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Long Range

Long Range Report: Excel whiffs on cow grounds

Short bluefin are the only game in town

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: Jun 04, 2019

SAN DIEGO — Due to unfavorable conditions down below, the only game in town for trophy game fish was the bluefin grounds off Northern Baja. Except for a good yellowtail bite on the American Angler, the fleet was focused on the big schools of the highly coveted game fish. The only problem is that they are bluefin, and the bite, and ultimately, the fortunes of the fleet, were resting upon the whims of the notoriously fickle tuna fish. But through persistence and dogged hours at the rail, the fleet was able to post some good catches in less than ideal offshore conditions. Next week, several boats begin fishing 7- and 8-day trips where the Rocks and the Ridge come into play. A positive development for a frustrated fleet.

Excel whiffs on cow grounds


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A TRIP-SAVING bluefin landed on the Big X. PHOTO COURTESY OF EXCEL SPORTFISHING


Anticipation was high for the first trip down to the cow grounds in several weeks. The Big X, with the HCI group, was poised to take advantage of a spot that had not been pressured in weeks. But what the boat found was a big disappointment.


Conditions were off, the current ever-changing and what few fish the boat hooked were quickly snatched away by the sharks. After several days on the spot, the situation was untenable and the boat had to search for a catch elsewhere, ending up on the bluefin grounds. The boat sent this dismal report, “This was a tough trip. No other way to put it. It just seemed like the ocean was a little sea sick for our time below. The booming shark population didn't help out either. Scraped up a few fish every place we tried. And we tried everywhere. We will be offshore looking for bluefin tomorrow.”


A few bluefin helped save the day, “We ended the trip on a high note with a few shots at this local bluefin. Incredible sign of these fish around right now. Thank you to the HCI group for another fun trip.”


Shogun 1½-Day


The Shogun ran a day and a half trip and a 3-day trip before a series of 8-day trips begin. The boat sent this report on a scratchy day, “The Shogun returned yesterday from a 1.5-day with 19 bluefin tuna. Definitely a plunk. We just left this morning on a 3-day and will return Monday. Wish us luck and biting fish.”


Star scratches bluefin


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RON WALKER WITH a 75-pound fish taken on the Star. PHOTO COURTESY OF ROYAL STAR SPORTFISHING

The Royal Star was also on the bluefin grounds under the guidance of Capt. Brian Sims. The boat was on an open 3-day trip. Sims sent this report after the first day: “We headed out this morning with a great load of bait and an eager group of anglers. Our weather is beautiful. We saw a couple of schools in the local zone this afternoon, but they didn’t respond very well. We hooked one and pulled the hook. We will remain offshore for tomorrow.”


The following day, the boat made a catch by staying with it. Capt. Sims described it this way, “We had a very slow morning of searching for the right spot of bluefin today. By 3:30 in the afternoon we were making a move to a different area. Just after 6 in the evening we found the right spot that stuck with us and bit until dark. We finished with 31 bluefin and 25 happy anglers today.”


Angler lands big yellowtail


qualityforkyaaQUALITY FORKY TAKEN aboard the Angler. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER SPORTFISHING


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A BIG SLUG yellowtail fooled by a scrambled egg yo-yo iron on the AA. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER SPORTFISHING

The American Angler began the trip with a shot at big coastal yellowtail. The boat found tough weather but biting fish. Capt. Ray Lopez was at the wheel when the boat filed this report, “Even with Mother Nature making it tough to walk around the gang did a hell of a job putting in long hours at the rail, which paid high dividends on some quality yellows. We managed to chip away steady with 1 to 5 going on the dropper loop and yo-yo from breakfast ‘til just before dinner, which was quite the workout for everyone. With a beautiful start under our belt, we are rolling up in hopes of locating some offshore exotics as our weather starts to come down.”


The move up to the bluefin grounds was a good one as the boat experienced a respectable plunk bite. The boat sent this report, “There is nothing like waking up to beautiful, flat-calm weather, except when you combine that with a good, all-day plunker on bluefin. After the long haul back up to the grounds, we were lucky enough to be blessed with good fortune. Many, many hours at the rail soaking lots of baits was the key to success and even though the bites were few and far between, it made it that much more worth it when you were able to put one of these trophies on the boat. Now in tune with our tuna gear, we are spending the night to give them one last shot tomorrow”


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