By Pete Gray
When the San Diego long range fleet were granted the opportunity to fish Guadalupe Island by Mexico, anglers were very anxious to visit this magical place again- and for good reason. You have the opportunity to catch a yellowfin tuna or yellowtail of a lifetime. You get to visit and see one of the most remote islands in the western pacific. You get to experience all this on the most luxurious sport fishing fleet in the world.
I was fortunate enough to be aboard the Shogun for our second annual Let’s Talk Hookup 6 day trip on November 4th. After a busy morning doing the live radio show from the Tackle Day event, I closed my briefcase and climbed aboard the bo at. First stop- Everingham Bait Receiver. The bait they provided us this year had to be one of the best loads I have ever seen. Great bait and a fantastic crew: Captain Renne Monteagudo and crew Carl, Bobby , Conner and Tyler. Plus Chefs Kenny and Chris in the galley. Now all we needed was the fish to cooperate!
After a quick stop in Ensenada to clear Mexican Customs we were off to the island, about 240 miles south west of Ensenada. We arrived at the island about 1pm the next day and Captain Renee was able to position the Shogun in an ideal spot, and it was not long before we started catching tuna. Last years trip was fantastic, and many of the anglers that joined us for that one were on this trip. Fishing was a bit different, in that the quality of the yellowfin were much larger this year. It was harder to get a bite, but when you did, it was usually a “good one”. Most of the fish were 90 to 150 pounds, a true test of angling skill and tackle. We ended our first day with 11 large yellowfin and a few yellowtail for the 25 passengers aboard. After a fantastic meal prepared by Kenny and Chris, we spent an hour making bait and then off to get some much needed rest in our comfortable stateroom.
For me, the 6 day Guadalupe trip is ideal as we still had 3 full day to fish, and day 2 started out well with several great battles on these giant tuna. One thing of special not, several anglers were “under gunned” not by their reel or line size, but by their rod. These fish are big and heavy, and you need a rod with big time back bone to land these fish. My choice is a Shimano Terez 72 XH or a Cal Star 770 XH Rail Rod. These rods have the lifting power you will need when the time comes to get the fish to the boat. Our second day was a good one but not great, we had 18 large tuna to show for our full day, with several heartbreak losses, which happens when you are doing this type of fishing. Our evening routine was the same, a fabulous gourmet dinner followed by a bit of bait making.
Our third day thing really started getting with it. Current in the morning ran up the island and usually switched down the island by mid-morning. The sunrise was breathtaking…rising over the ocean to the east. We had a much better show of fish around the boat, and watching the blow outs and tuna literally jumping out of the water is so exciting! We ended our 3rd day with 32 big yellowfin, certainly a big day on any long range boat fishing for big fish. When you take in the “casualties” always associated with big fish fishing- some would call this “epic”. We had one more day, but our trip was already considered sensational.
Our 4th day most would consider beyond “epic”, finishing the day with 55 large yellowfin tuna. It seemed this was the day for the super jumbos- with several long and hard fought battles resulting in several fish in the 150 range hitting the deck. There were several points in the day we had 6 to 8 fish going at one time. The crew was amazing, tackling some huge spectra tangles and staying with each and every hookup to make sure they had the best chance possible to land their fish. I have never fished with a harder working captain than Renee, and his entire crew followed his lead and work ethic. It was truly impressive.
For those headed out on a future trip to the island I will make the following suggestions:
Most anglers having success were fishing 80 or 100 pound Seaguar Fluoro Premier. It has a bit of stretch, is easy to tie and has a thinner diameter.
The Shimano Talica 16 was certainly the most popular reel at the rail, though it would be considered very small for this grade of fish. Matched with the right rod with backbone, it can do the job and seems easier to get a bite from the finicky fish. Fill with 80 pound Power Pro solid and a 10 foot top shot of Fluoro Premier. A better choice would be the Talica 20 with 100 pound Power Pro, but certainly a bit harder to get a good long cast, which helps. Take some time to pick the right bait, which on this trip was not as critical as we had an amazing load. Nose hook and long soak was very effective for many anglers, but the spectra tangles were a nightmare for the crew…so always stay in tune with your bait…put it in gear now and then and take a few cranks. I had most of my success on the “short soak” and collar hook. When I found the right bait that took off as soon as it hit the water, chance was I had a bite. If I didn’t – within 2 minutes I got new bait. I also got bit on my “heavy” outfit- Shimano Tiagra 30 with 130 pound Power Pro and 100 pound Seaguar Pink and a Cal Star 770 XXH. Hooking up on this rig was pure joy!
The Shogun is a stable steel platform with a wide beam and lots of room at the rail, the galley and the bunks. With a top crew and fantastic captain, I highly recommend Shogun Sportfishing for your next trip. It might be possible to grab a spots on next year’s Let’s Talk Hookup/ Shogun 6 day trip October 21-29. Call LoPreste Sportfishing at 619-226-8030 and get on the trip or wait list…check www.shogunsportfishing.com