Good morning all,
Excel/Gallagher 8 day strikes Gold
Posted 07 September 2015 - 05:42 PM
Posted 11 September 2015 - 11:01 PM
Returned home from this amazing trip yesterday. This trip saw amazing stops for wide open Wahoo, Yellowtail, Yellowfin and Dorado..... And Marlin.... Ughhhhh... sorry tourists. We added in a few nice grouper, 3 Black Seabass (All safely released) and some other bottom critters. For those who wished there were plenty of very large Skippies to boot. I am told that some folks prefer the Skipjack to Tuna for Poke but I have no clue as I do not eat fish.. What a trip.... Awesome.
An added bonus to this trip was in addition to this being Thomas's second trip (He is now 11 years old), his sister, Aurelia (Who is 10), joined grandpa... Now, some folks may think having the kids on board could cause some issues but it was amazing to see guys rushing to the bait tank, when the troll jigs went off, making sure the kids were baited up first before they got their own hooks baited. I really love the memories of the "Old Days" of fishing when we kids had to earn our way, but I really LOVE the new days where kids on board are highly prized. The majority of folks on our trip realized these kids are our future and the future of long range so everyone went out of their way to make sure they were made to feel welcome. By the way, I believe each of them got at least 2 Wahoo, a grouper by Aurelia, many tuna, skipjack and yellowtail. Not bad for two great kids who are well short of their teenage years.
I Limited out and gave away plenty of Wahoo. I kept what I needed as far as Yellowfin and Yellowtail while releasing everything else. The Wahoo were mostly all the great quality the Rocks has been putting out this year along with the same great quality from the Ridge. Once again I stuck with my Spinners and man are they great for throwing and retrieving artificial lures, including poppers, bombs and jigs. Once you learn how to pull on these things they are amazing for this application. My preference is for a very short top shot of 100 pound mono or Flouro, inserted only 6 inches, served and glued and a minimum of 25 pounds of drag when I throw the bail. My technique is like everyone else as I wind through the bite, however, while pointing the tip at the fish, knowing I am clear behind me, I take a step back to not only set the hook but also to get that Wahoo's head turned towards the boat, all the while, even while backing up, I am cranking that handle hard, with my elbows in tight, until that fish is at the boat. Two things to be aware of is when you set the drag at these settings you need to know how to hold on, go up and around passengers, etc. all the while cranking away and in control. You will not have the luxury of not being prepared you might experience with light drag settings as you are running around chasing that fish. The second thing to be aware of is when you bring in the Wahoo this green you had better have a gaff ready as once it turns its head and points away from the boat it will take off, out or sideways while the reel screams with scorn. Once you perfect this technique you will want to make sure you call for a gaff as soon as you see a hint of color. No problem if you are ready for it and have experience with the consequences but one has to really pay attention to the timing. Fish will come in at under a minute but again, with these drag pressures, the angler has to be ready for most anything. I fish the same way with conventional reels but I just love my Spinners for Wahoo or most anything else.
Combined with the spinners and a few conventional rods I let others sample were a great selection of Blackhole rods. Both Cape Cod Special Popping rods, the shorter jigging rods in 150 and 450 sizes and the new versions of the Challenger series. I think anyone who has tried the Black hole spinning and jigging rods already knows how great they are but these new Challengers are the real deal for fishing those larger model tuna that will only eat 25 pound test or less. Plenty of backbone, ultra light weight, amazing balance when paired to the correct reels. In our case these were matched with everything from a Trinidad A 16 (For 25 pound work with enough line for the bigger boys) to a Saltist 30 to a Fathom 30 and 40 for the Heavier duty rod. The low profile Tranx will also be great on the heavier model while the Lexa 400 might also be great on the lighter model. I will be writing these rods up on a separate thread but these are the reel deal rods especially if we can get Blackhole to put a little longer fore grip on them.
Once again, I cannot recommend the Captain Jimmy bombs highly enough. These wonderful items were responsible for at least 4 times the deaths of Wahoo than all the other artificial lures combined.
Raiders are still awesome and work wonderfully especially the Gold with Green stripe. Others scored with a few chrome Raiders but most all of us used the newer 150 gram size (200 gram size but lighter). A few of us caught one or two on the pink 6X jr. and wounded soldier so having a good selection in your plano box is highly recommended.
My selection of cigars along with the always wonderful Lagavulin 16 were perfect for whiling away the down time hours or even while fishing.... Yes, there was a Padron 40th anniversary sticking out of my mouth while casting my fly rod.... Priceless memories. Heck, there might even be a photo or two coming in the future.
The Skipper and Crew work by the guys on the Excel was beyond exceptional. I cannot believe we had so few Massive tangles when the bite went wide open or when just soaking a bait. These guys needed to be everywhere at once, gaffing, handing off, un-tangling or ??? and they took on the challenge masterfully. I know most all of the top operations in long range have great guys working the boat but I cannot say enough for what these gentlemen did on this trip. The dedication these guys offer in providing we the passengers an outstanding trip is exemplary. A huge thank you to Tim, Rene, Sean (Chowdahh), Ryan and Captain Justin. Chef Matt in the Galley made meals to rival or better anything I have had previously while Madison, Matt's side kick in the galley, doubled as deckhand when needed most. The food alone was worth coming back for....Thank you, Thank you, Thank you. P.S. If I butchered the spelling of anyone's name I apologize.
A NOTE ABOUT CREW MEMBERS ON ANY OF THE BOATS: Please remember, when you have any extra fish you do not need or are going to can, ask the crew members if they would like some fish before you give them to the processors or even when you land them. The crew may say no or they may just say yes. These guys bust their butts getting the passengers hooked up and get our fish gaffed, but they rarely, if ever, get to fish for themselves. Just something to think about.
Once again the Excel Gallagher trip was one of the best of the year. Our passengers are really something special as we fish hard but do not bull our way around. We laugh and play hard and nobody is left out of the fun. Pat Gallagher does a great job as charter master and allows me to be his first mate on this charter. Together, Pat and I, are very proud of this charter. We the passengers are so fortunate to have been given the opportunity to be part of something very special... And somehow we get new memories, to add to our collections, most every year. Thank you to the entire Excel staff and ownership.
I forgot to note that the biggest Wahoo were over 50 pounds and made up the Jackpots. We also hooked up or caught skin within 100 miles of San Diego. I cannot remember being on a boat where that happened. Best of luck to those going long this season.
Posted 27 September 2015 - 10:07 AM
Great writing as usual, Jamie.
We are developing 8' Black Hole Challenger Bank (one-piece) for West Coast fishermen as we learned they prefer longer rods.
These Black Hole Challenger Bank rods have many similar characteristics of original GLoomis rods, but a little softer, especially in tip section and lighter.
The main forte of these rods is the strength even they are light and thin.
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