Our Excel 16-day trip May 21 to June 6 2015: Great group of passengers with colorful personalities to match. Thoroughly enjoyed the camaraderie and witty banter! It was quite an adventure and enjoyable to be on the water. The charter master is a great guy and sets the tone for the trip. I also was able to fish with Big Daddy Don Burnside again 20 years later! The three amigos Dan, Gary and Rudy make any trip entertaining... The ride down hill was smooth. The dehumidifiers downstairs made a huge positive impact. The Excel is a great fishing vessel. The food has improved since 2013 and was good except for the first dinner which did not meet expectations. More cleaning in the bathrooms would also be greatly appreciated. We traveled straight to Hurricane Bank arriving a little later than expected for a very slow pick bite and lots of sharks. 30 fish caught and 15 lost to sharks. Various sizes from 20 to 225 pounds. 100/135 lbs rigs 5/0 to 7/0 4X circle hooks were the ticket depending on bait size and type. Night time fishing rig was a stout rod with a 50 sized reel with 150 to 200 lbs leader with a black rubber banded 1 lb sinker 5' from the hook fishing with the "Chandelier" rig; 3 sardines nose-hooked on a 9/0 circle. Side note: We had quite a few unnecessary tangles; a large number of tangles could reduced if passengers stayed in touch with their bait more effectively, in front of them and no angles, at least it would avoid some of the tangles. A few folks were rail anchors...Sitting on the rail in the stern corner and not moving is rude, inconsiderate and ineffective. Listen to the crew, work together and we will all catch more fish! Back to the action: the kite was working slowly; double trouble and flyers. Lots of sharks still being hooked and tearing up fish. The sardines were not doing well in the 84 degree water and there was lots of die-off. We did not make bait the first night because the anchor was stuck? The next couple of days were equally scratchy. Lots of sharks. When the current changed, the bite picked-up that night and it finally seemed we were getting in a groove. There was only one flyer caught the second night for bait. No puffers. We caught some salamis, but the sardines continued to do poorly. This made for tough fly lining conditions. On the fourth morning of fishing the RSW was open for use. While it was still scratchy fishing, it was improving; the chunk was working, fly lined bait and the kite. At noon we had to leave due to a hurricane coming our way...luckily I caught a 120 lbs YFT an hour before we left. It was the right thing to do. Safety is always the primary concern. Clarion was not an option so we headed to the Ridge/Rocks while keeping an eye on the storm. Two and a half days later we arrived at the Rocks. We had okay Wahoo and minimal Yellowtail fishing at Alijos. We left and a day later arrived at the Ridge. The Yellowtail fishing was better at the Ridge, but not great. Blue & White or Scrambled Egg Salas 6XJR was the ticket (what a surprise). Next stop a day and a half later....Cedros and more Yellowtail! This time we found a bird school eager to bite; 18 to 22 pounds and a few larger to 30 lbs. Once again, Yoyo jigs off the bottom were most effective, but there were a few fish on top for surface iron! After most had their fill on Yellowtail, we headed to Colonet to anchor and see if and when we might head offshore for Bluefin or stay and fish for rockfish. We fished around Colonet that day for not much. Later that evening the plan is announced we are heading to the Pt Loma bait receivers to get sardines and spend the next day fishing for Bluefin between San Clemente & Catalina Island. We arrived at Point Loma at 11:30 and left at 12:15 with 200 scoops of unseasoned sardines. This bait was larger and in much batter condition than our previous load. We arrived at our destination at 7 AM. No BFT wanted to play. Maybe the 400+ ton ship spooked them a bit. Called it a trip at 5:30 PM without anyone getting a bite the entire day. We arrived at Point Loma at 10 PM and tied to the bait receiver until 5:30 AM. Headed into Fisherman's Landing to dock and unload. It was great to see my brother in law catch his personal best YFT (160 lbs) and his first Wahoo ever!! About the crew; most of them are excellent and highly skilled. However, there were two deckhands who were new to long trips and it was noticed by passengers. I understand having one new guy on a trip, but 2 new guys on a 16 day seemed inappropriate. Another unusual occurrence; we added a passenger when we stopped at the bait dock before the last day of fishing. Even though he is the boat owner, it seemed inappropriate for him to hop on board. I love to fish long range and feel we made the best of a "less then ideal" situation due to weather conditions. Caught plenty of fish. I would not hesitate to fish with this group again and recommend them highly. Sincere thanks to the charter master Kim; the other passengers and crew who made this trip enjoyable. Until our next adventure... - Jeff Burroughs Jackpot fish was 198 lbs. (Kite fish were ineligible) Way to go, Rudy!!