Long range fishing out of San Diego for a relative newbie

Discussion in 'San Diego Long Range fishing Reports' started by flickfish, Dec 8, 2015.

  1. flickfish

    flickfish Member

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Name:
    Nic
    Boat:
    Sea Wolf
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    Hey there folks! I was just in San Diego and picked up a brochure for a long range fishing charter and I've been researching it since (I didn't know such charters existed). I really want to go on a multi-day trip but I'm a relative newbie when it comes to that kind of fishing.

    To give you an idea, I've fished all my life and have done a lot of ocean fishing, mostly trolling in the Indian Ocean with Rapalas and have done long, single day, trips on fiberglass vessels which barely held together. This was in my teen years though. My fishing now is mostly restricted to bass fishing with my brother-in-law who is an absolute bass fishing nut. Every now and again, when I go on tropical vacations, I make it a point to charter a boat and go out fishing. I'm also starting to go on charters out of the SF Bay Area for salmon and rock fish. I own a decent amount of tackle but it's mostly restricted to bass fishing gear. All I own in terms of ocean tackle is a Penn Senator 4/0 with 30# test and an Ugly Stik Tiger along with some lures and miscellaneous bits.

    I've looked at a lot of long range boats out of SD and I seem to be gravitating towards the Excel. It seems that they're the most newbie-friendly from their website and videos. It also seems like one of the nicer setups in the fleet (though they all look pretty good). I'd wanna go on a 5-7 day trip.

    Which boat do you recommend for someone with my experience level? Do you recommend I get any gear of my own at all? If so, what's a good, middle of the road setup you recommend? All the boat websites suggest to bring along 3-5 rod and reel setups, I'd like to start with at least one.

    I've also noticed that a lot of the open trips on the schedule are named after a company or a person, what does that really mean? Are people on these trips pretty tolerant and helpful with regards to newbies?

    Thanks!
     
  2. gettingbentwithbo

    gettingbentwithbo Get Bent!

    Location:
    Riverside
    Name:
    Bo
    Boat:
    14' Starcraft SF SS
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    You cant go wrong with the Excell It's a bitchin boat! I am pretty sure you need all of your own gear on those trips (someone correct me if I am wrong) so 1 setup really ins't going to cut it I feel like you would start to get really frustrated. All of the long range boats have tackle suggestions for setups to bring and all of that tackle is great gear.
     
  3. Jay-Hook

    Jay-Hook Newbie

    Location:
    Los Gatos
    Name:
    Jay
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    I also fish Excel. There are many good boats. I would pick a time frame and then look for openings. For the long range fleet it can be hard to find an opening. I like the idea of starting on a 5-7 day trip; most people started on shorter trips and then worked their way up. It is possible to start bigger. Usually it is a question of getting the gear.

    I think that you need 2 40# setups and an 80#. I just checked here http://www.excelsportfishing.com/pages/3-6-day-trips.php and they agree with some variation. I would recommend that you rent. "Reservation for tackle rental must be made 30 days prior to trip by calling Fisherman’s Landing (619) 221-8500."

    The company names are often the sponsor. The people names are the charter masters. They often give away gear.

    I would strongly recommend that you pick a trip and get it booked. Fishing is outstanding this year.
     
  4. Bill W

    Bill W tunaholic

    Location:
    Chino Hills, Ca.
    Name:
    Bill Walsh
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    Red Rooster
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    All the crews will take you under their wing if they know you are new to long range. If your objective is to try the equipment before you buy, a lot of reel manufacturers sponsor trips and usually supply the rod and spectra line on the reel.

    If you want to buy a small 2 speed would be my first buy and fill it up with 60 hollow or 65 solid.

    The 4/0 is a good reel and can be used as your jig reel with 50#. Most likely the rod you have has a soft tip which I would not recommend. Once you decide what trip and boat you are going to try remember the boat usually has all the terminal tackle with comparable tackle shop prices. And take advantage of the boats trolling and kite gear along with rental gear if you go on a non sponsored trip.

    I would choose a lighter load trip, and you will learn a lot. Ask the regulars and crew any question on knots and rigging.
     
  5. Baller

    Baller Jig Chucker

    Location:
    La Mesa
    Name:
    Bill
    Boat:
    American Angler
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    1. Get loaner gear from the boat (Usually free and just charge you for reel fill ups of line)
    2. Can get setup from any of the tackle shops on lures and hooks (If doing a 5-7 days you will need hooks, sinkers, yoyo lures, etc. - Not really a ton of stuff needed plus you can buy stuff on the boat)
    3. Rubber boots (Unless you like wet feet)
    4. And MOST IMPORTANT - A good attitude and sense of adventure!

    I have a check list of stuff, both personal and fishing wise if you need it (It is an excel spreadsheet)

    I am biased towards the American Angler. Call Lori and talk to her. She is such a sweetie and will answer all your questions

    Hope this helps..!!
     
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  6. backlashjack

    backlashjack Scallywag

    Location:
    Alta Loma, CA
    Name:
    Jackson
    Boat:
    Sold the boat, now I just rent a stateroom on the EXCEL
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    You'll be stoked if you go on the EXCEL. All of the boats are great, she's just my favorite.
    They have top of the line Okuma / Seeker rental gear packages to fit your needs for any length of trip.
    Leave the Senator and Ugly Stik at home.
     
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  7. Steve K

    Steve K Hey, I'm gettin' bit...

    Location:
    Bishop
    Name:
    Steve
    Boat:
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
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    Some of the boats offer free loaner tackle, some charge you a rental fee, and some may have to arrange for you to rent it from the landing. But there's no need to go out and buy thousands of dollars worth of rods and reels and spectra. Once you pick a boat and a trip, talk with somebody at the office about gear: what you "need" to bring and what you can get on the boat. Then, be sure you have a pair of loose fitting pants or shorts to wear home. They're going to feed you, a lot. The crews really enjoy new anglers, especially the smiles they put on their faces during the trip.
     
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  8. strackle99

    strackle99 I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    Allied Gardens
    Name:
    Todd
    Boat:
    The one on the fish
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    My first trip on a San Diego Sportie was a 7 day trip on the Royal Star. Sponsored by Baja Fish Gear, I was definitely spoiled on this trip.

    Awesome crew, great boat. Very fishy.

    The Big E is a great boat also.
     
  9. Warlord

    Warlord Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    Granada Hills, CA
    Name:
    Steve
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    22' Supreme Wakeboard Boat
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    While there's no doubt the X is a top tier boat, there are other smaller boats that come in a bit less expensive and would give you a great experience. The American Angler, Vagabond, Royal Star, and others would be a great start in your length of trip. I really like the Vagabond for their commitment to customer service. Their crew takes very good care of everyone on the boat especially newbs.

    I would let the boat know when you book that you're coming aboard with NO gear. Let them take care of you! It'll be way cheaper in the long run. You won't buy gear that you'll never use later or that you'd wish you'd made other choices.
     
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  10. RichG

    RichG Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
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    Richard G/
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    Nic, go for it.

    All the long range boats are good. We all have our preferences of boats. Each boat and crew has a personality, the most important is customer service. If the crew knows you are a newbie, they will help. If the passengers know they will usually be helpful. I do a 5 day in August and their is always someone new, just ask and listen. Again we each have out own favorite knots, etc. you need to find the one that works for you. Note that the Excel is the largest boat in the fleet. A 5 to 7 day trip this summer should be ideal. I think all the boat websites have a list of what to bring, sometime too much.

    Rods and reel: I agree with others, rent or borrow it from the boat. They all have quality equipment. You'll have to pay for top shots and terminal tackle. Many of the trips are sponsored by tackle companies, tackle shops, etc and give away a lot of stuff. Hook, fluorocarbon, jigs. Plus have raffle for other stuff. Therefore, just have a bag to put it in. You will need a good line cutter. Agree with boots or several pairs of tennis shoes. You can bring you 4/0 and Ugly stick. If you fly down it might be hassle.

    You can find a lot of videos on you tube or on some boat web site. I know some of the videos have a tour of the boat. Bill Roecker use to shot a lot of them. Use the search, San Diego Long Range Fishing or Bill Roecker.

    Food was mentioned. You will eat well and if you lose weight, you must have been sick. I personally think some of the boats go to far, daily 4 and 5 star meals.

    Costs: on top of the trip fee, there is a fee for permits and licenses. Some boats had a fuel charge, but with the cost of fuel these days, that a thing of the past. In addition to tackle (the boats sell at competitive price as the tackle shops) you pay for beer and pop (on some boats - the Indy and Intrepid have soda machines). There is the tip for the crew and then having your fish processed. On top of you getting to SD, motel and food while you are waiting to board.

    I suggest you first figure you best date, see who has spots. Call the boat office, they are all helpful. Figure you budget and book the trip. Don't wait too long since many are filled by the end of the year.

    Then post all you question.

    Welcome to a very addicting sport.

    Rich
     
  11. caballo del mar

    caballo del mar Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    San Diego,CA
    Name:
    Doug
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    32' Amato cabin
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    Go on a Penn or Accurate sponsored trip and they will have the best tackle for you to try.
     
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  12. Pangamaster

    Pangamaster Cow Town Here I come!

    Location:
    San Ramon, CA
    Name:
    Dave
    Boat:
    SD Long Range or Bay Area Day Boats.
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    This is really a simple question..and mostly a simple answer....The Excel is a great rig...but so are all the other long range boats....as far as newbies go they are all excellent. I would say it depends more on the charter than on the boat. If it's an open party trip I would say all the long range boats are equal....the crews all love newbies...at least open minded...eager...newbies. My recommendation to all people going on long range trips...first determine what kind of trip you want to go on 5 - 17 day options...then when can you go.....then what is your price range.....once you figure that part out....see what boats have openings in your range.....see which of those are charters....contact charter masters and boats and ask questions.....

    Your an SF guy....so it's not like you are on the other side of Planet.....if you get addicted....hmmm..like me...and lots of other tweakers on this site.....your close enough to make it happen! I agree...buy a rig at least one....but first which type trip are you going on....then we can all help you pick your prime rod for that application.....that will be about a 10 page post!

    Good luck!
     
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  13. screamingreel

    screamingreel Long Range Fanatic

    Location:
    Hayward CA
    Name:
    Jeff Burroughs
    Boat:
    Long Range and Private
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    Welcome Nic,

    There are few of us who reside in the greater SF Metro area. Most boats/operations are very welcoming to newbies. Find a boat, date and trip that makes sense to you and GO! You will not regret it...

    If you have questions or want recommendations, PM me.

    - Jeff Burroughs
     
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  14. wils

    wils lazy-ass well known "member"

    Location:
    not a spoiled bitch from san diego
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    bill
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    I hate boats
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    Start out with that 4/0 on a 700M. Have it serviced and filled with 65# braid and 100 yard 40# topshot. (it doesnt sound like you have much experience with braid so go with the long topshot)
    You can fish live bait, swimbaits, traditional jigs, and yo-yo with it. Maybe get a second rig in the 40# class with a modern reel - single or two speed. If you have a 20# bass-type rig, take that, too.
    Borrow or rent a couple more rigs - talk with the boats office in this regard.

    5-day trip in the summertime = reliably decent-to-good weather. Lots of schoolie-sized (20-30#) fish to get the hang of "what its all about"

    Go on one of the BIG boats so that you wont get discouraged if your expectations fall short in the "boat" category on a smaller boat. Fish the smaller boats later

    Dont worry about going solo. You'll start meeting the guys at the dock before you even get onboard. Talk briefly with the deckies as soon as boarding is complete - and before you get bait - about being a newbie. After baiting up and the crew has stowed gear (and groceries), talk with the deckies and your fellow anglers in more "detail".

    It is a fishing cruise vacation.
     
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  15. flickfish

    flickfish Member

    Location:
    San Francisco
    Name:
    Nic
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    Sea Wolf
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    Thank you all so much! A lot to consider and I can't wait for my first trip! I'll post more questions if I have any.

    @wils - any specific suggestions?
     
  16. Squid Sammich

    Squid Sammich Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    Texas
    Name:
    Matt
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    To be determined
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    I second wils recommendation on riding a BIG boat your first time. All these boats are incredible, but the bigger boat will offer you certain little perks the smaller ones can't measure up to not the least of which is ride if it gets bumpy. I'm not taking anything away from the smaller boats they are great too but since it's your first trip go all out.
     
  17. Brad I

    Brad I Common Sense Isn't Common Enough

    Location:
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    Brad I
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    Nope
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    You're getting a bunch of good advice here.

    I'd also add to continue reading boards like this to become familiar with techniques and gear. A couple of months before your trip, post here again and you'll get help on picking out what hooks, weights, jigs, etc. to bring (some you will get at the last minute with the latest info).

    And in the meantime, practice your knots. I'd try to have 3 types of knots down cold: one to tie your hook on, two to tie the mono/floro leader to spectra and three for a dropper loop (if you plan on fishing that way).

    JMO, but for a typical summer 5 day drip you would want at least:

    30# bait rig
    2x 40# bait rig
    50# bait rig, ideally 2 speed
    yoyo outfit (typically a 50# outfit that can retrieve 40"+ of line per handle turn)
    use the boat's trolling and kite rigs
     
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  18. wils

    wils lazy-ass well known "member"

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    Nope. I dont own any modern reels less than 8 years old. But there are lots of guys who can give you suggestions. Then you'll REALLY be confused. Good Luck.
     
  19. RichG

    RichG Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
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    Richard G/
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    I agree with learning your knots. Especially on your hook and flurocarbon connection. The crew will teach you a dropper loop and even tie it. On a 5 day trip the gear is correct, you can use the boat trolling and kite rigs. The variable is what is biting at the time. This year with the big bluefin around I had some heavier gear. I think I took 9 rigs. A newbie can just come with clothes and borrow or rent. The size hooks will be dependent on the bait and what's being caught.

    Nic, when you get to the landing, you can ask the others what they suggest and go to one of the tackle shop on the dock and buy hooks, etc. Again everyone has there opinion, circle or J hooks. Hook size. Brand of line, flurocarbon, etc.

    You are getting a lot of information to digest. Don't stress, just pick a trip and go.

    Here's another suggestion. Since there are several Long Range fisherman in your area. Arrange to meet a few over coffee to discuss and ask question. You will have new friends for life.

    Another adventure, if you can afford the money and time, is the Fred Hall show in Long Beach. the first week in March. Go to the web site, it will give you the dates. All the fleet has booths there as well as the manufactures and some local tackle companies. There are good deals on a lot of tackle. And in past years the Independence has been docked in the bay, you can walk over and tour the boat. However, I would not wait until the show to book your trips since a lot of space will be gone by that time.

    Just plan to have fun.
     
    Bill W likes this.
  20. SouthBayKiller

    SouthBayKiller I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    Long Beach, CA
    Name:
    Robert
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    none
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    Strong advice here. Only things I would add/modify would be instead of 2 x 40s and 2 x 50 rigs, I would have 3 x 40/50lb rigs one of which is capable of fishing a yoyo jig effectively (higher speed reel) and add a 60/80lb 2 speed setup - with the recent reopening a of bluefin and Guadlupe Island you may run into something 100+lbs and if you are fortunate they will eat heavy string. This rig could also be used as a dropper loop setup when/if you so desire.

    Also, one one thing that you really want to do is get a set of boots - wet / uncomfortable feet is no good. It's key to make sure you are setting yourself up to be comfortable.

    The fishing and tackle will sort itself out with the recommendations of the boat and help from deckhands.
     
    Last edited: Dec 9, 2015
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