AA Cow Hunt!
On a very cold January 25th morning 17 passengers gathered on the docks of Point Loma Landing ready to board the American Angler for their annual 14 day charter. Lori checked us in and provided coffee while I provided Breakfast Cookies. By 7 am we were loaded and departing for the bait receiver. Rough seas were predicted for the next few days so Ralph was encouraged to stay home for his safety. I put my reels on the rods so I wouldn't need to do it in rough seas.
Ray gave us the safety speech and said we were headed to Hurricane Bank. We encountered very rough seas all four days of travel down to the bank. To pass the time, nine of us participated in a cribbage tournament. An Avet fishing reel went to the winner. We played 3 games with each participant. I came in dead last in points, however, in my defense, I had just learned the game on last year's charter. Ron was the lucky and good player.
After 3 days of travel the weather began to warm, however, the seas remained rough with 25 knot winds and 12 foot seas. We arrived at the bank around 11 am on the 29th. After trolling around for nothing, Ray put the anchor down. Ron got a 145 and Jeff a 120. Gallagher and I tried the bobber balloon without success. As it would turn out, the balloon failed to produce the entire trip. Doc picked up a 162 and Robin got a 120. That was it for the day.
I began fishing before dawn on Monday the 30th. I had two skippies eaten by sharks. Around 9, I hooked a fish on a chunk. It was a nice 120 pounder. Eric and Robin also got a chunk fish and Ron got a kite fish. Robin's fish went 200 lbs. even. Total of 8 yellowfin and 1 wahoo for the day. Slow day overall so Ray pulled anchor and we headed to Clarion.
We arrived at the Island around 5:45 am. After looking around, we anchored up at Racossa outside the camp. We checked the NE corner but it was corroded with sharks. We had screaming current and massive spectra tangles. I was in one for an hour and missed the only bite of the day. I managed one needlefish for the day. We had 18 tuna for the day.
Fishing was slow. We picked a fish here and there. We checked in with the camp then Roy on the RP said the sharks had backed off at the NE Corner so we headed out there. The first couple sharks we encountered we used for chunks. That gave us chunks for fishing and caused the sharks to back off. Unfortunately, it did nothing to discourage the needlefish. We must have caught and killed over a hundred during our stay.
February 2nd the fishing improved. Gallagher caught a 203.5 and around 4 pm I hooked a 220 on a sardine. The fish peeled off 500 yards of line straight away from the boat. It had a big tail beat then suddenly it quit fighting. I straight cranked the fish in and when it was gaffed, we could see why. A small shark had taken a couple bites out of the belly which turned a 2 hour fight into a 30 minute special. We had a total of 35 tuna for the day. The bite was building.
The next day we had a flurry of 40 to 60 pounders where everyone got into the action. Eric hooked a 150 and Jeff landed his personal best and first cow - a 248! We finished the day with 57 tuna and 2 wahoo. Saturday we fished until 8:30 and caught 20 fish for the morning. We ended the trip with 167 yellowfin tuna with 4 cows and 8 wahoo. What worked was 100# pink fluorocarbon, short top shot and sardines. Chunks didn't work and neither did the balloon. There were a few kite fish but we only got to number 5 on the list. My fish came on 100# pink fluorocarbon. It was my 20th cow!
We settled in for the 4 day treck up hill usually the roughest part of the trip. What a surprise when we had 4 flat calm days of travel. We spent time breaking down gear and having a doubles cribbage tournament. I drew Ray as my partner. What a surprise to learn we have the same birthday and both love the color red. We had 10 teams and Ray and I won the tournament and the money. Yea Partner!
We arrived back at dock February 8th at 6:30 am. Mike was waiting to help me unload. Shig, Tim, Chris and Jackson came down to the docks to get some fish. As it turned out, I had 11 tuna for the trip - more than I expected.
I sent a couple fish to Fishermen's Processing. I had one loined out so I could smoke it and the other packaged in 1 1/2 pound packages. They do a great job.