Report for the 14 day Bob Sands/Davis Boats/R.P. Moo time Daqaritas adventure

Dexter Outdoors

fishordie

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Aug 31, 2005
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Jamie
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2013 Ranger Z521 with 250 Merc.: Now deceased.. Thank goodness
I am sorry to say I returned Monday from performing duty in Her Majesty's service for 14 days. I really should have done a turn around and been back out there fishing but I didn't so I will try not to whine. We had so much fun with this group of passengers, crew, office staff and Skippers I really did not want it to end. But it did so now for the report. As a note, if you want to pass up my incredible insights into life and fishing you might want to scroll down to the "What worked" section of the report. In truth, I do not want to hear beeyatching about how long my reports are but this is a fishing forum so Beeyatching is just part of the deal.

I have become a big believer in less stress good, more stress bad, so with that in mind I drove down to the Vagabond the afternoon before the day of our departure. I stopped at Tito's Tacos for a bite to eat and ended up at the landing around 6 PM on Sunday the 2cd. No traffic, no fuss no muss and no stress. I locked up my truck, after putting my rods inside the room, and was off for a stroll around the docks. I was wearing my fleece lined Royal Polaris jacket and Bob Sands Tackle T-shirt so when I met a few folks parking their trucks, including Mark and Karl, it was reasonably clear we were on the same trip going out the next day. This was the first time blending the Charters of Davis Boats and Bob Sands Tackle but I have a feeling it will not be the last.

The day of departure came soon enough though I was able to sleep in until about 7:30. This is so much easier than waking up at 3:30 AM,leaving the house by 4 a.m., Filling up on coffee, driving in the dark and then feeling shell shocked at some point the next day when the caffeine wears off and the lack of sleep catches up. Forget looking forward to a nap, I was ready to rock and roll.... Well at least listen to Simon and Garfunkel.

Even though I had just seen most of the folks from Bob Sands within the last few days there is something special about meeting up in front of the docks getting ready to load up for an ultra long range adventure. Introducing yourself and meeting new folks just feels great when you already have something big in common. I am horrible with names but I challenge myself to learn everyone's name within a few days and I am almost always successful in that regard. Again, I try to take even the little stresses out of the trip by not having to ask "What's that guy's name?" 50 times. Saying good morning Rich, Good morning Kathy, Good morning.... whomever just makes waking up, getting coffee and smiling just a little easier especially when they say good morning Jamie. Being out on the rail with someone whom you know their name makes starting a conversation more relaxed and enjoyable. Yes, sometimes I get the name wrong but I only commit that mistake once... or twice. Okay, I admit it, I set my bar very low so I do not have to work too hard to reach my goals. So much easier that way.

As usual, boarding was a piece of cake as the Red Shirts from Fisherman's Processing take care of most everything up to the boat then the R.P. crew goes to work from there. After boarding I was feeling like a million bucks though some folks, who did not stay overnight, were looking a bit worn out. I guess that is what naps are for but I am not good at napping so I can pretty much confirm I will stay at the landing the night before each and every long range trip.

What a line up for crew. Frank, Roy, Eddie, Darryl, Jonathon, Derron with James and Charles in the galley and sometimes doing double duty on deck.

No need to go over the 4 days of travel but the plan was Hurricane bank to start. I will say, I LOVE THE TRAVEL days but I understand not everyone agrees. For me the time flies by as I start the day with Coffee, breakfast, morning constitutional (At my age this is something to hope for and a blessing), stroll around the deck, MIT level discussions about the solving of world issues followed by discussions of fishing, book reading, then lunch. Sure sounds like a full morning to me. Lunch is followed shortly by cocktail and cigar hours, more advanced level discussions on world issues, book reading, afternoon constitutional (hopefully) and perhaps a poker game or two. Then dinner which includes a cocktail/wine portion and after dinner cigar, discussions then bed time. If there is a knock Gin player then I might be up until 11 PM or so but if not I usually am in bed by 9:30 PM. For this angler, I have pretty much pared my life down to the most simplistic terms possible. When folks tell me life is much more complicated than that I just laugh realizing we mostly make our own decisions on how difficult our paths are... or not. In life we may have some tough decisions to make but on a Ultra long range fishing adventure the decisions are just not that complicated nor does a bad decision result in much more than changing out a hook or top shot. No, I am not talking about casting a jig without looking behind or around us as that is waay more than just a bad decision. Okay, enough Philosophy... at least for now.

Hurricane bank is somewhat of a blurr but I do remember the bank was not making a strong showing for Tuna. However, the Wahoo was pretty good for some of us and a cow and a few tuna were landed. Captain Frank made the decision to head for hopefully greener pastures (Not greener water) and off to Clarion we went. We were to be the only boat going ultra long during our time frame so the Skippers really had to rely on their experience on this one.

I believe I began making Daqaritas on this travel day as it was very warm and something cold would be the perfect compliment for the 18 hour ride to the island. What is a Daqarita you might ask?? I guess the best way to describe this wonderful elixir is an adult version of a very rich Slurpee, at least for the passengers. I made Virgin Daqaritas for the crew. This cocktail involves a very strong blender (which I brought), pitcher of ice, a great Strawberry Margarita mix, A very good quality Tequila (I am told I have a rather heavy hand which is true as I may have bankrupted a few bars when I tended back in the day), Fresh Lime, fresh fruit as becomes available, Splenda (One has to keep things healthy after all), Grand Marnier and a few other secret ingredients (All of which are perfectly legal in at least 47 states). Needless to say this blend was highly sought after each day during the afternoon lull or after a full day of fishing even by those who are teatotalers. Looking back on this I could have charged more than the Belagio does for a top level cocktail once I got folks addicted. Oh well, another get rich scheme passed up. For future Charter Masters or passengers making these types of drinks for others is a great way to protect yourself from some good natured hyjinx. Two folks you don't want to piss off are the chef and the bar tender.

Whatever check in arrangements were handled by the Skipper and the team on the Island so in short order we began our assault of the area while staying out the requisite distance away from the Island. As I noted, there were no other boats to share intel with so the Skipper decided to troll for Wahoo as he checked for conditions around the island. November may be known as a bit early for Wahoo but someone forgot to tell the Wahoo. I LOVE Wahoo fishing even more than big tuna and maaan did we have a blast. MY JRI full size Hooker style prototype was a monster in these conditions. Jerry was kind enough to send me one for my last long range trip but there were no wahoo to try this thing out but holly mackerel did this thing work. More on this later. I am a jig and bomb guy so I used both Captain Jimmy bombs, JRI bombs and Raider jigs with fantastic success. We rarely went more than 5 minutes of trolling without a hookup. Most everyone was throwing artificial lures but bait would work very well also. GREAT Wahoo fishing. As a note, I will continue to insist color makes a difference though no doubt a proper swimming lure for trolling is vital. More on that later.

Much of this first day was spent trolling, stopping on Wahoo, and the skipper gathering intel on conditions. Again, my memory is a bit blurry so the actual Tuna day by day results might be a bit suspect. Each day yielded lots of shots at Wahoo. At night, when we anchored up, we could use the drop jigs or bait for tuna at least until the sharks made life miserable. These sharks stayed away during the day or at least did not bother us too much but night time was an entirely different deal. There were still some fish landed in the dark but most of us gave up the challenge ceding the water rights to the sharks. We tried for bait most every night along with the crew grabbing fliers. Whatever shortcoming we the passengers had a making bait, the crew and a few die hard passengers made up for in the late hours of the evening. Thank you to those who gave up their sleep so that we the masses could prosper. I will note the R.P. crew is very fastidious about what goes into the water and what does not in order to have the best chance at keeping the sharks away.

The next day was similar until later in the afternoon when we got invaded by 30 - 120 pound Tuna. For many hours most every bait that hit the water was inhaled. I got to fish poppers, as I did most of the trip and was greatly rewarded. What a blast. I would be remiss if I did not note how well the passengers and crew did when the fishing went WFO. Very few fish were lost, I do not remember much in the way of folks being out of control, rods when over and under with no yelling all the while the crew maintained their professional demeanor during what could easily have become chaos. Great job everyone.

The next several days were pretty much similar. The usual truths came out. Rail time counts. The stern is not always the best place to be once the boat comes to a halt or even before. A good, healthy, well presented bait is most always superior to a poorly delivered bait. Big baits (Skippies or small Yellowfin), on this trip, usually resulted in a shark but I will still continue to use a big bait when the time comes for such things and I am not throwing artificial lures as big baits generally result in big fish, etc.

Jamie and the Kite: Lets just say Fish 3 Jamie 0. On the R.P., when Flyers are scarce, you get one bait to get it right. My first kite turn I never had a chance. That Flyer was gone in 1.2 seconds and my turn was over. Second time I doubled the time on the kite and got about 2.4 seconds before my turn was over. I did get a chance to wind, wind, wind but I never came tight. Bummer. Now all that was meaningless on fish number 3. Double trouble using 200 pound test and 7/0 Super Mutu's. I was on "The Tractor" Accurate 80 filled with 200 pound freshly topped Spectra with 30 pounds of drag at strike and ridiculous at full. The baits went out and before they went 20 feet I was on. I was at about 2/3rds strike when the fish went crazy and headed for the bow. Up the rail we went in no time at all and I was clear with line peeling from the big real all alone at the pointy end of the boat. Eddie was next to me and I had pushed the lever to the strike position. Somehow this big fish, as could be told by the giant tail beat, was still pulling line and staying on the surface. Ode to joy as this felt like the real deal and I was on the right gear. With only about 1/3 of the line remaining on the reel the beast stopped only to take another 50 yds. At which point..... NOTHING. 3 Viagras could not have revived that limp feeling I had as I reeled in my line. Of course I was wondering what broke? Was it a nick in the Spectra, bad connection, hook break or ??? In the end it was just a pulled hook. Everything was still pristine. So what did I do??, Grabbed a Scotch and my Popping gear and went out to try and hook the bitch again.
This is 2 trips in a row where I hooked into the right fish but came up empty. Well, empty is not the right word as the way I looked at it had I been able to keep those hooks in that fish I would have been on him or her for a while and not have gotten that wonderfully refreshing glass of Scotch so quickly. Like I said, look for the positive and stay away from the negative. I have had way more than my share of good luck so sometimes ones luck might not be quite as good as at other times. Besides my down in long range side is still way better than most folks up side at home.

The last day or two we got into the bigger fish. Again, rail time was usually rewarded with a great quality tuna being hooked into. Our own Steve was rewarded with 6 big tuna the day before we were to depart. Harold Davis, one of the two great charter masters, hung a 246( I think that was the weight) while Kathy LoPreste and our Robin each got a cow. Tom got a cow early in the trip and a few others each got a cow but again my memory is just not that good. However, lots of those great quality fish in the 80 - 180 price range hit the deck. It is important for me to note: Even on a ultra long range trip any fish over 100 pounds is just a beauty. Fish over 150 pounds are simply spectacular and cow sized fish are like the brass ring. Sometimes we all feel we are entitled to fish over 200 pounds and a 199 is a disappointment. Thank goodness I got over that issue many years ago so I can appreciate the shear magnificence of a 150 - 199 pound tuna, celebrate if and when I land one and share the joy when other passengers put their tags on one. Like I said, sometimes we make life more complicated than it needs to be. I look for the pleasures life has to offer rather than concentrate on finding a disappointment. If landing a 180 pound Yellowfin Tuna is a disappointment then I have screwed up in my decision making somewhere.

We left the island with fish biting wishing well to those coming on down. Frank spoke with several of the boats heading south so I do not doubt they were well tuned into what we had discovered. From reading the reports it sounds like there is some great fishing going on.

4 days home were filled with more reading, poker tournaments, Scotch and other adult beverage drinking, cigar smoking and even one day, for the first time in years, I took a nap. WOW. Perhaps you can now see why I wish I was on a turn around. What a blast. I suppose coming home was not all bad except I went to the Clippers vs. Bulls game that night I came home and it was ugly. Oh well.

SO WHAT WORKED AND WHY? Here is where those of you who decided to skip the commentary can tune back in.

WAHOO CASTING JIGS AND BOMBS: Three things mattered in my opinion. Color, tight drags and not lifting the tip of the rod to place on your thigh or rod belt (In short, no slack line even a little bit). I continue to sing the praises of no wire and 100/130 pound test top shots (Mono or Flouro). The ability to keep the wood to a Wahoo cannot be undersold as far as hookup to land ratio goes. I fish my poppers, bombs and jigs with my spinning reels set at a minimum of 25 pounds of drag so the Wahoo comes to the boat in less than a minute. Guys fishing 50 pound string or less cannot put that kind of pressure on a fish. My Wahoo counts show I am not losing out on hookups to those guys fishing lower test string and I tend to only lose a few jigs/bombs using this setup. I only lost one bomb and one Raider. My heavy string allowed me to go back out even if the line was slightly scraped from a wahoo miss (not a cut) and I was not affected by kinked or messed up wire which must be changed.

Do not over cast as far as distance goes. I have stated for years the majority of fish are hooked near the boat once the boat has stopped its slide and that credo continued to be true on this trip. Staying out of any tangles resulting from casting in too early after the troll fish is hooked so the angler is prepared to cast again when the troll fish gets near the boat is very important. After that my Spinners make fast retrieving simple and easy.

I am sold on Captain Jimmy Bombs. Color matters but the hot color can and did change in my opinion day to day. The first day the Pink/gold and Green/Gold was hot (These were custom color combos I had Jimmy make) but the Green Dorado also worked. The next several days the standard Holloween orange worked amazing. In short, bring an assortment. If you are going ultra long get two of the Pick Six Captain Jimmy offers and get some assorted color combinations.

Gold Raider jigs worked great. I liked the green sided tape though the usual Pink tape was working fantastic as well. I thought the larger size was the best but had success with the 125 G as well.

Bait: This was a rare trip in that only a few folks used bait but when they did it was very effective. The draw back to bait is you really cannot use the heavy line so drag setting must be looser which results in more bite offs or broken/chewed through line.

WAHOO TROLLING: JRI Hooker style large prototype in purple was UNBELIEVABLE until it broke its wing about 4 days into the fishing. Jerry rushed this model to me prior to my last trip and told me he did not have time to wire it properly or apply the right adhesive to the eyes. Jerry told me to try it and report back. My buddy Fishybuzz owned the famous but now deceased Ugly Betty but I likened this Trolling Jig to Blind Betty as they eyes were gone but maaan did this thing work. I always make sure my trolling jigs track correctly and since this was a prototype it just needed a slight tweek to the rear hook eye to get it to track perfectly. When I tune a trolling jig I feel the line of the deployed jig to feel what the Thrum pattern feels like once I feel it is tracking correctly. This jig, just like it's no longer manufactured predecessor, has a very tight swim pattern yielding a nice vibration, which provides superior results. This jig got hit on almost every rotation I had as well as many of those whom I lent it to.

There were two other great performing trolling jigs on the boat on different rotations. The first was a monster jig owned by Harold and used by Jim as well. I believe this was an almost paintless Yozuri Dorado pattern. Sometimes you just get that jig that is like the energizer bunny. It just keeps on Going and Going And Going. Jim told me this jig was on its third year and though there was not much left to it somehow the jig got bit. The other jig was Kathy LoPreste's which I believe was an orange/black sort of tiger stripped model. I believe it was a YoZuri but I am not positive.

IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT WAHOO TROLLING: Drag matters. Once again I saw too many short bites I could attribute to drags not being set as tight as they should be. Short bites are part of the Wahoo game but can be reduced if the drag is set correctly. In my opinion if that Wahoo is taking drag after the boat comes to a stop or has slowed down after the initial hookup you do not have enough drag. If you keep the Wahoo's nose pointed at the boat only good things should happen. When the Wahoo tries to shake its head to dislodge the jig the amount of flailing is greatly reduced when the wood is constantly put to the fish. If in doubt please ask the crew. Secondly, stop trying to get the rod but into your rod belt or on your hip. Get that rod on the rail or under your armpit with the tip pointed at the fish and wind it straight to the boat. Do not go into low, Do not pass go and do not collect 200 dollars. Too many fish were lost when the angler raised the tip, for a variety of reasons, and allowed some of the pressure to be removed from the fish or the rod allowed to unbend. It only took a second eased pressure to let that fish become unbuttoned.

TUNA FISHING:Not much needs to be said about this as this subject has been discussed and is not really rocket science. This trip the Sardines were the size of Ponies and Mackeral worked as well. Getting a bait to swim away from the boat, in good shape, was a key as it usually is. Circle hooks are great weapons once the angler learns to pin on a bait quickly without knocking slime or scales from the bait.
Learning where on the boat, when on anchor, a bait is most likely to not go under the boat, is something to ask an experienced angler or crew about if you find you are caught between the current and the swing of the boat. 90% or more of a great angler's first bait will get away from the boat quickly and cleanly. If your ratio is much less Watch and learn. This trip seemed to find most folks butt hooking and shoulder hooking. Once the bigger sardines and Macks were gone those anglers who could best hook and get a smaller (Normal sized) sardine out would get bit. Practice, practice and practice properly hooking a bait and getting it cleanly over the side and away from the boat. Do not settle for mediocrity in this regard.

POPPERS: The majority of my trip was once again spent casting endlessly using poppers. Once again, the poppers, at least until the fish went gonzo, were the very, very least likely to get bit but when they did it was Awesome. No really big fish for me on the poppers but that is the price I pay for what I love. However, plenty of medium size tuna and a few wahoo were landed in very little time.

DROP JIGS: I highly recommend anyone going long get several of the JRI pl68 "style" glow drop jig. When a good current is going (Some current is best for Drop jigs) Jerry's slightly heavier jigs do an incredible job of getting bit by getting down into the zone a bit faster. Pl 68's are still a great drop jig but the JRI jig is a must in my book. It is the first and last drop jig I grab for fishing in the dark and grey light. I also had some success with a 350 Gram Glow and pink Asian style jig but the Sharks were brutal.

SPINNERS: It does not take a genius to realize I LOVE my spinners. I fish them almost exclusively except when using the JRI and PL68 drop jigs or trolling. If I want to insure I keep my endurance I will on occasion fish conventional reels with bait. I do not recommend Spinners to most anglers targeting really big tuna but I do recommend them for most anything else. For Wahoo, bait or jigs, I can cast and catch all day and all night and rarely get tired. There is little doubt in my mind that Spinners are superior when throwing poppers or light artificial lures.

I wanted to experiment with my nearly 2 year old Daiwa Saltist 6500 Spinners for Wahoo and medium sized tuna. I set the drags at 25 pounds for Wahoo and then hammered them as far as they would go once I was stable on Tuna. For those fish under 125 pounds this set up worked over and over again mounted on both my Black hole Cape Cod 8 foot popping rods as well as my Hybrid Phenix 8 foot XH. The reels never failed in any way however, one of the reels had the bail break while stored in a rod holder. Not sure what happened but it did not happen while on a fish. These reels are not to be compared to the feel of my Shimano Stella's but for the use I have noted they are well worth the much lower investment. Once again, Wahoo and medium sized tuna did not stand a chance to my 100 - 130 pound short top shots and high drag settings. Fish were landed quickly with little fuss and muss.

I got to throw small poppers using my new Saragossa 10,000 mounted to a Black hole, Cape Cod Nano 8 foot popping rod and MAAAAAAN what a setup. Smooth as silk for the very small poppers I was using (16 - 49 gram Halco Roostah poppers). No problem on tuna to about 100 pounds and Wahoo on the popper was a gas.

FISH PROCESSING: I know this has been a rather volatile subject on these boards for a few years. There is no doubt the big 3 processors are all fantastic but I continue to use FISHERMAN'S PROCESSING for several reasons. The first and foremost is Sean. Sean has being paying his dues to the long range industry for decades. It is and has been for years Sean's Red Shirts who are helping us as we the anglers prepare and then get our gear down to the boats. Most of the time you will and have seen Sean pushing carts, even as an owner, as one of the original red shirts. I have no idea what other folks experience with these hard working red shirts have been but mine is always one of customer service being the primary mandate in getting our tackle and gear aboard with the least amount of problems.

Sean's FISHERMAN'S CANNING, even before the creation of Fisherman's Processing, was the premier canned tuna provider. When others went to Costco to provide their cans for exchange Sean was still processing his own top of the line Tuna/Albacore for the exchange program. Included are his specialty canned tuna products which might include a bit of jalapeno or other spiced additions to the normal canning process.

Double bagging and great longevity from the processing. Though I do not tend to keep my filets longer than one year I would not be worried if I did. These are heavy duty bags sealed by heavy duty commercial vacuum machines yielding top of the line product.

Rosie and Sean are very good about obtaining as many cutters as they need for same day service. F.P. has a lovely waiting area but most of the time my friends and I just go have a leisurely breakfast, come back to take care of the tab, and be on our way. This trip, since I believe F.P. received about 17,000 pounds of fish to filet, I did have to wait a bit longer but not by much.

Sushi cuts: I do not know if the other processors provide this service but F.P. provides, on appropriate sized tuna, the ability for the angler to request the "Sushi" cut. This is the area of the shoulder which tends to yield the most buttery filets of the fish. Most everyone of my friends and family do not care for the heavily marbled, closer to the skin or fattier sections of tuna made famous by shows such as Wicked Tuna. I leave those sections to my Asian and more snobby Sushi friends. 99% have fishgazams when I present these "Sushi" Cuts during my regular Sushi parties.

I am getting older. In day's past I was always the one to push a cart while unloading the fish. When my ankle is feeling good I still am one of the guys pushing carts but when I come off the R.P. my fish is handled differently. My fish never touch the concrete above the docks rather they are immediately unloaded into slush bins, carted up the docks by the folks from Fisherman's Processing and placed directly into the trucks while staying in the bins all the way until they are processed. This is, in my mind, the perfect way to insure we obtain the best quality filets from our RSW kept fresh fish. Besides, not having to push a cart up the docks certainly gives me one less chance to throw out my back or screw up my ankle. For this angler this is a very simple decision.

It is not my place to discuss the ownership of any of the operations but I can tell you the owners are now Sean and Rosie as managing partners with Tim and Randy as the more silent partners. That's it, no other owners. Sean and Rosie have been taking amazing care of me as well as those I know who choose Fisherman's processing for years now. For this angler there is just no reason to change.

Well, I have written enough. I am putting on a Sushi party for friends tonight so I am going to call it quits.

In short, Great group of folks to fish with, Great operation with the Royal Polaris and Finished up with a great experience at Fisherman's Processing. For some of you I could probably have made the entire report with this last paragraph..... But then that is just not my way.

Have a great long range season.

Jamie
 
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vegasandre

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Aug 20, 2010
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Jamie, you are the man (as always).
I love the report, love the popper info and love the updated spinner wahoo techniques.
Too bad the sharks got in the way of some of the Asian jigging.

Looks like its going to be a great season, thanks for taking the time writing up the report.

Have to run, but I really enjoyed it!
 
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Montaukmaniac

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Feb 8, 2011
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Thanks Jamie.

As usual a superb report in both narrative & "what worked".

Informative & much appreciated.

(CAN'T WAIT for the JRI "hooker style" to have its first production run!!! These prototypes are too much of a tease...)
 
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malanx

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Sep 28, 2011
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SD landings
Thank you Jamie!

Can you add any details onto which poppers worked for wahoo and how you fished them? I tried for wahoo this past January, using poppers and actually saw several wahoo take a pass at the popper, without striking it. Perhaps you fished them with a faster retrieve (less pause)?

Thanks again for the great report!
 
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Chris Penning

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Apr 13, 2011
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Jamie,

Phenomenal report. I love your attitude on life to boot. I often comment that many of our issues are self imposed and are a result of not only our decisions, but perspective on life. I have a roof over my head, and I know where my next meal is coming from. If there's not someone trying to lob a mortar on my head on a 24 hour a day basis...I think I'm doing pretty good. Thanks for the gut check once again.

Chris
 
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The Bushman

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Mar 5, 2005
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Nice write up Jamie... tell us more about the Scotch and the Stogies... :)
 
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fishordie

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Aug 31, 2005
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Jamie
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Hi all,

Thank you for the nice comments. I do enjoy writing these reports and of course reading reports and what worked info from others. I hope other B.D. er's who are not as comfortable writing dissertations on their trips would take a few minutes to comment on what was working for the hot sticks or what was not working for the cold sticks on their trips. Every bit of info shared is great for all of us as nobody is privy to all the great intel.

By the way, I am not a photo guy so you will rarely see my with pics unless someone sends them to me.

As far as the poppers used I have narrowed the choices down to just a few at this time. I have always had good luck with my Halco Roostah Poppers but this time I really tried to stay with the smaller ones. The 105 and 135 sized Bonito and Flouro Green colors worked great and may become my favorite poppers. However, be warned, one needs an appropriate setup for lighter lures to be able to cast these effectively. I threw most of these on the Blackhole Cape Cod Nano 8 foot Popping rod and Phenix Black Diamond 869H paired with the 10K New Saragossa by Shimano as well as a Saltist 6500 spinner. I have no idea how these lures will hold up on Cow sized fish (I would use my heavier gear for cows) but no problem on the medium and smaller tuna and of course all sizes of Wahoo. The other popper I really like and have use successfully for years is the YoZuri Bull Sashimi in CCFF (Flyingfish) color. The Yozuri is a bigger and heavier popper.

I rig my poppers for tuna in several ways. This trip I found I missed a lot of strikes by not having a belly hook. As soon as I added a large J hook, in addition to my trailing J hook, to the Yozuri, my hookup ratio went to almost 100%. I do use a rubber band doubled up and connected to the back eye of the lure which is then attached to the belly of the belly hook in order to keep from snagging the main line on the cast (When using a belly hook). This also keeps the point of the hook facing outwards. I have used this technique successfully for years but have not seen others do it. On the smaller Halco's I used a single, large sized, Assist J hook (With short chord) off the back end of the jig only. I believe the smaller popper allows for the fish to get more mouth around it so the belly hook is not necessary. I find my hookup ratio is almost always better on the smaller poppers and I really believe the fish react better to the smaller presentation. I probably have another 25 - 50 years of testing before I come to any conclusions regarding poppers and proper setup as it always seems to change depending on conditions. Not sure why but it does.

Retrieve techniques of poppers can be mindless or the angler can actually pay attention to how tuna are attacking both bait and the artificial. When I see tuna chasing my lure then I might have a faster pace. If the Tuna are more rolling on the bait or lure then I slow down (Sometimes it helps to see how and where the tuna are biting the bait guys to get an idea for your artificial). By changing the angle of the tip of the rod I can change the pace. For example, if I pop with the tip almost straight up using a relatively fast retrieve but very short popping stroke, I can keep the lure longer in a shorter space on the water yet still get a great popping action. If I keep the tip down lower I can get more of a chug action. By using combinations of tip location, short or long popping strokes and by varying the speed of the turning of the handle of my spinners, I can greatly change the action of the popper. On the other hand, I can just go mindless, put the tip up high, reel quickly and pop quickly and forget about why the tuna are reacting as they are. By the way, Mindless can many times be the right method as sometimes it is easy to over-think the entire equation.

On thing I did not try, as I am all about poppers, are stick baits. The sinking varieties and sub surface stick baits are very effective but do not give the visual I am craving. The usual culprits will be great lures such as the Smith Baby Runboh and Daiwa Dorado slider but I really love the Shibuki. For those looking to fish artificials with perhaps a better chance of a hook up this is a great way to go.

As you can tell I love artificial fishing. On these long or mid range trips this technique provides the angler something different to try. Additionally, get proficient on light weight poppers or stick baits will definitely help the angler in getting their live bait into the zone more efficiently.

Hope that helps

Jamie
 
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fishordie

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fishordie

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Nice write up Jamie... tell us more about the Scotch and the Stogies... :)

Hi Ken,

Lagavulin 16 and a mixture of Padron 1964 and 1926 Anniversary's including 2 40 year and 1 80 yr , Cohibas, God of Fires and a number of others of like kind and quality. Life is too short to drink lousy Scotch or smoke cheap cigars... LOL.

Jamie
 
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fishordie

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Jamie,
Great report. Sounds like you guys had a blast. Is this the same sushi party that my folks were at? Haha, good job!
-Aren

Hi Aren,

Yup, same party. Good thing I did not have to cut fish that night as Mikey hired a Sushi chef. You should come to one of these parties. They are a blast. I sent you a P.M. to read. Please send your folks my regards.

Jamie
 
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