Musings of an Aging Angler

Dexter Outdoors

Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,565
7,417
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
For starters, my last two trips from here (Bishop, CA) to San Diego, I’ve noticed no shortage of people who drive the way I used to. ;) I have no pictures to share so if that’s a deal breaker, don’t waste your time.

Turned 72 in May. Fished a 16 day on the Independence last two weeks of April. Vindicated myself after failing to catch any Yellowfin on my January 14 day in 2019. Managed a couple of kite fish, biggest at about 140, and three on flylined Sardines. 10 Wahoo including 2 on the Surface Iron made it a great “catching” trip.

Over the past 20 years or so I’ve fished many Spring 8 day trips and had a lot of fun. After this recent one, I’m doubtful that I’ll do that again. Weather is such a roll of the dice and we’ve had our share of shitbox weather, but also some good days with enjoyable fishing.

Any way, most recent trip was the first of three on the American Angler, and I have fished them all over the years. This is chartermastered by Rocky Opliger, super guy. It will be on the schedule as Reel Wildfire, same theme as the October 10 day that he does. This is a great bunch of guys, many of us have been long time Angle regulars.

We got headed south with Captain Ray Lopez on Saturday 6/5 with a good looking load of big Sardines that fared well the entire trip. Arrived at Alijos Rocks mid morning on Monday and Ray decided to give the Rocks a check for no fish before heading out to the bank, about ten miles to the West where Shogun had enjoyed pretty good night fishing for trophy Yellows. After an early dinner, we settled in, made bait and fished it for some real trophy Yellowtail. I got a couple and headed to bed. Following morning, facing a pretty ominous forecast, Ray decided to get headed north to gain some altitude in our latitude. It was snorting and it hit us pretty hard on Wednesday and by then we had moved towards the beach south of Punta Eugenia and got in a little time fishing smaller Yellows. I managed to hook one fishing a bait and a sliding sinker. Damned Sea Lions were thick and had already stolen at least one. The dog got on me but I managed to wrestle it away from him. We were back on the road, on the way up to the Bluefin grounds, which had moved north of their previous hang out off of Ensenada and were camping out not far from the Coronados. Rough going hardly describes how bad the seas were, so it was slow going. We would eventually arrive, ready for the hunt at around 1:30 A.M. on Friday morning.
 

fyermn

Member
Sep 2, 2005
743
328
73
Utah
Name
Dan
Boat
LONG RANGE fishing
Steve K; I am with you---73 in July. I have two trips this year, one at the end of June (7 Day) and the other is an 11 day the first part of November. This will be the first itme I will do 2 trips in a year---Usually one every 14-18 months apart, but I am not getting any younger, so I have to try and get them in. My biggest problem is coming up with the funds to take Long Range trips: to many other things going on that take the $$$.
 
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Steve K

Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
Jan 2, 2005
11,565
7,417
Bishop
Name
Steve
Boat
18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
Throttles were pulled back and I awoke to go pee at 1:30 and saw that Ray was on hunt for a spot of Bluefin. Two hours later he found what he was looking for and called it out on the P.A. I gave it an hour, can’t recall if we had any success, but went back to my bunk.

I shared a galley level stateroom with my friend, Joe. Pluses and minuses, like easy access to the heads and then there’s the exaggerated roll in your bunk.

Up and at it for the daytime part. Rocky hooked a good one early on a Colt Sniper style jig, I think it went about a buck fifteen.

Running all day we would find ourselves either on a school of smaller fish, up high, 20-25 lbs or a spot of better ones down deeper. We fished the smaller ones on 25-30 lb gear with smaller hooks, and once in a while somebody would hook one, but not very often. I managed one and that was a nice break from not catching anything. Better ones, Ray and crew asked us to fish the sinker rigs with 80 lb. This would repeat on Saturday with similar methods and results. None of the better ones were hooked after Rocky brought his to gaff Friday morning. I think you could count on the fingers of one hand the number of smaller ones taken each day.

Very frustrating to soak baits on many different schools with minimal success. On the other hand fishing in the dark with the FlatFall and knife jigs produced for us. I believe it was early evening on Friday that several of the smaller school size fish were landed, matter of fact, I think the kill box was filled.

I’m not comfortable with this style of fishing, found it tiring and uncomfortable repeatedly dropping and retrieving the 500 gram jig I started with. Gave up on that chunk of metal and made a few drops with a bridled 250 gram jig and finally gave up, back hurting, and went to bed. When I got up late, almost missing out on last call for breakfast, I heard the news in the galley that the guys who stuck it out were rewarded with what looked like 12-15 of those big ones, up to 190.

Saturday night was a repeat of Friday night as far as strategy, but with not such great results. Only one bigger fish was taken by Ying, who must be a Zen Master! His fish came early and went 160 on the scale. That was it for the night.
 

Artois

Member
Dec 29, 2011
403
701
Artois/CA/USA
Name
Roy
Boat
Not Given
I'm doing back to back 3 days in August and trying to figure out when I'll get to sleep. Too old to say up 24/7 for 6 days :)
 
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Wandering Blues

I Should Upgrade My Account
Oct 19, 2008
1,559
1,978
The Land of Entrapment
Name
Curtis
Boat
A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
I’m retired but still have plenty of years before I hit the 70’s. That being said, I actually joined a gym to get into better shape to handle those long hours on the rail dropping flat falls. Between the rowing machine, curls, bent rows, and the like, my back is feeling better than it has in years. Steve hit it on the head- it’s tough.
 

dsl

I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Nov 20, 2017
    1,286
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    Larry S
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    Landlover
    I'm doing back to back 3 days in August and trying to figure out when I'll get to sleep. Too old to say up 24/7 for 6 days :)
    Yes sleep!
     
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    fyermn

    Member
    Sep 2, 2005
    743
    328
    73
    Utah
    Name
    Dan
    Boat
    LONG RANGE fishing
    Hopefully God has it in his plans for me to see 72 and get to still go fishing like this. Kids are almost all grown and into/through college so my prime years are coming
    I have learned that the Golden Years are full of LEAD !!!!!, but I can still Long Range fish.
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
    11,565
    7,417
    Bishop
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    So, for me, unless there’s a dramatic turnaround in fishing methods and hours, I won’t be booking any more of these Spring 8 day trips. Don’t care for being up all night. Also just bailed out on an August 7 day and moved that money to Ken’s 10 day, October 27 - November 6. That trip has lots of possibilities. :)

    Next season, I’ll probably go with a 14-16 day Winter/early Spring trip and a Fall 10 day. I like fishing in the sunshine, flylining baits, tossing jigs for Yellowtail and Wahoo. Yellowfin on live bait is my favorite but Wahoo are a lot of fun. I don’t mind the travel time and it’s worth it to me to take the longer trips. I’m on a short waiting list for a 15 day in January. Great trips on the Angler with limited loads of 18, cost per day is around $355. Or, I might repeat the Independence trip I did in April. The 16 day on the Independence next year has a daily cost of just around $340.
     
    E
    eric harner
    I don't enjoy fishing all night for BFT either way too much work. I'm 63 now I'll take the sunshine down in Baja anytime.
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    NaplesJohn
    NaplesJohn
    Just got off an 8 day on the Excel...we fished 2 days on the bottom end of the Ridge for fair YT fishing, and then moved up and caught some BFT, including a couple cows, a few in the 100-160 class, and then an even mix of 56-60 and 20-30....lots of work....next year we will skip the spring trip, though have a 10 day fall on the RP and going to Cedros late June.
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    9,274
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    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
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    several
    GOOD JOB and Great report and info. Now 75 and 8 shoulder surgeries later (damn tuna) now headed for thumb surgery 7/9. MCP joint has separation.
    Haven't fished since age 72-3 or so. I realized going out with broken injured body parts only makes it worse. My last trip I was jigging a 250gm Flat Fall with a 100lb/Avet 3 speed reel rig most all night, for nothing. Realized then not for me. Damn Bluefin.

    I'm hopeful, like you to fish again, but longer trips are a thing of the past for me. Time to ease up.
    Wishing you all well and good health aging on the ocean. LOL Return of Albacore might jetson me. LOL
     
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    af dreamer

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Apr 16, 2007
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    long beach,ca
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    tom
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    44 luhrs dreamer
    I will tell you I have virtually no interest anymore in the SD LR trips.Too much driving time and no enough fishing time.4 years ago started going to Venice LA,fishing 40-50 mph boats,take your pic,off shore for YFT or inshore for a wide selection of fish.Changed it up this year and went to the NE and fished the stripped bass and bluefish and plan on going back next year.Fishing the Indy this next month to fish with a couple of my fishing friends,not sure I will even want to pull on a big BFT.We usually book 5 days in a row no matter where we go.Full days of fishing,sleeping in a not moving bed and enjoying diff places to visit for dinner.Dont get me wrong,the LR food is top notch(I usually gain a LB and day!)but nice to pick what we want to dine on.FWIW,Tom
     
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    Ksurg

    Newbie
    Jul 14, 2012
    53
    63
    San Jose, CA
    Name
    KB
    Boat
    Outer Limits
    I will tell you I have virtually no interest anymore in the SD LR trips.Too much driving time and no enough fishing time.4 years ago started going to Venice LA,fishing 40-50 mph boats,take your pic,off shore for YFT or inshore for a wide selection of fish.Changed it up this year and went to the NE and fished the stripped bass and bluefish and plan on going back next year.Fishing the Indy this next month to fish with a couple of my fishing friends,not sure I will even want to pull on a big BFT.We usually book 5 days in a row no matter where we go.Full days of fishing,sleeping in a not moving bed and enjoying diff places to visit for dinner.Dont get me wrong,the LR food is top notch(I usually gain a LB and day!)but nice to pick what we want to dine on.FWIW,Tom
    That’s sort of how I feel about scuba diving… live aboard vs land based. But it’s not always possible to get to the best diving or fishing unless you’re on a multi day live aboard. Definitely a trade off.

    I’m not retired yet but planning to start taking more time off. I’ve always enjoyed the down time on LR almost as much as the fishing. It’s the only time I get to disconnect. Maybe that will change. Or maybe there’s a perfect combo of both. Can’t imagine giving up LR altogether if my health holds.
     
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    ZZZZZ

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Dec 11, 2003
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    Ugh, Alijos night bottom fishing and BFT night jigging

    And not tropical day time fishing:D

    These. Carry them around for a few weeks before a trip. Only 8lbs. Lift in every direction possible. Don't over think it. Just carry them around. Or carry around two 50s on 2 rods. In each hand for a few weeks before the trip

    Cobble stone rocks will toughen up the skin also.

    2320_12603_1016_050_large_02.jpg
     

    dsl

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Nov 20, 2017
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    Larry S
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    Landlover
    These. Carry them around for a few weeks before a trip. Only 8lbs. Lift in every direction possible. Don't over think it. Just carry them around. Or carry around two 50s on 2 rods. In each hand for a few weeks before the trip
    👍
     
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    Ksurg

    Newbie
    Jul 14, 2012
    53
    63
    San Jose, CA
    Name
    KB
    Boat
    Outer Limits
    Ugh, Alijos night bottom fishing and BFT night jigging

    And not tropical day time fishing:D

    These. Carry them around for a few weeks before a trip. Only 8lbs. Lift in every direction possible. Don't over think it. Just carry them around. Or carry around two 50s on 2 rods. In each hand for a few weeks before the trip

    Cobble stone rocks will toughen up the skin also.

    View attachment 1290382
    Lol! I get it. LR fishing can be physically demanding if not abusive. Not your typical tropical vacation. Have the weights. My job requires a lot of night work and loss of sleep. My biggest problem is soft hands. Guess I need the cobble stones!
     
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    FishRock

    Still trying to figure it all out
    Mar 27, 2013
    2,113
    2,941
    Alaska
    Name
    JAM
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    Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
    Steve,

    I will say it was nice sharing the rail with you on my last LR trip. You are laid back and friendly. Two attributes that I think everyone on a LR trip should have. I will turn 60 next year and plan to retire shortly after. I hope I can keep fishing as long as you have been able to.

    Thanks for sharing this trip report and your perspective as a seasoned angler.
     

    kml

    Member
    Oct 29, 2008
    289
    58
    Vista
    Name
    Kyle
    Boat
    66 MUSTANG
    Thx for posting up the report!! Heading out soon on a 7 day. Hoping for decent weather and good fishing. Maybe even some catching…
     
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    themacs

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jul 18, 2003
    1,238
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    San Clemente CA
    Name
    scott
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    none
    I'm 71 now and understand what ALL of you have said. I have little interest in night fishing. Heck I don't even like making bait :) . I have my trophy 50 pound yellowtails at the rocks at 3 AM. Lots of fun when I was younger. Now I do an 8 day in September and hopefully a 15 day in January or February. Still looking for that 300 pounder YFT. I have WAY to much great gear as many have. Slowly selling some, but still like to look at it LOL and know I have it if needed. Hopeing for a great upcoming fishing season!