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Long Range Report: Star lands trio of cows off Mazatlan

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Mar 12, 2019

Fishery off mainland shows big fish potential

SAN DIEGO — When a boat fishes new water, there is always a learning curve no matter how experienced the crew may be. Time of day, how the fish act, where they tend to be at a given time, the behavior of the big ones, presentation — all of these aspects need to be dialed in. This is the case with the Royal Star. The big fish-experienced crew is starting to get the feel of Mazatlan. The first of two 4-day trips produced 3 cows in the mid to high 200s to go with catches of smaller models. Much like what the fleet is experiencing on the Hurricane and Buffer Zone, this winter has had little in the way of consistency. As far as prospects go, the three cows in three days is a better cow average than what the fleet has been experiencing on the traditional grounds.


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ALAN HERMER STANDS with a dandy 297-pound Mazatlan yellowfin landed on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


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DR. DAVE HALL with a 269 taken on squid aboard the Royal Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


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JUAN ACERETO LANDED this 253 at last light aboard the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING


Star out of Mazatlan


The Royal Star was back down off Mazatlan for a pair of 4-day trips targeting the trophy yellowfin tuna known to inhabit offshore waters. The storied sportfisher completed two trips off Mazatlan last month that saw a sample of trophy fish under uneven conditions, a trait that has also dogged the fleet on the traditional cow grounds this season. Capt. Brian Simms was at the wheel for both trips and sent this report after the first day of fishing. “We started out the morning with some action on 25- to 45-pound yellowfin tuna. We then searched for larger models for the remainder of the day. In the late afternoon we hooked two. Alan Hermer landed a 297.8 on a sardine and Juan Acereto bested a 253.8-pound yellowfin tuna.”


The following day, the boat experienced the frustrations of tackling a new fishery. Simms filed this report:We got off to a good start with three fish in the gray. They were all about 70-pound fish, perfect for eating, but not the trophies we are targeting. We spent most of the day chasing bird schools and breaking fish. They were very fast moving and we managed only one more 70-pound fish. In the late afternoon we set up in yesterday’s honey hole and saw some true giants blow out next to the boat. We simply never got a hook in one of them this afternoon. We will be hard at it again in the morning.”


On the third day, it was more prospecting. “Today we started out with a couple of 80-pound fish in the early morning. We then went into search mode, looking for something better for the middle of the day. We found a batch of spinner dolphins that were holding mostly 30-pound fish. We got some bites on them for a couple of hours, and generally had a good time pulling on fish. Joe McLean had the best fish from the dolphins with an incredible 145.8-pound yellowfin that ate his popper right next to the boat. In the late afternoon, we headed back in hunting for giants. We managed one bite and landed one fish, a beautiful 269-pound yellowfin landed by Dr. Dave Hall.”


Although the big fish count was not as high as hoped, the three cows in about three days of fishing actually bested what the fleet has been doing on the traditional grounds. With that in mind, the boat set off on the second trip. Capt. Brian Simms sent this initial report, We struggled a bit today. The wind came up and the fish went down. We did manage to scratch some school-size tuna from a couple batches of dolphins, but the mediums and giants were both no-shows. We’ll start in a new area tomorrow morning.”


The next day, the hunt continued. “We started in a different area today and found very little life. We then went into search made and found an area of spotted dolphins that were holding some 20- to 30-pound tuna. When the dolphins tired of us, they scattered out and made it impossible to get a tuna bite. We then went to our honey hole, where we saw some very nice fish boil on our sardines. We never hooked one this evening. The pressure is on as tomorrow is our last fishing day.


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JP WINNING 247-pound yellowfin tuna landed by Matt Walters on the Intrepid. PHOTO COURTESY OF INTREPID SPORTFISHING

Intrepid and Catchy jackpot


Back in port after a Catchy Tackle 16-day trip, Capt. Bill Cavanaugh sent this report with jackpot winners: It's been an extremely busy couple of days for our operation. We returned from our Catchy Tackle 16-Day Trip, offloaded gear, offloaded fish, got all unnecessary items off of the boat, hauled the boat at Marine Group Boatworks shipyard the same day, and now we are representing the Intrepid at the Long Beach Fred Hall Show. Busy, busy. Our jackpot winners are as follows: 3rd place went to Dennis Ulick with a 125.4-pound yellowfin, 2nd place went to Ralph Carrasco with a 128.5-pound yellowfin, and 1st place went to Matt Walters with a 247.5-pound yellowfin tuna. Honorable mentions go to Mike Lovelle with a 160.3-pound yellowfin and to Pete Fallini with a 184.1-pound yellowfin. Thank you to everyone that fished with us on this trip.”


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STAN MALIN’S 308-POUND yellowfin was good for jackpot aboard the Red Rooster III. Prior to this outing, his last long-range trip was 40 years ago.


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