SAN DIEGO — After cranking out great fishing for the last round of trips Clarion got fickle, and boats either picked and scratched at the Big C or ran out to the Hurricane Bank — which wasn’t much better.
The American Angler, Royal Polaris and Royal Star were all in the midst of long trips as WON went to press, and the Red Rooster III was in transit on a 16-day with a 13-day fly home option. The boats fishing were reporting tough fishing on tuna, with only a few cows and the fish that were hitting the deck being under 100 pounds for the most part. Decent wahoo fishing picked up some of the slack, but the tough fishing just serves as a reminder in how much things can change over the week that it takes to leave Clarion, turn around and get back down.
The Intrepid was the last boat to return from a long trip, after it got back to Point Loma Sportfishing Feb. 12, after the 15-day Catchy Tackle/Soft Steel trip with Wayne Martin and Tony Garza representing their companies as co-charter masters.
“They experienced the same slow fishing that has affected long range boats since the full moon, but came away with some big tuna and a fair catch of smaller yellowfin, with a mix of wahoo and yellowtail thrown in,” reported Dock Reporter Bill Roecker. Fishing was mostly on the Hurricane Bank and offshore from Clarion Island.
Twin cow tuna took the top two spots. Chuck Lowe of Yorba Linda won first place for a 216.6-pound tuna. He got it with a chunk bait on a 10/0 ringed Owner Super Mutu hook. Lowe said he used a 130-pound Basil topshot of Seaguar Premier fluorocarbon, 130-pound Izorline and 130-pound Line One spectra on an Avet 50 reel and a Super Seeker 6463 XXXXH rod.
“It took 45 minutes,” he said, “and it’s my best fish. This is only my second long range trip.”
Figuratively breathing down Lowe’s neck, Seiji Iwamura of Modesto won second place for his 216.2 pounder. It bit on the double trouble sardine rig under the fishing kite. Seiji said he used 8/0 hooks from the boat, 130-pound Izorline and 130-pound Izorline spectra on an Avet 50 reel and a Super Seeker 6463 XXXH rod.
“He took me around the boat three times,” said Seiji, who is said to be 88. “He was a good runner. He bit the one remaining sardine on the rig and took off like a jackrabbit! I fought him for about 40 minutes.”
Mitch Chavira of Carlsbad won third place for a 198.2-pound tuna. The fish took a black skipjack baited through the back on an 11/0 Mustad 7691 hook on a topshot of Soft Steel 130-pound line on 130-pound Line One spectra. He fished with an Avet 50 reel and a Super Seeker 6463 XXXH rod.
Norm Moltar of Redondo was on the trip. He’s been taking long range excursions on San Diego boats almost as long as they’ve been running them. Moltar is 91.
Skipper Osborne said, “We caught what we saw. The big one came under the lights one night and ate a chunk. We caught him a while later.”
The Intrepid’s next move is to depart for a series of trips in Panama into April.
TWO COWS AND ONE A STEAK SHORT — The incredible run of cows that the long range fleet had been on backed off some for the last round of trips, starting with the Intrepid. The 15-day still put a trip together, but it wasn’t the slam dunk fishing of trips past. Here jackpot winners, first to third, from left to right: Chuck Lowe, Siji Iwamurra and Mitch Chavira.