RP trip report 8/7 -8/15

Dexter Outdoors

2tuna

Almost A Member
Feb 21, 2011
101
291
Salinas/CA/USA
Name
Craig H
Boat
le barge
Was fortunate enough to tag along with the Carnes Bros. annual 8-day trip on the Royal Polaris. My first time on the boat and first time on any trip over 3 days. To be something of a greenhorn among these accomplished affable folks was a real pleasure, with much generosity shown from the swag, to impromptu tips on technique, to the inevitable bits of terminal tackle that were somehow missing from my 70 pound bag of hardware.

Jeff was at the helm; Daryl, Doug, Louse, Eddy, and Trevin on deck; with Dave and Ulysses in the galley. The morning of our departure Jeff mentioned that the bluefin had recently evaporated from the local haunts, and that according to other reports a pile of marauding sharks had gathered at Alijos (which was my secret hope, knowing that Guadalupe was closed) so we would be heading down to the Ridge.

Allright.

We picked up beautiful big heavy cured sardines (7"+, best bait of year according to crew) at the receiver to go with the 250 mac's the boat already had in the front bait well, and pointed the nose south. Two days of the steady grind of the diesels while the wind chop blew itself out, the air temps spiraled upwards, and the water went from gray, to green, to blue, to cobalt while the gauze-wrapped mountains of the Baja coast teased the port horizon. Look, there's Cedros. Maybe someday.

Sunday morning at 8, thanks to a benign downhill swell, we slid onto the Uncle Sam bank. Anchored up, and the fruits of 2 days rigging were sent flying into the salt: dines on flyline, surface iron, yoyo, dropper loop. I went with the JRI stinger in mint, compliments of our hosts (good mojo, right?), and got nailed by a YT on my second cast. Sadly it was maybe 5 pounds, as were all the other fish being hooked (and released). Some of the YFT hadn't yet seen 3 pounds. Micro fish. After 30 minutes Jeff said let's throw in the wahoo troll gear and haul ass for 23.

No wahoo and the 23 was dead. So another couple hours of the thrumming bass note of the motors pushing us south on an ocean grown glassy but leavened by a thumping long-period south swell that had some of the surfers onboard questioning their choices for the week.

We got to Thetis in mid afternoon, anchored up, and it was game on. Chunky thick shouldered YT were happy to play from the surface down to the reef. Having never caught a yellowtail larger than about 12 pounds, it was a revelation on how strong the bigger models pull. My first fish was close to 20 pounds, on a sniper tied to straight 40, and I was sure it was going to be at least 10 pounds heavier before I got it to color. It rocked me, twice, but allowed itself to be coaxed out.

There were good numbers of tuna in the mix, maybe a third of what was caught, and all the fish were in the 15 -25 pound range with a few YT pushing 30. For most of the afternoon it seemed there were 3 to 6 fish hanging, mostly on flyline but a few on yoyo or surface iron. I get nervous in the scrum in the stern, worrying about tangles - and my potential responsibility for them - so I spend more time in the bow with hardware in hand. Watching the other iron aficionados - Tony, Chris, Ken and Paul - do their thing was informative. Best of all was Thai from New Hampshire, who kept dragging out his slow pitch outfit that looked like it was a Snoopy Catch'em Kit more suited to panfish, and getting just pinned to the rail when his flatfall got hammered. Which it did. A lot. And he lost quite a few fish, but based on his shit-eating grin I don't think anyone had more fun.

2 1/2 more days at Thetis with the action pretty much continuous. The Indy showed up, to jockey with us and the pangas permanently planted atop the high spot. The fish got a little bigger, with the larger models in the high 30's. The preferred technique for these shoal donkeys turned out to be a 2 oz sliding sinker and a nose hooked sardine. A couple grouper came aboard. One 20# wahoo was picked up by Charles on 40 fluro and a sardine. Whew. And at one memorable stop, several hundred scorpionfish volunteered to be the guests of honor at a singularly excellent fish and chip lunch.

One evening after dinner, conditions were pretty glassy and little puddling pods of tuna were popping up a hundred yards out. With the aft deck pretty much empty of other fishermen I hauled out my light spinner and had a ball hooking these fish on a sniper as the sun set. With no one to tangle, they got to race around, and I had a hell of a fine time.

Despite the one gift wahoo, they were scarce. A couple of times we'd pull anchor and troll the area to try and scare one up, but no love. On the last morning at Thetis Chris from Berkeley decided he'd had enough thug YT and he was going to spend the rest of his time hoping for an invisible wahoo. He grabbed a raider, tied it to straight 50 mono, and on his second cast got hammered by a 50 pound skinny. This ended up being the Jackpot fish and, as one might imagine, changed the focus on the boat. For a little while. But it was a one off, and most folk drifted back to the sure thing of donkey wrestling.

We left Thetis Wednesday after lunch, intending to troll wahoo up the shallow spots of the ridge on our way north. I was rotation 3, and had rigged a little Nomad DTX 165 on 130 fluro on an old Avet 4/02. It all looked rather feeble against the other 50's pulling DTX 220's and monster Marauders but for whatever reason it was the one that got hit near the 23, and I got my first wahoo in almost 30 years. And yes, the lure was destroyed - shattered hook, taking on water - but it got my fish. Kirsten got another book matched 'hoo reeling in her marauder on the same stop. Pure happiness for me (who cares that it was a troll fish?) A couple more wahoo came on the troll that evening, making I think 6 for the trip.

The next day was spent poking our way up the coast, doing some bottom fishing here and there for a mixed bag of whitefish, calicos, sheephead and vermillions ; all while watching the water shade from blue to green to gray. Time to go home, and we did.

I thoroughly enjoyed the boat and the crew. I've spent close to 35 years idly thinking about a long range trip on the Royal Polaris (including sending Frank a letter from New Mexico in the early 90's when I was broke, trying to trade artwork for a place at the rail). The food was phenomenal, the crew tight and very much on their game. A big shout out to Paul and Ken for putting this grand group together and letting me tag along!

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NaplesJohn

Never Forget 343
Jun 9, 2010
696
758
Port Aransas, TX, USA
Name
John
Boat
Wilderness Systems T-160...and just sold the boat!!!
Holy Mother of God a fish report! Amazing with the boats all making trips and catches that the reports short /long/photos/no photos are not streaming in. Thank you for posting a trip report on the Long Range Fishing Report board! November 10 day can't get here soon enough!
 
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nicodemus

Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
Apr 10, 2012
696
958
The 505
Name
Nick B
Boat
African Queen
Thanks for the great writeup! And congrats on the 'hoo. Looks like a real nice one.
 
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Eric Ancog

Almost A Member
  • Mar 3, 2018
    224
    221
    Lakewood
    Name
    Eric Ancog
    Boat
    Independence, Shogun, Red Rooster III
    Was fortunate enough to tag along with the Carnes Bros. annual 8-day trip on the Royal Polaris. My first time on the boat and first time on any trip over 3 days. To be something of a greenhorn among these accomplished affable folks was a real pleasure, with much generosity shown from the swag, to impromptu tips on technique, to the inevitable bits of terminal tackle that were somehow missing from my 70 pound bag of hardware.

    Jeff was at the helm; Daryl, Doug, Louse, Eddy, and Trevin on deck; with Dave and Ulysses in the galley. The morning of our departure Jeff mentioned that the bluefin had recently evaporated from the local haunts, and that according to other reports a pile of marauding sharks had gathered at Alijos (which was my secret hope, knowing that Guadalupe was closed) so we would be heading down to the Ridge.

    Allright.

    We picked up beautiful big heavy cured sardines (7"+, best bait of year according to crew) at the receiver to go with the 250 mac's the boat already had in the front bait well, and pointed the nose south. Two days of the steady grind of the diesels while the wind chop blew itself out, the air temps spiraled upwards, and the water went from gray, to green, to blue, to cobalt while the gauze-wrapped mountains of the Baja coast teased the port horizon. Look, there's Cedros. Maybe someday.

    Sunday morning at 8, thanks to a benign downhill swell, we slid onto the Uncle Sam bank. Anchored up, and the fruits of 2 days rigging were sent flying into the salt: dines on flyline, surface iron, yoyo, dropper loop. I went with the JRI stinger in mint, compliments of our hosts (good mojo, right?), and got nailed by a YT on my second cast. Sadly it was maybe 5 pounds, as were all the other fish being hooked (and released). Some of the YFT hadn't yet seen 3 pounds. Micro fish. After 30 minutes Jeff said let's throw in the wahoo troll gear and haul ass for 23.

    No wahoo and the 23 was dead. So another couple hours of the thrumming bass note of the motors pushing us south on an ocean grown glassy but leavened by a thumping long-period south swell that had some of the surfers onboard questioning their choices for the week.

    We got to Thetis in mid afternoon, anchored up, and it was game on. Chunky thick shouldered YT were happy to play from the surface down to the reef. Having never caught a yellowtail larger than about 12 pounds, it was a revelation on how strong the bigger models pull. My first fish was close to 20 pounds, on a sniper tied to straight 40, and I was sure it was going to be at least 10 pounds heavier before I got it to color. It rocked me, twice, but allowed itself to be coaxed out.

    There were good numbers of tuna in the mix, maybe a third of what was caught, and all the fish were in the 15 -25 pound range with a few YT pushing 30. For most of the afternoon it seemed there were 3 to 6 fish hanging, mostly on flyline but a few on yoyo or surface iron. I get nervous in the scrum in the stern, worrying about tangles - and my potential responsibility for them - so I spend more time in the bow with hardware in hand. Watching the other iron aficionados - Tony, Chris, Ken and Paul - do their thing was informative. Best of all was Thai from New Hampshire, who kept dragging out his slow pitch outfit that looked like it was a Snoopy Catch'em Kit more suited to panfish, and getting just pinned to the rail when his flatfall got hammered. Which it did. A lot. And he lost quite a few fish, but based on his shit-eating grin I don't think anyone had more fun.

    2 1/2 more days at Thetis with the action pretty much continuous. The Indy showed up, to jockey with us and the pangas permanently planted atop the high spot. The fish got a little bigger, with the larger models in the high 30's. The preferred technique for these shoal donkeys turned out to be a 2 oz sliding sinker and a nose hooked sardine. A couple grouper came aboard. One 20# wahoo was picked up by Charles on 40 fluro and a sardine. Whew. And at one memorable stop, several hundred scorpionfish volunteered to be the guests of honor at a singularly excellent fish and chip lunch.

    One evening after dinner, conditions were pretty glassy and little puddling pods of tuna were popping up a hundred yards out. With the aft deck pretty much empty of other fishermen I hauled out my light spinner and had a ball hooking these fish on a sniper as the sun set. With no one to tangle, they got to race around, and I had a hell of a fine time.

    Despite the one gift wahoo, they were scarce. A couple of times we'd pull anchor and troll the area to try and scare one up, but no love. On the last morning at Thetis Chris from Berkeley decided he'd had enough thug YT and he was going to spend the rest of his time hoping for an invisible wahoo. He grabbed a raider, tied it to straight 50 mono, and on his second cast got hammered by a 50 pound skinny. This ended up being the Jackpot fish and, as one might imagine, changed the focus on the boat. For a little while. But it was a one off, and most folk drifted back to the sure thing of donkey wrestling.

    We left Thetis Wednesday after lunch, intending to troll wahoo up the shallow spots of the ridge on our way north. I was rotation 3, and had rigged a little Nomad DTX 165 on 130 fluro on an old Avet 4/02. It all looked rather feeble against the other 50's pulling DTX 220's and monster Marauders but for whatever reason it was the one that got hit near the 23, and I got my first wahoo in almost 30 years. And yes, the lure was destroyed - shattered hook, taking on water - but it got my fish. Kirsten got another book matched 'hoo reeling in her marauder on the same stop. Pure happiness for me (who cares that it was a troll fish?) A couple more wahoo came on the troll that evening, making I think 6 for the trip.

    The next day was spent poking our way up the coast, doing some bottom fishing here and there for a mixed bag of whitefish, calicos, sheephead and vermillions ; all while watching the water shade from blue to green to gray. Time to go home, and we did.

    I thoroughly enjoyed the boat and the crew. I've spent close to 35 years idly thinking about a long range trip on the Royal Polaris (including sending Frank a letter from New Mexico in the early 90's when I was broke, trying to trade artwork for a place at the rail). The food was phenomenal, the crew tight and very much on their game. A big shout out to Paul and Ken for putting this grand group together and letting me tag along!

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    Nice Report!
     
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    kcarnesmd

    Almost A Member
    Jul 24, 2007
    104
    62
    raleigh, nc
    Name
    ken
    Boat
    Regulator 31
    Thanks Craig for a great report and kind words. This was our fifth year as charter masters, and some of the best fishing we have seen. The RP captain and crew were at the top of their game. We hope to see you again on next years 8 day trip.

    We certainly missed crewman Jesus this year, as he is preparing for brain surgery in the next two weeks at UCSD. Paul and I were able to spend time with him on Saturday morning, and he is in good spirits and feeling as well as possible. He wanted to express to the bloodydecks community how overwhelmed he feels about the Gofundme campaign started by Frank and the support from fisherman/friends he has met over his long fishing career. Please keep him in your thoughts and prayers!
     
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    fyermn

    Member
    Sep 2, 2005
    744
    328
    73
    Utah
    Name
    Dan
    Boat
    LONG RANGE fishing
    Excellent report. You must be a writer of sorts with the use of the words you used to describe your FANTASTIC trip. You are now hooked on Long Range fishing---WELCOME to the crowd !!!
     
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    johndtuttle

    Angler/Client
  • Mar 20, 2008
    5,594
    1,786
    Carmel, CA
    Name
    john
    Boat
    not crazy enough yet
    Ha, classic Ridge report.

    :)
     
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    Geub

    Newbie
    Mar 29, 2018
    2
    1
    45
    NH
    Name
    Geu B
    Boat
    Seachaser 24HFC
    It was awesome fishing out there with you and that slow pitch jigging was just awesome. I seriously couldn't keep the fish off, but wish I would've gotten the heavier rated rod with a larger reel. The saltiga 10 was getting hammered and the drag was great on it, 20 lbs test just couldn't handle the duty on some of those monsters.
     
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    2tuna

    Almost A Member
    Feb 21, 2011
    101
    291
    Salinas/CA/USA
    Name
    Craig H
    Boat
    le barge
    20 lbs test just couldn't handle the duty on some of those monsters.
    Geu, if having fun is the point of these trips, you had everyone beat. I bet in 2 years we see a lot more of those buggy whip slow pitch rods out there.

    ...Just not loaded with #20
     
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    Geub

    Newbie
    Mar 29, 2018
    2
    1
    45
    NH
    Name
    Geu B
    Boat
    Seachaser 24HFC
    Not bad for a PE1 rated rod with 20lbs. :). Reading through so much of the slow pitch style I just had to try it out during the trip, but this was nothing compared the some of the fish you caught.

    pe1.jpg
     
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