Long Ranging Aboard the <I>Royal Polaris</I>

Date/Time of Departure: Thursday, June 24th, Noon
Date/Time of Arrival Back In S.D.: Tuesday, June 29th, 8am

We arrived in San Diego, California on the Tuesday afternoon before our trip. Our trip was due to leave on Thursday between 11:00am and 12:00pm. We spent all of Tuesday and Wednesday relaxing and getting our tackle, which we shipped to Fisherman's Landing ahead of our trip, ready for the trip. We ate at several good restaraunts while on land. These included Hudson Bay Seafood, located next to Point Loma Sport Fishing, The Blue Crab, located on North Harbor Drive next to Fisherman's Landing, and Miguel's Cocina, located around the corner from Fisherman's Landing. These were all excellant restaraunts and I recommend them to anyone going out to San Diego.

The morning before our trip was due to leave, we got up at 5:30am and were over aboard the Royal Polaris by 8:00am. The boat was at the dock and we were able to board immediately. We received our personal number tags and went down below to our stateroom. On this trip were myself, my Dad, and a good friend of ours by the name of Fran. We had a three person stateroom located amidships in the aft stateroom hallway. This room was right smack in the middle of the length of the boat which was great as it kept us away from the engine room. The stateroom was very comfortable and was fully air conditioned with bunk beds, its own vanity with drawers, and comfortable sheets and blankets. You wouldn't believe how nice they were, as was the entire boat. It was absolutely IMMACULATE. There were quite a few bathrooms, several of which had showers that were spotless and very nice to take advantage of after a hard day of fishing. We unloaded our gear into our stateroom and went back up to the main deck to talk with some of our fellow anglers for the next five days. We met a lot of nice fellows including a couple of guys that I already knew via the internet. I went up to Fisherman's Landing to make sure I had everything I needed in terms of tackle and also bought a few last minute lures.

At 11:00am, Captain Frank boarded the boat and we were shortly heading out into the harbor to get bait and make our way past Point Loma and on to the vast Pacific ocean. We made bait at the receivers in the Harbor, which is really something that you need to see. I'll have pictures of this process on here shortly. It is a very interesting process as Captain Frank goes along and picks out the bait he wants. Then, they have quite a system for loading the wells with bait. These aren't just wells, either. These are tanks that encompass the entire aft portion of the hull! It is incredible!

Our trip took us sixty miles out to our first stop, which we were able to make on the same day we left. Six albacore were boated on the first evening of fishing, and I am proud to say that I had the good fortune of hooking and landing the first fish on the boat caught using live bait. The next day(25th) took us further South where we trolled more Albacore. The fishing was spotty and we were able to get on frequent stops but couldn't get the fish to hold around the boat and feed like we wanted them to. We fished the albies hard from dusk 'till dawn and went to bed at about 8:00pm while the boat headed further South. On the 26th, we found ourselves quite a ways to the South of San Diego and on a solid school of Albacore. We had some better stops but not any really big ones. The fish were hitting our trolled lures but wouldn't hang out and frenzy on the live baits we were tossing to them. It got quite frustrating but by being patient, observant of the conditions as they passed, and thinking about the placement of your bait at each stop, anglers were able to catch a good amount of fish on this particular day. The most successful technique on each stop seemed to be soaking your bait out the windy side of the boat. This basically means to leave your bait in the water for quite some time so as to enable it to swim a good ways away from the boat. That evening, the anglers aboard and the crew of the Royal decided to head on down to Guadalupe Island in search of some yellowtail and perhaps yellowfin tuna, depending on the water temperature.

At about 2:00am, the majority of the sleeping anglers aboard were awakened by the sound of the anchor and chain clanking off the bow and sinking to hold the Royal just in front of Guadalupe. I went up to the main deck and looked behind the boat to see what I thought was a storm front approaching but was actually the shadow of Guadalupe Island. This island is one of the most magnificent sights to see on these trips as it rises 250-300 feet into the sky with EXTREME vertical sheer. It is amazing. The inhabitants of this dormant volcano? The Mexican navy and a large herd of goats! The weather on our trip, with the exception of the last day, was particularly overcast but an interesting meteorological phenomenon occured around Guadalupe Island. The heat from the island cut a circle of clear sky into the overcast and the top of the island was surrounded by a ring of fog. It was really neat and you can sort of see it in the above picture. This was taken by myself at a stop on the back side of the island. We didn't do overly well at 'Lupe. In fact, only three yellowtail were boated. One was a mammoth 40lbs. yellow taken by charter master Corky Yokoe on a scrambled egg 6X salas. Another one was caught using live bait and I nailed about a eight pound Yellow using a chrome/blue 6x Salas Junior. I'll tell you, he put up one hell of a fight on the forty pound gear I was jigging with! The boat also caught quite a number of Calico Sea Bass here, but no Tuna as the water was too cold. We gave up at 'Lupe in the afternoon in hopes of catching some more evening Albie action.

We did, in fact, get on some decent Albacore action that afternoon. It was one of the boat's better days for the Albies. I managed to land six fish that evening and my Dad was on fire, landing eight. The next and final day was the topper, though. We started fishing early in the morning and right away we began getting troll hook-ups and decent stops with good quantities of fish. The best stops of the trip came that afternoon. The Royal Polaris and the Excel were in an area that some commercial jack-poling boats were working. We were getting solid troll hook-ups and nice bait stops to boot. In fact, we had several fifty fish stops and one great 150 fish stop. On this particular stop, I nailed eight albies with the biggest one running 25lbs. or so. They fought me like hell on my 20lbs. custom rod paired with a Newell 235-F. It was a blast! My Dad did well on this stop using his Garcia 20lbs. class Conolon with a Newell 332-F. Fran also did well fishing a Newell 500 series with 30lbs. gear and dropping Iron off the bow. We really did well on the albies on this particular day and it was a great capping to a great trip.

When we got back to San Diego harbor, the mates began emptying out the hold. It was then when you realized how many fish you really caught.The entire back of the boat was loaded with Albacore and the stern was sitting very low in the water when we docked in the slip. The mate's then began heaving fish into the many, many carts on the dock and anglers began pushing them up to the unloading station. Here, you sorted through the mess of fish and picked out the ones with your personal number tags stapled to their gills. All in all, we had an excellant trip with great fishing, a great crew, wonderful sights, and EXCELLANT FOOD to boot. We will probably be going again in 2001 in November on a ten day trip. We cannot wait! The best single word to describe it would be INCREDIBLE!

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