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The Crew Makes It Happen

Long Range Fishing Crew

In my opinion, a solid crew is the heart and muscle behind every successful offshore fishing vessel. The finest San Diego long-rangers are manned by seasoned veterans who are professionals in every respect of the word. Between maintaining equipment and morale, and working toward the common success of each voyage, the crew is what makes it happen on deck. They are invaluable, and uncommon at the level of expectation the top outfits have established.

For crewmembers, it’s not an easy go and requires grit, durability, and pride in performance that very few individuals are capable of consistently delivering.

I am only speaking of the best, the high-liners that stand above throngs of others that pass through the revolving doors of various operations accomplishing little other that wearing out a welcome and wasting the world’s most precious commodity — time.

The “fishermen” is what it really boils down to — anyone investing time in the professional pursuit of fishing better be an instinctual fisherman if they expect to succeed. Otherwise, the result is entirely predictable — a job for pure financial gain. The 18-hour days and endurance of incredibly reliable misery obscures the appeal to all but those whose psyche is twisted by that relentless, insatiable drive to catch fish.

long range fishing crewWhen it comes to a seasoned long-range fishing operation the ultimate testament to its founding principles is the longevity of its crew and the ascension of individuals from within the ranks. When an angler returns to the vessel of his/her choice there is a distinct brand of comfort and confidence that comes with finding the same crewmen manning the deck year after year. The familiarity and genuine friendships that are immediately rekindled and the knowledge that professionals are in control allows anglers to fully unwind and focus on their fishing without concern for the ultimate outcome.

When anglers arrive to find rookie crewmen or “greenhorns” in place of the familiar crew of prior voyages, the sentiment is wholly different.

Experienced anglers know that they will have to watch their back, especially when the fishing is on, as the training session for greenhorns begins. And while most everyone is deserving of a shot and must overcome the flubs and mistakes of year one somewhere, the deck of a long-range vessel and the thousands of dollars anglers have invested in their premier fishing vacation is not conducive to such charitable sentiments.

The best of the best generally arrive on the deck of a long-ranger after advancing through the ranks of California’s half-day and overnight operations. Those who stand out among their peers and possess a passion for fishing that cannot be satisfied near shore, move up to the world of fishing offshore and beyond… The major leagues, or “The Show,” as I call it. By any measure, this comparison is spot on. Believe me, the fire in such individuals is appreciable and immediately recognizable to anglers of any experience level on long-range voyages.

There is a distinct difference between professional offshore crewmen and amateur deckhands. One of my favorite results of the mini long-range or 1 ½ day voyage we run on Royal Star are the complimentary comments from anglers new to long-range fishing about the dedication and professionalism of our crew. If they have only fished on local vessels they are astounded by the difference in the performance of the crew — the motivating example of men engaged in pursuit of their chosen profession exuding genuine passion for the labor and love of fishing.

long range fishing crewThis environment, this level of dedication among long-range crewmen, is similar on all of the elite long-range vessels. The personalities are certainly different, and the individual flavor of such men lends to the overall onboard atmosphere, but the dedication to success in fishing and service is a common theme among these successful crewmen. In comparison to anything less, it is refreshing and consistent with the standards and performance professional fishermen expect of themselves.

The crew of a vessel tells the tale. It really is as simple as that. Over a vessel’s history it is inevitable that crew exchange will take place, but the duration of a crewman with an operation, and the success they achieve following their tenure, speaks to the core principals of an offshore fishing operation.

For anglers choosing a long-range voyage, the best advice I can offer is to evaluate an operation by its crew. Consistent success in any fishery is never by accident, and the solid crewmembers that man the deck of high-liners are the significant component.

long range fishing crewWith all the information, literature, and advice available in our modern age, a little research can go a long way toward positioning one for the favorable outcome they desire of their long-range fishing voyage.

A good boat and a good crew go hand in hand. One cannot exist without the other, and rest assured when you’re fishing on such a vessel, it is the noticeable difference between failure and success.

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Captain Tim Ekstrom has spent the majority of his life working at sea in the San Diego sportfishing industry. A pantheon of legendary mentors influenced his development from the age of 15. Eddie McEwen, Frank Lo Peste, Steve Loomis and Dick Gadosh provided a professional background that was quickly evident when Tim became the youngest individual to captain the famed long-range sport-fisher Royal Polaris in 1990 at the age of 21. From there a long list of accomplishments followed, culminating in the 1996 purchase of the Royal Star with partner Capt. Randy Toussaint. Tim has established an impeccable reputation as an energetic, strong leader and consistent innovator in the sportfishing community. From incorporating sport fishermen as participants in large-scale scientific tagging studies to revolutionizing modern fish handling and storage on board vessels, his transformational contributions to the Southern California sportfishing community are widely recognized. To book a trip with Tim, visit www.royalstarsportfishing.com. While consistently maintaining a catch record at the top of his field, Tim is dedicated to maintaining and improving sport fishing for generations to come. Tim has also played an active role in developing the fish processing that anglers use to care for their catch, and even smoke their fish. Tim is one of the owners of Fisherman's Processing, which provides a wide range of fish cleaning and smoking services. Living in the fishing enclave of Point Loma for more than 25 years, he is happily married and a proud father of two future anglers; six-year-old son Duke and 10-year-old daughter Charlie.