Indy 10-day Oct. 12-Oct.22


I just need one...more!
Sep 12, 2011
Boulder, CO
any that I'm welcome on!
After two 5-day trips this summer, I still needed more. I found a spot on Strike Force Tackle 10-day on the Indy, Trip 25. This was my second trip on the Indy, and once again, I was very satisfied with the vessel, the captain, the crew, and the cuisine. Also, the group of guys on this trip were fantastic. It is so nice to join in a fishing expedition with such a fun, nice, and crazy group of guys. We had a total blast and I hope to do it again soon. Please read on for a narrated picture report of the trip, beginning at my home in Boulder, CO.

This shows our complete journey throughout the 10 days. X marks the stop.

LEAVING BOULDER, CO: After a beautiful October sunrise in Boulder, I packed the car and headed to the Denver International Airport.

In my garage in Boulder. Most of my rods are at my friend's house in San Diego (notice the 5-Star shipping boxes on the left):

SAN DIEGO FINALLY!: I arrived in San Diego around 1:00 pm, rented a little, red car, and headed to Chark Bait, Angler’s Choice, and Squidco. I picked up some rods and reels that I was having serviced/repaired, purchased a bunch of stuff I probably wouldn’t need and already have too much of anyway, and headed to the wine shop to purchase some good wines for the trip. Finally, I headed to my friend’s house to pack up the rest of my tackle. I keep most of my tackle at a friend’s house in Scripps Ranch, so I really did not have too much time to engage in the obligatory arranging and re-arranging of the almighty tackle box. Nonetheless, I did it a few times and sharpened some hooks before I finally went to sleep.

Rental car is loaded and ready to head off to the docks to meet new friends!

ARRIVING AT THE DOCKS: I woke at 4:30 am and arrived at the docs at 6:00 am where I began to introduce myself to all the guys with whom I would spend the next 10 days. We drank an 8:00 morning beer, checked in, and got ready to board the glorious vessel.

All my stuff ready to load into the wagon

Three of the awesome anglers I will spend the next 10 days with. Alex Mobile is the charter master on the right.

Checking in with Judy:

There she is!! And to the left is the beautiful El Capitan, Alan Fay's vessel.


THE CREW KICKS ASS!! I was excited to meet two members of the Crew that I had not fished with before (Kevin and Alan), but I would definitely miss Doug and Oscar, who I just discovered would not be on this trip.

This is the crew from my July 4 trip, such a good shot I had to share it here. From left: Paul, Doug, Jesus, Oscar, and Matt. You will see more of Kevin and Alan as you read on.

TRAVEL DAYS: Day 1 and 2 were spent traveling and setting up our gear. We geared up with 30 to 80 pound outfits for flylining, dropper loop fishing, and throwing the jig and bomb. Most guys had a rig for trolling the marauder, though the boat also had a couple of wahoo trolling rigs set up as well. The longest trip I had been on was a 6-day, so this was the first time I attempted to rig up for the wahoo. I was prepared with two 50-pound outfits (a Talica 12 and Newell 540-4.6) for the wahoo, one for the Raider or bomb and one for fresh bait with a single wire leader. The one thing I was not prepared for was the need for casting those jigs far away from the boat, meaning that I did not have a nice stiff rod with some length, most of mine were 6’ max. I wished I had a 7’ Calstar 700 H, alas I didn’t. Nevertheless, my wahoo rigs were good enough to do the job…or were they? I also came prepared with a Talica 10 and Trinidad 14A for 30 pound fishing if necessary, an Okuma Andros and Avet JX for 40 pound outfits, a Shimano TLD-30 for a 60 pound outfit, an Okuma Mikira for 80 pound, and a Penn International 30SW for a 130 pound outfit. Most of my rods were Seekers and Calstars, 5.5’ to 6’, though I did have one old 6.5’ Diawa that I ended up using when I caught my biggest fish.

The only thing more beautiful than a sunset is one with rods in the way:

MEALS AND SNACKS: On the Independence, prime rib is served on the first evening…a welcomed change from most long-range trips. The prime rib was absolutely fabulous, served with baked potato and asparagus. Chefs Michel and Rolf prepared healthy, flavorful meals throughout the trip, including fantastic lunches and snacks such as shrimp-avocado salad, sashimi and poke, Cesar salad with chicken, smoked tuna and wahoo, and the most delicious burgers I have ever tasted. Most important was the 10 o’clock soup that comes out every morning including chicken vegetable, cream of mushroom, clam chowder and some secret recipes that I’m not even going to tell you about.

PRIZES AND GIVE AWAYS FROM STRIKE FORCE TACKLE: Just after dinner on the first day, Alex Mobile, the charter master and owner of Strike Force Tackle gave out some wonderful prizes including mini-flashlights, pliers, knifes, multi-use tools, cool t-shirts, Bill Roeker’s book “At Rail,” a fabulous rod and reel, and a beautiful wooden tackle box custom made by Alex especially for this trip.

Lucky winners of rod, reel, and tackle box.

Isn't it beautiful?

RIGGING UP: Day 2 was spent rigging up our gear, getting to know each other and playing poker. For dinner, we enjoyed a delicious half chicken with herbed mushroom risotto and green beans.

WAHOO!!!!By day 3, we had completed the 483-mile trek to Uncle Sam Bank (please refer to map for an illustration of our journey). Early in the morning we began trolling the marauder. Trolling team 1 was up when we hit our first jig strike…Wahoo!! They were 30 to 55 pounds caught on the marauder at the troll as well as on charcoal and gold Raiders, wahoo bombs, bait, and the charcoal with pink Salas jig. Most of the casting rigs were using 50 pound, probably fluorocarbon. We boated quite a few nice wahoo and hit one more jig strike, and that was it on the wahoo for a while. Alas, I did not get into any of the wahoo. I did get a bite on the charcoal Raider, which I lost as quickly as I got it. The wahoo bit my Raider off the starboard side and took off right over all the trollers on the stern. I started winding as fast as I could and next thing I knew, he was off! Shit! Of course I am kicking myself, wondering what I did wrong, why I used that stupid floppy rod, why I choked, what I could have done differently…and realizing that maybe there was just nothing I could have done. There is always the next time. Day 3 was my favorite of all the dinners—ossobucco with broccoli—absolutely delicious.

Two on the troll, one with a jig

YELLOWTAIL!!: Day 4 was also spent at Uncle Sam Bank, where we hit WFO 15 to 30 pound yellowtail, ending up with enough for everyone. People were mostly using their 30 or 40 pound outfits with fresh bait and/or jigs for yellowtail. A few yellowfin were also caught here and even a couple of bluefin. Throughout the day, anglers donated yellowtail to the kitchen for dinner the next day. For dinner on day 4 we had pork tenderloin with apple cider demi-glaze and mashed potatoes.

NOT MUCH ON DAY 5: Day 5 we headed out to the 23, where we swiped a wahoo on the troll and found 3 more on the troll near the 23. One more wahoo was taken on the troll at Thetis, just south of the 23. For dinner we had blackened yellowtail with mango salsa and saffron-citrus burre blanc. It was Refuckingdiculous. That evening we headed to Mag Bay to make bait, which we did from about 11pm to 1:30 am. I find the whole ritual of making bait to be rather enjoyable, somehow it is just fun to hook fish, I don’t care what kind. And no matter what, it sucks when one of your hard earned mackerel drops off on the deck before getting to the bait tank. We loaded the boat with mackerel and anchored for the rest of the night at Potato bank. In the morning we headed southwest toward the 50/50.

Making bait

WFO DORADO AT THE 50/50: On Day 6 we searched around the 50/50 for some kind of fish that might enjoy the sardines we had to offer. We spotted a dead seal and thought that this might be a prime spot for dorado to hang out. Sure enough, WFO dorado for several hours! Mucho dorado! Bull Dorado! The dorado ranged in size from 15 to 25 pounds and it was bloody decks all day. Paul, Jesus, Matt, Kevin, and Alan were working as hard as a crew can work gaffing the dorado as fast as we could catch them and releasing the smaller ones. Dorado were flopping everywhere on the deck and if you couldn’t catch one here, you pretty much suck. We caught our limit of dorado at this lucrative stop and anchored for the night. For dinner we had rack of lamb with port wine sauce, asparagus, and roasted potatoes.

This is also the great Chef Michel, catching food for dinner

You can see the great Captain Jeff, you know what I mean?

BIGGER YELLOWFIN!!: On the morning of day 7 we continued searching around the 50/50 for black porpoise, with which we hoped to find quality tuna. We didn’t find any black porpoise but we did find a school of small common dolphin and decided to stop, chum, and cast a bait or two. So I cast a bait out toward the stern, move to the left and am now standing at the stern watching the chum and feeling my bait. Way back beyond the stern we could see tuna boiling on our chum. They looked like a larger grade tuna and we all watched in anticipation as they boiled closer and closer toward the boat. “Here they come!” yelled one of the anglers in true anticipation for what might happen next. It was truly a beautiful sight as the tuna approached…boiling on the bait. Zzzziinng, five lucky anglers got picked up and one of them was me! I watched as my Avit JX took off, getting closer and closer to the spool. Matt came up, checked my drag and sure enough, it was just a bigger fish! The five of us fought our fish for quite a bit, and I started hearing some of the other guys’ fish flop onto the deck. Sadly, I didn’t feel anywhere near finished. I went up to the bow and back to the stern, around to the other side of the boat, and I knew that this was larger than any tuna I had ever caught. Finally, the other four guys had boated their fish and here I was, with everyone watching as I struggled with those last several winds as my 77 pound tuna circled on the port side near the stern. My forearms were on fire and I kept trying to use the rail, which caused my to back up away from it. I think this was my biggest mistake, causing me to over use my forearms and not enough of my back. Kevin and Jesus were there the whole time with me, and Jesus was helping me through that final struggle. He said, “Chica, you’re going to have to pull harder when he swims our there, watch your rod tip, move closer so you can see!” and he pushed the small of my back closer to the rail, allowing me to gain much better leverage for pulling at the appropriate time. Gaff!!! Two gaffs and my fish was on the boat. I was so damn tired and my arms felt like two balloons.


I couldn’t quite pick the glorious tuna up for a picture, so Alan came to the rescue and helped me lift up my tuna for the Kodak moment shown below.

The yellowfin at this stop ranged from 50-76.7 pounds (yep, 76.7 was my tuna!) We kept searching the rest of the day for more of these larger grade tuna but didn’t find any. For dinner we had mahi-mahi with tomato caper sauce with squash and cous-cous, another fabulous meal. We headed toward Alijos Rocks and intended to spend the last two days fishing there. The ride was very choppy as we headed 204 miles northwest.

NUTIN' AT ALIJOS: On day 8 we all rigged up with 40 pound outfits to fish Alijos Rocks. The area hadn’t been fished for 3 days and we would be the only boat out there. We had high hopes for finding something out there but all we could find was a handful of smaller yellowfin, a dorado, and a yellowtail.

Jesus and Valerie honoring heavy metal and wondering, "Where's the damn fish?"

BACK TO UNCLE SAM: After spending most of the day, working our asses off to find anything that would bite, Captain Jeff announced that this was simply not going to work, and we were heading back to Uncle Sam Bank to find some tuna. This is not what most of us expected to hear, but we were pleasantly surprised and ready to head out for Uncle Sam Bank. We arrived in the morning and began fishing for some of those smaller tuna. First thing in the morning, the first bite brought up bluefin! We scored several bluefin at this stop and as the afternoon progressed we picked up many more yellowfin.

OFF TO CEDROS TO BREAKDOWN: After a nice, full day of fishing tuna (and trying to avoid the yellowtail and skip jack), we called it a day. We headed out to Cedros where we would break down our gear, clean the boat, and prepare for the end of the trip…my heart grows heavy and a tear enters my eye. For dinner, we enjoyed pork chops with smoked paprika and onion demi-glaze.

BASS TIME!!: Turned out that the seas were very calm, so we moved at about 12 knots over night, and made much better time than we expected. Captain Jeff announced that we could stop in at Cedros and do some bass fishing! Of course, we had all already broken down all of our gear, bundled up our rods, cleaned our reels, but as you might imagine, within minutes we all had bass rigs set up and were hanging out at the rail. On the way to our bass fishing spot, we came upon a ball of squid, and Paul and Matt were able to scoop some up.

A squid ball over there!

SQUID FOR EVERYONE: There was enough squid to go around and between swimming baits and squid, we had a blast fishing for calico bass on the north head lee side of Cedros. I caught several keepers, which I tagged with my last few tags. Alas, it was time to head home. By 5:00 that evening I was fully engaged in one of many poker games of the trip, drinking wine and enjoying the evening. For dinner we enjoyed Surf-n-Turf—steak and shrimp with béarnaise sauce and potatoes au-gratin and spinach.
Day 10 was spent writing this report, drinking beer, and trying to finish off all the alcohol. I also spent some time sitting outside and enjoying conversation with the other anglers and the crew.

This is my poker gang. I did really well up until the last few days, should have quit when I was ahead!!

These guys were really good though...and we had loads and loads of laughs

ANOTHER KICK ASS TRIP!!: Another kick-ass trip on the Independence. A beautiful boat, a wonderful crew, and a terrific fishing experience. I can’t wait till my next 10 day, which, of course will be a 12 or 15-day trip! No more of this 10 day stuff…too damn short!!
Thank you for reading!

Yes, I walked away with the jackpot, which of course I gave to the crew! But the honor is mine! :)

Credits: Thanks of Alex Mobile for the use of many of his photos (and for hosting a wonderful trip). Thanks also to Pangamaster for introducing me to the joy of long range fishing about 15 years ago. Thanks to the Independence for running such a kick-ass operation.


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 6, 2011
Springfield, Missouri
Tom Younce
Great writing and report. It is nice to see that Jesus has a home on the Indy.
He was on the Intrepid 18 months ago when I was onboard.

I am sooooo pumped as I leave in 6 weeks for my trip.


Feb 22, 2006
San Fernando Valley
Awesome report!!! Love the map!! Thanks!! Congrats on a great trip and the jackpot!!!


Well-Known "Member"
Nov 19, 2010
joe johnson
You can see the great Captain Jeff, you know what I mean?

It's just like yesterday, only it's today!

Great report!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 7, 2004
Killer report Valerie! Congrats on the Jp. It's addicting isn't it!

David Brewer

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jan 10, 2006
Huntington Beach
Dave Brewer
Great report and pics. I have not fished with Jesus since September of 2005 on the RP when we put over 300 hoo on the boat in one day at Alijos.


Captain blue perch!!!
Apr 1, 2006
Blackman'46'Boat Ho!!!
I can't believe how much weight Paul the deck has lost!!!!!WOW!!!

Looks like one fun trip!


Junior-Assistant-Deputy CharterMaster in Training
Feb 25, 2007
South Bay, L.A., CA
Thanks for the report and the pics. Of all of the great food from the great chefs on the great boats, the soups and burgers on the Indy really stand out!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 6, 2011
Great report, nice tuna, that sounds like a great battle. At first, I was chuckling the deckhand called you chica, but I guess you are a chica! Nice job, that's a bigger tuna than I've ever landed!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 6, 2006
San Clemente CA
Spike Ivins
any chance I get
Valerie, best thread I have seen, an excellent fishing trip and congrats!!!!!!!!!

Chef Michel is one of the best in the fleet, ever. You also had a great crew aboard your trip, I look forward to your future reports.


Cow Town Here I come!
Jul 1, 2008
San Ramon, CA
SD Long Range or Bay Area Day Boats.
Hey Val,
Great report! One of the best I have ever seen. Congratulations on catching your largerst fish and getting jackpot. Next time we fish together you know the competition will be fierce...I think it will be me asking for pointers :)


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Apr 11, 2010
Brian Richardson
Cape North 43 Sailboat
Thanks for taking the time to provide us all with a great read


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 14, 2007
Awesome report! I felt like I was there!

It's great to hear you had a fine time with my friends on the INDY.:hali_olutta:


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Jul 1, 2008
San Jose California
You kick ass Val! Glad you made it back to Boulder. Hope both fish parties went well. It was a pleasure fishing with you. Until next time.



Sep 23, 2010
La Mirada
Never been on anything longer than 2 days.......these are the kind of reports that will make me commit to a LR for 2012! Thank you!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 31, 2006
This is a great report thanks for sharing it with us and congrats on JP!


I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 24, 2008
Hurst, Tx
The Moose Knuckle
Outstanding report! Gotta get on that boat again soon.


I just need one...more!
Sep 12, 2011
Boulder, CO
any that I'm welcome on!
But then I returned home. Where the hell is my grill and smoker? The only two things in the world I need right now...

Today in Boulder


Nov 6, 2008
Nick Rekrut
great report Valerie!!! congrats on your biggest tuna and jp.

great pictures!!!!