Royal Polaris 7day Accurate/Hi’s Tackle Box September 17-24, 2011
9/16/2011 Friday: I departed S.F. approximately 06:30AM and made a few stops for gas & lunch along the way. Traffic around Los Angeles and going into San Diego area was heavy because of Friday commute. Weather was warm & muggy. I checked into Vagabond Inn, 1325 Scott St. and will be leaving my car in their parking lot for 7days because there is absolutely no parking space in Fisherman’s landing. For dinner, I visited Fresh MXN Foods (formerly Santana), 1480 Rosecrans St. for takeout fish taco & beans. After dinner and watching local News, I soon went to bed afterwards. Scotty said that I should be at the docks before 08:00AM to be safe.
9/17/2011 Saturday: I woke at around 05:30AM, washed up, had coffee and Danish pastry and walked over to Fisherman’s Landing. The landing was very busy because several boats were arriving & departing. Royal Polaris was docked and I met up with Larry Eng. He said fishing was tough and on the slow side, mostly YT and very little YFT. Royal Star had some larger YFT from Guadalupe Island, but they had to sacrifice some tuna to great white sharks to get a few. I wheeled a cart back to Vagabond Inn and unloaded gear from vehicle into cart. Gary Gillingham from Accurate Fishing Products introduced himself to me and we were assigned boarding pass #1 & 2. We boarded RP accordingly and I was able to get my favorite corner spot for my tackle box located behind starboard bench. The starboard ventilation stack was cracked and I could not install rocket launchers on that side. I only mounted one launcher on the port side because another passenger, Glenn Onodera had a launcher, so we shared space. I was assigned room 20 with Gary Gillingham and took the top bunk. After placing and organizing all my gear into the room we had hot dogs for lunch.
Crew on this trip was: Frank LoPreste, Billy Santiago, Dharyl Shelbourne, Eddie Felarca, Jonathan Yamate, Evan Sellars, Anthony Sardina & James Wagar. Frank acquainted all anglers in regards to safety issues, boat functions and what to expect with the current fishing conditions. Gary & I passed out goodie bags: Accurate tee shirts, towel clips & jigs, 7-strand tuna clones, hooks & Hi’s Tackle Box decal. Passengers were appreciative for the free goodie bags. We will have random raffle drawings for other tackle & gear provided by Hi’s Tackle Box & Accurate Fishing Products: Plano waterproof tackle boxes, Shimano Evair fishing boots, Costa del Mar sunglasses (2), shoulder rod straps, Hi’s Tackle Box hats, sun visors & tee shirts and a Fuerte large waterproof reel case. Gary had jigs, hooks, Bill Roecker’s book: At the Rail: Long Range Fishing and an Accurate rod & reel setup (to be presented at the dock at the end of the trip).
Our plan for this trip is to go down the Ridge to Thetis Bank. Both Alijos Rocks and Guadalupe Island were infested with sharks and we will not be going to either location. If the water conditions are right we may see some wahoo fishing on the Ridge. We will not fish for small schoolie BFT in the local waters. I will set up my rod & reels accordingly for YT, Dorado, wahoo & small YFT fishing. Meals: lunch was hot dogs & chili, afternoon snack was chicken wings and dinner was panko pork chops.
9/18/2011 Sunday (Day 1): Today is a travel day and we are running downhill. Seas were calm and warm weather & hazy skies. I rigged all my rod and reel setups and expect to use mostly 30 & 40# outfits. I made myself available to help and get to know other passengers. Meals: Breakfast was eggs & sausage; Lunch was Cioppino/seafood soup which was delicious; Dinner was beef short ribs.
9/19/2011 Monday (Day 2): I did not sleep well because of my previous day nap. Meals: Breakfast was pancake & sausage, lunch was baked pasta & sausage and dinner was baked chicken. Today’s Ridge fishing at 38 fathom produced mostly yellowtails with several YFT & BFT mixed in. I caught my fair share of yellowtails. Seas were slightly choppy with a little bit of wind. Most YT’s were caught by fly lining sardines and casting to “the spot”. Yo-yoing Salas 6XJR jigs in Dorado & chrome finish also worked well. I was able to manage to catch a leopard grouper on an egg sinker & sardine. I tried cutting barracuda for Black Sea bass with no luck. Evening bait fishing for mackerel was marginal with only about 100 pieces caught. I did okay and managed to put several mackerels into the bait tank. There were some large scad mackerel mixed in with the smaller mackerel. Tackle analysis: Mustad S/S siwash hook broke at the eye on my chrome Salas 6XJR. My primary outfits Daiwa Saltiga 30T’s & Calstar 700M & 800M with 40# fluorocarbon & 40# P-line CXX. Today’s fishing was sort of chaotic because of numerous tangles with some cutoffs. As a result there were some frustrated anglers. After seeing this, Frank gave passengers a lecture on “how to follow your fish” and be more observant of what’s going on around you. I raffled off a Shimano deck boot, size 10 to Amante Buentipo and a large Plano waterproof box to Trent Franta. Fish count for the day: YT=380, YFT=8, Dodo=25, grouper=9 and BFT=3. I did not hook any tuna today. Fluorocarbon only produced yellowtails. We stayed in the area overnight.
9/20/2011 Tuesday (Day 3): Morning fishing produced more yellowtails and dorado’s. We moved down the line and fished 13 fathom, 23 fathoms, jugs & Thetis and south west heading offshore looking for kelp. We had no luck with tuna or spotting kelp going SW and Frank decided to head back to the 38 fathom spot. Back at the 38 fathom spot we had a wide open dorado bite. Most of the action came from casting to the spot with almost an instant hookup. I used mostly 3/0 Eagle Claw 318 or Mustad 94151 nickel finish livebait hooks on 40# mono & fluorocarbon. There was no need for circle hooks or heavy duty premium hooks. Instead of crimping my hooks, I decided to use perfection loops when tying my hooks on. The perfection loop gave the hooked sardine a little bit more freedom to swim about. I managed about half dozen dorado with a mixed bag of YFT & YT. I did well on the YFT, but they were small with a couple going about 25# being the largest. It was fun fishing today with plenty of action. Fish count: YT=133, YFT=87, Dorado=202 and wahoo=2. After dinner I restrung my Saltiga 30T’s with 40# top shots, removed my wahoo jigs from my Penn 113N Baja Special / Calstar 700H and made into 40# bait outfit. Other boats at the 13 fathom spot stuck it out for tuna to 30#. We will head for 13 fathom spot tonight. Team one trolling for wahoo was unsuccessful. Team 9 before caught the only 2 wahoo boated with 2 bite-offs with bait & 1 missed jig/iron strike. This was about the extent of our wahoo fishing. Meals for the day: Breakfast=bacon & eggs, lunch=hamburger and dinner=baked YT.
9/21/2011 Wednesday (Day 4): I woke up at 04:30AM and we were drifting on the 13 fathom area. There were several other boats in the vicinity and a seiner working in the area. At daybreak we started looking around for tuna schools and biters. Most YFT were caught by fly lining and “casting to the spot”. I did very well with the YFT because of my good casting skills and bait presentation. YFT were not very big but you needed to get your bait on the spot to get a bite. My main outfits were Saltiga 30T with short shot of 40# fluorocarbon with Eagle Claw 318 or Mustad 94151 nickel 3/0 live bait hooks. I lost a Salas chrome 6XJR because of cutoff (buzzed off) by other anglers. Salas 6XJR worked well when coming up or sliding on a school of YFT after boils appear on the chum. Some nice YT were caught and released. Carrying a 2oz sinker in your pocket to straighten out line in a reel after catching a fish is great idea. The Spectra line gets compressed and bury down between itself after a hard running fish and causes problem on your next cast. The line will not come off your reel smoothly and sometimes stop abruptly. To avoid this problem, attach a sinker and drop it over the side to release tension & straighten out your line for the next cast. This was a good idea mentioned in an article by David Choate. Meals were: breakfast=Chorizo & eggs, lunch=chicken sandwich and dinner was tri-tip but I had seared tuna which was good. We will head uphill to Cedros for some halibut fishing.
9/22/2011 Thursday (Day 5): We traveled all night and will arrive at Cedros Island about 09:30AM. I got up at 05:30AM and had ham & eggs breakfast. I rigged up my 20# light outfit with a slider & 40# leader for halibut. We fished all day for halibut and ended up with only 10 halibuts and some calicos. Today I put nothing in the box and only caught a sand bass. Gary and I gave away 3 packs of hooks, jig and a Costa del Mar Fathom sunglass for the largest halibut. Winner was Santos Cabral with the largest halibut pictured below. Weather was sunny and calm on leeward side of the island but very windy on the windward side. Lunch was chicken fried steak and dinner was barbeque baby back ribs. Plans for the next day are to fish offshore and kelp. YFT will be small schoolie size fish. We will start at daybreak looking for tuna and will be trolling small feathers.
9/23/2011 Friday (Day 6): I kept the same reel & rod setup as was used at 13 fathom for YFT. We started trolling around at daybreak. There was a kelp marked with a buoy marker in the area which previously held some tuna. We did not get many troll stops and most stops were from metered fish and chumming sardines. I caught several YFT on Saltiga 30T/Calstar 700M & 40# short top shot of fluorocarbon. I had no real luck with the electric blue colored Trilene Big Game monofilament line. The YFT’s were not all that cooperative. Some stops produced only YT or dorado which we did not keep. Total count for the day is 65 YFT. I did well on these small tuna by casting “to the spot”. After lunch at about 15:00PM, we called it quits and headed for home. We are about 150 miles out from San Diego. Weather was overcast & cool with some wind but the seas were calm. I broke down my rod & reels, dismounted rocket launcher, packed away my tackle and clothes. I lost my short stubby Home Depot screwdriver with 7/16” socket & ¼” adapter drive (most likely went over board because it was in my rod belt…oh well!) Lines were stripped from reels which were used extensively. I cleaned rods with wet towel, dried and placed into my ski bag and stored upstairs on “the beach”. Meals: breakfast = sausage & scrambled eggs, lunch=baked YT with guacamole salsa and dinner=prime rib but I had seared ahi which I caught. Charlie Pravel gave me his Cresent plier set (sidecutter & long nose), which was very nice of him for my help. His sons Ryan & Ehren were back from a tour in Afghanistan & Iraq. I tried some of his Kentucky bourbon…it was very smooth. I raffled off a 2nd Costa del Mar sunglass and a Fuerte waterproof reel case with wheels. The winners were Amante Buentipo from Petaluma and Tommy Tosetti from Los Gatos, respectively. I went to sleep early because our ETA in San Diego should be around 04:30AM.
9/24/2011 Saturday 9 (Day 7): Breakfast call around 04:00AM which was French toast & sausage. After docking, I shared a cart with Allen Lemberg in getting our gear off the boat. Allen’s car was not parked in Fisherman’s landing lot, but outside on Nimitz street. I could not find my bundle of rods which were supposed to be at the bottom of the docks waiting for us. I asked Frank to announce that my rods were missing over the PA and I went searching for my rods in the parking lot with no success. I went back to the boat and they said it was on top of the bait tank…what were they doing there?? I brought the rods up to the docks and placed in our cart cart. A couple of other passengers were watching our cart as Allen & I went to retrieve our vehicles. I told Frank that there were no parking inside Fisherman’s Landing lot and he gave me permission to park behind his office in the Pizza restaurant stalls. This was definitely a big help instead of fighting for parking in the lot. I went back to the landing to get the cart with my gear and loaded it into my car. The guys working the warehouse kept the cart for supplies for the boat. I went back and helped sort fish. I ended up with a pretty good pile of fish. I weighed my largest YFT, several dodo & YT on Fisherman’s Processing’s scale. The YFT weighed 27.2, YT were about 20-24# and dodo were 20# plus. I placed 3rd in the jackpot with a 27.2# YFT good for $375.00 and returned some to the crew. 1st and 2nd place were taken with 29# dorado’s. I visited Mario and processed the following; 1 grouper, 2 YFT, 2 large YT and 2 large dorado, 10# smoked yellowtail (mostly bellies) and 3# tuna jerky. I exchanged my catch to Mario for the above processing & smoked fish. I cleaned up at Fisherman’s landing and drove to Mario’s. Mario’s processed my fish early and was able to get a head start home. I packed all my processed & smoked fish into one cooler. I was on the road at about 09:30AM. I made stops at San Juan Capistrano Costco, Lebec and Santa Nella before my final destination. I was home at approximately 18:30PM via San Mateo Bridge.
Overall this was a fun trip with a very nice group of anglers. Everyone was friendly and cordial which really makes for a fun trip.