Saturday, December 10th, 2011
Hi friends. Don't worry, Susan, this report won't be all "slicked" up. Anyways, final day of travel here this day and once again, the weather is gorgeous. A very small swell with hardly any wind on it. Except for the occasional afternoon breeze, we haven't had more than ten knots of breeze for any of these travel days. Simply amazing how beautiful the weather has been and we feel truly blessed. No shortage of nothing to do today, crewmembers did an extreme clean on their bathrooms and showers and the passengers played the usual Cribbage and Skip-Bo games. After Schooler's chicken enchilada lunch, the gang popped in "Comanche Moon". That should take them all the way up until first call for dinner from what Drew says, it's a long one. With that, everybody is antsy to finally arrive back to the docks and our ETA is looking like 0530 hours in the morning. We're all looking forward to getting off the boat, admiring our catch, and seeing if any of our fish are pushing the magic number of 200 lbs. Joe Beck, Mike Grella, Dan Burns, John Seymour, and Pete Balwan are all right there on the cusp. Tomorrow will tell the story.
So that is all. We're looking forward to good evenings meal, a good evenings rest, and a good morning as we put the Supreme in the slip for the winter. We'd like to thank everyone for joining us for our 2011 fishing season and we hope to see a bunch of new faces joining our familiar faces next year. Check out our schedule on the website to see if a trip fits into your schedule. We'll update you all on our big fish weigh-ins sometime in the next couple of days and there will be periodic updates and mailers while we're in. The next time you'll see us will be at the Fred Hall Show in Long Beach in the Spring, so until then, take care and we'll see you next year. From all of Team Supreme: Tommy (Riddler) and Susan (Ma), Drew (Dirty), Jed (Zeb), Mark (Hillbilly), Chef Schooler (Shabba), Jamie (Iceman), and myself; have happy times during the holidays and have a fantastic new year. Good night and farewell!
-Richie and Team Supreme-
Friday, December 9th, 2011
Hi friends. The good keeps getting better. Our weather is A+ and has remained that way for the past three days so we're looking for just one more day of flat calm, whitecap-less seas. If our weather turns sour, we'll be most thankful for the past three days and accept our fate. Anyhow, the crew completed various maintenance chores which saw Drew and Jed fresh-water and oil rails and breakdown and clean tackle. Mark and myself completed the last of the engine room clean-up and it's looking pretty good in there. Once again, another morning of "Deadwood" episodes along with eating and napping. As I type this, Terry and Drew have just made their way to the Cribbage "Octagon" for another epic battle. Terry is up on Drew six games to five and we'll fill you on the final developments of this tournament. Speaking of developments, in the wake of severe boredom and the realization that we still have one more full day of travel, I shaved my beard off that I had been working on since November 1st. I'm sorry, Layni, but I am sportin' a pretty sweet goatee -- very nineteen nineties-esque. I hope I don't get too much spaghetti in it for dinner this evening.
Well, we'll be traveling around Isla San Martin/Colonett area tomorrow as we make our final approach to San Diego Bay and the conclusion of our 2011 fishing season. Looking back on it, it was a season full of surprises; good and bad. Our Albacore season was pretty much nonexistent as we managed to snag sixteen of those beautiful longfins for the entire year. I don't really know what to say about their location or why we didn't have a very good season for them, so I won't even try. All we can do is hope that next year will be a better year.
For the time being, we could always travel to Cedros, Benitos, the "Gap", and pretty much anywhere along the coast, including San Martin Island. For a few weeks in the early Summer, the only thing going was San Martin as the island kicked out some Cedros-grade Yellowtail, nice Calicos, huge Whitefish and Sheepshead, and a variety of other tasty treats. Ourselves, along with much of the local fleet were very lucky to have that place as an option this year. Cedros and Benitos were, well Cedros and Benitos. Good Yellowtail fishing on most of our trips and I honestly can't think back to a trip where we were struggling to put a catch together on the 'tails. The only disappointment, in my mind, was the lack of a consistent fishery on "Cow Yella". We had a few trips where we picked at them but it wasn't like last years "cow" fishing that we enjoyed on the lee side. Other than that, Yellowtail fishing was very good and it was fun hooking and handing fish on "The Big Banana" to anyone who wanted to have some fun on the long rod. Before we get off on the Yellowtail subject, I'll say this; the Yellowtail fishery is one of the healthiest stocks of fish that we have. Like I said, we could pretty much toss a dart to anywhere along the coast and make a day of it Yellowtail fishing. That is no problem to us, we here on the Polaris Supreme enjoy us some Hamachi, Ceviche, Yellowtail tacos, and Yellowtail with Lemon-Butter Caper sauce so catching Yellowtail is always on our minds.
Going in order for our season, the Bluefin fishery was extremely inconsistent, but that's Bluefin fishing, except for the exception of August and September. We had ourselves some of the better Bluefin fishing that I can remember in my ten years working aboard sportfishing vessels and throw in the Yellowfin tuna that hung around until November, and our tuna season wasn't all for lost. The fish weren't record-breakers by any means with most of the fish being in the 12-22 lb. range but when they're in between a pair of chop-sticks, we don't care. It was fun fishing for the few trips that we did connect on some Bluefin and Yellowfin and we were very fortunate to have the good fishing that we did.
Getting around to our Alijos Rocks and Ridge trips, we ask one question; what the heck was up with Alijos this year? Down year for sure. The lack of Wahoo was one thing, but the tuna thing was kind of bizarre. We saw good amounts of fish but getting them to bite was an entirely different story. We honestly don't know what to say about that place but we're looking for a better year at that place next year. The Ridge was full of surprises this year. The usual fishing for school-sized Yellowfin tuna, Yellowtail, big and beautiful Dorado, some lunker Wahoo, and my favorite surprise of the year -- Bluefin tuna. We also had one of the better Pargo bites in recent memory on our 9-day Garry Roberts trip and the passengers still can't stop talking about what awesome tablefare that Pargo is. I can see most of the group trying for Pargo on every trip but we realize that that was a very rare occurrence that we can only hope the our lucky stars are gracious enough to bestow another Pargo bite in the future.
Finishing up with our last two trips, both of them targeting large Yellowfin tuna, was very good fishing on a beautiful grade of Yellowfin. Both our OTR 10-day and this 12-day trip caught fish in two different locations but for the most part, we're the exact same grade. Most of the fish were in the 75-150 lb. range with a handful of 190+ lb. fish. We didn't connect with any real "cows" this year but if I'm correct, the recent trend is that next year will see us catching some real brutes. Our only cow of the season belongs to Doug Pineo but we have a few from this trip that might see Doug getting some company in that regard. We'll see what next years cow fishery brings us and the only way that you can find out is to just be there.
I wrote a column about this very subject earlier this Summer and I'm going to repeat myself for a minute. The whole mindset of "I'm going to book a trip when the fish start biting" is ludicrous.That's pretty much like saying " I want a billion dollars but I don't want to do any work for it". Once again, just go fishing. Just book a trip to go fishing and enjoy yourself. If something great happens, awesome. If the fish don't bite or the weather is bad, understand that that's part of the game. If epic fishing and flat-calm weather was guaranteed, the price of a trip would surely be outrageous and what's the fun in that? Is there no thrill-of-the-hunt anymore? Have we gotten to a point that if we don't fill a trip limit on a couple species that the trip is considered a failure? I sure hope not because that doesn't make a good fishermen. A good fishermen has seen the best and worst of days and knows to expect the unexpected when riding a trip. For every awesome fishing story that we can tell someone, we can surely counter with a lot of bad days, that's just how it is. But those bad days builds character and experience and we've got plenty of both. So do yourself a favor and just book a trip if you're on the fence. You never know what might happen once you step foot on a boat.
Anyways, a couple personal highlights for myself was the Bluefin fishing in the Summer, the Cow fishing in the fall, and running my first trips as skipper. I look forward to getting the opportunity to hopefully running more trips in the future and other than that, just seeing all the awesome people who keep coming back trip after trip and year after year. It's a joy for all of us here on the Supreme to make people feel welcome in our home (the boat) and getting to know everyone over the past years has been a great experience. We hope to see everyone and some new faces real soon. With that, we'll chat with you tomorrow for our final day on the boat. Good night.
Thursday, December 8th, 2011
Hello there. More of the same today. Excellent weather, good food, and good napping. This morning at breakfast, Tommy and Jed presented the slide-show of photos from the trip. Everybody always gets a kick out of that, especially when we have good fishing and plenty of photo opportunities. Jed tries his best to get a good shot of everyone with their catch or hanging out or rigging tackle but sometimes the action just gets hot and hectic and it's a struggle to find a free moment to take a quick photo. Jed does a fantastic job at finding a proper balance and taking some very good photos. From there, he puts them on Tommy's laptop, Tommy OK's or doesn't OK some photos and from there, it's down to the galley for the slide-show on our 60" Flatscreen TV. Also, Tommy hangs out in the wheelhouse and transfers the photos to SD cards for anyone who wishes to go home with them on their card. Today, the line was long as Tommy was a busy dude. We didn't slouch around too much either. We scrubbed the boat, TSP'd the rails, and did some tackle cleaning all before Schooler's famous carnitas lunch. From that point on, you know what we all did; napped. The boat is a dead zone after lunch as it's usually a captain at the wheel, Jamie cleaning the galley and watching the deck, and a few passengers lounging around while everyone else bails out. Within the next few hours, everybody will awake from the slumber and that usually is when the start of movie time begins. Who knows what we'll watch today but with "Deadwood" as our morning feature, I can't help but to think "3:10 to Yuma" will be the afternoon feature. We'll see.
Other than that, excellent travel weather with a mild swell, an 5-10 knot breeze, and a little bit of cloud cover. We're hoping for more of the same for the next two and a half days of travel. We'll report to you tomorrow.
P.S. Jed would like to say hello to his and Drew's dog "Domino". Rooo-roo-roo, barf-bark, grrrrrrrr, rooo-roo-roo, ruff-ruff.
Wednesday, December 7th, 2011
Hi friends. Easy traveling for the gang today. Our weather has backed off considerably and it is turning out to be a gorgeous ride. Today was a great day of rest as well. After fishing for about 18-20 hours a day for the past four days, it gave everybody a great opportunity to catch on some rest. Jed slept in until about 1100 hours this morning. Yeah, he was a tired little creature but he wasn't the only one. Most everyone woke up around 0800 hours for breakfast and then took a healthy nap in the afternoon. Movies of the day were "The Aviator" starring Leo DiCaprio and "The Fighter" starring Marky Mark without the Funky Bunch. Both were excellent features and other than a few Cribbage tournaments and Skip-Bo games, movies, food, and naps were all we did today. Chef Schooler prepared his fresh, sesame crusted seared Ahi dinner and the gang sacked out for the evening.
That is all for now. Good weather and good relaxation. We'll chat with you tomorrow as we might have some work to tell you about. Until then, we'll chat with you tomorrow.
P.S. Terry would like to tell Kathy to get lots of jars for canning.
Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Hi friends. For the four days that we've been down here, our scenario for the days have played out all the same. We wake up at 0400 hours, catch some smaller grade tuna from 50-75 lbs. and then we might catch a nice fish here or there for our morning bite. From mid-morning until around 1400 hours, we would go through a lull that saw us either pull anchor and do some Wahoo trolling or we would stay on the pick and scratch away at a couple-few fish in the 75-150 lb. range every hour. From 1400 until around 1900 hours, we would see the fish start to get with it and we'd scratch with better consistency and at a better quality too. Today was no different other than the fact that the weather laid down considerably and was gorgeous for most of the day. A few people, myself included, decided to get our last bronze of the season on and we were rewarded. Speaking of rewarded, Mike Grella took big fish honors today with a 193 pounder that was snatched up on the kite. Kite fishing was really tough for the guys in the afternoon. Not only with the large swell that we experienced for most of the trip, but the wind blew our kites right into the glare of the sun. It was really frustrating at times, but the guys did a great job of pushing through it and were rewarded with a nice fish. We would kite fish all the way until dinner time and we would have ourselves some moonlight madness all the way until dinner time when the fish shut off. So our days were very busy and long down here. Up at 0400 and fishing hard all the way until dinner time. Big game, long range tuna fishing at it's finest.
Maybe we're late on the whole short topshot thing, but we saw evidence that most of the hook-ups when fishing was scratchy was by the anglers who were using a short 25' top shot crimped to a 6/0 circle hook. It's one thing to keep in mind when rigging up for a trip of this nature. We had very few tackle failures this trip but a few were because of bad connections; whether it be from the guys making leaders themselves or tackle shop purchased leaders. It pays to shop around and find yourself a very reputable tackle shop who employs the proper methods of leader-making. So in closing, it was just an observation by us that a 25' to 50' topshot of 100 and 130 lb. fluorocarbon is the hot ticket to this type of fishing. Other than that, it's taking your time at the bait wells and choosing the best bait that you can find.
So that is all. We are now back into travel mode for the next four days and if all goes according to plan (weather and speed) we'll arrive to San Diego on the 11th on-time. Our weather is a little bit sloppy but it's nothing too outrageous. On our way home, fat and full on tuna, and we'll fill you in on our travel activities. Cribbage anyone?
P.S. Pete would like to tell Mary Jo to make sure the freezer is up and running. He's coming home with a beautiful load of fish.
Monday, December 5th, 2011
Good evening. Same old song and dance for us here on the Supreme. Good fishing again on the Yellowfin tuna today with the added bonus of our weather coming down quite a bit. Throw in the super bonus of some good quality bronzing conditions and we had all the necessary components for a fantastic day. Nothing really changed for better or for worse, it's been just plain old good fishing. Our grade of fish was a rather weak to start our day but from just before lunch until the end of the day, we had flurries throughout the day on some better grade fish where we would hook a few, land those, and then go dry for an hour, and then hook a few again. Our big fish honors go to Dan "Re-ride" Burns for his 195 pounder and also a personal best of 190 lbs. for John "Gentleman's Club" Seymour. Tomorrow, we're looking for everybody to get a few of that 175+ lb. grade and maybe a few cows to go along with them. Tomorrow is our final day down here and we're looking to finish off with a big bang.
So that is all. Like I said, our weather is OK and we'll be starting off the day tomorrow morning at oh-dark-thirty once again. Oh yeah, how could I forget? Today was Drew Henderson's birthday! Yaaaay!! He turned 57 years old. Happy Birthday, Drew!
Sunday, December 4th, 2011
Hi friends. Well, our day was kind of how we expected things to go. We were busy from the dark of morning until it dried up around lunch time, had a slack time until the mid-afternoon when some Wahoo decided to bite a little bit, and then the evening time brought us home and ended like we started, with a dark bite. Today, for whatever reason, didn't seem as hectic as yesterday. Maybe it was because after the lengthy travel time, finally getting down here had everyone a little out of sorts but we ended up having a nice, action-packed day today. Our fish of the day goes to Pete "Who's Pete?" Balwan with his estimated 198 lb. Yellowfin tuna that he caught on a fly-lined sardine and Joe Beck nabbed himself a beautiful chunk fish that looks to be around 170 lbs. Charles Schmid had himself a battle with a squirrelly tuna this evening but finally, the hook pulled just out of visual range for us to get a good look at it. Heart-breakers are just apart of the big tuna game but we'll be looking for some retribution tomorrow. Other than that, it was another fine day here aboard the Polaris Supreme and we'll be up once again 0330 hours to start our day off. Our hope is to start connecting with some cows and we're encouraged by the Wahoo sign that we see. We'll see what tomorrow brings.
For now, it's time to rest up. Everybody is sore and seeking a little rest before our third day gets started. We have two more days down here and we'll inform you of our progress tomorrow evening. Wish us luck and have a fine evening.
Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Hi friends. Standing here trying to not to roll out the wheelhouse window (the seas are a bit rolly, even on the anchor) and as I'm doing so, I'm trying to also find the proper words to describe our day, but I don't know which ones I could use to properly paint you a picture of how our day went. At times, it was kind of chaotic. Not real mayhem like everyone was running around screaming at each other, not knowing what to do, but more of a zone that everybody, especially us crewmembers get into when big tuna fishing is hot and heavy. One of my favorite writers once talked about this very subject; the real challenge in our occupation that separates the weak from the wicked, and the satisfaction you gain after you're pouring sweat, your voice is hoarse, and your adrenaline is pumping, and when the smoke clears, the only thing that you can do is smile, laugh, and find the nearest person to high-five. We had a full-days worth of action packed into a half-days worth of fishing and the only thing we're left seeking for is more.
It didn't take us long to forget about four days worth of travel as not too long from the time we put in the jigs, we were on some Wahoo. Not great fishing by any means but we did catch a few handfuls of "skin". From the time the 'Hoo thing dried up, we shifted gears into tuna mode and it didn't take long for those critters to find us either. The good thing about this fishing is that it's not one of those days where it's only a kite fishing thing. We hooked fish on all types of methods today and steady. Towards the end of the day, the intensity kicked up a couple of notches as we had multiple fish hooked up and they weren't the most cooperative creatures, that is a fact. It took patience on behalf of the anglers as well as the crew to get things straightened out and when the dust had settled, when nightfall was already a couple hours in (kite-fish biting into the dark is so cool), we finally had that chance to take a breath and do some high-fivin'. Today was a solid start to our trip and if it's any indication of what lies ahead, wowza, it's going to be a bonanza. All we can do is hope that this is just the beginning of things and take this one day at a time because we know far too well that things can change in a heartbeat from good, to bad. Speaking of good, Joe Beck's 195 lb. tuna was our best fish of this day. Congrats to Joe. It's been a long time since Joe has been on a big tuna expedition and he was welcomed back by a not-so-nice fish, but the more things change, the more they stay the same and Joe knew exactly how to tame this wild animal. Now, we have a few other people who are on the wish-list to get their butts handed to them by a big tuna. No pain, no gain.
So that is all. We'll be up at oh-dark-thirty to try and start our first full day of tuna fishing with some cows. We'll see what happens. Wish us luck and have a great night.
Friday, December 2nd, 2011
Good evening, friends. Final travel day before we reach our intended fishing destination was spent putting the finishing touches on all of our tackle rigging and relaxing before we get into full-on fishing mode around mid-day. Our day was also spent in beautiful offshore bronzing weather and around dinner time, we passed into the Tropical Convergence Zone. That's right, we are now tropical although, I have yet to receive a Mai Tai with a little Pineapple slice as part of the garnish. I guess it's just the weather that is tropical which also means, tropical bronzing. That's a whole different type of bronze. We're pumped. Anyhow, our destination is soon approaching and you can feel the anticipation gaining in the group. Charlie Middleton aka "Charlie Murphy!!" admitted today that he's so bored that he might snap. I'm sure you're not the only one, Charlie.
So that is all. Tomorrow, we arrive to the promise land and we'll be giving it our all for four days of hopefully, hot fishing. We'll see. The fleets' satellite communications at these southerly latitudes, for whatever reason, has only been working in the morning time, so to everyone at home; don't be alarmed if you don't receive a call from lunch-time until the following morning and don't be alarmed if our daily reports are inconsistent. We'll chat with you tomorrow, hopefully.
P.S. Mal Wagstaff would like to send his love and say hello to Beth and Breck from the Tropical Convergence Zone. We're not in Wyoming anymore...
Thursday, December 1st, 2011
Good evening, folks. Not a whole lot to report on our end of things. Our second full day of travel was filled with more light rigging, engine room chores, and relaxing. Towards the afternoon time, Joe Beck and Kub Ito decided to get crazy and teach me how to play an old school card game called "Skip-bo" which apparently has been outlawed on the boat for quite some time. Kub thoroughly outplayed Joe and myself but I did pick up on the game, so we'll see what tomorrow brings. The movie of the day was "Righteous Kill" starring Al Pacino and Robert De Niro so some of the gang attended the viewing while most napped. Towards the end of the night, right before dinner, Joe Beck, Drew, and Jed had a little Cribbage tournament and that was our day. Our weather was a little windy and an annoying roll for most of the day but began to subside around the afternoon time and it's currently very nice. Like I said, not a whole lot to report and the reporting for the next couple of days will be the same type of reports.
So we're half-way there. Two more full days of travel to our destination so we're all going to attempt to maintain our sanity and try not to gain too much weight. Usually, Charlie Middleton does laps around the boat for most of the day but today, he gained a couple of friends to walk with him. I'm thinking by Saturday afternoon, he'll have himself a nice little train of people making the rounds with him. Anyhow, we'll report back with you tomorrow.
Tuesday, November 29th, 2011
Hi folks. Hopefully you're all fat and happy on Thanksgiving feasts and what-not. We departed this morning on our final voyage of the 2011 season; a 12-day trip that will be targeting large Yellowfin tuna, Wahoo, and whatever else happens to jump on our hooks. Our load of bait looks very good and we'll see how they hold up in the warmer waters that we will be traveling through, but for now, it's all good. Chef Schooler and Jamie kicked out a gut-buster of a cheeseburger lunch with all the fixings along with baked beans and onion rings, so we're all fat and happy at the moment. For todays traveling report, it was absolutely glass-calm sea conditions with a little bit of a chilly breeze and that was it. Perfect traveling weather and we're hoping for more in the future.
As for fishing, we still have plenty of time to decide on where to go. We could be fishing the lower banks on Friday or we can take our 100-ton licenses down to more southerly latitudes, we'll see how things shape up but like I said, we've got some time to decide on where we wish to start fishing for cow Yellowfin tunas. For now, we're just chuggin' on down and we'll report to you each night to fill you in on our activities. Good to be back, it's time to hit the sack. Good night.