PART 1 - SPRING TIME 8 DAY ON THE EXCEL...ALL ABOUT FRIENDSHIP JUNE 10-18-2021

NaplesJohn

Never Forget 343
Jun 9, 2010
702
766
Port Aransas, TX, USA
Name
John
Boat
Wilderness Systems T-160...and just sold the boat!!!
Following a long overdue weeklong family reunion at the beach, we all went our separate ways….and I opted for a reunion of another kind. This adventure begins as Ed and I make it to San Diego from Ventura following an easy drive down just in time for lunch. These trips have developed into a tradition bound routine…focused on fun and friendship, and after a two-year break with our longtime friends Bart, and his NJ buddy Larry, Stan, Mark and Lou we were again together for an early 8 dayer on the Excel that was originally going to be a birthday celebration for a super nice guy that was a fixture on the Excel 10-day Phenix trip…

RIP Ric Bynum
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Also missing from this cast of characters is Danny Petrov, another good guy who passed in March 2020…gone too soon...RIP my friend The loss of friends should remind us to cherish each day…and fish more often with our friends!
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June 8 Pre-trip Day 1 – Ed picked me up at our beach rental and we had a leisurely home cooked breakfast at his house, loaded enough gear in his 4Runner to be prepared for yellowtail somewhere down the Baja coast as well as the big bluefin that have settled in between Sacramento Reef and the Coronado’s.

Following an easy drive down we arrived just in time for lunch, and we quickly unloaded the pile of gear into the room at the Ramada Inn, opting for lunch at Point Loma Seafood.

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I jumped on a seared tuna Caesar and Ed went with a green salad topped with smoked wahoo. Following lunch, we walked down to H&M Landing and chatted with longtime friend Frank Ursitti who Ed and I have known for close to 40 years through a past life in the fish biz…always fun talking with Frank as he shares his vision of a changing industry. Bought a few more jigs to add to the collection and headed back to the hotel to pick up Bart and Larry “The Jersey Slayer” for an excellent dinner at Volare’s…though sadly Squidco was already closed for the day.

Made it back to the hotel and were out for the night early after checking the weather forecast that was looking pretty sketchy…with 20 to 30 knots of breeze stretching well south….

June 9 Pre-trip Day 2 – Started the morning off with breakfast at Mitch's with Stan, Ed, Bart and Larry and then some dock walking to see some BFT offloads…with a few cows and plenty of 100 lb+ fish offloaded.
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A trip down to Anglers Choice for a few more necessities and then we spent some time rigging before meeting Frank for lunch and more fish biz talk.

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Finished up pre departure rigging and packing…and once again it was time for dinner…pizza at Pizza Novo and then to bed.,
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June 10 Departure Day 1 – The day has arrived, the months of anticipation, planning and final logistics are over…we either have it or we don't…the weather forecast is what it is…it’s time! No surprise we awoke at “stupid early" for a 0700 sign-in at the dock. A cup of Winchell’s coffee and a donut at 0430….and then met Bart and Larry at Denny's for breakfast at 0515.
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Went down to the dock and grabbed a dock cart to shuttle our mountain of gear over for an eventual transfer to the boat by the “red shirts".
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With a smooth sign in and boarding complete we were off to the bait receivers with a quick family meeting enroute where Justin gave us the plan…we were going straight to the lower end of the Ridge where yellows have bit the last few days and then when the weather improves on the local bluefin grounds in a few days we'll slide up to get in position for hopefully some trophy hunting!

We put on a good load of bait and ate lunch…a plate of pasta and garlic bread…and we are on the way south in breezy conditions.
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Finish getting settled in and its time for a book and a nap.

Next thing you know its time for dinner…nice salad, bread, a perfectly prepared pork loin served atop a tasty pumpkin puree, topped with microgreens. Dessert was homemade crème brulle topped with fresh raspberries…if this dinner is any indication its going to be a weight gain kinda trip! Early to bed…in good sleeping weather.

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Stan was a big winner on the Phenix rod raffle...go Stan!
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June 11 Day 2 – traveling down-swell all night making good speed and comfortable sleeping…it was time for breakfast as the sun rose above the horizon. Lou was the guest diner, modeling a tasty breakfast of pancakes slathered in whipped butter and fresh blueberries, scrambled eggs, bacon and toast.
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Missing the islands...Ed and I have a Cedros trip next year!

Vance gave an informative ridge yellowtail seminar…the Indy and the Intrepid reported “good as it gets” yellowtail fishing earlier in the week…hopefully tomorrow we too will find eager yellows that want to eat the iron on the long rod.
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Today was a combination eat, rig, BS and nap day….with a morning snack of hot chocolate chip cookies, an Asian Noodle with chicken and broccoli bowl for lunch with Ed as the guest diner.
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Midday snack was salami, mozzarella and arugula baguettes. The gang celebrated a life well lived in memory of Rick who passed away this past year…and would have been aboard for his 70th birthday….RIP. Dinner started with a green salad and fresh baked bread, and an outstanding seared bluefin tuna and rice beautifully plated. A brownie and icecream topped it off. Justin gave us the update on the game plan…with improving weather and hopefully good yellowtail fishing awaiting our afternoon arrival on the lower end of the ridge tomorrow.

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June 12 Day 3 Awoke to improved weather on the upper end of the Ridge…hopes are high! Morning coffee, breakfast of a ham and cheese frittata, home fries and toast.

Travelling on down...
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With most of the rigging completed yesterday it was a leisurely morning as we continued to slide south…the only excitement was a morning snack announcement for hot raspberry muffins! With our first destination 2 hours south we had a leisurely lunch of beef stew over rice to fuel us for what lies ahead.
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Arriving around 2 PM, with no current we scratched away for ~120 12-25lb yellows until dinner time, though my personal production was slow only tagging three. Fish caught on flyline bait, surface jigs, yoyo and Megabaits.

Dinner was chicken parmesan served with pasta and broccolini with Tiramisu for dessert. Hoping for better conditions in the morning.
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Ed's smiling...he's fishing!

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Me with a decent grade YT on a megabait.

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Ed bit on the long rod...not as much opportunity on the surface jigs this trip...

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It hurts so good!

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Bart Kills another one!

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Me and Ed with a double...not so great grade Ridge yellow
June 13 Day 4 After a rolly-polly night on the anchor we awoke and after daylight repositioned several times throughout the morning with yellows mostly 15lb and few standouts 20-25 biting slow and steady in the morning… most caught on bait and the yoyo…a few on surface jigs and Megabaits. Another 190 went in the RSW by days end, 6 more with my tag attached. Started the day with french toast, scrambled eggs and sausage showcased by Stan.

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Bart with a standout yellow!
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In the RSW they go!
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Morning snack of banana bread, lunch was a real nice grilled shrimp salad...yummy!
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One of the good flurries!
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Ended the day with a tasty teriyaki marinated flank steak, creamy mashed potatoes, and baby carrots…and a slice of really good carrot cake for dessert.
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Justin gave an evening update and we'll be traveling up to check out the Uncle Sam Bank as we work our way up to the bluefin grounds where we will finish off the trip, though no joy and we kept on trucking uphill in good weather.

June 14 Day 5 Nice night of travel and a late first call for breakfast fried eggs, hashbrowns, bacon and toast. The morning was spent retooling for the tuna games that lie on the distant horizon…for me that is a 770XXH with an Avet 30 and an 770XH with an Mak 16 both with flatfalls, an 800XH with an HX Raptor for an 80 lb sinker rig and an 875XH with an Avet LX Raptor for a heavy flyline and a 6480 with an Avet JX Raptor for 40 lb bait. Everything else has been broke down. Quote of the day from deckhand Will “that knot is guaranteed until it fails".

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At lunchtime time we got an informative tuna seminar from Vance…two takeaways…fish are deep and you have to get down fast to get bit…

Lunch was a chorizo chicken risotto dish….coma time as we continue the run up the line. Continuing the run up the line passing Cedros to port…lots of great memories of phenomenal yellowtail and calico bass fishing prior to the closure.

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Dinner being a highpoint...salad, fresh baked bread, pork loin atop roasted vegetables and flan for dessert served up by ….the travel continues. Justin reported that the tuna bit for the Royal Polaris...optimism lies on our bow still nearly 24 hours distant.

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Taking a break...see you on the Tuna grounds tomorrow!

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Last edited:

Shon

Fish til I can't fish no more
  • Jan 21, 2014
    1,222
    919
    Redondo Beach/ Mammoth
    Name
    Shon
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    Pac Voyager/Vagabond
    That’s one of the best reports I’ve read this year!! Great food porn, fish pics and oh yeah looks like fantastic company!! I felt like I was on the trip!
     
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    hucklongfin

    Deep release specialist
    Jul 3, 2003
    9,512
    7,930
    Mission Viejo
    Name
    MarkT
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    Blazer Bay 1860
    My son picked up the box of BFT and YT I had 5 Star send him from the Tulsa airport today!
     
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    10,373
    4,173
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat
    several
    GREAT REPORT, INFO, PICS John..and NICE FISH Everyone! LOL
    Good thing I ate Lunch before seeing all those FOOD PICS!
    The Big X delivers another Great Trip!!
     
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