Offshore Weekend on the CONDOR

PENN

surfgoose

active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    3,175
    5,091
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat
    whichever has the longest bunk
    I spent the weekend on the CONDOR, a 2.5 trip, and my youngest brother came over from Arizona to try for something bigger than Lake Powell striped bass. It was a real pleasure to spend some time with him, and I'm glad that I was able to get him some fish to play with.

    We started out on Saturday at Tanner Bank, and spent the day there. The goal was bluefin tuna, but along the way there were also some decent-sized yellowtail and some assorted rockfish. I was surprised by getting jumped on by a sculpin, of all things, while deep-dropping a flatfall. My brother got a nice vermillion. Switching over to sardines, we started to get bit by better fish. I got the biggest bonito of the past decade for me, I was surprised by the stripes because it fought above its' weight class. I was concentrating on trying to get my brother up to speed, he managed to quickly get a massive overrun in both of the conventional reels that I started him with, so I switched him into quality spinning gear. He had a little trouble with that too, I had to keep reminding him NOT to turn the handle while the fish was running. He was used to a freshwater fight, where maybe fifteen seconds is the time from hookup to "get the net."

    Greg, the chef on the CONDOR, is a fine fisherman and would step outside of the galley whenever he was caught up on meal prep, and do a hook&hand. He happened to be casting next to me, so I reminded him that my brother was a newbie and keep us in mind. Of course about a minute later he's bit and he says, "Here you go, Gary." So I quickly reeled in and racked the gear and took his handoff, and I could immediately feel the power. This was no schoolie tuna. I yelled at Don to come take this fish, and he got his gear aboard and came over to me. I handed-off the tuna and his eyes got as big as saucers. I noted the time and stayed with him as the tuna took around the boat completely and then back and forth several times at the stern. Little by little he was gaining on it, but at the cost of a lot of exertion. I encouraged him to drop to a knee for leverage but he just couldn't make up his mind to do it. The reel kept popping out of low gear and he would strain at the handle to get it to turn, and I several times reached over and pushed the button in so he could gain some line. Several bluefin of around a hundred pounds had already been boated, and this was obviously another of the larger units.

    After a solid twenty minutes of deck combat the fish is doing deep circles under the middle of the stern, and I am terrified because that is my least-favorite place to finish a fish. But, that is where we were, and the deckhand was right there alongside, urging another good effort. And of course the #@*&# bluefin runs under the boat and cuts the braid on the rudder, just shreds it.

    So, a five minute break to get some fluids down, and a brief recap of lessons learned, and we both return to the rail. I get a 20# yellowfin tuna, lose two more unseen tunas who break off somehow, and check on Don. He's doing fine, has a 20# yellowfin too. At dinner, all he can talk about is how surprised he was at the sheer power of the big tuna, how he'd gain twenty yards of line and then lose it all in the next minute.

    During the night Capt. Jimmy headed south-east toward the 371, and that is the general area we fished on Sunday. Looking for the magic kelp or willing school. It was pretty spotty all morning, picking up skippies on the troll and pulling away from kelps with just baby yellowtail on them. A handful of dorado were also taken. Eventually as the afternoon progressed we found a school and brailed bait and they came up! A dozen hookups at the same time, with the resulting problems, and it stayed very busy for all of us for the next hour and better. I lost two yellowfin right at the side of the boat, tiny circle hook pulling free, which was a new one for me. Threw that hook away for a new one, and caught a yellowfin. My brother got a decent dorado, maybe 8 pounds or so, and he was very happy. He also got his second and third yellowfin, twenty to twenty-five pounds.

    The trip was a lot of fun, and the weather was really nice. A little morning overcast and a spot of drizzle, but the sea was very calm and almost no wind. The CONDOR reported 16 bluefin tuna to 170#, and there was a half-dozen very nice fish 80 to 100# to go with the biggie, and the rest were nice schoolies. We also got 70 yellowfin, 30 yellowtail kept and more released, 18 dorado, and although not reported another dozen skippies and big bonito, and several bottom dwellers. It was a very nice group of 28 anglers, including three women who were all good fishers, and I like to see women on the boats, I think it makes for a more mellow trip.

    I had been hoping to get to use a drone to try taking the bait or lure out fifty to 100 yards and release it. But my brother was practicing flying it in the wind and a gust threw it into his neighbor's tree twenty feet up, and the neighbor was gone for the weekend and his big dog is very territorial. So, no drone this time. But I got to play with various lures and crazy ideas, and that always makes for a fun trip for me.

    One disappointment though: We got to the landing and I wanted 5 Star to process our fish so that Don could take the fillets with him as he returned to Arizona, and they had somehow lost my reservation! Called them six weeks ago, reminded them a week ago, and yet I'm not on the list! So, lesson learned -- Get a confirmation email! I've been using 5 Star for over a decade, this is the first glitch, so of course I will use them again. Stuff happens. But I will require an email back to me next time, so I have something in writing to prove that I made the reservation.
     
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    Pinch N Cash

    Newbie
    Aug 29, 2019
    15
    11
    61
    Lake Havasu City
    Name
    James Barnes
    Boat
    Stoker
    Good trip!

    I have used Fishermans twice this year without reservations including last Thursday when we got off the Tomahawk with a boatload of big BFT. Both times they called before we loaded up and finished breakfast with everything ready for my trip back to AZ. I have not used any other processor so I have nothing to compare them to.
     
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    Tunahead

    Long Time Tuna Abused Member
  • Aug 11, 2006
    9,378
    3,291
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    Ron
    Boat
    several
    GREAT REPORT GOOSE, and glad you and your brother got out on the Bird.
    Sounds like a decent load of fish for all, for this time of year. Good job.
    I miss the gang, but steadily healing the shoulder still. Doc said not yet. LOL
    Hope to be back next season again. Stay safe, and Happy Holidays soon.

    WHAT NO PICS? THE GANG WANTS PICS? WHERE'S THE BEEF????

    BEEF.jpg
     
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    surfgoose

    active geezer
  • Jul 29, 2010
    3,175
    5,091
    Long Beach, CA, USA
    Name
    Gary
    Boat
    whichever has the longest bunk
    It will be great to share a rail with you again, Ron! I would love to upload some pictures, but during this shutdown my old Windows computer failed, and I bought a Chromebook from Best Buy because I wanted something less vulnerable than a Windows system. But I am having trouble figuring out how to upload and manage pictures with it, and the library is closed so I can't go do some research yet.

    Anyway, we all know what schoolie yellowfin and medium dorado look like. And my brother looks like me, except a foot shorter.
     
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