Advice for SoCal long-range newbie

Product19

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Jan 24, 2019
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Houston
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Eric
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Kayak
I’m from Texas and have never fished the West coast long-range fleet before. Looks fun though so I bit the bullet this year and signed up for an 8 day long-range trip outta San Diego on the Shogun in Dec 2021. This a first for me so I’m wondering if anyone here could give me some pointers. I’ve been on several tuna trips from the Gulf of Mexico (GOM) on head boats from Texas but I know the West Coast fishing scene is different.

From what I gather it seems you guys use live bait much more than we do in GoM tuna fishing. And it seems you guys use round conventional reels a lot. GOM tuna trips we often use spinning gear to throw artificial lures. Or chunk or jig—not much live bait. Primarily Halco 130 lures or jigs. Don’t see too many spinning reels in On long range SoCal YouTube videos. A couple of questions i have:

1. Do you guys think it’s worthwhile even bringing my Shimano Stella 14K spinning reels and Halcos over there? In SoCal it seems you fight big fish off the rail a lot which would be impossible with a spinning reel. But it might be fine for smaller fish like yellowtail or schoolie tuna. Im confident the Stella could handle a YFT up to around 125-150lbs. Beyond that I don’t know. My personal best YFT only went at about 70lbs.

2. Did you guys bring your own gear or rent the boats? Shogun says they can provide all the tackle if needed for a fee. The trip I’m on is sponsored by Penn so I’m guessing they might loan out some of their stuff for the boat to try out? They have a recommended list of rods/reels to use based on the trip length and much of it looks heavier than what I am used to down here in Texas. Don’t wanna plunk down a lotta $$ getting gear for my first SoCal trip. Maybe after I’ve done a couple and have more experience I’ll know better what I need. Did a similar thing when I started tuna fishing here in Texas.

3. Any other advice/hints I would welcome. So far I’ve only booked the trip itself. Have not arranged hotels or anything else but I figure that would be easy. Thinking to fly up a few days before.

Thanks in advance for ya’lls feedback.
 
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jmch75

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Apr 28, 2017
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Joe Curly
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Welcome. As you stated this is a PENN sponsored trip, I'd suggest you reach out to Steve (aka tunanorth), who is a regular here. He is quite knowledgeable about the SoCal scene and a great fisherman. Likely, there will be loaner gear available from Penn/Steve, so something you could inquire about.

As far as spinning reels, the stigma with them from the boats out of San Diego is slowly going away as I am seeing at least one or two on each trip year over year on both "short range" (~2-3 day range) to "long range" (5+ days). So, IMO, no need to buy new gear if your Stella 14k and appropriate rod can do the job with the caveats you mentioned. Can't comment if 125-150lb class is realistic.

An 8 day will likely be a "variety" trip, so you'll get exposure/opportunity at tuna, yellowtail, wahoo, whatever else captain determines is ideal, so you'll want to be prepared for not only the rod/reel setups, but the bait/lure setups as well. As an example, although bait works fine for Yellowtail, they are also a lot of fun to catch with yo-yo jigs. Same with Wahoo, but bombs and raiders. It's a slippery slope, and you can end up like many of us and become a "tackle whore".

Since you'll be flying in from Texas, you'll likely want to look into the logistics of what you can/plan to bring in terms of airline baggage (length, weight, etc), and search for threads from other folks that travel with their gear to inquire about their strategy. But once you're at the docks here in San Diego, you can bring just about anything you want on board in terms of gear without any real weight limitations, but in reality, you won't need THAT much gear. It's always a balance of what you need vs what you may loose sleep over since you didn't bring along. There are some scattered "checklist" type threads here, which may be good to use as a starting point.

Good Luck.
 
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af dreamer

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Apr 16, 2007
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tom
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If your on the Penn trip,Steve will have lots of loaner outfits.I would take the spinner for a popper outfit for sure.Great boat,crew and food.If I knew they were not going to the island I would probably go.Tom
 
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Amadeus

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  • Mar 17, 2011
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    Wai Jung
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    8-day long range on only spinners? Been there, done that. :o


    Would be open to doing it again even though I would still like having my conventionals along as an option...though my long range spinner line up has been updated to:
    1. one Fin Nor FST60
    2. one Daiwa BG 6500
    3. two Fin Nor LT100's
    4. one Quantum Cabo CSP100PTsE
    5. one Quantum Cabo CSP120PTsE
     
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    Lake

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    Mar 31, 2003
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    That trip is likely hitting Guadalupe Island. By December the sharks have usually left giving you better shots at landing your fish. There are videos of the Shogun fishing Guadalupe on YouTube. It’s a great place to visit and the fishing can be real good, but technically challenging. It is mostly live bait fishing there but chunks can produce well in the right conditions. I wouldn’t want to be dependent on your spinning set up for 100+ pound tuna. And you certainly wouldn’t want to use it dropper looping. Talk to the boat more about what their loaner policy entails. Some loan and only charge for line. Others may rent them to you. Steve Carson May be on your trip and that is great for you. He’s one of the classier guys on these boards. Most of the regulars will be happy to help you out also.
    You may take a run south and hit the rocks or ridge and fish wahoo for a day or two. Even if using loaner tackle I’d recommend you bring spools of fluoro from 40-100 pound test, quality circle hooks from size 1 to 3/0 or 4/0. Go to wahoobombs.com and order a six pack of bombs, and make sure at least two or more are green. You’ll need wire for fishing wahoo if you fish bait. A lot of guys are throwing bombs and jigs tied on to 130# fluoro. You can search these boards for discussions on wahoo rigging. Search also for a post by Tim Turis for wahoo hints. Careful. Long range fishing is quite addictive and you may end up doing it a lot more.
     
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    tingo777

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    Jul 6, 2017
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    Matthew
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    Driftboat
    I just got off my second LR trip on Monday, Excel Ballast Pt 8 day, so it's all pretty fresh in my head. I have to travel as well, so I can say that dealing with the logistics of that can be a thing. I'd suggest you contact Mike Morris, of Big Fish Transport. You can ship your rods and tackle box to Mike, he will then pick you up at SD airport, with all your stuff, and take you to the boat or your hotel. Really good guy, good service.

    I took my popper setup and you should too, but my $.02 is put it back in the rack if the fish get really big. We were pulling hard on 90-100lb yellowfin at Guadalupe and speaking for myself, would not have wanted to pull on those fish on a popping setup, even though my gear is 'rated' for it. You really want to use the rail as a fulcrum to put a bend in the rod and conventional is where that's at.

    For my first trip, I bought and took w/me a spinning setup good for 40lb and a conventional setup good for 40/50lb, to have some of my own stuff. I used the boats gear for the rest, and that was fine. On this recent trip, I had 7 setups I brought, and used all of them throughout the trip. My suggestion to you is bring your Stella/spinning setup, and *maybe* buy a 40lb conventional setup, as you are likely going to use that a lot. This give you the advantage of practicing casting a conventional rig at home before you get on the boat. This was useful to me as a beginner. A Penn25N 2 speed would be a fine reel for this class of fishing, on top of an Okuma PCH 761H or Daiwa Proteus 76HF. Such a setup, w/ 50lb braid, would prolly run you under $500 if you shopped around on here and got the reel used.

    As far as flying with rods, if you don't ship them to Mike M, buy PVC pipe and 2 end caps, wrap your rods in bubble wrap, giving extra attention to the tips, and cross your fingers. I've only done this with one rod tube one time, but it came through ok. YMMV.

    You're welcome to DM me if you'd like to chat further about what it's like as a newbie on one of these boats. Good luck and tight lines.
     
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    2tuna

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    Feb 21, 2011
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    Craig H
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    le barge
    I'm a big fan of the Halco 135 on the coffeegrinder w/ 40/50 braid, having caught a mess of schoolie BFT and YFT to 40 lbs, and a couple YT to 15 lbs on it. Gosa 10K and OTI TunaSniper make pretty quick work of those fish.

    I'm convinced that the big treble hooks (if inside the mouth) take quite a bit of the piss and vinegar out of the fish. Also, the way I fish I use strong-arm to hold the rod with spinner, but off-arm for holding a conventional rod, and I think the different ergonomics work well.

    A fish over 50 would be a different matter.

    Guys on the boat (including deckies and skipper) will still give you a (mostly) good natured hard time, but there are now too many really proficient and experienced guys hammering the fish out of SD with spinning gear for anyone to say that it doesn't work well for smaller/mid-sized fish, and it surely is easier for many of us to lay out long consistent casts
     
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    Steve K
    Steve K
    Dinner on the Spinner! A real nice tool for flylining for school sized fish. Makes casting those smaller baits much easier.

    What I don’t get is a guy using it for dropper loop. Like WTF?
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    locvetter

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  • Mar 24, 2015
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    Loc Vetter
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    I just got off my second LR trip on Monday, Excel Ballast Pt 8 day, so it's all pretty fresh in my head. I have to travel as well, so I can say that dealing with the logistics of that can be a thing. I'd suggest you contact Mike Morris, of Big Fish Transport. You can ship your rods and tackle box to Mike, he will then pick you up at SD airport, with all your stuff, and take you to the boat or your hotel. Really good guy, good service.

    I took my popper setup and you should too, but my $.02 is put it back in the rack if the fish get really big. We were pulling hard on 90-100lb yellowfin at Guadalupe and speaking for myself, would not have wanted to pull on those fish on a popping setup, even though my gear is 'rated' for it. You really want to use the rail as a fulcrum to put a bend in the rod and conventional is where that's at.

    For my first trip, I bought and took w/me a spinning setup good for 40lb and a conventional setup good for 40/50lb, to have some of my own stuff. I used the boats gear for the rest, and that was fine. On this recent trip, I had 7 setups I brought, and used all of them throughout the trip. My suggestion to you is bring your Stella/spinning setup, and *maybe* buy a 40lb conventional setup, as you are likely going to use that a lot. This give you the advantage of practicing casting a conventional rig at home before you get on the boat. This was useful to me as a beginner. A Penn25N 2 speed would be a fine reel for this class of fishing, on top of an Okuma PCH 761H or Daiwa Proteus 76HF. Such a setup, w/ 50lb braid, would prolly run you under $500 if you shopped around on here and got the reel used.

    As far as flying with rods, if you don't ship them to Mike M, buy PVC pipe and 2 end caps, wrap your rods in bubble wrap, giving extra attention to the tips, and cross your fingers. I've only done this with one rod tube one time, but it came through ok. YMMV.

    You're welcome to DM me if you'd like to chat further about what it's like as a newbie on one of these boats. Good luck and tight lines.
    Great bunch of advice.
     
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    Apr 10, 2019
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    Chris
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    La Reina
    If your on the Penn trip,Steve will have lots of loaner outfits.I would take the spinner for a popper outfit for sure.Great boat,crew and food.If I knew they were not going to the island I would probably go.Tom
    You don’t like the island? Or you don’t like the island in December?
     
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    RichG

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    Jan 20, 2007
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    A lot of great advice here. Since you are on a Penn Charter, get a hold of the Charter master and he should be able to provide you with the loaner set ups you'll need. You will need to pay for top shots. Flurocarbon and terminal tackle as noted.

    Spinning outfit. The advantages are easy to cast and great distance. Disadvantage fighting a big fish.

    Conventional reel. Advantage, ability to put a lot of pressure on the fish (especially the big ones) and using the rail that saves you energy. Disadvantage: casting. You need to learn to cast and control the spool to minimize "bird nests," which are a pain, especially with braid.

    I am not sure if braid is popular in Texas. It needs to be packed tight on the spool or else you could get in trouble.

    To save you some $$ up front, see if a friend has a conventional out fit you can practice casting. Go somewhere and put a light sinker on and throw. It just takes practice in thumb control. If you are serious about buying one before you go, then I agree a good 40 pound outfit with a 7 or 7.5 foot rod.

    Local accommodations are close by the landings. The three, Fisherman's, Point Loma and H&M are all withing few hundred yards. There are several tackle shops close by and great food. I suggest you reach out, closed to your trip and see if you can hook up with others that are spending the night. I suggest either the Ramada, Best Western or Holiday Inn.

    Just plan to have a lot of FUN. Welcome to our addiction.

    PS keep asking questions. You will get several different opinions and all usually work, so you just need to master the ones that work for you.
     
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    mike garrahan

    TheSabreGuy
    Sep 7, 2007
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    My brother and I are on the Penn reels trip again this year. I think this will be the 5th or 6th year in a row. It is always a really good trip with a good crew, a good group of fishermen and a great sponsor with ton of prizes and giveaways. I love fishing Guadalupe and I look forward to the weeks and months of prep, building rods, getting your reels ready and going through your tackle to make sure you are ready for anything.
    I look forward to the ride down talking to all of the guys you haven't seen for a year and I like the challenge of picking a hot bait on the right setup and getting an instant hookup. It is at that point that I start thinking "now you did it" and I start looking around for my brother so I can hand off the fish and go try to get another hookup. I don't know if the trip will go to Guadalupe or to the ridge this year but either way I am sure it will be a fun trip.
     
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