short version - 7 day trip, 1 dinky yellowfin, 10 yellowtail.
things that worked - the intrepid, the vagabond hotel, makaira reels, phenix rods, and (ugghhh!) circle hooks.
things that didn't work - fluoro leaders that got chewed through using j hooks.
something i've always tried to do is make sure all the bills are paid and everything is tidied up before i leave on these long trips. the tragedy on the erik really brought that message home. this time i ended up staying up all night to clean up loose ends and get those bills done.
meet roger! he picked me up at 4am, we hit the bank and the post office and were on the road at 4:30am. 2 minutes into the drive, i was fast asleep. i woke up once when we hit interstate 5, and then again when we hit the grapevine. i checked my watch and it was only 8:30AM. we had covered 280 miles in 4 hours. and i got 4 hours of much needed sleep!
our first stop was the newell reel company in sun valley, ca. the owners were not in so we did not get a tour, but we spoke to jeff and left him with a couple of my handles. it will probably never happen, but i think that newell reels would perform much better carbontex drag washers, cal's grease, tiburon handles and open bearings.
the next stop was okuma!
apparently the first shipment of makaira 8's consisted of only 10 reels that were shipped to charkbait, and i ordered five!
it's an amazing place. stuff is scattered everywhere! meet mike bennett!
the ontario facility covers distribution for all of canada, the us and mexico. this is sherry!
mark is on the left, dave is on the right.
this part of the tour was the most interesting. remember the last scene in the indiana jones move, raiders of the lost ark? that's what the warehouse reminded me of.
and these are all the reel parts!!!!!!!
stop number three was at squidco. i have never seen such a small shop crammed with so many goodies.
stop number four was charkbait/san diego.
we got together with some of the other guys that arrived early. richie flew down earlier in the morning. the rest of the guys would fly down the next morning.
the next morning, we boarded the intrepid. i still can't get over how nice the boat still is!
loading up gear was fast and easy.
the stop at the bait receivers took an hour.
on the way of the harbor, we got an escort from the us navy!
we had a meeting on the way out.
doug (our charter master) showed off the okuma reels and accurate pliers that would be give to the big fish winners and gave out some raffle prizes donated from okuma, segaur and stinky bomb.
getting set up was easy. i had both roger and richie to help out.
new for this year were the makaira 8's and the phenix rods.
my favorite part of day one. out of the harbor, set up, and relaxed. no cell phones, no computers, no nothing for the next 7 days!
no matter how i try, i can never get away from this.
still, every day has to come to an end.
it is so true that an army runs on it's stomach. a boat like this is much the same. meet javier! and plan on gaining a pound a day for the next 7 days!
here are some of his meals, in no particular order.
some of us made a valiant effort to cut down on the calories. i actually got away with asking javier for few half orders, but when too many started half orders started coming through, he put is foot down.
our last dinner together was bacon wrapped filet mignon and lobster tail. whew! what a dinner!
note to self. next trip, bring two bottles of crown. the guys drank most of it on the second night. i spend the rest of the trip mooching scotch off of my new best buddy, dave!
ok, on to the fishing. we arrived in the morning and started trolling for wahoo. it was pretty apparent that there would be none to be found.
afer a brief attempt, we anchored up for tuna. we had three full days at alijos rocks. the mornings were a pick bite for yellowfin tuna. the numbers coming over the rail were disappointing. i ended up with one small fish, some were up to a half dozen, and a few were skunked. the smaller yellowfin (40-50 pounds) were mostly picked up on 40 and 50# fluoro leaders. the dozen or so bigger fish, all 80-100 pounds, were mostly picked up on the kite. a bunch of us got chewed through. if i could do it again, i would have fished 30# fluoro against the captain's orders. and i definitely would have used circle hooks.
by 10-11am, what little tuna bite we had would shut down and we would start picking up yellowtail. these were also pretty small. it was much like cedros last year, only without the sealions. the landlord did stop by a couple of times to collect rent.
when it was getting slow, the captain came down and he hooked and handed off four fish in a row. it left most of us just shaking our heads. this one particular yellowtail he chose to land on his own so he could try the makaira/phenix combination himself.
the captain's yellowtail was landed on this rig, with only a 10-12 inch fluorocarbon leader.
several times during the trip, things got so slow that we started getting desperate. we've got sheep's heads, .....
white fish, .....
i dunno, some sort of sculpin, .....
i think these are skipjack, ....
kelp bass, right? .....
one very lost dorado, ......
and cabrilla, ......
lots and lots of cabrilla!
so ended day three.
now, normally, we would have an option of fishing a 4th day at cedros until about 9am. this was not to be. we took a few photos, had that last steak and lobster dinner and then turned tail and ran like rabbits. there was a the small detail of a hurricaine headed out way.
we were 120 miles north of alijos that next morning when the captain came down and told us that alijos was being hit by 35 foot swells. we broke down the heavy gear but left the light stuff out. i was explaining to roger (um, a rookie by the way), that we occasionally get these wide open bites of yellowfin, bluefin, yellowtail or dorado.
well, the fishing gods smiled upon us. on one paddy stop, we stuck 50 yellow tail in 30 minutes!
15 minutes after the bite died, richie came up on deck and said, "hey, uncle alan, what happened?" yup, he was asleep in his cabin!
not particularly impressive for a 7 day trip.
the big fish were up around 100 pounds even.
oh, and my buddy showed up again. i see him every year.
the fish were processed at 5 star. once again, they did a nice job.
while poor roger waited at 5 star, i got a lift with ben to see jeff at phenix. i busted the insert on a tip and needed a new one. it was nice to be able to give jeff some real time feed back. he makes a great rod!
so ends another trip. if you never done one of these, add it to your bucket list. funny, i'll bet most of us have already started planning for next year. just a quick thanks to our charter master, doug, to roger for driving, to both richie and roger for carrying all my gear, to richie for reeling in those fish when my shoulder was about to give out, to panama and jeff at newell, to mark, dave, mike, sherry and john at okuma, to joey at squidco, to mike at charkbait, to captain osborne and the crew of the intrepid, to javier and hector for the meals, to cleaning lady at the vagabond inn that found my laptop and checkbooks that i left in my room, to jason at the vagabond for watching my suv all week, to jeff of phenix rods, and most of all to my roomie, ben, who always left the light on for me.
the makaira reels and phenix rods worked beautifully. looks like the rest of my gear is relagated to loaner status. if there was one thing that i would do differently, it would have been to stick with a short 30# fluro topshot and circle hooks. 'tis better to have hooked and lost, than to never have hooked at all......
|Powered by Social Strata|