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CALIFORNIA'S ONLY SPORTSMAN'S NEWS SINCE 1953

Long Range

Long Range Report: Spotty fishing and windy conditions

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Feb 19, 2019

Plunk bite offers just a handful of cow opportunities

SAN DIEGO — Just as the bite on the cow grounds looked to be gaining its legs, some poor weather blew through and stopped the bite in its tracks. By week’s end, conditions were back on the mend and the fleet began to catch fish once again. The season has been marked by swings of good and poor conditions. You just have to go to bat every day and see what fate dishes out. Even the good wahoo fishing was hampered by the weather. Despite the challenges, there were some quality fish. One example was the Intrepid, as the sportfisher weighed a super cow going 319 pounds.


Intrepid and Soft Steel


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RICK CHA WITH a 319 super cow. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING


intrepidcowsINTREPID COWS AT the dock. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING


The Intrepid returned from the annual Soft Steel trip with a good catch of yellowfin tuna and wahoo. The tuna bite swung from plunk to steady to plunk but the boat did get a shot at big ones most days. Capt Bill Cavanaugh was at the wheel and sent this message when the boat returned to Wi-Fi zone: “We experienced on this trip what you want to see every time down on a long trip, a shot at big ones. Every day, except for maybe one or two, we had a real shot at big fish over200 pounds. Our best day was 3 over 200 with one over 300. We had a few heartbreaking losses along the way as well. Lots of personal bests this trip. We were able to scratch at mid-grade fish that were mostly 70 to 160 pounds. The wahoo fishing was pretty good for a few days also and we put together a nice catch of skinnies. All in all it was a great trip.”


The report continued, “The jackpot winners were as follows: 3rd place went to Ken Houser with a 250.1-pound yellowfin, 2nd place went to Mike Van Steenburgh with a 263.8-pound yellowfin, and our 1st place jackpot winner was Rick Cha with a 319.6- pound yellowfin tuna. Every one of these jackpot winning fish are personal bests. Rick Cha is now a member of the exclusive 300-pound club.”


Star and Las Rocas


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RUDY SCOTT WITH a stout 175 caught aboard the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


The Royal Star returned to the standard long range schedule after a pair of 4-day trips out of Mazatlan that showed great potential. The boat under the guidance of Capt. Tim Ekstrom traveled down with the Las Rocas group for a shot at big yellowfin. The veteran skipper filed this opening report, We got off to a good start with steady action on good-grade yellowfin just after daylight. Unfortunately a break in the action interrupted our roll that we never could re-establish as the day ticked away. As forecast, yesterday’s beautiful weather was replaced with hunker down and hang on conditions that are to be the norm here for at least the next few days. It comes with the territory. Overall we are still pleased with the sign of fish around confident that in spite of the tough working conditions the chance for a good hit any time is certainly here.”


Another day and the conditions deteriorated. The group had to sit tight, reporting, "Sit and stay, make it pay. Such was the theme today as we adhered to the old maxim picking a nice tuna every so often in tough fishing conditions. Between the inclement weather, building seas and slack to fitful current, there was little in the ‘easy’ category to latch on to. We ground it out, however. Hats off to the heartiest few who put in the time and reaped the rewards.”


RP plunks


The Royal Polaris was in the same boat as the rest of the fleet, scratching away in less-than-ideal conditions. The boat set the pattern in a series of reports, “The first day of fishing was a bit slow, with only 12 yellowfin from 75 to 100 pounds with the largest being caught by Peter Douglas, a 183-pound yellowfin tuna, which won him a Calstar rod blank. The next day we caught 13 yellowfin ranging from 75 to 130 pounds, with the largest one being caught by Robert “Big Fish” Ramirez. Roberts fish came in at 231 pounds. The next three days saw 7 yellowfin, 11 yellowfin and 11 yellowfin. Robert “Big Fish” Ramirez landed his second cow at 257 pounds.”


Finally, the boat had a better day, “Today started out with a bang. It’s like Mother Nature turned on the switch. We had excellent fishing today on yellowfin tuna. Most of the fish were in the 80- to 190-pound range, with the largest one going 212 pounds. Lucky angler today was Adam Williams from the New-Lo An. Weather continues to be good.”


Rooster plunks


larrybrownrr_445LARRY BROWN WITH a dandy 251 on the Rooster. PHOTO COURTESY OF RED ROOSTER SPORTFISHING


The Red Rooster was on a Larry Brown trip experiencing the same challenging conditions. Capt. Andy Cates described it this way, “Fishing was tough but what you hook is decent fish. The grade makes it worth the rail time but still pretty slow going with really nothing steady. Spotty fishing and windy conditions.”


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