American Angler Calstar 5-Day 6-29 to 7-4

tunacraze

Member
  • Nov 27, 2006
    808
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    Steve Brunton
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    The Big Ones
    Day 1: Got signed in and left the dock at 9:45 am for Guadalupe Island! The stars aligned for us on this trip as this would be the first permitted trip to Guadalupe for the AA. We got a great load of bait at Everingham Bros. and cleared the point at 11:30 am headed to check-in at Ensenada with the crew of Captain Brian, Second Ray, and on deck Justin, Rocco, and Nick with Josh and Jordan in the galley.

    Smooth ride down and we arrived in Ensenada about 5:30 and were quickly out of there in about 30 minutes headed for Guadalupe. The 18 hour run was the roughest part of the trip with 5-8 foot seas and sustained 15 knot winds. Our ETA for the Island is 12 pm Friday the 30th and we will be the only boat there. John Cameron from Calstar raffled off 6 nice new rods and gave everyone and shirt and a pack of jigs! Thanks John!

    Day 2: Arrival at the Island is a sight to behold. Such a cool place! I still can't find the right words to explain just what a sight this place is! It is a step back in time to the days of the dinosaurs. The volcanic cliffs rising up into the clouds make one wonder just what's on top of the island. The groans and barks of the sea lions on shore are reminiscent of gorilla's on a lost island. the best part was that the weather layed down nicely about 5 miles off the island and would never be an issue again!
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    We get right to work with reconnaissance and locating the fish. About an hour later we kick the anchor over and start catching some big yellows 18-30 pounds. They would get bigger.... We moved around a few times and ended the day with about 60 yellows for the boat. Most fish were caught on the flyline, but yoyo and surface iron worked too. Great start! I got 4 to 30 pounds all on 30 lb.
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    Anthony only got 1 since he was trying to fish his little Phenix PSW 869H rod with his Lexa 400 HD. He would get rocked most of the time and lost about half of my JRI surface irons. He would continue to fish this rod the entire trip and he payed the price a lot, but he also got payed back. He can throw a surface iron a mile with that rod, but it just doesn't have the backbone for these fish. He's a pretty small kid for 17 years old so he doesn't like the big 90j's and such. That might change next year....

    Day 3: Our first full day and we went right back to fishing yellows. We found some of the bigger grade fish in the morning to 40 pounds mixed in with the 18-30 stuff we had the day before. All quality fish though! We continued to fish that same grade of fish until about 4 pm when we had enough and would take off in search of yellowfin tuna.

    We found some small spots of Tuna later in the day, but it was hard to get them to come up and play. We did manage to snag one 40 punder on the popper and called it a day.

    Day 4: Our last full day and locating tuna would be the focus to start. We drove around where we had seen the fish the day before and up and down that area of the island for no real sign in the early morning hours. We almost called it a couple of times and went back to fishing yellows, but around 11 am we started to see some sign and kicked over the anchor to see if we could get them to go. Toki was the first to hook up on a long soak flyline sardine! I can't remember the weight, but it was a solid 80-100 pound fish. Then we put up the kite and waited for the fish to flash through again. Meanwhile, Anthony and Jordan start throwing poppers...

    Dave Gonzalez then hooked a nice fish that he fought for almost an hour before he lost it, literally, 6 inches out of gaff range! That fish was over 100 pounds. Dave was bummed.

    The fish would show up against the island pushing the bait into the shallows and slowly move toward the boat. They would breeze through the chum-line and everyone would have a shot. Again, most fish were caught on the long soak.

    The kite was up and Richard was first up, but he didn't know it. He was in the galley drinking a beer when it went off and Brian calls him out over the PA. He finally runs out and it turns out to be the biggest fish of the trip at 127 pounds! Solid fish.

    Guess who's next up on the kite? Me!

    I have never done this. So, I am nervous. Thoughts go through my head about reports that I have read on here about making the bait dance on the surface and kite jail! As the kite goes out there is a school breezing through. So, I'm confident kite jail is less likely.

    With fish boiling all around the baits my concentration becomes intense, but no bite, Then a lull and kite jail begins to return to my head. I try to remain focused, but it's hard to see the baits looking into the sun. I put my Costa Del Mar's on, take them off...nervous again. I ask Ray, "Am I doing this right?" He says yes and I calm down. They flash through again coming up swell toward the kite and it happens. I see a boil and the balloon sinks toward the water. I am bit! I yell! "I think I'm bit!" and Ray yells wind! wind! wind! Steve! I do and I come tight with a smaller grade 40 pound fish and have him to the boat in 2 minutes. What a relief!

    Anthony is next up on the kite and he too has never fished it. I am even more worried about his patience since he is 17 years old and has very little. The kite goes out and he settles in as I have a celebratory beer for my fish. Anthony seems to be doing fine so I go for another bait and a long soak. As I reel my bait in after 15-20 minutes I realize that I am in a massive tangle. Justin comes to help and tries to free my spectra, but asks if I want to cut it. I ponder the thought and give it the go-ahead after another few minutes of trying to get out.

    Just as I get out of the tangle, Anthony comes around the corner and says, "Steve, check this out. I caught a huge Calico."

    I said, "What? On the kite?" As I walk around the bait tank I see a huge tuna that he caught on the kite! Holy crap! It weighed 116 pounds and he beat his personal best by two pounds exactly 4 years and 1 day after he caught a 114 pound Bluefin on the same trip! I didn't see a second of it, but I am happy for him!
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    Anthony goes back to throwing poppers on his under-gunned rod. He hooks one smaller fish and the hook pulls quickly. Then a bigger fish, easily 120, comes completely out of the water and inhales the popper. He comes tight to the delight of everyone watching and has the fish on for a minute or two before the hook pulls again. Just not enough power to set the hook with that rod! He wants a 90j now!

    Finally, the bite shuts off and we pull the anchor to go looking again. We look around for more tuna, but no sign. So, we head back to to the yellowtail grounds one last time before dinner and departure. This time we found the big fish!

    We set and reset the anchor a couple of times in an area with no current, then moved a short distance away where the current was ripping! We get the anchor down and immediately start hooking fish to 40 pounds! We sat there for two hours with a wide open bite. We filled the box at least twice on that stop and we were all tired and hungry. So, we pulled the hook and set a course for Ensenada while we had a nice dinner. Great day!

    Day 5: Brian had told us at dinner that we would investigate a strip of warm water on the way to Ensenada. We arrived in that zone at about 8 am and although there were good signs of life and several kelp paddies, we only caught one small dorado and some rat yellows that were released. I think that zone may hold tuna later. lots of porpoise and blue whales in the area. Water was clear blue and 67 degrees.

    Once we realized that this zone was not producing, guys started breaking down their gear at a leisurely pace. Brian called it at 2 pm and we were on our way to Ensenada.

    We checked out of Ensenada at 8:15 pm after a great prime rib dinner and went off to bed for our early arrival at the Customs dock. We cleared customs at 5:30 am and arrived back at the dock at 6:15 am.

    Final Thoughts: What a privilege it was to be on this trip! Thank you to the Mexican Government for opening this wonderful place for us to fish! Thank you also to Lori, Brian and Sam for working so hard to obtain the permission to fish there!

    What Worked: Flyline sardine and yoyo were most successful, but surface iron worked well too. Not much on the dropper loop. Mostly calicos. Most fished 40-50 pound line with 1/0 or 2/0 hooks. I used 30 pound with 1/0 and #2 hooks fine. Only got rocked twice. My fault, but I like the challenge of light line.

    Current: Many places there was none or it was funky against the wind. The one place we found the ripping current that the island is famous for we scored big time on the yellows.

    Future Prospects: Things look great for those of you going soon. I suspect it will get better and better as the water gets warmer. We had a range of 66-68 degrees with the tuna in the warmer water.

    Sorry for the long post, but I don't get out much and thought I should contribute to the site after 12 years or so of lurking. I hope this helps those going soon.

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    hilltop

    lurking in the shallows
    Jan 1, 2010
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    sold, pangas, Intrepid, and diggin the RRIII
    Great pics, epic report, congrats on the trip! Thanks for sharing!!!
     
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    Baller

    Jig Chucker
    Nov 16, 2010
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    Nice report, thanks for sharing..!!! The AA boys, love 'em..!!
     
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    TEAMFISH

    JUST ADD WATER
    Aug 17, 2006
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    Fantastic report. Thanks for taking the time to write it up
     
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    MikeyLikesIt

    did you say FISHING ???
    Feb 24, 2003
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    as said, Excellent report! :appl:

    I remember my first time to the 'Lupe.........I think you captured it well.

    Nice fish too!
     
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    bdubs73

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    Feb 7, 2008
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    Steve,
    Thank you very much for the "long report" It was very helpful and a great read, especially you and your son having such a great time together. I am going in a month and this is all great intel for my trip!
     
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    tunacraze

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  • Nov 27, 2006
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    Steve Brunton
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    The Big Ones
    Thanks guys! bring some poppers if you're going. We had 4 or 5 tuna bites on the smaller ones. Anthony was using the Halco in the flying fish color. Nobody tried the Bull Poppers.
     
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    RockHopperNCKA

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jan 25, 2017
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    Do kayaks count?
    Thanks guys! bring some poppers if you're going. We had 4 or 5 tuna bites on the smaller ones. Anthony was using the Halco in the flying fish color. Nobody tried the Bull Poppers.


    Great to hear! I've been out to my local waters every chance I get fishing for sharks/rays but, more importantly, am also practicing throwing and working my arsenal of different poppers. I'm pretty confident with my Haymakers and my Chug Norris so far.

    Thanks for the info!
     
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    Rex1978

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    Nov 4, 2010
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    As stated numerous times above... great report.
    I'll be on the Ken's trip in Sept. for the first time. Hearing nothing but great things about this boat & can't wait!!
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
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    As stated numerous times above... great report.
    I'll be on the Ken's trip in Sept. for the first time. Hearing nothing but great things about this boat & can't wait!!
    Rex, that's a great group. I'll be there watching you unload as I'm on the following trip. Very much looking forward to getting back on the Angler. Last trip on this boat was a 14 day in January.
     
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    The Dr.

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    Awesome report! 120lbers blowing up on poppers...are you kidding me! I want some of that!
     
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    tunacraze

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  • Nov 27, 2006
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    Steve Brunton
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    The Big Ones
    Just to update my comment about the poppers. Anthony was using the Yozuri Bull Popper in Sardine color. I believe Jordan was using the blue mackerel color in the same series. These are 6.5 inches long and 80 grams I think. Sorry for the confusion. Nobody tried the bigger Halco poppers, but I would take take those too.
     
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    tunacraze

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  • Nov 27, 2006
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    Steve Brunton
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    The Big Ones
    No night time dropper loop?

    Thanks for great recap.

    No, not to my knowledge. That's too much for me after a long day 6 am-8:30 pm on deck fishing. I know a couple of guys tried it, but never heard of any caught. The current was mostly non-existent in the areas that we anchored up for the night. The crew did catch a tank of bait though.
     
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