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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Long Range

Long Range Report: Royal Polaris and Excel on the bank

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 04, 2020

SAN DIEGO— The cow campaign shifted focus to Hurricane Bank, and two boats made a go of it this week. After a very slow start for both vessels, the bite got going and each group experienced some terrific fishing on mostly-teenage yellowfin tuna. The fish ranged from 60- to 140-pounds with a handful of bigger models to go with a few cows. It’s tough to complain about a lack of cows when the fishing for 100 pounders is this good.

RP on the Hurricane


The rigors of long range fishing is demanding. This is not your normal vacation. Hooking and landing fish is only part of the hardship. There is also the hated task of making bait. Royal Polaris deckhand, “Big D” put it this way, “Let’s start like this, it is 3:30 a.m. You’re sleeping good and you hear, “Wake up! Time to make bait!” Your arms are sore, your back hurts, and your legs are saying ‘stay in bed.' But there’s no substitute for live bait and lots of it. Then you realize it’s not a dream, it’s Capt. Roy waking you up to make bait. As soon as bait making is over, you move to the spot, and it doesn’t take long for the yellowfin to start biting.”


The report continued, “It was about 60/40, fly-line sardine to the kite, but the larger fish were coming in on the kite, and then is was almost 50/50 kite to fly-line sardine. It was fast action on the kite, as we went through the rotation twice before lunch again. We caught a few 50- to 70- pound fish, but the majority of the fish were in the 110- to 130-range with a few standouts on the kite. The largest fish today was caught by Steve Oba, and it weighed 168 pounds. The ticket to getting bit is, you have to be at the rail.”


At the mid-point of the trip, this assessment, “It’s half way through the trip, and all I can say is wow! We’ve had good fishing, and it seems it’s not letting up. The quality of the fish is getting better, and the only thing we are missing is wahoo. But with lots of time that could change. We had some 50- to 70-pound fish, but the majority of the fish were in that 120- to 140-pound range with a few in the 160 to 175 range. We haven’t seen the cows yet, hopefully they’re coming soon."


Another day and some changes, “It’s a small change in the fishing today. We did some trolling, but the production was poor. The tuna fishing slowed down a bit, but we did get a 244-pound giant in the early-morning hours. Most of the fish were in the 120- to 140-pound size with a few 70- to 80-pound fish. The lucky angler with big fish honors goes to Charles Millhollin who got his personal-best yellowfin at 244. The wahoo fishing is slow with only a few being landed. It was about 50/50 kite to fly-lined-sardine fishing today, but the big one was caught on a fly-lined mackerel."


One more day and more plunking. “Steady as she goes! The weather continues to be a bit chilly, but the fishing is keeping us warm. We had another good day of yellowfin tuna fishing, and to add to our count, dorado and wahoo. We had a brief showing of the other two species today. The yellowfin are just beautiful fish, with most in the 120- to 140-pound range and a good number in the 150- to 165-pound range.”


The report continued, “It was about 50/50 kite to fly-line fish again. Big fish honors go to Rich Voss with a nice 165-pound yellowfin. All big-fish honors came on fly-lined bait, but the majority of the larger fish are still coming on the kite. Weather continues to look like rain is likely, with overcast skies, 8 to 12 knots of breeze today, and chilly.”


After a good run, the bite slowed, “Tough day, weather wise and fishing. We had 15 to 20 knots of breeze most of the day, with rain all day. It made fishing tough, but for the few anglers that made it out and gave it a try, they were rewarded. Most of the yellowfin were in the 50- to 70-pound grade, and only a few over the 100-pound mark.


Big X on the cow grounds


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JOHN NAPPO WITH a fat 244 on the Big X. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING


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CAPT AL LORENZETTI with a 178 landed on the Excel. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING


The Excel was also on the grounds on a Team Hoo charter but it had no wi-fi. The boat sent this report: “Team Hoo ended up having just a fantastic trip. It started out on the slow side but ended with "as good as it gets" fishing on 70- to 130-pound yellowfin tuna. Timing is everything. We are now on our way back to San Diego.”


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A 100-POUND CLASS yellowfin on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING


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A DANDY DORADO on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING


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