Hi's Tackle Box 5 day trip, July 9 to 14th, on the Royal Polaris.

With living legend Captain Frank Lopreste at the helm, we loaded lively sardines into the bait tanks and were on the way to our five day adventure.

We had the traditional quick briefing and informative seminar shortly after our departure, then we were off looking for the elusive bluefin tuna.

We saw sign after sign of bluefin schools in the 70 to 90lb class; but they were not interested in our baits or lures, although one small bluefin was snagged. The other boats in the area weren’t doing well, so Captain LoPreste decided to head toward Cedros Island. He had a hunch that white sea bass would be biting there.

Captain Frank told me, “Steve, this time of year I have a place that we have had good luck with big white sea bass, so keep your fingers crossed”.

The next morning, around 4:00am, we started hooking large white sea bass on sardines and mackerel. We landed 12 white sea bass, of which six were caught by two people. Leno Gatan landed a 50.6, a 45.8 and a 42lb.white sea bass and took first and second place jackpot. Kristine Page, 15, of San Diego took third place with a 43lb. white sea bass. It was her first white sea bass. A surprise 35lb. yellowtail was landed by Ralph Hamabe.

On the third day, after first light, we started to look for yellowtail schools and came up on two spots of yellowtail where the water was just yellow in color and caught our limits. Afterwards, we went looking for the bigger fish around Chester Rock. We had no luck with the yellows but we did find great calico bass fishing. The guys fishing plastics easily caught and released limits of calico bass in about 45 minutes of fishing. One nice unique hybrid calico was caught by Ralph Hamabe.

We again went looking for yellowtail on day four, as the bluefin tuna and albacore bite was still off. After a good day's fishing for yellowtail, we anchored up in the same area where we previously caught the white sea bass. We had no luck with the big croakers, but two big yellows in the mid 35lb. range were caught by Royal Polaris regulars Kathy Rounds and Debbie Slocchini; kudos to both of them for fishing at 2:00am with the wind howling.

We started our way up the line for our last day and drifted for some nice rockfish. Guys using plastics and metal jigs had a ball with big reds, calicos, and lingcods. Some of the more successful lures were the P-Line Shrimp Flies,Farallon Feathers, Rock Cod and Ling Cod rigs, and of course, diamond bars. Dennis Chin hooked a suspected black sea bass on 80 lb. test but couldn't stop it. A wonderful prime rib dinner preceeded a smooth ride home, signaling the end to our trip.

This group of anglers, from "rent rodders" to seasoned anglers, had a great time, with nice weather and good catches of fish. We didn’t get the bonus bluefin and albacore, but everyone loved the generous gift bags from Hi’s Tackle Box filled with t-shirts, several lures, trolling feathers, hooks, Costa Del Mar eyeglass holders, and fishing stickers. Just about everyone won something in the raffle of hats, pliers, Calcutta tackle bags, Albakore bags, lure bags, special custom knives, and fish processing discounts. The grand prize, a 40 lb. class "old school roller rod", went to Ray Kawabata of Seattle, Washington.

The Royal Polaris crew was just outstanding with Frank at the wheel, Big D., Eddie, and Chris as the seasoned crew, and the newest crew members, Jonathon and Evan, were excellent and tight on the deck. They really impressed me. Of course, Chef Anthony and Chef Brett were the best, providing us with memorable, first class meals.

On the water report by
Steve Yatomi
Adventure Travel Alliance
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