SAN DIEGO — The last round of spring long trips to Clarion Island and the Hurricane Bank turned up some great action yellowfin tuna and wahoo, with all three boats — Royal Star, Independence, Excel — all filling the holds on their last spring trips.
The Royal Star and Excel were headed home as WON went to press, with both sporting incredible catches and stories of truly epic tuna and wahoo fishing. Tim Ekstrom on the Royal Star said that an incredible 39 cows were weighed on the trip.
The Independence returned from its 16-day trip with what dock reporter Bill Roecker called a “Spectacular big fish finale.”
Independence skipper Jeff DeBuys was stoked with his trip, telling Roecker about it on the dock at Point Loma Sportfishing April 27, as his 24 anglers pulled tuna and wahoo to their numbered spots after the 16-day experience. Rick Ozaki charter mastered the Avet/West Coast Marketing adventure.
THE INDEPENDENCE returned with 19 cows on its last trip, which was the boat's first April long trip chartered by Rick Ozaki of West Coast Marketing and Avet. Photos by Bill Roecker
“The weather was just spectacular,” remarked DeBuys. “The best times were from noon until dark on most days, but they bit some at night, too. It looked like the fish were feeding on red crab and flying fish, from what we saw in them.
“There's an awful lot of good water headed up this way,” continued the skipper. “We saw a strong uphill current and just flew home on it. We found a one-degree edge about 290 miles down. The warm side was over 65 degrees and there were bluefin there. They looked like 25 pounders.”
The group caught some 19 cows, or tuna over 200 pounds. The best one weighed 242 pounds, caught by Jim Chivas of Norwalk. He said the fish fought him for 45 minutes before it was gaffed aboard the Indy. He baited a sardine on a 6/0 Mustad Demon ringed circle hook, and used 130-pound Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon and 130-pound Spectra on a new Avet 80 reel and a Super Seeker 3 X 5 rod.
BIGGEST OF THE HERD of the 19 cows on the Independence was this 242 pounder caught by Jim Chivas.
Dave Rocchi of Cypress won second place for a 239 pounder. He coaxed that one to the port bow after a half-hour tussle. His tuna bit a sardine on a 5/0 ringed Hayabusa hook on 100-pound Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon and 130-pound Line One spectra. He fished with an Avet HXW reel and a Calstar 665 XXH rod. He also had a 219-pound yellowfin.
Bill Nelson of Fairfield won third place for a 229-pound tuna. His sardine bait was pinned on a 7/0 Mustad Demon hook and 100-pound Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon, with 130-pound Kanzen Spectra backing. He used a Penn 50 reel and a Seeker 6460 XXH rod to subdue the tuna after a fight of an hour and a half.
Les Nishi bagged a 224-pounder. Jim Isaac caught a brace of tuna that weighed 222 and 213 pounds. Paul Geurts had one at 219.6 pounds.
Dennis Saylor of Seal Beach bagged a triple, with his fish weighing in at 207, 203 and 201 pounds. He fished sardines on 4/0 ringed Owner Super Mutu hooks on 100-pound Momoi and 130-pound Line One Spectra on an Avet Raptor reel and a Calstar 6465 XH rod.
Ed Combs of Palm Springs caught a 205 pounder with a squid under the kite. He said he used 10/0 Mustad 7691 hooks on one of the boat's kite rigs: 130-pound Izorline and 130-pound Izorline spectra, an Avet 80 reel and a Super Seeker 3 X 5 rod.
Chartermaster Rick Ozaki of Raider jigs and GrafTech rods got a brace, at 203 and 204 pounds. He said he baited sardines on 4/0 ringed Super Mutu hooks. He fished with 100-pound Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon and 100-pound Izorline spectra on an Avet HXW reel and a Calstar 770 XH rod.
Richard Berg got one at 201.8 pounds, and Dale Lethcoe snared a 201, as did Dane Barriault. Crewman Doug Brink gaffed his own 205-pound tuna, and chef Michelle, or “Frenchie,” as the boys call him, caught a 220-pound yellowfin.
The trip produced limits of tuna and wahoo, said skipper DeBuys. The best skin brought up to the scales was a 66-pound ’gator caught by Jim Mann of Bonita. “He bit on an orange and purple Marauder,” said Mann, “and he busted it.”
This was the Indy's last trip of the current big fish season. She will move up to 22nd St. Landing for the next several weeks, and is expected to run short trips out to San Clemente Island and other local spots.