Vagabond 10-day Report

Dexter Outdoors

nicodemus

Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
Apr 10, 2012
690
951
The 505
Name
Nick B
Boat
African Queen
Vagabond 10-Day Report Oct 30-Nov 9 (part 1)

…or….

The Wide-eyed Ramblings of a Newbie Long-Range Fishing Addict

It's a long way from the far Alaskan Arctic where I work to the teeming waters off San Diego and the Baja Peninsula. Fishy fantasies overwhelm me and only find release in putting them down on the page. Join me on the long journey from the southern coast of the Beaufort Sea to the southern reach of Baja waters and points east and west and in between.

THE WORK WEEKS PRECEDING

Early October the tundra already gone brown, then brown and white, now mostly white, the brown bears hunkered in their dens, the tundra ponds five inches thick with ice, temps into the single digits, the sun below the horizon fifteen minutes earlier each day…

…the Arctic turns in upon itself in response to the encroaching winter, the endarkening days.

Time itself yawns and slows its pace, gravity pulls stronger on body and limbs, the 12-hour workday feels like fifteen, seven hours of sleep feel like three, the 4 a.m. alarm shrieks like an angry banshee.

Sleep. I want more sleep. (The bears are smarter than us.) Sleep?

Sleep. If only. How can I sleep? How can I sleep when....

Baja.
Baja is calling me.

Bluefin.
Bluefin and Baja are calling my name.

I read the reports. People tell me the reports. I tell people the reports. I have to stop reading the fishing reports! I CAN'T stop read the fishing reports! I read the forums, I read the posts, I scour the classifieds, I pounce! A new wahoo reel. I compile a list. I compile another list. I add to the list(s). And I check them twice. I order from Amazon – wind-ons, hooks, line, jigs. I score a reel from Cal Sheets, a BD buddy is building me a custom rod (which, by the way, with that Cal/Eric Sheets reel produced two species personal bests and the jackpot fish - thanks IronMikeAC!), another BD'er has a reel bag for me... (Getting home will be like waking up Christmas morning.) I can’t stop reading the reports!

Einstein was right, you know, about time. About relativity. About the stove (working in the Arctic in winter before your LR trip) and the pretty girl (goes by the name of Baja Cortes, with dreamy blue(fin) eyes. And I’m starting to feel that pretty girl drawing closer, closer (far too slowly, but…) closer…

Breathe. I breathe... (26 more days...21 more days...15 more days!)

Breathe. I breathe…hyperventilating counts, right? (12 days…11 days – Last day of work!)

The multi-flight journey south is about to begin...Christmas is about to begin! The hunt for the ‘hoo, the search for the blue...(fin), the boarding of the boat is drawing nigh, that pretty girl beckons!

But then –

Flight delayed!

Aaarrrggghhhh!!!! Noooo!!!

Breathe, it's just a delay... okay now a flight missed... okay now it's a 20-hour overnighter, no hotel (no sleep, what's new?), two 4-hour stretches in airports...then the bleary-eyed arrival home. But it’s all okay, because…

Bluefin...

Bluefin and Baja are calling me.

THE WEEK HOME BEFORE

Home.

Where I breathe! Hyperventilating counts, right? Where I have six days of tackle tuning, knot practicing, list making, hook sharpening, car prepping, packing and repacking, giddiness and glee!

Six days of gearing up, hitting the trail, shedding a couple more pounds (gonna gain it all back and more…), and, yes, sleeping!

Well… lying awake for hours first, wakeful dreaming, dreaming of Baja with the beautiful Blue(fin) eyes, trying NOT to imagine the wide-open-bites, the eruption on the flyer, the drags screaming, the shouts of "Hook Up!!!!", the relief of the gaff striking home…

”Don’t think of big blue tuna” I tell myself while tossing and turning… Yeah, the pink elephant thing never worked for me either…

Christmas poems echo as I drift off…

“Visions of sugar-plum wahoo bombs dancing in my head…
His cheeks rosy like a Katy Perry sniper,
His nose like a sardine,
His eyes like 250 gm glow flat falls…”

(Dreamland is the origin of poetic license…)

Zzzzzzzzz

I get a little sleep. I get little sleep. But it’s enough…

Because you see...

Baja.
Baja and bluefin are calling to me.

HOMECOMING

San Diego.

That languorous southland of my birth.

Of my first 29 years.

Of my first bluegill. First largemouth bass. First crappie, calico bass, sand bass, croaker, queenfish, opaleye, catfish, surf perch, smelt, albacore bonito mackerel green-eared sunfish skipjackhalibutbullheadspotfinsculpinrockfishcrappie….

You get it.

You wouldn't still be reading if you didn't get it....

You get it.

I’m driving in from ABQ, two days before the trip…
Just gonna take it easy…
Play some music…
‘Cause…
Got a world of fishin’ on my mind.
I cross the NM border,
Then through Winslow, Arizona,
Rollin’ right through Flagstaff,
Then to Phoenix, AZ.
On through Yuma,
And Jacumba,
Into San Diego, CA.
Come on bluuuefin,
Come on Waaaaahoo,
I gotta know if your sweet bitin’s
Gonna saaave me.

Actually, a winter storm made for a knuckle-whitening drive for the first couple hours. But from Gallup to Diego, it was petal to the metal. Almost like the relief of the gaff sinking home, my pulling in to Ye Olde Vagabonde Inn. Time enough to grab fish tacos at Mitch’s, time enough to savor the salt air ("And smell renews the salt savour of the [San Diego] earth"), time enough to pause and reflect and remember and rejoice… we don’t all get to do this.

We… don’t… all… get… to… do this…

Took me a few decades to realize these dreams. Life ain’t cheap. Gotta pay your dues. But don’t forget where you come from, the nudges along the way, the encouragements, those who, despite everything perhaps (parents, right?), made it possible…

From sitting on a dock of a bay… Shelter Island, Dana Marina… to casting into Chollas Lake as a youngster… The old man took me, dropped me off, picked me up, fished with me for bass at Otay and San Vicente…crappie at El Capitan… trout at Henshaw, bluegill at Cuyamaca… pennies in our pockets… fishing on our brains… we did what we could, went when we could afford to, ate everything we caught, rejoiced in our humble successes… that 10-lb largemouth at Otay, Pops? Yeah, I may have caught it… but your joy was greater than mine, I know that now…

He. Got. Me. Hooked.

This is an ode to a parent passed, to a dad who first hooked his son on a lifelong passion at age eight, with an anchovy on a Walmart rod from a Seaforth rental boat, into the SD Bay, where fat sand bass bit and pulled hard and were landed and fried up that night and consumed with great gusto.

We had some times, we did… Maybe they only continue in my own mind, my own reminiscing, my own recollections on the page… but one way or another… you are with me on this amazing journey…

SHOUT OUTS (“‘Cause this thing called Life ain’t lived in a vacuum…”)

To Mike and the well-oiled Vagabond team of Adam, Fluffy, Dave, Chowder, Joe and Kip. Another great trip! Truly, these guys get it done, get it done well, keep you on your toes, are on top of their game and help you to up your own game.

To my AK buddy Shaun, way to weather the scorn at your spinning setup, brother (Long Range... spinning gear??? Say, WHAT??? Normal reaction. Right???) To Mike's amazement, Shaun ended up landing 3 wahoo on bombs on spinning gear. He had a vision, a goal, some crazy desire to catch an effing 'hoo on a bomb on spinning gear... and he did it! More than once! First Lackey had ever seen in his lifetime, his words. (Bombs specifically). And thanks for not batting an eye at committing to a LR trip with me...again...and again... always more fun with you along. Next year, bro, wahoo on the Barbie rod... (side jackpot!)...

To Phishy Phil and the other Phil, Rocco, Steve, Chris, Fred, Rodney, Ron, Ryan (Phenix rep) and others... thanks for the tips, tackle, loaners, offers, information, education, camaraderie, conversations, stories, laughs and shared victories! Looking forward to doing it again next year!

Short version:

This was a trip of firsts and personal bests for me. There was an early health issue with a fisherman that cost some prime fishing time but resolved better than expected. No BIG fish, but a few big fish. And a mother load of excellent grade fish of one species. Due to locations fished, the issue noted above, and weather on the way up, we only fished 5 days. Yet my processing bill is going to be double previous 7-day trip's bills. Friends and neighbors rejoice. CC companies rejoice. Really not at all what I anticipated for my first 10-day, but I couldn't be happier with the trip or the results. Somewhat blown away is more like it.
Teaser number one: my most versatile rig was my 100 lb setup.

Long(er) Version:

Day 1...

aaaand... end of Part 1...

Because the 2-day+ ride north from the ridge in 30 knot northerly winds and equivalent seas and the extremely limited sleep that that brings (tough to get much shuteye when the time you spend in contact with your bunk is almost equal to the time you spend in the air above your bunk)... demands that this fisherman takes a well-earned nap.

As a teaser... well, a second teaser, I’ll just say… The fishing was good. Very good. Stay tuned for Part 2, coming to a LR Forum near you in the very near future....

Sleep. Finally! I'm gonna get me some sleep.

Zzzzzzzzzz.....
 
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2tuna

Almost A Member
Feb 21, 2011
101
291
Salinas/CA/USA
Name
Craig H
Boat
le barge
lovely lyrical ridiculous intro. I'm very much looking forward to the rest (after 54 years of malingering and dreamy-eyed what-ifs I finally did my first 8 day this past August, so I get it).

But c'mon... not. a. single. damn. pic?!?
 
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nicodemus

Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
Apr 10, 2012
690
951
The 505
Name
Nick B
Boat
African Queen
lovely lyrical ridiculous intro. I'm very much looking forward to the rest (after 54 years of malingering and dreamy-eyed what-ifs I finally did my first 8 day this past August, so I get it).

But c'mon... not. a. single. damn. pic?!?
After I had pics taken at the dock, my phone said I was out of memory... in my technological ignorance, I ended up deleting almost all my pics! But here's what I have. All pics were taken more than 6 feet from other anglers, masks went on immediately after. Shaun with a pig yellowtail and a spinning rod wahoo, me with my 167 jackpot winning bluefin...hooked in the eye on a flatfall... just eat the damn thing, don't eyeball it! Either way, worked for me...

23508.jpeg


23443.jpeg


23445.jpeg
 
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Warlord

Member
Jul 7, 2005
439
476
70
Granada Hills, CA
Name
Steve
Boat
22' Supreme Wakeboard Boat
Nic,
Your view of the trip is the right attitude. Despite weather and a passenger with an emergency health issue, you’ve come away with a memorable trip that you enjoyed!
Congrats on the JP,
Steve
 
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Tedward2020

Autistic fisherman
Apr 5, 2020
538
416
29
Greensboro North Carolina
Name
Ted Allegranza
Boat
None
If u have iPhone ur phone has 30days to permanently delete the photos .. go to photos then albums scroll down to where it says deleted photos and look there if u don’t have an iPhone then forget my message. Nice fish!!!
 
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Phishy Phil

Almost A Member
Jun 15, 2019
124
140
SoCal
Name
Phil
Boat
Vagbond
Nick - Great meeting and fishing with you and Shaun. I do think that a great time was had by all. Big congrats on the jackpot - great job. The trip back up the line was a bit interesting....

See you next year.
 
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nicodemus

Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
Apr 10, 2012
690
951
The 505
Name
Nick B
Boat
African Queen
Absolutely Phil, enjoyed the hell out of the trip... the trip back up the line was reminiscent of days on boats on the Bering Sea... happy to leave them in the mirror! Next year, my friend... go get that cow in a couple weeks.
 
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afraser

I Should Upgrade My Account
Apr 20, 2008
1,756
1,469
sf, ca
Name
aaron
Boat
NA
Great post, look forward to the next installment. High speed spinning reels are great for wahoo. Stella 14k with 53 in per crank and no line laying will burn those bombs back. 18k with a 20k spool is even faster.
 
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kevina

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
  • Sep 10, 2006
    2,744
    2,193
    94
    redondo beach
    Name
    kev
    Boat
    25' aqua sport
    If u have iPhone ur phone has 30days to permanently delete the photos .. go to photos then albums scroll down to where it says deleted photos and look there if u don’t have an iPhone then forget my message. Nice fish!!!
    Also he could get a drop box to store photos and never loose them, If he losses his phone. The cost for the drop box service runs about $40 a year. Monry well spent!!
     
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    kevina

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
  • Sep 10, 2006
    2,744
    2,193
    94
    redondo beach
    Name
    kev
    Boat
    25' aqua sport
    What happened to the sick person?? Where were you when you found out and where did you drop him off if you did?? How much fishing time was lost and did the boat compensate the passengers for the lost time??
     
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    IronMikeAC

    Member
    Aug 2, 2013
    924
    1,041
    torrance, ca
    Name
    Mike
    Boat
    Vagabond
    After I had pics taken at the dock, my phone said I was out of memory... in my technological ignorance, I ended up deleting almost all my pics! But here's what I have. All pics were taken more than 6 feet from other anglers, masks went on immediately after. Shaun with a pig yellowtail and a spinning rod wahoo, me with my 167 jackpot winning bluefin...hooked in the eye on a flatfall... just eat the damn thing, don't eyeball it! Either way, worked for me...

    View attachment 1222759

    View attachment 1222760

    View attachment 1222761
    Nice toad YT!
     
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    Lake

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Mar 31, 2003
    2,402
    2,839
    Visalia, CA
    Name
    Blaine Lake
    Boat
    none
    I don't think it's rare at all for guys to catch wahoo on spinning gear and bombs. I guess he hasn't fished wahoo with Jaime or Fishybuzz. I've seen others do it also.
     
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    flickfish

    Almost A Member
    Dec 8, 2015
    135
    155
    San Francisco
    Name
    Nic
    Boat
    Sea Wolf
    Interesting that it was new for Mike to see someone with spinning gear for Wahoo bombs. I feel like it's semi-common these days. I have one myself and used it to great effect last year on a 10 day.
     
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    nicodemus

    Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
    Apr 10, 2012
    690
    951
    The 505
    Name
    Nick B
    Boat
    African Queen
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    Rivers

    Newbie
    Jun 9, 2018
    40
    28
    54
    Eagle River Alaska
    Name
    Shaun Nelson
    Boat
    Wicked Salmon
    Caught two of the bigger yellowtail on a bomb also, that's a 2020 saltiga 20000sw on a phenix megladon rod. Yeah it rips the bombs through the water. Was alot of fun , just have to remember to point the rod at the fish. Lost a few The mega size yellowtail on spinner, well its called a ass wooping, LOL. Trip was a blast. Great group of new friends. Phenix rep had alot of good information and was fun to talk to,
    What happened to the sick person?? Where were you when you found out and where did you drop him off if you did?? How much fishing time was lost and did the boat compensate the passengers for the lost time??
    sick person recovered. Hypoglycemic -- needed some sugar and his meds. All worked out.
     
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