AA 14 Day Report

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
1,841
2,467
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Ok, what did I learn (or re-learn) this time around?

1. You must enter to win.
2. Every trip is different.
3. Attitude makes or breaks the trip.
4. Helps to have a lot of luck.

This is my 4th long range trip and I still use loaner gear from the boat. I do bring a small tackle box with a handful of lures, hooks and weights but that is it.

We left Point Loma on January 25th. Great group of folks that have all been fishing this trip for a while. Bait was very healthy and large. I think we won the jackpot there based on previous reports. Trip down was lumpy but not terrible with a following sea. The 4 day ride to the Bank seemed longer than usual but was not, just seemed that way. I did not win any giveaways or the Cribbage tourney but I did play the cards I was dealt well and had a good time. Got reacquainted with folks and enjoyed the start of my winter vacation away from subzero temps, dark days and shoveling snow.

Day 1, We arrived at the Bank with good weather around 10 AM on Sunday, Jan. 29th just in time to see the RP head off to Clarion. We toured the Bank and metered good sign of fish then got anchored up but the current was wonky, running up to the bow and the fish were not all that interested in biting. I manage to boat the first fish of the trip, a ~90 lb YFT on a very long soaked shoulder hooked sardine. I was fishing 100 lb. Blackwater topshot and a 5/0 Super Mutu. I think we finished the day with 4 fish total with one at ~160 lbs. For a short time the third place jackpot position was held by a 19 lb. skipjack. Ray got a report from the Rooster that they had good luck at the Buffer Zone that day on mixed grade fish and that there was good current and good sign. One or two guys stayed out on deck all night trying for the late night bite that never happened. They were fishing jigs, skipjack and sinker rigs with 1 or more sardines. We picked up a mix of flyers, skippies and a few misc. bait fish.

Day 2 of fishing starts slow and stays that way. I don’t hook anything. We manage to pick off about a dozen fish by mid-morning with one going just over 200 lbs. but there is not much current to work with and even though we see good sign on the sonar the fish are not biting. Only about half the anglers have caught fish. Ray hears that both the Rooster and RP had good current, good action and a hand full of larger grade fish mixed in at the Island. He makes the decision to head for the Island around 10 am. Not all the anglers are happy with the quick move but you cannot please everyone all the time.

Day 3 we make it to the zone fairly early the next morning and get setup with the Rooster and RP. Decent conditions with some real current and slow but somewhat steady fishing. Fishing is still scratchy and fish size is on the smaller side (70-90 lbs). I manage to boat one smaller grade fish during the morning bight. Mid-day Ray tours the area where the Rooster found tuna and sharks. We look around and fish a little with limited success finishing where we started. I think we end the day with less than 20 mixed grade fish. People are picking up fish on the sinker rig, something that has produced for me in past years but this year I am catching all my fish by fly lining shoulder hooked sardine, mostly on the long soak away from the boat. I finish the day with 3 fish.

Like others have reported we did not have much luck making bait at night. We are picking up a handful of scad mackerel, salami mackerel and tube mackerel but nothing consistent.

Day 4, started out much much like day 3 with a flury of fish early. I manage another couple of smaller grade fish fly lining shoulder hooked sardine on 100 lb.

Some anglers are still not having much luck so a couple of the more productive folks start handing off fish to help get things rolling. Things start changing and we begin seeing more activity and flurries of biting fish.

Mid-morning we start looking around with our troll gear out for wahoo. I am supposed to be on the troll rotation but don’t feel all that lucky so I am sitting it out when Kub starts giving me a bad time for not getting in the game. He keeps at me until I give in and grab the nearest troll rig and claim my spot. Ten minutes later we end up sliding in on a bird school and while I am reeling in my marauder all heck breaks loose. We have a wide open bite on 40 – 100 lb. yft with a wahoo or two mixed in. I hook 5 fish and land 1. Hooks pull, lines get burned off and cut. Total chaos and everyone is smiling and having fun!

Once the smoke clears we go back to trolling and a little while later the same thing happens. This time I take my time putting my troll rod away and getting my bait in the water. By then things had settled a bit and I manage to boat two nice tuna out of the school.

We get back on the troll for the third time and about 15 minutes later we have a double hookup. I end up with one of the two 40lb. wahoo. I boat the fish and immediately thank Kub for pushing me to get in the trolling game. I would not have caught that fish if it weren’t for his encouragement. I also thank Pat for the use of his troll rig, he looks a bit confused. Guess I should ask him before I use it in the future.

The weather continues to be great, calm and sunny. During the day Pat and Jan pick up fish over 200 and everyone is feeling more optimistic. We finish the day with a good evening bite and then the sharks put on a show. Must have been 15 or 20 of them milling off the stern just after sun down. Quite a sight.

IMG_1466.JPG


More to follow.
 
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Bill W

tunaholic
Jan 12, 2006
5,052
5,879
66
Chino Hills, Ca.
Name
Bill Walsh
Boat
Red Rooster
Blackwater 100#, gotta like it for getting bit. Well at least for you and me.
 

tmitch760

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 6, 2008
238
177
Santee
Name
T.J.
Boat
Triumph 21 cc
Thanks for the report. Love reading these when I am on the clock!
 

Baller

Jig Chucker
Nov 16, 2010
2,585
1,781
La Mesa
Name
Bill
Boat
American Angler
Great report..!! Cannot wait for round two..!!!
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
1,841
2,467
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Day 5 is our last full day of fishing and it starts off with another decent morning flurry during which I manage another couple of fish. Weather is clear and sunny. Fishing is steady with a mixed grade of fish. Everyone has fish by now and we are chugging along with one or two fish going most of the morning. With the sunny hot day I eat lunch and decide I will grab a quick nap early afternoon to avoid getting roasted on the back deck. Ray keeps announcing that he is metering big fish deep below the boat, like he has most of the trip. I cannot get to sleep so I slather on a layer of sun screen, grab my 100 lb. outfit and belly hook a sardine to get it below the birds. I drop it over the side and it actually starts swimming away from the boat in the right direction. It gets out about 100’ and is picked up. I have been on deck maybe two minutes at this point and am pretty pleased with myself. I let the line peel off of a little while and then slowly put it in gear. Line comes tight and away we go!

The fish runs out 2 or 3 hundred yards and then settles down a bit allowing me to gain some line. After a short fight out on the surface he decides to head down and in towards the boat. I work him a little while on the back rail and then he moves towards the bow stopping short so I have a good spot on the rail near the bow but not right on the anchor line. Austin is there to keep me out of trouble and patiently helping as I work to gain line. About 20 minutes in it is feeling and looking like a larger model. I am having trouble gaining much line so we bump the drag a little. That helps and I start gaining ground for a short while. The fish gets cranky now and then with the occasional head shake. He wraps the anchor line a couple of times and settles back down. We get stalled again with line going out as much as it is coming in. It is about 30 minutes into the fight and I start gripping the side of the spool to keep from losing line as the swell rolls under us. Ray lets me know that it is neither the time nor the place to be doing that. He comes over and nudges the drag up a bit more and tells me to keep my hand off the spool. I know he is right but I have trouble listening. Another 10 minutes goes by and the fish decides to take a run around the anchor line and out off the bow. Ray grabs the rod to clear the anchor line and works the fish for a short while before it wraps the anchor again. I get the rod back for a short time before the fish decides to wrap the anchor again. At this point I am pretty certain that I will eventually lose this one to the anchor.

At this point Ray decides to try and move the fish to the stern and puts the pressure on. It starts heading the right way but turns back to the bow and wraps the anchor again. After getting it back off the anchor and working it a little longer we get it headed to the stern and this time it cooperates. I manage to get it settled into the stern corner and feel much better with the position. I have now been on the fish for over an hour and it is starting to circle. The fight is pretty slow and predictable at this point. The only unusual thing is that this fish in running in really big circles and they are having to clear my line off the hull every pass under the boat. We end up moving across the stern to the down current side to boat and that helps to keep my line off the hull. At this point we are about one and a half hours into the fight and I am getting pretty gassed. Ray patiently coaches me through all this and we get the big bugger to deep color and he is still making 30 to 40 foot circles under the boat. From what I was told later, at this point everyone on deck stopped fishing and watched the show. Another few minutes and he came to the surface as he finished another big circle away from the boat and Brad hit him with a gaff. Then two more gaffs dug in and I started to think that this might actually be real.

A few seconds later a 248 lb. yellow fin tuna hit the deck and it was over. I was happy, tired, hot and a bit sad. What an experience! I know there are much bigger fish out there. I know that I could have probably finished off this fish much quicker than I did. I know that I would have never landed this fish without Ray and the rest of the crew. What a fish! It was everything I had expected from my first cow! Big fight, big fish, big fun! Everyone one on the boat seemed genuinely happy.
IMG_3224.JPG

After weighing him and taking pictures I was getting my rod put away and cutting off the hook I had used to catch this big fish when I saw that the tag end of the San Diego knot that I had tied had pulled out of the upper loop. I remember tying this knot and thinking that it had not snugged completely down on the tag end but thought that it would be OK. It was not and by all rights this knot should have failed. I think that if I had been pulling harder on this fish that it may well have failed. Luck was definitely on my side the whole time. Guess who is going to be OCD about their knot tying from now on.

We finished the day with a steady bite of mixed grade fish and called it a night.

Day 6 was a short day but it was busy. Since we were shooting for an early departure Ray had the crew dump a bunch of bait early on and this really pulled the fish in. Pretty much everyone was pulling on fish. We had a handful of bigger kite baits that folks started fly lining too. What a mess! Big baits swimming everywhere along with sinker rigs and fly lined sardines. Some of the folks that had been snake bit early on were catching fish left and right. A couple anglers had what seemed like big fish working them out on the surface for quite some time. Turned out that while they were nice fish well over 100 lbs. they were not giants, just mean. At this point I had 11 tuna and a wahoo and was happy to sit up top and watch the show. Looked like the folks who were having trouble early on were now the hot sticks with one angler landing 3 nice fish back to back. By 9 am we wrapped it up and headed north.

The trip home is the nicest ride up hill I have had yet. We expected some snotty weather that never really showed and we cruised in right on time. Lots of beautiful tuna hit the dock along with a bunch of happy anglers. Really cannot say enough about the AA, Ray and the whole crew. A good time was had by all.
IMG_1459.JPG

Now am back in the land of snow keeping warm thinking about next year!
 
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Baller

Jig Chucker
Nov 16, 2010
2,585
1,781
La Mesa
Name
Bill
Boat
American Angler
Love me some AA crew..!! Top notch from top to bottom..!!
 
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tunacraze

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Nov 27, 2006
614
477
Santee
Name
Steve Brunton
Boat
The Big Ones
Great report! Thanks for taking the time. Love the AA gang! Top notch service!
 

dh515

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 18, 2004
1,421
1,568
So Cal
Name
David
Boat
Intrepid, Red Rooster III, Spirit of Adventure
Congrats on the cow! Gotta love it when things go right.
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
1,841
2,467
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
you forgot to mention what a great room mate you had!! haha!
Good Job Jeff, see ya next year....
You are quite right Jake! Thanks for putting up with me. Stay healthy and have a good year. Cheers!
 

Cubeye

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 26, 2007
3,367
2,356
Los Angeles
Name
Kub
Boat
17' Gregor
Great report. Lots of happy campers.........even Harvey. He came through in the last two days!
 

Capt Ahab

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 25, 2017
126
103
54
Somewhere in the Galaxy
Name
Mark Rodman
Boat
Upright
Still constantly AMAZED how the vast majority of Long Range crew member's skills are so finely honed!!!

Especially considering the talent/skill & supreme BALANCE it takes to stand atop the anchor pulpit in pitching seas & untangle a fishing line wrapped around the anchor rode...

...and then have to deal with the vast myriad of personalities & angler's expertise or lack thereof...

Reach DEEP when it comes time to TIP!!!
 

Relacson

@relacson22
Feb 22, 2006
485
39
San Fernando Valley
Name
Marc
Boat
yours
Awesome. AA is an outstanding operation. Thanks for the report. Congrats on the cow. Your details on the fight sound vividly similar to my last trip although I did not end up with the same result. Congrats again!!!!
 

BGTfishing

Tanner Bank BFT
Oct 21, 2016
47
23
Escondido
Name
Byron Tobey
Boat
Hobie
Great report, thanks for the details on the trip. I'm taking my first 8 day trip at the leaving September 30 on the AA. I can hardly wait.
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
1,841
2,467
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Great report, thanks for the details on the trip. I'm taking my first 8 day trip at the leaving September 30 on the AA. I can hardly wait.
Great time to go on an 8 day. Now that the AA has a Guadalupe permit who knows where you will end up fishing. You should catch a variety of fish and have a good time doing it. Best of luck!