A Long-Range Journal: Day 2

An editor’s trials and triumphs on his first-ever, 11-day, long-range fishing trip off Baja.

long range new

long range new

No fish yet, but we rigged Shimano tackle all day. This is just one of many piles of setups ready to be fished. Pictured is a Shimano Orca plug, perfect for wahoo, says Marc Mills.

Today was a complete “travel” day as we head closer to Alijos Rocks. Word around the galley is that we’ll be the only boat there and we’re likely to run into wahoo, yellowtail and yellowfin tuna. The only land we saw in the afternoon was Cedros Island, barely within eyesight on the port side.

All 24 anglers prepped their gear during the day, often asking the mates for advice or having a mate rig up some technical piece of terminal tackle for them. I followed around Marc Mills, of Shimano, as he rigged up four different fishing "systems," including setups for live baits, Orcas, Waxwings and Butterfly jigs. (If you're unfamiliar with any of these specialty plugs and metals from Shimano, do a quick search online.)

A completely new live bait technique — one that I'm unfamiliar with as an East Coaster — is the heavy use of Hollow Ace braid from Power Pro. Mills formed a loop in the braid by splicing the 16-current braid with a rigging needle. He was very proficient at it and left a solid connection without a knot. The braided loop was then connected to a 20-foot wind-on leader. Then, a 3/0 to 6/0 hook was added for a sardine or mackerel.

What I’m most excited about is using a Shimano Tranx 500 HG reel to cast Waxwings for wahoo. On the east coast, I’m used to high-speed trolling for wahoo, so the possibility of sight casting to one makes me ecstatic. The Tranx reel itself is pretty new from Shimano and looks exactly like an oversized bass reel. West Coasters really love their conventionals! Reels litter the boat connected to custom and name-brand expensive rods — just 10 percent of the setups are spinners.

Along the way I’ve learned some things from regulars on the boat like Steve Bosang and Dr. Phil Wade. Most of it is new terminology or new tackle that I’m not familiar with. A wahoo bomb is basically a castable mylar skirt with a lead head and blade that you can reel and work for wahoo. Raider jigs are surface metals that you can cast as well (Raider is a popular brand). Other good techniques include yo-yo fishing, explains an angler named Nacho. Basically, you drop a metal straight down and reel up as fast as possible. Repeat the process until you hook up.

We’re expected to start fishing Alijos as early as 11 a.m. tomorrow. “I’m on team 1 with Tony the Tiger,” says Wade. Translation: He’s on the first team trolling tomorrow morning and he’s using a Marauder in orange. Watch out wahoo.