My First Ultra Long Range Trip

Discussion in 'San Diego Long Range fishing Reports' started by Pangamaster, Jan 12, 2016.

  1. 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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    As many of you know I got to finally go on my long awaited bucket list trip. After much research and personal experience, time of year, cost, passenger load etc. I decided to go on a 14 day trip aboard the Royal Star.

    To tell you the truth the 6 months leading up to the trip were almost just as fun as the 14 days on the water. I asked a ton of questions and got a ton of answers to all of my questions. One interesting thing is how many different answers I would get for the same question. Fishy, Jeff (Holi-e-Mackeral), Utah Tuna, Steve K and Alan Tani plus many others helped feed me a wealth of knowledge......and kept me fired up! I would say I was pretty much prepared for this trip…not really any surprises for me although I did learn a ton…you can only learn so much without actually doing it….

    My trip started about 10pm on Christmas day….Kissed the woman and said good bye! I was starting out of San Luis Obispo. I got a call about midnight from Nevada Bob who was also in route and also going on his first 14 day trip. We promised to help each other out in advent of any emergencies. Soon as I hung up I look up and there are 30 foot high waves of flame racing across the hills just south of Carpentaria…..sure enough there go the cops to block the 101…..shit! Found a side track through Ojai and was on my way. Whew!

    The Royal Star is a first come first load boat…old school! I freaking hate this system. So I roll in around 3am…..there are already 5 or 6 guys in line….LOL. I prefer getting a hotel and wondering up right as the boat is loading….not on this boat! I got a good tackle spot and plenty of room for my 10 rods. Brian was going to be our captain with Blake, Diego, Paul and Chris on deck and Drew and Mike in the Galley.

    Word is we are going for the lower banks as there was shot at bigger fish than had been at the islands….so away we go with a decent load of Sardines. Don and his company Blackwater would be the trip sponsor. We got a free Salas jig and blackwater t-shirt.

    3 Days of eating and drinking followed. We had one very informal galley talk about the basics of how the boat works. No real fishing seminars. First learning tip came in during this time….no one was making top shots…..either everyone had made them, bought them or was having the crew do it. That was a great tip! Get your shit ready beforehand. Don’t wait to do it on the boat.

    Lower Banks….absolutely nothing….off for Clarion. 2 more days of getting ready and dreaming about big fish.

    Day 1 Clarion – not much…..sharks were eating everything. Got a couple of tuna maybe about 10 for the day and a wahoo. I got a 50 pounder. Fish for Tubes as soon as it was dark. Not real successful.

    Day 2 Clarion – I started the day off with my best fish. A 170# on a PL 68 wounded soldier. Wow! I was stoked. My connection held, my knot held and my braise held on the hook I had put on the jig! Cool! Boat had another 10 – 15 fish for the day. I had two more fish in the 130# - 150# range. My shit is still working! Amazing. Baiting making for Tubes again that night for slightly better results.

    Day 3 Clarion – Slow pick through the day. First cow came when Ben landed a 220# in the hot boring sun while everyone else was eating lunch. Fabulous Sundowner bite. I think we had up to 8 going at a time. The crew was amazing …best I have seen in these bites. I got 2 more 130 – 150# fish. Biggest fish of trip came as sun dropped out of site on the kite. Around 261#

    Day 4 Clarion – Same as day before….crazy sundowner. I think 3 or 4 cows landed…I farmed two bites …..dammit…my Tony Pena failed but I also slammed the drag forward on the initial bite….no fish for me this day.

    Day 5 Clarion – Same as day before….slow & hot pick in the day…..crazy sundowner….cows to my left..cows to my right….dammit….I fished hard all day as today was the last day….not a bite……I’m reeling in my last bait of the day…sun is down…I am in a minor tangle….bam! Side by side with my roommate Ben…we both are bit….we both land 160 ish pounders….whew!

    Day 6 Clarion – John who was snake bit the day before gets a cow on the PL 68 Bait Wrap in Glow Squid pattern. Nice…..couple of other tuna and that was it….we had to head in for an exit interview with the Clarion Islanders….they wanted more fresh water…..so Brian says we have a bit of time for hunting wahoo…..bam! When the dust cleared we had 38 wahoo in less than 2 hours. Great ending to the trip! I got 5.

    My reflections on the trip

    The Royal Star is an amazing operation. The deck crew in battle is second to none. Really good! They are also very knowledgeable and know all the latest tricks and what is and what isn’t working. They will bend over backwards to help you and answer all your questions. That being said I wouldn’t say this boat….at least on this trip…is the best for a beginner. We had a couple of beginners with zero long range experience and they caught fish….including one of the cows…but this scene was more geared to experienced folks.

    The food was freaking amazing. I have fished almost all the long range boats…never seen anything like this. Drew and team is on fire….among other things we had Paella with top shelf ingredients….cooked in huge Paella pans right on the galley tables with propane tanks….we had a whole roasted pig cooked out on deck, Pork Cheeks, Blue Marlin, Buffalo….all with amazing sauces…..I was ready for a ham sandwich by the time I was done…everything was over the top.

    I brought too much shit…..All you really need is your top shots, hooks….couple of sinkers and jigs….

    What worked…..100# and 130#....never a need to use anything less. Top shots were almost always 10 – 15’. 7/0 Mustad Demon Circle hooks.

    Connections – Insert 3 feet, two nail knots and glue – never failed

    Tony Pena – On 100# and 130# I had one successful capture on each connection. One failure on 100#....but I kind of had a feeling about my knot…and as mentioned I slammed the drag down too fast.

    Fishing giant tuna is just like fishing any other tuna on the long soak….hot baits away from the boat get bit the best. Being able to cast was key. I could manage fairly well to get a dean out on a 20, 30 or even 50 Okuma. If you dropped it over the side and prayed out loud for the fish to swim away….the odds were not on your side.

    PL 68 in the early morning bite

    Putting in rail time even during the hot crappy middle of the day paid off at times for those putting in the time.

    Fishing for tubes you needed the correct bait rig….4 hooks with medium size hooks/feathers….the 2 hook and micro hook rigs weren’t working. Also what worked the day before may not work the next day. Be ready to change it up.

    First time I had seen Dolphin being a pest. Either stealing bait or scaring bait away from the boat.

    Our 4 top bait tanks…all the sardines died by the time we got to Clarion….the slammers held up and we had hook bait for the duration of the trip. Not much living chumming though

    Chunking worked at times during the day. People putting the effort got some fish. No whoppers…and lots of sharks.

    Besides the one Cow….the Kite pretty much sucked on our trip. Also there was no reason for me to have pre made Kite rigs as the Crew let you use there’s.

    All in all a great trip….I can’t believe just last week I was in such a magical place with such cool people and now I am back in my Monkey Suit working for the man! I so appreciate my woman watching our 2 and a half year old so that I could live my dream….. Can’t wait to do it again.

    The one downer that is still killing me....someone managed to steal my duffle bag with all my clothes....14 days of clothes....new Ugg Boots.....$500 set of fancy Slickers....still fucking pissed about that....went missing between unloading the boat and loading my truck...by the time I realized it was not in my truck....it was gone....huge bag...not like it just fell behind a bush some where.....I only have 2 pair of underwear left...period.....lol

    1/20 Update!! Holy Shit! Someone turned in my bag to Black Water! Tracey just called and I am getting it shipped up here. I had almost lost faith. I wonder if I can return all the new underwear I just bought?

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    Last edited: Jan 20, 2016
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  2. jiggyn

    jiggyn Do you even fish?

    Location:
    Torrance
    Name:
    Jerr
    Boat:
    That boat!
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    Awesome good read
     
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  3. Bill W

    Bill W tunaholic

    Location:
    Chino Hills, Ca.
    Name:
    Bill Walsh
    Boat:
    Red Rooster
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    Thanks Dave for sharing, bummer bout your clothes.
     
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  4. Bigfishhateme

    Bigfishhateme Semper Fi

    Location:
    Land , Air , and Sea
    Name:
    Sigmund
    Boat:
    "The Sea Monster"
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    Awesome Pics
     
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  5. mmayo

    mmayo Barking Spider

    Location:
    Tehachapi, CA
    Name:
    Mark
    Boat:
    Vagabond & Royal Star
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    Great write up. If anyone loses weight on the Star it is a miracle with Drew cooking.

    I too have had a couple of items that were very carefully stowed in a tackle bag stolen on recent trips. It is sad that some folks did not get the memo that once you get on the boat, nothing gets even moved that does not belong to you without permission. On the boat is supposed to be a place where you can relax, trust and also have just fun. Theft is not fun.

    If anyone reading this has Pangamaster's bag or my marauder, FIND A NEW SPORT.
     
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  6. screamingreel

    screamingreel Long Range Fanatic

    Location:
    Hayward CA
    Name:
    Jeff Burroughs
    Boat:
    Long Range and Private
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    Hey Dave, thanks for sharing trip details. Sounds like you learned a ton and had fun!

    - Jeff Burroughs
     
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  7. Soda Pop

    Soda Pop I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    Fresno, CA
    Name:
    David Rouse
    Boat:
    Long range fishing
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    Dave thanks for the report. Sounds like you did very good. Bummer about your bag. O and that food looks tasty.
     
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  8. Brad I

    Brad I Common Sense Isn't Common Enough

    Location:
    San Fernando Valley
    Name:
    Brad I
    Boat:
    Nope
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    Thanks for the report and pictures. The Royal Star has been known for great food ever since I started fishing almost 20 years ago.

    FWIW, most of the time I'll bring pre-made topshots, but I'll also be making some topshots and/or wahoo wire leaders on the way down to help break up the travel days. And I'll pretty much always take gear to make more because you never know, and if I run out, it probably means that others are running out also and there could be a "take a number" line on getting the crew to make more.
     
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  9. ripped

    ripped I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    Santa Barbara
    Name:
    Gary
    Boat:
    Vagabond
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    Thanks for the report Dave, what a treat to take a trip like that! Don't know if the Royal Star office would put out a memo about your bag to the trips passenger list but it might be worth a try. All the confusion when things get unloaded shit happens. I hope there was intentional sticky fingers.
     
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  10. Holi-e-Mackeral

    Holi-e-Mackeral Holi-e-Mackeral

    Location:
    Orange County, CA
    Name:
    Jeff
    Boat:
    Royal Polaris - sold the boat
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    Hey Dave,

    Great report..... nicely done..

    Tight lines, JEff
     
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  11. Workplacesafety

    Workplacesafety Reducing workplace injuries and illnesses

    Location:
    Long Beach Ca.
    Name:
    Jeff Bruner
    Boat:
    14ft Valco, San Diego Long Range Boats
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    Congrats Dave, what a great vacation, thanks for the report.
     
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  12. redsnapper517

    redsnapper517 Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    Huntington Beach, CA
    Name:
    Greg
    Boat:
    Royal Polaris
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    Great Right up . Congrats on your trip
     
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  13. SlideRight

    SlideRight Just Fishin'

    Location:
    So Cal
    Name:
    Lew
    Boat:
    ss minnow
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    Nice report Dave & congrats on your 1st way down-souther - sounds like you had it all pretty well zeroed in - nothing like a little dedicated prep to heighten the "luck" factor. Did sound like a fairly typical trip with the usual ups & downs, but no mention of nasty weather/conditions so I take that as a big plus on this one. As you discovered, the RS is top notch - a bit (no, a lot) surprised that there were no pre-seminars on technique, do/don'ts, etc. Was thinking of trying the Pena on the bigger rope - now not so much. Thanks again. Excellent all the way around except of course for the missing duffle.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
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  14. Gabe L.

    Gabe L. Passenger

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Gabe
    Boat:
    Long range
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    The Pelicans are bad down their,my first long range trip I "lost" my tackle box.Thousends gone in seconds!!!!!Pays to have a guy just babysitting gear.Awesome report,fishing my first Royal Star trip in June-July can't wait!!!!!Its already been a joy dealing with the them.
     
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  15. RichG

    RichG Well-Known "Member"

    Location:
    California
    Name:
    Richard G/
    Boat:
    none
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    Dave, great report and it sounds like you had fun and gained some new friends and a few pounds. That's pretty low for someone to walk off with your clothes. At least the trip was over. This does sound like a typical trip down below. On and Off. Sharks eating and then some Cows caught. No two trips are alike so go again. Check with your insurance co and see if they will cover your lost luggage. Something is better than nothing.
     
  16. threewaves

    threewaves Yellowtail

    Location:
    Nor Cal - Bay Area
    Name:
    Dave
    Boat:
    Pursuit 2870
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    I know a couple years back on one of my trips during the unload, in all the confusion, one passenger somehow loaded a bag into their vehicle that was not theirs.. They called the office and let them know and we got it worked out.. Actually worked out well as they were both nor cal guys and arranged a meeting place. I sure hope it was confusion and one of your guys has it and that it was not theft.. Hope it works out and you get it back..
     
  17. TakeItEasy

    TakeItEasy Member

    Location:
    Westminster, Orange County
    Name:
    Michael
    Boat:
    Sold
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    Great write up.
    Nice pictures.
     
    Last edited: Jan 13, 2016
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  18. UtahTuna

    UtahTuna Newbie

    Location:
    ut
    Name:
    UtahTuna
    Boat:
    Kon Tiki
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    Good job with the report!
    UtahTuna
     
  19. cow man

    cow man Tuna addict

    Location:
    Glide Or. 97443
    Name:
    Jake Waardenburg
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    N/A
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    thanks man, great report.. now your ruined like the rest of us..
     
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  20. vegasandre

    vegasandre I've posted enough I should edit this section

    Location:
    San Diego
    Name:
    Andre
    Boat:
    Any Boat that I can go on
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    Hi Dave, congrats on the the Super LR trip. Glad it was memorable. That first one gets engrained in your soul. Thanks for taking the time to write the report and your thoughts.

    I haven't heard of the Pena knot failing. It is still my go to Jigging/popping knot with zero failures thus far.

    Looks like the RS has some incredible table fare as well as fish prep. Will give them a ride one day when the opportunity presents itself.

    A little surprised they still have that 1st come 1st serve system. That is minor and can be easily changed.

    Hope your wife lets you out again this summer.
     
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