PART 2 - SPRING TIME 8 DAY ON THE EXCEL...THE TUNA GROUNDS

Dexter Outdoors

NaplesJohn

Never Forget 343
Jun 9, 2010
701
765
Port Aransas, TX, USA
Name
John
Boat
Wilderness Systems T-160...and just sold the boat!!!
Well we made it up to the tuna grounds...us and the rest of the fleet concentrated close to home...the next few days will be a grind as catching is a combination of time at the rail and luck...getting bit, not getting tangled, not pulling a hook, and your gear holding together...

June 15 Day 6 on the Bluefin grounds – We continued our ride uphill through the night…should be “there" by 2000 this evening. Today was mostly a sleep and eat kinda day. One of the risks of LR fishing….something visited me that kicked my butt…from 1600 until 0100 on the 16th I was visited by Montezuma’s Revenge…really unsure if I'd be fishing as both ends competed to empty…luckily I felt OK enough to fish by the 16th!

Don't remember what was for breakfast, but my last chow before "Montezuma" visited was a big gnarly Wagyu Beef Cheeseburger...being modeled by the Jersey Boys...Bart and Larry

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June 16 Day 7 on the Bluefin grounds, and feeling a tad shaky I wandered out around 0100 and got a 50+ bft around 0200 on a blade jig fished with a Calstar 770XH and a Mac 16 and a second fish in same class on 80lb sinker rig on a Calstar 800xxh and an Avet HX Raptor. We are making a 20 mile move up the line after withdrawing 37 BFt ranging from 25 to 198 and a handful of 12 to 15lb yellowtail. See what tonight brings. Breakfast Steak and Eggs, Lunch tacos, beans and rice, Dinner fresh bread, salad Chicken Thighs, Mac-n-cheese and corn on the cob.

My first one for the night...glad I toughed it
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Here is Larry on a biggy...just shy of "cow status" at 198
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Me and Bart with a couple nice ones
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Mark with a nice one
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June 17 Day 8 on the Bluefin grounds. Following our jog back down to where we caught most of our fish yesterday got up at 0330 and started grinding…BFT being BFT tonnage of mostly non-biting schools.
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Justin recommended going with a 50 or 60 sinker rig so I shifted to 50# on an 875XH and an Avet LX Raptor and dropped back on the next school and 100 yards from the boat got bit….felt like a nicer model as I worked my way up to the bow for a back and forth slog…finally easing back for the end game in the starboard corner with Mike by my side…as he pondered if my home water red drum are this tough. Finally the 100' topshot made it back on the reel…now only one connection being tested as the fish circled beneath the boat…so close but so far…we all know the feel of the heartbreak. Couple more circles Mike and Will are now lined up on either side…gaffs at the ready. Mike hits it quickly followed by a second gaff and the fish is aboard…a feeling of relief! Then I realize that the knot broke in the instant it was gaffed…a hook still in the corner of the mouth…and the knot remaining on the line…best timed failure ever….remembering Will's adage about knots “guaranteed until they fail"…thank God for the extended warranty! A personal best BFT at 105 caps the trip for me! The same stop a cow at 202 was landed after an hour plus fight, most fish caught in the night and early AM today were the 50-60 models, and then after a 2 hour move we found some biting smaller grade fish in the 15 to 25 range. As we finished up less than 40 miles from the point we fished up until midnight…hoping to find a biting school of the large models…not to be.

My PB at 105
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Lou bent on one
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Total for our time on the BFT grounds was ~75 with fish from 15 to 202…mixed grade. The night biters were mostly in that 50-60 class with some 75 to 202 caught. Flatfalls and other blade style fast sinkers were the ticket, along with the sinker rig working good in the final hours as the sun begun to lighten the sky. Going light with 25-40 and a flylined bait on schools of smaller 15-30 grade fish was effective for many during the last day on the grounds.

Some of the day-time grade fish

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It had been a while since Ed and I had been on the Excel, with our last trip on the Big Boat in 2018...we notched a couple trips in 2017 and 2020 on the RP, always fun with Roy, and a trip on the Indy in 2019 where we spent some time in at the Lupe and the Tax-Man. Every trip was memorable, with the normal highs and lows, weather challenges, Rona craziness in 2020...this trip was more about spending time with this gang, and it was fun seeing them, as well as the new and old faces among the crew. Huge thanks out to Capt Justin, Capt Mike, Tim, Vance, Will and Spencer as they made the most out of some challenging conditions running the extra mile to put a trip together. Endless food and snacks coming out of the galley with Chef TJ and Nick kept us all well (over) fed!

Our Band of Misfits at the "Golden Fin Club" table on the last night...Prime Rib...we miss you Ric and Danny...you were both here in spirit!
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June 18 Return Day Not sure what happened but the usually smooth offload was uncharacteristically bumpy this morning as passengers lined up for trips using carts and returning anglers offloading their gear resulted in a shortage to allow offload of fish in the normal fast pace. With my fish going directly to Five Star for processing and shipping the issue was transparent. I turned in 3 tuna and 9 yellowtail and look forward to that beautiful fresh bluefin to arrive in the next 2 weeks…sashimi, poke, seared and sushi!
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Looking forward to picking up my sushi grade BFT and some YT at the airport...Thanks Five Star!

Next report will be on the RP with the Hi's Tackle group in October...come on October 22nd!

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Bad Bart

Newbie
Sep 12, 2016
81
73
Eatontown, NJ
Name
Bart D'Averso
Boat
EXCEL
John you always do a great job on these reports. glad you spent the time with us. i cant wait till sept. when i return on the phenix trip see you all again.
 
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pacificscout

Hey! You got any frozen ice?
  • Jul 28, 2012
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    Fullerton
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    Wally
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    16ft Scout EMBUSTERO
    Great report except for you getting sick.
    Cool to read LR reports from the regulars. I feel as if I were there with some reports and pictures. Nice that you got to fish with friends from prior trips.
    PB never hurt.
     
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    Steve K

    Hey, I'm gettin' bit...
    Jan 2, 2005
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    18' Bayrunner, but I like the American Angler and the Red Rooster III
    John, thanks for taking us along...
     
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    Tim Turis

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    Sep 16, 2004
    544
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    Atlanta GA
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    Tim Turis
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    n/a
    Great report John!

    Your post trip reports are amongst “the best of the best” on BD!

    Thanks for taking the time to write such a great report! Hope to fish with you and Ed again some day!
     
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    Soda Pop

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Feb 12, 2011
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    Fresno, CA
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    David Rouse
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    Long range fishing
    Great fishing with you guys. Great report. Man we had fun. Group was really great to share the rail with.
     
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    Montaukmaniac

    Thats my son, not me.
    Feb 8, 2011
    898
    822
    Westchester NY
    Name
    Steve
    Boat
    miss ion/fish on, "Wish on"
    Fantastic & fun report! Quite informative, re: gear that was effective.

    GREAT story telling as mandatory for SDLR especially!

    Wonderful pix, add the visuals that offer a documentation of events.
    Love that "best knot falure" anecdote:appl:

    Congratulations on achieving the new PB!!! (Always refreshing.)

    THANKS AGAIN John, for sharing it all with us all!
     
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