My saltwater fishing obsession started at a very early age on a sandy beach in Mexico. My weapon: a Zebco reel loaded with 12-pound test tipped with a cast master. The sacrificial fiberglass rod caught countless pompano with a mix of small sea trout and rock bass for two days before it became seized by the grips of saltwater corrosion and sand.
This childhood experience grew incredibly fast into a full addiction, and as I grew, it evolved into short-range yellowtail and albacore excursions. I am now in the last third of my life, and I have found the destination of my extended salt-water journey: long range fishing.
Several months ago, Jim Allen from Arizona Boating & Watersports and John Bacos from Westcoastfishing.com invited me to fish the 12-day trip on Intrepid. Of course I said, “Yes!” and this is the best fishing decision I have ever made!
The horizon was just beginning to glow when my first sardine was carefully picked and presented to the darkness below. It began to strip line off my reel into the unseen depths of the tuna grounds. The fresh bait swam 20 yards with line in tow when I felt the short pulse of the frightened sardine burst into a frantic run.
The thought that this was the sign before the event was not even completed before I felt a bump. The pulse from the tail beat of my tiny frightened morsel of swimming bait could no longer be felt; in its place was a strong, steady run.
The line tightened to a sharp edge as a hooked giant stripped off yards of line — a battle that lasted nearly an hour before popping the stressed top shot. I was so amazed by this first encounter. It was an awesome battle won by a better foe.
Later that same day, another hookup proceeded to strip off nearly all the Spectra from my reel before it hit an unseen underwrap hidden in the last lengths of my spool. Once again, with a loud crack, the battle was won by a stronger opponent. I walked away, grinning again and amazed by the power of this short fight.
My next encounter was similar, shortened by a break-off from lines crossed and tangled. The next fish pulled the hook.
Long story short: It wasn’t until the last two days that things finally came together for me by landing five yellowfin in the 50 and up class — one at 100 pounds, two at 177 pounds, and one that put me into the cow club at 218.
I can’t say enough about this crew, captain, and boat. The numbers speak for them selves. Out of 18 fishermen, 28 fish over 200 pounds were caught, 52 in the 100 to 190 class, and many under 100 pounds. And, the mammoth catch of the trip was a whopping 352-pounder!
Let be known that there is no question Intrepid is a hunter-gatherer and on top of the San Diego fishing fleet food chain. This boat fishes you hard, treats you good, and feeds you better. What better compliment can I give?
For more info about long-range fishing, check out FishingIntrepid.com and for soon-to-be posted video of the trip, visit WestCoastfishing.com. And, for more information about this trip, e-mail
Editor’s Note: While Mike Wallace was enjoying this trip of a lifetime (and hence out of town), his fellow Superstition Search & Rescue team members elected him their new wilderness rescue director. Congratulations, Mike!
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