as he decided to run up the line at a very comfortable pace to put us in position to make an assault on the Yellowtail at Cedros. It would be a three day journey and our ETA was dawn on the morning of the 16th.
Friday, Saturday and Sunday 1/13-15
Three days of leisurely travel in great weather, a good time to rest up the sore muscles, read a book, spend a little more time getting to know each other. One of my favorites is to grab a coffee or a cocktail, (I?m still unofficially Pro Staff for Tanqueray Gin and Schweppes Tonic) sit in a folding chair with my feet up on the rail and watch the world go by. Sights to see on the ocean are limitless with birds and mammals and the occasional Flying Fish. Brian spotted a couple of pods of whales and called them out to us. There was a spread of Pilot Whales that was absolutely wonderful as they were cruising along. The entertainment center on the boat was out of commission as one of the components was in the shop. No problem for me as I?m not a big fan of watching movies I?ve seen three or four times. This group is one of the best fun loving people you?ll ever fish with. There were a few Cribbage games but the big game was 31. Hours and hours were spent playing 31 with usually 6 or 7 players hoopin? and hollerin?. ?Fold ?em Bitches!? You had to be there. A time to break down the heavy tuna gear, clean up the reels and bundle up some of the rods. And, time to rerig for Yellowtail. I decided to leave my 100 lb outfit in the rack and I had it set up to fish a dropper loop. My other rig which had been my go to for Wahoo fishing was now all ready to fish a full size 6X Blue and White for yoyo iron fishing the Yellowtail.
We were all up early and eager to get the party started. Brian shut her down just south of Isla Natividad and drifted along waiting for the sun to come up so we could follow the birds to the happy hunting grounds. We made a couple of drifts for not much, staying on the move looking for the right deal. Bobby spotted them first and then the entire crew agreed that this bird school might be the one. We were out to the West off the south end of Cedros when we got all we needed. I got a couple on the yoyo iron outfit, but my previously mentioned sore shoulder was hurting from the yanking and cranking so I went below to take some meds. Instead of being smart and letting them take effect, I went right back to fishing. I like fishing the ?wrong? side of the boat with the yoyo iron. Instead of just dropping down on the windward side, I cast my jig out on the lee side and let it sink out and usually get a couple of retrieves that way. I made a cast and them jig was engulfed on the sink and I was immediately hooked up again. I managed to get that one to gaff and decided to fish bait with a two speed reel so I could gain that advantage while fighting my fish. Mind you, these fish were a nice grade 15-18 lbs, but we all know how hard those Baja Yellows can pull.
I then borrowed one of the boat?s outfits; something like a 670 with an Avet JX 6/3 and 30 lb mono topshot. I tried a sliding sinker for nothing and then went back to just flylining. I got bit, set the hook and started winding. I pushed the button to shift to low gear to make life easy, and it popped right back out again, the **** reel wouldn?t stay in low gear. So now, instead of grinding away in low, I had to finish off the fish in high. It was pretty laughable until a Sea Lion got on me. He had my fish by the tail and I heard Brian on the P.A. talking about a new spot of Yellows that had just popped up. I handed this one off to Bobby Kiso, one of the young guns on the crew who can pull a lot harder than I can. Bobby pulled the Yellow away from the dog and got it on deck. Pretty comical.
So, I racked up that outfit and grabbed one of my buddy?s rigs. Pat had brought much more light gear then I had so he had a JX6/3 on a little 5?5? rod with a roller tip and 40 lb, just what I needed. I got bit and put the reel in gear, only to realize the drag was pitifully light, my bad. I managed somehow to get the fish to gaff, laughing all the way. I adjusted the drag and my next fish ended up in a 5 fish tangle on the corner. Taro got all the lines together and just hand lined them all up. Each fish would get gaffed, cut out of the tangle and handed to the appropriate angler. ?Who?s fishing the flyline?? That would be me. Tagged that one, retied the hook but I was done. Half a dozen Yellows was plenty for me.
Brian soon pulled the plug as we had limits for the boat. We broke down our gear as he headed east to take us on a tour of the entire south end of Cedros. We passed by the town, several settlements, and the salt processing facility and kept on going. Cruising along enjoying the day with plenty of time on our side, the guys spotted some sign and Brian put the boat on a big ball of Yellows. It was a perfect time for a crew fishing display. Whitney, (who by the way is pretty damned good on the deck as well as being a great addition to the staff in the galley) decided to join in on the fun. The other four guys, Taro, Cameron, Bobby and Drew, all got their long rods and proceeded to put on a clinic on fishing the surface plug. These fish were just a notch better at around 25 lbs and the kids put a whippin? on them. They?re a joy to watch, first their casts and then they way they pull on their fish. Masterful.
And, a man of many talents and who has a lot to say, Brian Kiyohara put up this as his final comment on the trip.
"Good tuna fishing, good wahoo fishing, good yellowtail fishing and good weather seems like an unbeatable combination. Believe it or not that wasn't the best thing that happened this trip, the best part of the trip was what happened to everyone on the boat. The outstanding fishing took a backseat to the chemistry of everyone bonding together and having a great vacation and of all the trips that we as a crew have been a part of, very few rival how fun this one was." I was glad to be a part of it. Huge thanks also to the anglers who donated some fish to the galley. Ed gave us a beautiful Yellowfin Tuna that resulted in a lovely Sashimi spread. And the Yellowtail from Cedros became a lunch of fish tacos.
Here's the JP shot from the website:
(Mr. Teraoka holding Accurate trophy for recipient, Ed Morrison):
First place : Ed Morrison 209.0lbs Yellowfin
Second place: David Claverie 203.0lbs Yellowfin
Third place: Tom Mato 189.0lbs Yellowfin