AA 14 Day Trip Report 1/27-2/10

Dexter Outdoors

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
2,083
2,873
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Boarded the plane and headed to the land of sun and warmth. Landed on a beautiful San Diego morning with Jake picking me up and headed to Squidco. I bought a token pack of 3/0 circle hooks since I had read that they may be needed. Jake bought some new Extra Toughs and a few other items. Got breakfast, checked in at the office and then to the hotel. Tried to stay out of trouble the rest of the day and relax. Met the usual suspects at ~5 am the next morning waiting to board. Three new faces in the crowed with Steve K, Don and Sid joining our trip.

Loaded by the numbers and put my bag and reels in my room. Helped others with bags and gear.

Quick trip to the receiver and loaded up on a mixed size bunch of sardines. Mostly mid to smallish grade. Then headed out of the harbor and turned South. Cruising on calm water was amazing. Water like glass, could not tell where the water ended and the sky started. Some spectacular sunsets.
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Got word that the Excel left the lower banks a little early to beat us to the rocks so “Team Hoo” could get another crack at the wahoo before we did. Final report was that they managed to pick up 30 or so during their stop.

Day 2 we arrive at the rocks and drive around with variable results. Picked a few wahoo on the troll with the odd stop producing some additional bomb, jig and bait fish. I managed to catch my first ever wahoo casting a lure. A green JRI Hooicide Bomb. Just for the record my wahoo setup was an Avet SX Raptor and an Okuma SCT 30-50 7’ rod. Not a common setup but worked just fine even though the SX only collects a little over 30” of line per crank in high gear. At first I was thinking the SX would not work well and it was confirmed as I was not able to move the lure very fast, until I noticed that I had the dang thing in low gear! Amazing how much fasting that bomb moved once I shifted it into high gear. Don was the hot stick with 7 or 8 fish for the afternoon. He was doing well trolling a DTX Minnow and throwing a Raider. I managed 2 troll fish and 2 bomb fish. I was using whatever boat rod was available during my troll rotation and did well too. The boat count was something like 55 by the time we headed south. Some big fish in the mix compared to previous years. A few in the 50 lb. class. There were also a few 15-25 lb. yft around. Wrapped things up at Alijos Bank around 1 pm and continued South.

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Day 3 finish setting up heavy gear and getting ready for tuna. We eventually wraped up the Cribbage tournament on day 4 or 5. To my surprise I end up winning and receive an LX Raptor! The first thing I have ever won on a LR trip! Now I have 5 reels to work with when fishing LR out of San Diego! Looking at my rod tube and reel case I am maxed out.

Day 4 Join the RP and start looking for fish. Get word from RP that things have been slow for a while with a few mixed grad fish each day including a cow or two. We find a spot and get the anchor down for the morning. Hand full of fish come onboard. I manage a smaller fish on a sinker rig and then move to fly lining as the sun comes up. A couple of anglers pick up nicer grade fish on the chandelier but nothing big. Late-morning I manage a second mid-grade fish on my 100# fly line rig. Mid-day I switch to my stealth rig, Mak 15 and 60 lb. spectra topped with 80# leader. Was a dream to fish with and I got bit. As the line came tight something broke under very little pressure. I was pretty sure it was my hollow to solid splice since I was new to that but found it fully intact. What I did find was not good. The Spangler knot that I had been practicing and testing for the past year looked to have cut itself. I likely had the two legs crossed on the ring but could not see well enough to know it. I did test it under full drag before fishing it. Later on I had another Spangler knot do the same thing while testing so I abandon the knot and switched to the 3 turn Uni with no failures or concerns of any kind. Glad I had worked to perfect that knot as well. I obviously need to be wearing my reading glasses when tying the Spangler to insure I have not crossed the legs. At this point things are pretty slow so we pull the anchor and troll around for some wahoo with good success. Not wide open but consistent stops for nice grade fish. We also picked up a few tuna on the troll and had the odd shark frenzy with some losses.
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The next 2 days were painfully slow tuna fishing with lots of sharks, small YFT and skipjack. We did hook and release a marlin on the troll and had scratchy but steady wahoo action. Current never straightened out with wonkey conditions the entire trip. Kite flying to the side of the boat and everyone marching up the side to the bow following their baits.


The last 2 days, RP had left and the Intrepid arrived, we managed a few tuna each morning and evening with good wahoo fishing during the day. Some wahoo stops produced a deck full of fish with lots of excitement.

The sharks added to the wahoo excitement since they would show up halfway through a stop to collect their tax. Losses were not terrible with one or two fish taken. It was a real treat to see a pack of 3 or 4 wahoo streaking past the stern with one smashing my bomb. Then a couple of sharks entering the arena. The visual was awesome! I had one wahoo get chased by a shark and it took of like a scalded rabbit. The shark ended up taking another wahoo and I got mine to the boat. It did not have a mark on it but was dead when it hit the deck. I was batting 1000 on hookup to landing fish while others were missing multiple fish or getting their jigs cut off. I was feels pretty good until I had two fish in a row grab my bomb and eventually come off even though I as reeling the whole time. The next fish stuck but ran me around the boat twice. I checked my drag and found that I must have hit it at some point since it was backed off from the original heavy setting at strike. I then cranked it back up and the next wahoo that bit could only tug as I ground him in. And it was not a small fish. I eventually racked my rod with 15 wahoo on the board. That little SX Raptor did just fine throwing a bomb so long as I kept it in high gear and set the drag tight. The green JRI Hooicide Bomb took a beating during the trip. Kub kindly rewired it for me about day three of fishing as the wire was beginning to fray. It caught fish to the bitter end and now looks like Bill the cat from Bloom County!
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Last full day of fishing I pick up a couple tuna during the morning bite. Nice fish but nothing big.

One of the more experienced anglers gets hooked up on a fish for a long time, moving around the boat and staying high in the water. Seems like a nice fish. Eventually the hook pulls. A real disappointment as good grade fish have been scarce for us on this trip. Late afternoon I follow another bait up the side of the boat to the bow and let it soak a while. I then start slow winding it back in since I don’t have anyone close to me. About half way back to the boat I get picked up! (I feel that when a tuna picks up my bait on the way back in it is not as aggressive as it might be and typically is following the bait and swallows it from behind. These are the ones I have not gotten good hook sets on in the past so now I give them a lot of slack and take my time putting the reel in gear.) Eventually the line comes tight and I am on. Fish is acting strange but there is a tail beat, so I am pretty sure it is not a shark. It comes part way to the boat and then takes off. Rocco shows up to assist and checks my drag. He backs it off some as I am fishing 100#. The line is now running off the reel. I am getting nervous that I may not land this one. But the fish slows down, and I start gaining line. It is way out on top and pulling and acting like many cows I have seen in the past. We settle into the usual give and take with a big fish and I am feeling pretty good until he strips half my line running right at the Intrepid’s anchor. I reach down and bump the drag a little. He eventually slows and I feel better. By now we are what feels like 30 minutes into the fight and I am sure that this is a big fish as I have never fought any fish under 200 for more than 20.

I am still waiting for this fish to settle down and come under the boat but any time it seems he might be getting ready to do that he takes off on another run and I am back to square one with him way out on top. Eventually he shows himself on the surface with a nice sickle in the air as a marker. Someone mentions that he looks fowl hooked. Turns out that he was simply hooked on the opposite side from the boat and the line was going under him at the time. He makes a few more runs but they are getting shorter and Rocco thinks it is time to put the screws to him. I am in the bow and he heads to the stern but i stay put and keep heavy pressure on him, as he heads in towards the stern he finally rolls! I run down the rail picking up line before he regains his composure. I am now in the stern and he is headed to the bow but I hold tight again and he rolls again and I gain a bunch more line. I am finally in the stern corner with him circling under the boat. I can see him and he looks ready to be gaffed but he is not close enough so I figure two more circles and we are there since I am ready to be done. As he comes out from under the boat I pull hard and assume they will get the gaff stick so I relax a little. Big mistake, he is not as close as I had figured and he rolls with some slack in the line. All I hear is “Slack line not good!!!!” I get back on the rod and hold him, luckily the hook stays in and one more circle brings him to the gaff! A second gaff and I can relax. As this fish hits the deck I am very happy but realize that this is no cow. He tapes out at 165#. WTF?? I soon realize that I have experienced what others have described as a pissed off teenager. This fish fought every bit as hard as my 248# cow and way harder than all the 150-180# fish I have caught in the past. On closer inspection it is apparent that I came very close to loosing this fish as the hook set was in the lip and had torn a fair-sized hole. By all rights that hook should have fallen out when the line went slack. I am glad it did not.


I take a couple pictures and pace the deck trying to focus but I am all amped up for some reason. Brian finally looks right at me and says it’s 45 minutes to sun set and I will have 4 days to rest after that so I should probably get another bait in the water. I always try to listen to the captain and I know sun set is when the bigger fish often come to the boat, so I re-tie and find a jumbo sardine in the hand well. I pin it on and send it over the side. A couple minutes later and it is game on for another heavy fish! Fight starts out much like the last one with a couple of good runs out high. At about 15 minutes in the hook pulls and that is it. I had 4 bites and landed 3 that day.
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That was pretty much the end of my fishing adventures for the trip.

We eventually pointed the boat north and headed into some snotty weather. Normally it does not bother me much but this trip I spend the better part of 3 days trying to not get sick. I should have given up early on and taken a patch from one of my fellow anglers. I did recover in time to enjoy a prime rib dinner.

Some specific takeaways from the trip:
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Used the FG knot for all my leader connections with no failures or concerns. Love it! I had no trouble tying it on deck. I did keep a small bottle of Zap a Gap glue in my pocked to coat the Rizzuto locking knot.
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I did splice some solid to hollow on 2 of my reels using the method Bill posted a month or so ago using two opposing Rizzuto knots to lock the end of the hollow. One splice went in and out of my reel several times under load with no issues.
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Spangler knot is great so long as you can confirm that it is cinched correctly and the legs are not crossed.
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Uni knot turned out to be a more reliable knot for me.
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I bought a bunch of different Fluorocarbon leader to try this year but ended up using the same small spool of 100 lb. Sunline I used last year. It got bit and held up well. I still have a bunch of YoZuri Pink and Seaguar Premier. At this point I think I may have a lifetime supply of leader material.
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There just were not very many tuna around while we were there so even though the fish were scarce they were not super picky. I got all but one of my bites on 100# gear.
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We never had good current. Not even for a day or an hour.
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Bait was not all that big but they remained healthy the entire trip.
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Kite barely produced. Got to number 5 on the kite rotation.
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Fantastic wahoo fishing overall. I learned the #1 lesson to catching wahoo. Find a lot of fish that want to bite. Then it does not make much difference what color, size or type lure you throw, or how fast you retrieve it.

Crew was great! Food was great! And my fellow anglers were a pleasure to fish with!
 
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Eastcapedon

Almost A Member
Jul 1, 2008
166
32
San Jose California
Name
Donald
Boat
Independence
Jeff,
The day that we get back is always pretty hectic, getting my gear/fish and getting out of town. Didn't get a chance to tell you what a pleasure it was thank you for being so welcoming to the new guy. Take care of yourself and your girls! Don aka "The Clinic"
 
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FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
2,083
2,873
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Jeff,
The day that we get back is always pretty hectic, getting my gear/fish and getting out of town. Didn't get a chance to tell you what a pleasure it was thank you for being so welcoming to the new guy. Take care of yourself and your girls! Don aka "The Clinic"

Don,

Great having you onboard to show the rest of us how to get it done on the wahoo. Was also nice to have fish around to practice on. : ) Have a great year!
 
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cow man

Tuna addict
  • Aug 29, 2012
    3,258
    3,019
    Glide Or. 97443
    Name
    Jake Waardenburg
    Boat
    N/A
    Great job Jeff ..
    Glad you filed the report, was thinking about it myself but haven’t gotten over my depression yet.. lol
    Have gotten pretty spoiled out there!!
    Thank god for the wahoo!!!
    Thanks again great sharing the rail with you again and let’s do it again next year..
     
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    alan760

    Member
    Dec 7, 2003
    518
    361
    Encinitas, CA
    Name
    Alan
    Boat
    American Angler
    Jeff,
    The day that we get back is always pretty hectic, getting my gear/fish and getting out of town. Didn't get a chance to tell you what a pleasure it was thank you for being so welcoming to the new guy. Take care of yourself and your girls! Don aka "The Clinic"
    Glad you got the skinnies Don. Sorry I missed your pm but sounds like you did just fine. Had a good time of the Accurate trip and signed up for next year. Bryce put his name in too.
     
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    FishRock

    Still trying to figure it all out
    Mar 27, 2013
    2,083
    2,873
    Alaska
    Name
    JAM
    Boat
    Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
    Great job Jeff ..
    Glad you filed the report, was thinking about it myself but haven’t gotten over my depression yet.. lol
    Have gotten pretty spoiled out there!!
    Thank god for the wahoo!!!
    Thanks again great sharing the rail with you again and let’s do it again next year..

    Jake,

    Thanks again for the ride and friendship. Was another tough trip but still fun.

    As for the report, it was from my memory and likely contains many chronological errors and missed details.

    Have a good year!
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
    11,492
    7,129
    Bishop
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    Honored to be a part of this adventure with some great guys and great anglers. What a trip, very different, for me anyway, from any other long trip I’ve been on. No tuna for me but I did enjoy Jeff with his skills on display. This guy can fish!

    Personal best Wahoo at 57 lbs was an accomplishment for me as I had a stellar Wahoo catching trip. Only lost a couple of jigs, couple of bombs and probably boated a limit. Also, had a broken hook on a Raider! Gave away some to crew members and other anglers. Even had one for Peter J on our return.

    The picture of the whole gang is priceless. We come from all over the place and put our talents and passions together for two weeks, enjoying what we do. Angler of the year? My opinion? Gotta be Kub, that guy loves to fish! :)

    last-supper.jpg
     
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    TOTW

    Time On The Water
  • Dec 23, 2005
    1,243
    1,845
    San Diego
    Name
    Chris L
    Boat
    Leo's
    What I did find was not good. The Spangler knot that I had been practicing and testing for the past year looked to have cut itself. I likely had the two legs crossed on the ring but could not see well enough to know it. I did test it under full drag before fishing it. Later on I had another Spangler knot do the same thing while testing so I abandon the knot and switched to the 3 turn Uni with no failures or concerns of any kind.

    For different reasons, I’ve also abandoned the Spangler. The uni works much better for me, too. Simple, strong, easy.
     
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    TOTW

    Time On The Water
  • Dec 23, 2005
    1,243
    1,845
    San Diego
    Name
    Chris L
    Boat
    Leo's
    Would you care to share your reasons?

    I don’t like how the finished knot makes a ringed hook sit all cockeyed. Doesn’t seem to make any difference to anyone else, but I like everything sitting in a straight line. Here’s an example of what I’m referring to,
    5FE92A2C-FF9A-4E4C-BEAE-6EF2E498A0BB.jpeg
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
    11,492
    7,129
    Bishop
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    1514425_b7a7caf3a9e61b17e8b52b83fafed946.JPG


    Gotta say, Jeff, you sure got your money's worth out of that bomb!
     
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    Cubeye

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Jan 26, 2007
    3,728
    2,782
    Los Angeles
    Name
    Kub
    Boat
    17' Gregor
    1514425_b7a7caf3a9e61b17e8b52b83fafed946.JPG


    Gotta say, Jeff, you sure got your money's worth out of that bomb!
    There are still a few strands of mylar left, but I would suggest replacing the entire skirt. What do you think Steve? Oh and put on a new spinner blade. The swivel is useless without one. The wire looks to be OK......you think?
     
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    Fishybuzz

    fishybuzz
    Apr 4, 2003
    8,662
    8,764
    Tucson
    Visit site
    Name
    David Tang
    Boat
    Intrepid
    Thanks for the report.....really like your analyzing the different knots and connections....yep and I agree I am a FG knot and 3 turn uni person.
     
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    Lake

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Mar 31, 2003
    2,372
    2,731
    Visalia, CA
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    Blaine Lake
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    none
    “The Spangler knot that I had been practicing and testing for the past year looked to have cut itself”

    I’ve had the same thing happen, although I don’t feel that the line was crossed wrong. It cost me an extremely large yellowtail at Guadalupe. I had it happen a second time and have abandoned it.
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
    11,492
    7,129
    Bishop
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    There are still a few strands of mylar left, but I would suggest replacing the entire skirt. What do you think Steve? Oh and put on a new spinner blade. The swivel is useless without one. The wire looks to be OK......you think?
    I don’t know for sure, it might deserve an induction to the Hall of Fame. I remember when Jeff told me he had limited on Wahoo. I took a couple of mine to the repair/rebuild shop (kitchen table) JRI Bomb needed new wire, a little Mylar and I repositioned the pink rigging beads. One Captain Jimmy Bomb just needed new wire. And, don’t forget the Titty Pink Tape! Ready for October.
     
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    FishRock

    Still trying to figure it all out
    Mar 27, 2013
    2,083
    2,873
    Alaska
    Name
    JAM
    Boat
    Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
    There are still a few strands of mylar left, but I would suggest replacing the entire skirt. What do you think Steve? Oh and put on a new spinner blade. The swivel is useless without one. The wire looks to be OK......you think?

    Kub,

    I will have to bring my bomb by your custom repair shop next time we fish together. Thanks again for the mid trip re-wire. It kept me in the game.

    Though I do think a Bill the cat series of bombs may be in order along with a banana marauder.

    They should work fine since Pat had everyone fishing rats and frogs last fall on his Gallagher Trip on the Exel.
     
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    Soda Pop

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Feb 12, 2011
    2,703
    4,321
    Fresno, CA
    Name
    David Rouse
    Boat
    Long range fishing
    Great fishing report. Sounds like you all had a great time with some great friends ona great boat with some great food. O and you won the tournament. That’s bonus time brother. Thanks for the great report. Enjoying every word.
     
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    alan760

    Member
    Dec 7, 2003
    518
    361
    Encinitas, CA
    Name
    Alan
    Boat
    American Angler
    For different reasons, I’ve also abandoned the Spangler. The uni works much better for me, too. Simple, strong, easy.
    Another vote for a 3 turn uni knot. Landed my 225lb using the uni knot and use it to tie on my wahoo trollers. Also found it easier to tie over the Sd knot when I am sitting in my kayak.
     
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    GES

    Newbie
    Nov 12, 2006
    9
    24
    Simi Valley, Ca
    Name
    Galen Steward
    Boat
    I pay to ride
    Nice report Jeff!
    Another fun trip fishing with this group. Great weather, food and friends. I’d like to thank Brian, his crew, and especially Lori for taking special care of us- Best operation in the fleet!
    More tough fishing-like Jake said we have been very spoiled over the years-but I’m already looking forward to next year!
    Good job on the wahoo! Your heavy head bomb is the way to go, along with both heavy and light raiders.
    Good job at the cribbage table! At least I got 5 of your dollars.
    I always tie a Uni Knot for 100lb.
    Careful, your under-the-radar fishing manner is being exposed - with your 2-3 Jackpot showings the last few years. Great Job!
    Fun times,
    Galen
     
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    FishRock

    Still trying to figure it all out
    Mar 27, 2013
    2,083
    2,873
    Alaska
    Name
    JAM
    Boat
    Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
    Nice report Jeff!
    Another fun trip fishing with this group. Great weather, food and friends. I’d like to thank Brian, his crew, and especially Lori for taking special care of us- Best operation in the fleet!
    More tough fishing-like Jake said we have been very spoiled over the years-but I’m already looking forward to next year!
    Good job on the wahoo! Your heavy head bomb is the way to go, along with both heavy and light raiders.
    Good job at the cribbage table! At least I got 5 of your dollars.
    I always tie a Uni Knot for 100lb.
    Careful, your under-the-radar fishing manner is being exposed - with your 2-3 Jackpot showings the last few years. Great Job!
    Fun times,
    Galen


    Galen,

    Thanks for all the kind words. My under the radar style certainly benefits from a lot of straight up luck and a great bunch of anglers helping out.

    Was a pleasure meeting your son and his wonderful family. You are certainly a lucky fellow too.
     
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