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Articles :


By: Mel Neff

For those anglers out there who want to eat like a king, consistently catch fish over twenty pounds and have a shot at catching fish over 100 pounds than the Royal Star is your ticket!

Take for example my five day experience from 9-10-00 to 9-15-00. I arrived at Fisherman's Landing at 1:00 p.m. on Sunday, September 10th. I put my fishing poles in the rod holders along the side of the boat and "checked in" to find out the location of my room. I put my luggage under the bottom bunkbed and put my hat and coat on the top bed. As it turned out, my roommate preferred the lower bed so sleeping arrangements worked out well. Shortly after I finished putting away my personal items I got to meet my roommate, Jim Duntley, a representative from Izorline Incorporated who was kind enough to bring t-shirts and fishing line for all 24 anglers aboard the Royal Star.

It is now 2:10 p.m. and the Royal Star leaves Fisherman's Landing to get bait for our five day fishing trip. After about 45 minutes we arrived at a location on the water for bait. Large sardines and small anchovies were our only options and various crew members including both captains of the Royal Star got involved in the selection and gathering of the sardines and anchovies. While we were getting the bait I could smell something delicious coming from the kitchen and before I knew it Chef Dave was announcing to everybody that the afternoon snack was ready: "Come and get it !" Our afternoon snack consisted of fresh and tasty egg rolls, crispy carrot slices, crunchy broccoli and a variety of juicy fruit chunks.

It was around 5:15 p.m. as we were traveling to our fishing destination when captain Tim made an announcement for everybody to meet in the galley for a safety and fishing orientation. Captain Randy gave us our safety talk and that was followed by a "rigging" lecture by crew member Brian. Brian told us twice to start out in the morning with 40 pound line. He stressed that these fish were not "line shy". He went on to tell us about the following fishing rigs :

* 30 pound anchovy rig
* 30 to 40 pound slide rig 
   (using Fish Traps, Worm Kings, etc.)
* 40 pound sardine rig 
  (the rig you should start out with)
* 40 to 50 pound jig rig 
(color is not that important but use a heavy jig)
* 50 to 60 pound large tuna rig
(use a 6/0 hook)
* 60 to 100 pound trolling rig

After the rigging orientation we all went outside to fix up our rods the way we were told by Brian. Before I knew it we got the call for dinner from chef Dave. It was 8:15 p.m. now and I had been smelling the delicious aroma of the food for awhile. We started out with a loaf of warm and fresh baked bread and a green salad. This was followed by a dish of tender steak
strips, fresh vegtables and garlic mashed potatoes. For dessert we had some tasty lemon pie. 

After dinner some of us stayed up and talked about our expectations for the next day's fishing. I went to bed at 10:15 p.m. on this night with hopes for a good day of fishing the next morning.

It is 6:00 a.m. on Monday morning September 11th and I get up to start my day. I hear from one of my fellow anglers that a few of the crew members had just caught some giant squid about a half hour ago. I am up for only 15 minutes and suddenly the first fish (an albacore) is caught ! I say to myself : "This is a good start !". I attempt to do a little fishing
but I get no biters. I cannot help but notice the enticing smell of mexican food coming from the kitchen when suddenly I hear : "breakfast is ready everybody, come and get it !". Needless to say I put my pole in the rod holder and found myself a seat in the galley. Our breakfast consisted of fresh tortillas, refried beans, meat, spicey salsa and avacado. Various cereals and juices, milk, coffee and refreshing fruit chunks were also available
for breakfast this morning and every morning of this trip. The food tasted delicious and was a good way to start the morning. By the time I finished my breakfast and looked at my watch it was 7:00 a.m. and suddenly we all heard Captain Randy yell out on the loud speaker : " Guys we are going to start trolling now. Team # 1 you are up ". For the next 1 hour and 45 minutes we troll until we finally "hook up". The troll fish is caught and a
few more are taken on live bait. No luck for me but at 9:10 a.m. Captain Randy tells everybody over the loud speaker that we are going to resume trolling now and that team # 2 is up. Team # 2 is my team and I grab a Royal Star trolling rig that has red, green and yellow feathers and start trolling along with my other team # 2 members. Five minutes pass and I hook up on the troll and bring in my first fish of the trip - a 23 pound albacore ! Some more albacore are caught and suddenly I hear over the loud speaker : " It is
snack time in the galley. Come and get some delicious coffee cake ". Since I was not experiencing any fish that would bite I decided to go into the galley and do some biting of my own. We continued trolling for the rest of the morning with some "slide fish" taken and some caught on live bait.

It was 12:15 p.m. when we got the call : "Its lunch time in the galley. Come and get your tasty barbecued ribs ". After experiencing over 6 hours of "scratch fishing" with not many "biters" I decided to hang up my rod and head on into the galley. Chef Dave was right. The barbecued ribs were very tasty! As were the beans, peas and corn. During lunch we all talked about the fish we had caught and the ones we were hoping to catch for the rest of
the day. A few more hours passed after lunch and I got one more albacore about 24 pounds. Scratch fishing conditions continued with mostly albacore caught with a sprinkling of yellowfin and dorado. It is now 3:30 p.m. and I could smell something good coming from the kitchen. Suddenly I heard over the loud speaker : "Its that time again gentlemen. Its snack time in the galley!"

Being so tired and hungry from catching so many fish ( two ! ) I decided to make my way to the galley and see what was smelling so good. The afternoon snack consisted of tasty pizza and juicy watermelon. It was a delicious snack and was a meal in itself ! The rest of the day was pretty much the same thing - scratch fishing and our total fish count for the day was: 

30 albacore
4 yellowfin
11 dorado
1 yellowtail.

It is now 8:05 p.m. and crew member Brian gives us anglers a rigging orientation for the next days fishing. It is decided that we are going to Guadalupe to do battle with the big yellowtail and yellowfin tuna. After the ten minute orientation we are served dinner which consisted of fresh vegtables and salad, fresh baked bread, wild rice and delicious bone-in
chicken. We were treated to some tasty ice cream for dessert. Once again some of us stayed up for a while and talked about what happened in the day and what to expect for the next days fishing at Guadalupe Island. It was 10:30 p.m. and I decided to call it a day.

It is 6:30 a.m. on Tuesday 9-12-00 and I get up to start my day. After about 30 minutes we are told over the loud speaker that we are a half hour from Guadalupe and that breakfast will now be served ! Breakfast consisted of hot pancakes and bacon, coffee, various cereals & juices and refreshing fruit chunks. After breakfast, we arrive at Guadalupe at around 7:30a.m. and we all notice various tuna jumping out of the water. The boat is
stopped and a number of quality yellowfin are caught on sardines and jigs. Long range veteran Jack Friedenthal catches three nice yellowfin - one after another. Two of them came on a jig. The other anglers on the Royal Star (including myself) start asking Jack to touch their rods for good luck ! One of the things I learned on this trip was that an angler who can be "hot" in the morning can be "shut out" for the rest of the day. This is exactly what happened to Jack as those three fish in the morning would be his only fish of
the day.

It has now been two hours since we arrived at Guadalupe. We continue to try different places and "scratch" fish up. Chef Dave tells everybody over the loud speaker that it is now snack time in the galley! I decide to take a break (since I was not getting any bites), as do some of the other anglers, and we are treated to hot coffee and delicious muffins. From 11:15 to 11:45 a.m. we try fishing on the anchor but we only get one 20 pound yellowtail. The fish count at noon is : 25 yellowfin and 4 yellowtail. I have tried fishing with sardines and jigs and have not had a bite today. The call for lunch is given and many of us decide to eat some food. Lunch for today is pizza bread with noodles. The lunch tasted delicious and gave us all a chance to get out from the hot sun that was beating down on us all day long. My protection factor 45 sunblock really came in handy. I was not
the only person to be without a fish at lunch time. By 12:45 p.m. we were at our second anchored spot of the day. It would take another couple of hours and a new anchored spot before I would see three nice yellowtail brought on board. One of the yellowtail is donated for tomorrow nights dinner. Captain Randy does the filleting honors. Another hour passes and I am saved from the sun by Chef Dave who tells everybody that it is 3:30 p.m. and that means it is snack time in the galley ! A number of us anglers are treated to hot & spicey chicken wings and drumsticks. Very delicious and hot. The juicy watermelon topped off this terrific snack ! I left the galley feeling full, refreshed and confident that I could get back out there in the hot sun and catch me a nice fish.

Another 90 minutes would pass and I still do not have a bite despite trying my various rigs. 

By 4:45 p.m. we had 4 more yellowtail for a total of 8 for the day. We added 7 more yellowfin for a total of 32 for the day. We have now returned to "drift fishing".

A couple more hours would pass and it is now 7:15 p.m. and Captain Tim calls everybody into the galley for a meeting. It is decided that we will stay the night at Guadalupe and try it again the next day. Myself and many other anglers have decided to hang up thier rods for the day and shower up for dinner. Although I, and some other unlucky anglers, had not caught a fish for the day I was still happy for Jack Friedenthal who caught 3 nice fish all in the morning and for the others who battled the hot sun all day and managed to catch some quality fish. Dinner was served at 8:00 p.m. and we were treated to some hot fresh baked bread, tasty pork, polenta and crispy asperagus. Shortcake with strawberries and whip cream made for an excellent dessert and I walked away ( or rolled away ! ) from the table
feeling full and content. I decided to go to bed early tonight so I called
it a night at around 9:30 p.m. The final fish count for the day was : 8 yellowtail and 36 yellowfin tuna.

It is 5:30 a.m. on Wednesday 9-13-00 and I decide to get up and start fishing with a few other anglers from our anchored position. After an hour had passed and nobody had caught any fish we heard the call for breakfast. Breakfast consisted of poached eggs, salmon and sauce on English muffins and potato pancakes. Cereal, juice, coffee and fruit was also available. The breakfast was delicious and was a good way to start the day.

At around 7:05 a.m. the first fish of the day is caught on anchor. It is a yellowfin tuna taken on a green and yellow jig. Thirty minutes later two more yellowfin come on board. These are both quality fish.

At 8:30 a.m. while drifting, another quality yellowfin is taken. Only 4 fish have come aboard so far today. Another 45 minutes pass and I still have not gotten a bite. Just as I start smelling something wonderful coming from the kitchen I hear over the loud speaker that it is snack time in the galley! I was the second person in the galley when I noticed something beautiful on the tables : cherry, blueberry and apple turnovers ! These babies
were hot & delicious and being the curious person that I am, I sampled all three 
flavors. I could not decide which of the three flavors I liked best so I told Chef Dave it was a three-way tie for first place!

Almost three hours have passed now and we are trolling around Guadalupe looking for fish. Captain Randy keeps saying that he is getting the impressive marks on his sonar but the fish are not biting. I still have not gotten a bite despite trying different jigs, line sizes and sardines.

It is 12:15 p.m. and the call for lunch is given by Chef Dave. Lunch today consisted of fresh chicken & vegtable soup and tasty grilled cheese sandwiches.

Three and a half hours later we are still trolling around Guadalupe looking for fish. No fish were caught on the troll yesterday and none have been caught on the troll today as we continue to experience fish with a "lockjaw" attitude!

It is now 3:34 p.m. and we get the call for our afternoon snack : "Come & get it!" The afternoon snack was more like a meal and consisted of delicious barbecued ribs, spicey pasta and pork on crackers. A pretty good snack to be sure and it helped us anglers to temporarily take our minds off of the finicky fish that we were experiencing.

Another four hours would pass and a couple more fish were caught. It is now 7:30 p.m. and everybody decides to get ready for dinner. The total fish count for the day was a dissapointing: 2 yellowtail & 9 yellowfin tuna for 24 anglers. Myself and many other anglers "blanked" today. A number of the guy's that I talked to did not even get a bite all day (including myself). Many of us were "Fishless at Guadalupe" today.

Dinner was served at 7:45 p.m. and we were treated to a terrific meal of salad, shrimp, vegtables, rice, yellowtail and fresh baked bread. The
apple pie and ice cream that we got for dessert really topped off what I
thought was the best dinner of the trip. A number of other anglers on the
trip I talked with said the same thing. It may have been a terrible day
for fishing but it was a great day for eating!

Captain Tim had told us before dinner that we were now leaving Guadalupe and we would be trying for albacore, dorado and large bigeye tuna tomorrow. I left Guadalupe with a fish or even a bite in two days of fishing. Still I saw a number of quality fish caught by other anglers and I was very happy for them.

It was 9:15 p.m. and I decided to call it a day and go to bed.

It is 6:25 a.m on Thursday morning 9-14-00 and I get up to start my final fishing day on the Royal Star. Within five minutes I hear Chef Dave give us all the call for breakfast. A delicious ham and cheese omlet with potatoes & onions awaited us all in the galley along with the traditional cereal, coffee, juices and mixed fruit chunks.

We start trolling after breakfast and no fish are caught until 8:45 a.m. A 24 pound albacore is brought on board by yours truly ! My first bite in three days is a winner. My luck may be changing!

For the next hour a few more albacore would be caught on sardines. It is now 9:45 a.m. and we got the call for the morning snack ! When I walked into the galley I was greated by a couple of large trays of warm banana nut bread with raisins. I cannot remember how many pieces I ate but I can tell you this much : it was terrific! The best I have ever eaten!

Two more hours would pass and a few albacore are caught along with a couple of yellowfin and a half dozen dorado. Suddenly at 11:45 we hook up on the troll with a big one ! After a battle that lasts for many minutes a 115 pound bigeye tuna is brought on board. What a beautiful fish!

While this bigeye is being photographed there is another large bigeye hanging! Twenty minutes later the second giant bigeye is brought on board. This beast weighed in at 126 pounds and was the eventual jackpot winner. Mondo Ponce of San Pedro used a sardine on 50 pound line with a Penn 16S reel and a Calstar rod.

About ten minutes after Mondo's 126 pounder is caught, Mike DeBennon on this trip with his father Ross ) hooks up with a large bigeye!

Twenty minutes pass and we hear the lunch call : "Its 12:30 guys and it is time for lunch in the galley!" Our lunch consisted of hot & spicey mexican soup and tortillas. Hot and spicey and delicious!

It is now 1:30 p.m. and I watch Mike DeBennon bring his 122 pound bigeye on board ! Mike used a sardine on 40 pound line, a Shimano TLD 20 reel and a Calstar rod to catch his beautiful tuna. He battled the fish for over 80 minutes and was to tired to bend down and take a picture with the fish!

We resume trolling and at 2:30 p.m. we stop and catch some dorado. Ten minutes later I catch an albacore on a blue and silver Rader jig. This is followed by other anglers catching a few albacore.

We get the call for our afternoon snack at 3:35 p.m. This consists of mixed nuts and juicy watermelon. It was a nice snack but I wanted more fish!

We resume trolling and at 5:45 p.m. I get my third albacore for today and decide to quit and head for the showers. Some of my fellow anglers would go on to catch a couple more albacore on the troll and our final fish count for the day was : 27 albacore, 2 yellowfin, 10 dorado and 3 Giant bigeye tuna.

At 7:45 p.m. we get the dinner call. This is our final dinner of the trip and Captain Tim serves us our food tonight. Fresh baked bread, salad, tasty vegtables and delicious prime rib. The rasberry cheesecake that we had for dessert topped off a really great meal! After dinner I finished packing up my stuff and went to bed at around 9:30 p.m.

It is 6:45 a.m. on Friday morning 9-15-00 and I get up to start my last morning on the Royal Star. We all get the morning call for breakfast at 7:00 a.m. Our breakfast consisted of tasty sausages and delicious waffles with maple syrup. Various cereals and juices, coffee, milk and mixed fruit chunks were also available. It was a delicious breakfast and a good way to end a nice fishing trip. I wish I could have caught more fish than I did but
it was four days of scratch fishing and I really felt that everybody (anglers, crew and Captains) gave it their best effort. There were many interesting and funny conversations that took place during this five day adventure that made the time between fish being caught go by much faster. The fish count for the entire trip was: 51 yellowfin, 21 dorado, 57
albacore, 11 yellowtail and 3 large bigeye tuna.

The first 3 positions of the jackpot were : 1st place to Mondo Ponce for his 126 pound bigeye. Second place went to Mike DeBennon with his 122 pound bigeye. Mondo Ponce also got 3rd place with a 51 pound yellowfin. The large bigeye that was caught on the troll was not eligible for the jackpot.

It was 8:00 a.m. when we returned to Fisherman's Landing. My 5 day adventure on the Royal Star had come to an end. I was a little sad to say goodbye to all the guy's I met on this trip, the terrific crew and Captains Tim and Randy. But I will be back on the Royal Star next August for a 6 day adventure! Stay tuned for my review of that trip


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