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sorry--No pics-

I look forward to my annual trip out to San Diego. Just about every year since I moved to Florida from California, I have found the time to make a trip. Due to a variety of factors, it looks like this was my last trip for a while. We'll see.

Anyway, this year I hoped on the Bruce Davis 4 day charter. Had never fished with this group but I spoke with Bruce quite a few times. Seemed like a great group.

For the past few weeks before the trip, I got all my gear ready. Although it was only a 4 day trip, it looked like we would hit Guadalupe. I wanted to make sure I was ready for some larger model tuna. Switched from Florida rigging to more LR set-ups. Bought some hooks and a few extra spools of Fluro. Planned on bringing 5 rigs, but somehow that mushroomed into 7. Figured I might as well bring it.

Flew into San Diego on the morning of the trip. My buddy Ted picked me up and took me straight to the landing. While the boat normally leaves at 1 pm, this charter wanted to get out as early as possible. By 11:30 we were off to the bait docks. Unfortunately, it took a 90 minutes plus at the bait docks. Decent bait was hard to come by. The Qualifier, Searcher and us must have opened every box trying to find some decent bait. We loaded up on the best we could find and off we went.

Mike Keating took the trip off so Brian Evans was our captain for the trip. I had never been on a trip with him and didn't know what to expect. I had heard some good things about him so felt like I was in good hands. Brian came down to the galley to give the captain's talk. He said we were going straight offshore rather than trying Guadalupe to start out. The hurricane down below us was sending some large swells our way. Apparently, when these swells hit the big island, it stirs up the sediment that has fallen down from the cliffs and turns the water off color for a few days. While it was not out of the question, it appeared that this was an offshore only trip. I was disheartened by this news. I enjoy fishing in Florida, but unless you go over to the bahamas on a private boat or fish for Swords, you cannot get into any hard puling fish ( except maybe a few amberjacks) I was really hoping to try a few new things on the larger model Lupe tuna.

Woke up the next morning to ok seas. It certainly wasn't flat but not that bad. We are about 90 miles from port. Decided to try a jig at gray light. Third drop hooked up to a nice 25lb albacore. Game on. Trolling teams go out and it turns really slow. Look around all morning. A few stops here and there. All of the boats are packed together from the day boats to a good number of the other LR boats. Action really picked up in the afternoon with a very solid bite from 5 pm until an hour or so before dark. For the day, the boat got 80 fish. The overwhelming majority were albacore. I had 7 for the day and lost another 6. Had my drags set a bit too tight to start out. Pulled hooks on 3-4 fish and lost 2 in a a couple of FUBARS in the stern. Slow day, but not too bad. Biggest fish is a 55lb Yellowfin that hit during one of the albacore bites. I tired my new popping set up a couple of time(OR BD100 rod and a Saragosa 14000). It certainly threw the lures out there a country mile. Unfortunately, I could not even get a sniff from a tuna

Reports are that the Lupe still looks poor so we are staying in the same area again. No Gray bite this morning. Start trolling around. I think half the jig strikes were from skippies. By noon I think we only have 25-20 fish or so. Around mid day, we get on a good school of Albacore. Finally, some action. After 20 or so fish come on board, 2 people get bit by something way different than albacore. I throw a butt hooked dine out . It swims out fairly well and then decides to dive. I could feel it getting nervous and then my reel starts singing. Sure feels different than an albacore. A few minutes later up comes a beautiful 40lb Bluefin. For the next 20 minutes or so, another 10 or so bluefin all from 35-46lbs come aboard. I tried the popping outfit 6-8 times again today. Looks like I am a lousy popper/stickbait fisherman. Again, not even a sniff.

We get a bit of an evening night bite on albacore. For the day, we wind up with another 80 or so fish. 60 albacore, 10 yellowfin and 11 bluefin.

At night, Brain comes down and tells us that another boat was doing fairly well another 20 miles west of us and that we might try that tomorrow or we might stay where we are at. He will decide later and let us know in the morning.

We make the 20 mile jump. I had gotten up at 3:30 or so to see if I could get a swordfish to bite. I was also thinking of catching some squid so I could try and use them the next day for bluefin. Around 4 am, captain comes down and lets me know that we have moved and it looks more like albacore fishing. Since we were going to move the boat around in about 20 minutes or so to go and look for a spot of fish to drift on, I gave up on swordfishing and almost did the same on the squid. Picked up one humboldt of about 20 or so inches and stuck him in one of the bait wells. Figured I didn't have much of a chance of using him.

Start trolling around and pretty quickly we stop on a good sonar school. Captain says it looks like Bluefin. After a slow start, we start hooking a few. I re-rig my 60lb outfit with a sinker and 9/0 7691 hook. I get the big squid and run up to the bow and drop it down. Within 10 seconds, I get slammed. Line starts peeling off the reel. Do you think I would keep my cool and calmly count to 5-6 before engaging the drag---------- Uh --Nope. Pulled the rookie mistake and only counted 2. Yep, fish is off and I am an idiot. No more squid either. For the next 3-4 hours, I cannot hook anything. We get into a few solid yellowfin and Bluefin bites as well as some albacore. I cannot do anything right. One ripper albacore bit I throw out a bait, I watch a fish come right up to my bait and turn at the very last second to nail the bait of the guy standing next to me. I start laughing. That is why they call it fishing.

My trolling rotation comes up and there is a huge blowout on my cedar plug. then the line come slack. Reel up and my 80lb test line has snapped. Might have had a nick in it or some imperfection. Anyway, this is how my day goes. After a while we all start joking about it. The whole boat could be hooked up and there I would be be flylining a bait. Anyway, as all good funks come, they also go. By the end of the day, I was able to tag another 5 albacore. The bite really exploded from around 5 until dark. In fact, right at dark, we got into a furious bite that had the deck awash in fish and blood. It was pandemonium. Fun stuff.

We finished the trip with around 300 or so total fish. 230+ were albacore and the rest were yellowfin and bluefin. Jackpot yellow fin was 56 lbs. We had one toad of an albacore at around 46 lbs and a few others around 40. Bluefin were mostly in the 35-46lb mark. I tried the Popping setup everyday. Never had so much as a bump. I will have to try it in Florida.

I have certainly had better trips in the fish catching department. However, this was one of my more memorable trips. Everyone on board from the anglers to the crew were outstanding. It was everything LR fishing should be. Good people, great boat enjoying themselves for a couple of days. Among the many memorable people we had were Al from Minnesota and his brother in law from So Cal-neither who had ever been tuna fishing, Karin and her husband from New Jersey, Terry-- who went through a two day fish catching funk and kept right on chugging along, Brian and Stan—two tug boat drivers who were former deckhands on day boats who were fish killer, Spider who was always hooked up, Stan the fill in charter master and the list goes on.

The crew was phenomenal—Many thanks to Sam, Andre, Matt, Scotty, Dean and Gary. The deckhands were always there to help. Matt happens to fish king crab and snow crab in the bearing sea during the winters. He had some great stories. Matt and Andre are both originally from Florida so I was able to talk to them about various spots around where I like to go fishing. Dean was the cook and the food on this trip was better on an overall basis than any other LR trip I have taken in the past. On more than one occasion I could not finish the meal--there was too much food. Captain Brian worked tirelessly to get us on the fish. He really did an outstanding job

For those of you who have not ridden the Spirit of Adventure, give it a try. It has a great layout and from the office to the deckhands to the Captain, you will not find a more courteous or professional crew. (nope, I am not affiliated—just had a great trip)

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