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Long Range Report: Fleet transitions to summer

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: May 16, 2017

Seven, eight and ten-day spring trips ready to launch

SAN DIEGO — With one long trip just beginning and just one more on the schedule, the eyes of the long range fleet turned to the summer schedule. A whole series of eight to ten-day spring trips will target the ridge and rocks and sample the big wad of bluefin tuna swimming off the northern Baja coast. The prospects for Guadalupe also opened up with the Shogun kicking off their island schedule.

Slow start for  Star

After a dandy stretch of fishing on mid-grade tuna with a sprinkle of cow fish, the prospects for the last long trips of the season looked good. It would be hard to convince anglers and crew on the Royal Star who arrived on the grounds this week only to find tumbleweeds in the figurative sense. One more 180 in a season marked by 180s. The good news is, it was only the beginning of the Let’s Talk Hook-Up trip and time was on their side. Capt. Tim Ekstrom was at the helm of the state of the art sportfisher and described the start this way, “A warm welcome in Cabo San Lucas and quick passage across, placed us square in the zone yesterday morning. What appeared to be a setting, brimming with promise, promptly fizzled, leading to a “seek and destroy” mission that sadly failed in its objective. Not from a lack of fish. (sound familiar?) The potential for glory is certainly around. Wresting such results from this offshore paradise however may be an order a little broad. Though it is early, far too early for panic, there is definitely an unsettling component to day one in the promised land.”

The following day was another dud, “ ‘No one said that it was going to be easy’, a go-to quote I've lived by for a long, long time. Though sadly unfair to the fantastic group of anglers assembled for the annual Let's Talk Hookup big fish adventure, rest assured that we will exhaust every possible effort to change the current theme. A few fish in the early am, including a 183, instilled promise, offered a taste of hope, but that was all. The quick adrenaline hit was replaced by a lull that didn't end; until we left, that is.”

The veteran skipper changed tack, “Yes we can take a hint; and with superb weather in the forecast the time was right. If we find 'em we'll have plenty of time to get the job done. If we don't, we'll have enough time to make whatever we can out of what was left behind. No reports on the bow for a long while are buoying optimism about the potential. It's not uncommon to see a change, or for fishing to fall off for a day or two, following the full moon. For now we plan to bide our time, settle in, and scratch whatever is available. At the very least, we do have other options and a wealth of time; a good thing in every respect.”

Big X fishes short

derekjonesstandsexDEREK NGAYAN STANDS with a 195-pound bluefin taken on a jig in the gray aboard the Big X.


FINZ AND FEATHERZ jackpot winner, a 111-pound bluefin tuna landed on the Excel.

MMA ANGLERS LEFT to right, Urijah Faber, Chad Mendes, and Clay Guida aboard the Excel.

The Excel had a couple of short trips on the schedule before some longer spring trips. The goal was local bluefin. Capt. Justin Fleck was at the wheel on the first trip, “We just got back from our three-day trip with Chad Mendes and his Finz & Featherz group with a boatload of amazing people to benefit veterans. Even though the weather was terrible and the fishing was slow, this group still found a way to stay positive the whole time and have fun no matter what. And to all the veterans who came out, thank you for your service and sacrifice.”

Fleck continued, “What a treat it was to have a couple of Chad's MMA buddies from the UFC come out in support of a great cause, Urijah "The California Kid" Faber and Clay "The Carpenter" Guida.”

The second trip was a Pelagic sponsored 2-day, Fleck commented, “We left early this morning on our Pelagic two-day trip so we could be on the tuna grounds by lunch. I can honestly say that the bluefin population is extremely healthy in this area. Derek Ngayan was lucky enough to take this 195.8 pounder on 60-pound test with an Okuma Andros 12lla and a custom Seeker rod. Great job Derek. This fish was caught only 46 miles from home.”

Shogun at the ’lupe

The Shogun started off the summer season with a 6-day trip to Guadalupe Island. The boat sent this message after a good yellowtail start, “Shogun is having good fishing on premium yellowtail, many over 40 pounds. There are good schools of tuna in the area, some boiling around the boat, but so far no bites. The weather is calm with a breeze from the NW at 5 to 7 knots. We will update you again tomorrow.”

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