alan tani @ fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial 10/6 to 10/11/08 - spirit of adventure
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Author Topic: 10/6 to 10/11/08 - spirit of adventure  (Read 9829 times)
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« on: December 10, 2008, 12:00:20 AM »

i've spend the last few days mulling this trip over in my mind. to describe this trip, things like, "some days you're the dog, some days you're the tree," or "another day in the barrell," or "the more i learn the more i realize how little i know" have all come to mind. i had to remind myself that people often learn more from the failures of others, then they do from their successes. if this is true, read on. you're going to learn alot.
i spent the prior week trying to clear out all of my household chores and as many fishing reels as i could. a bunch of stuff did not get done on time. for that, guys, i apologize, but i really needed to get out and go fishing. during the week, i tied up a bunch of leaders with blackwater fluoro, packed my luggage and got my personal tackle together. i had not looked at my bag full of accurates since the royal polaris trip 4 months ago. i took a cursory look through the bag and found several alarming problems (more on that later). i spent about 12 hours going through ALL of the reels. i also took the time to add bearing sleeves to all of the accurate two speeds. the freespool was great before hand. it was even better now (more on that later as well). then i had those stupid floaters in my left eyeball. i was really afraid that i was looking at a show stopper. fortunately, it was not.
by saturday morning, 10/4, i had all of my reels serviced and all of the rods packed away. i headed out at noon for a late shift at the hospital. my shift ended at 1am. that put me home at 2am. i spend those early sunday morning hours of 10/5 packing the rest of my personal tackle and all of the reel repair stuff that i would need for the trip. frank arrived at 6:30 am. we packed up all of my gear and hopped into the truck. with zero sleep, i spent the next 6 hours on the road, drifting in and out of sleep.


we stopped off in irvine and met ben, a friend of mine. somehow he managed to score a case of kona longboard beer. when we arrived, he already had the bottles on ice. what a guy. i made a mental note to return that ice chest to him, only full of fish. our second stop was at ken's custom reel in oceanside. frank drove the entire way and his back was killing him. what a guy!

i grabbed a couple of extra spools of blackwater fluoro and perused the shop.

here's something interesting. it's the new accurate B2-30 with the 9 degree offset handle! glad to see that their handles are finally catching up with avet!

ken had just gotten back from a 5-day at guadalupe and had an epic bite. he still had that "kid in a candy store" look about him. we were stoked. he set up a pair of frank's reels with 65 pound spectra and a 3 foot blackwater fluorocarbon leader. he used this combination at guadalupe. his best day was 13 fish! for those of you that have never been, i'd highly recommend stopping in sometime. it's a great shop! if you're driving down to san diego from northern california, you could even ship your reels ahead of time, have them service, respooled and pick them up on the way.

it took a while, but after an hour and a half and $300, we were able to pry ourselves out of ken's shop and continued on the san diego. i picked the tab for gas when we arrive, grabbed a bottle of crown and checked into the vagabond.

remember, i'm running on fumes at this point, AND dragging around ben's little "cooler on wheels" full of beer. we grabbed sandwiches at point loma and three beers later i headed back to my room to crash out. no way was i staying up late!
monday, 10/6/08. morning came bright and early. after a quick breakfast at denny's, we loaded up all of our gear. mike keating had pulled in that night and had the boat opened up for us already. it's shorter than the royal polaris, but i really love this boat!!!!!!!!!

brett townsend is our chartermaster, and owner of the local grady dealership in northern california.

everyone slowly trickled in. meet my brother ed, wally, don and jason.

here are kim, john behind him, mark and bobby.

i set up shop and then headed out onto the deck.



so, what's new on the spirit of adventure? AVETS !!!!!!!!!!!!!!! i got a good chuckle out of this one. i offered to go through all of them, but the crew said that the avet guys come out and service the reels on a regular basis. good for them. i did end up going through a couple of the jx's, but everything else was apparently in good shape.

meet richard, rj, gregg, joe and jim.

we had plenty of bait already, but got an additional 50 scoops.




here's the arsenal. it's a full set of accurate two speeds, custom pete kolekar handle grips, calstar rods, blackwater spectra, blackwater fluoro and ringed owner hooks. i also have a pair of jig sticks with newells 533's and a pair of grafighter 800L's with progear classic series 501's. eddie and i are loaded for bear.

i've been practicing my serves. how's this look, guys? the new heavier beiter bowstring server has really helped to tighten up the winds. i also switched over from a 6 turn uni knot to a palomar. ken (ken's custom tackle) suggested this. he was telling me that the fluorocarbon does not do well with a squeeze knot like a uni. a palomar holds up better, so i switched.

we stowed all of our gear and settled into a nice dinner of pork chops and rice. good thing, because if i don't get rice every few days, i start getting the shakes.
tuesday, 10/7 - breakfast was bacon, hash browns and eggs. nice to have dean in the galley again.


welcome to isla de guadalupe!

we trolled down to the south end of the island with an escort.




calamari steak and rice for lunch!

trolling is fine for killing time, but we'd rather get started with some real fishing!

we were following the porpoise because tuna often hold underneath. we finally got to the south then of the island and anchored up next to the rock at the south end. i think this is zapato island.



richard finally got the skunk off the boat with the 30 pound yellowfin.

my kid brother will wind up being high stick with 20 fish for the trip. here is his first yellowfin.


halfway into the fight, he came up with this mess. always tip the deckhands well!!!!!!!!



we ended the day with 9 yellowfin tuna.


kyle came to fish. when the rest of us were kicking back, he decided to drop a line down to the bottom and struck gold. well, actually, he struck yellow. one very lost yellowtail!

i was skunked for the day. our big catch was a pound ziti casserole with salad and french bread. i guess ed can forget about losing any weight.

wednesday, 10/8/08. here's one of the few fish that actually stuck. it was pretty amazing. i was fishing with the rigs that had the 30 and 35# blackwater fluoro and broke several fish off the day before. i think i had a half dozen hookups and landed nothing. on this day, i was getting bit left and right. several of them were picked up and spit out, the hook pulled at color for one and i lost two the sharks. what was killing me was that i had almost a dozen hookups where my 30# blackwater was chewed through. at one point, i was looking at having missed ten in a row.

here's the score for the day. we landed 201 yellowfin tuna for 22 guys. i fished hard the entire day (hence, no pictures). i had three of those fish, pretty much everyone else was in double digits.

we had a nice dinner to cap off an otherwise frustrating day.

thursday, 10/8, huevos!!!!!!!! love this stuff. gotta get my mojo back.

the first hook up with chewed through AGAIN !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!, but i stuck the second one. the rest of the day was the same, chewed through, spit out, sawed off or sharked!!!!!!!!!!!!!


for both of the previous mornings, the bite would last from about 7am until 10am, then it would die. we'd pull anchor after lunch and chase schools of porpoise, looking for the tuna underneath. today was no different. here's frank, sr., with one of dean's famous monster cheese burgers.

and frank, jr., on the troll.

the fish that we caught in open water (off the anchor) were quite a bit larger. this one weighed in at 74 pounds and took second place in the jackpot.

we had a couple of flurries, but they really amounted to just 2-3 fish for each stop. i missed this photo op, but here's scott's 94 pound jackpot fish as it was being dumped into the refrigerated sea water tank.

by the end of the day, we had trolled all the way to the north end of the island.



we anchored up long enough to try for a few yellowtail (nada) and dinner. the chicken picatta was great. you know you have some serious pull when the galley makes it a special point to serve rice with almost every other meal! by this time, most of the guys were asking for half servings like this one. if you have full servings of every meal, you can plan on gaining 5-10 pounds over the trip.

after dinner, we pulled anchor and ran all night to get to the middle grounds. we ended the day adding 60 fish to the tank. i contributed one........

friday, 10/10, finds us half way home, 160 miles from san diego. breakfast was waffles, whipped cream, blue berries and sausage. pretty much everyone is down to half servings. dean's at the grill and danny is serving our meals.

this is going to be the scene all day, trolling, trolling, trolling, paddy stop for nothing, trolling, trolling, trolling, zilch on the paddy stop, trolling, trolling .......

i was on a troll rotation during lunch, so i ate on the back deck.

we ended up the day adding only a few more fish to the tank. just as well, though. we had heard that guadalupe had been blown out. the hurricaine 400 miles south had sent 40-70 mph winds ripping through the islands. glad we didn't get caught in that.

saturday, 10/11 - back to san diego!!!!!!!!!!!

the wind didn't stop blowing until we got inside the harbor.

dean collected bar tab and tip money. people often ask about how much to tip. these guys work their asses off, so i generally tip them 20%. yup, that comes out to almost $300 for a trip like ours. a 15% tip is still about $200. if you've never done a trip like this before, i know it sounds like alot, but they work pretty hard.

unloading the fish went quick and easy.



two fish processors showed up in the morning. 5 star was already set up. this company had processed our fish on the royal Polaris trip from 4 months ago. we had also dealt with world famous before. both 5 star and mario’s charge 75 cents a pound to filet and vacuum pack. world famous charges 50 cents. frank wanted to go with world famous, so that’s what we did.

it turns out that we had 25 fish that totaled 780 pounds whole, that meant $390 to process.

here’s scott with the jackpot fish, a 94 pound yellowfin. it was a $1000 pot, so scott came away with $500!!!!!



frank’s fish came in at 74 pounds, worth $300.

gregg’s fish came in a few pounds less and was worth $200.

these three smiles were worth $1000!

we all quickly paid mike from world famous and followed him out to his processing site.

the place is not much to look at, but these kids are quick with a knife. the yield is about 33%. a 30 pound fish yields about 10 pounds of vacuumed packed filet. when i filet out an albacore, i think i get a little better than a 50% yield. it takes me about 10 minutes to do so. the blood line comes out, as well as all of the bones. these guys hustle and had our 25 fish cut up and vacuumed packed in an hour.



here's the commercial vacuum sealer. this kid wraps the filet in a thin plastic bag, then stuffs it into the vacuum bag. that protects the meat from freezer burn if the vacuum is broken while in the freezer at home.




these vacuumed packed filets are then packed into your ice chest, covered with ice cubes, a block of dry ice is added on top of that and you are on your way!

so, i got my ass kicked by my kid brother. what worked here........
* calstar rods, in particular the grafighter 800L
* the progear classic series 501's with kolekar handle grips
* the accurate 197 two speed and the 270 two speed with kolekar handle grips
* blackwater hollowcore spectra
* blackwater 35, 40, and 50# fluorocarbon
* serving connection for fluoro to hollow core spectra
* owner ringed 1/0 flyliner hooks in combination with 35# fluoro or heavier
* the palomar knot for fluorocarbon
* flex tape
* sun screen
* straw hats
* crown royal (i'm normally a scotch drinker)
* dramamine (working on reel when the boat is moving gets tougher each year)
what didn't work .......
* the accurate 870 two speed and the 665 two speed
* blackwater 30# fluorocarbon when the fish was gut hooked
* heavy drag settings??
* a 6 turn uni knot for fluorocarbon
* any mono to fluoro connection (used by the other guys)
how in the world does a guy loose 10 fish in a row? i lost track of which rod i was using because i'd hook a fish, loose a fish, and just grab another rod. i think it was a combination of a j-hook being swallowed and the fluorocarbon being too thin. i lost a bunch of fish on the star drag progears and they had the 30# blackwater fluorocarbon. the initial losses on the accurates are still a little bit of a mystery. i set the drags on the accurates before i left and did not check them before actually fishing. after losing a bunch of fish in a row, i gave the lines a pull and several of them seemed locked down. after resetting the drags, we (or at least, eddie) started landing more fish. it was almost like someone had cranked the drags down on me as a prank, but i know that would never happen. not on this boat, anyway. maybe i just set them too high to begin with (but ALL of them???). i was also wondering if maybe i was accidentally turning the preset knob a little when i was pushed the lever into gear. what ever the reason, i think the screwed up drag settings on the accurates really contributed to my initial lack of success. eddie was catching fish just fine with the accurate 197 and 270 two speeds. i think the other reason for my poor performance was sticking with 30# fluorocarbon on the progears when 35 or 40 # was really needed to do the job.
regarding the hooks. this has always been a tough topic for me. a couple of years ago, i just absolutely beat the snot out of a couple of dozen yellowfin tuna using 30# big game and this 1/0 sized ringed owner flyliner. i have lost fish before when the knot was cut off at the eyes of the hooks without rings. that is why i insist on using ringed hooks for these hard fighting fish. i want a medium wire hook, light enough so the bait fish can swim, but heavy enough so that the hook does not straighten out under 15#'s of drag. and i want a J-hook. i'm sorry, guys, but i've had too many tuna spit circle hooks back out at me on that first run. maybe it's just bad attitude, but i hate circle hooks. they're bad for my blood pressure, they're bad for my overall disposition, and they have no mojo for me. plus, all of the ringed owner circle hooks are those heavy wire super mutu's and i think they really slow down the baits. i had looked at the 3/0 and 4/0 gamakatsu nautilus circle hook before. it has the medium wire thickness that i like, but it is not available with a ring. or at least i though it wasn't. when i stopped in at my local tackle shop, i checked and it turns out that the gamakatsu nautilus actually IS available as a ringed hook!!!!!!!
so what am i going to do? it is so true that a general plans for the last war. well, i started planning on the drive back from san diego. on my next trip to guadalupe ...........
* i am going to continue to use blackwater fluorocarbon 30, 35, 40, and 50# topshots.
* i am going to change out the spectras to lighter weights, 50 and 60# instead of 80#, on the progears and the smaller accurates.
* the reels strung with 30 and 35# fluorocarbon will have a 4/0 ringed gamakatsu nautilus circle hook with the point knocked off.
* the reels strung with the 40# and 50# topshots will have ringed owner j-hooks (haven't decided which ones yet).
* i will have a set of four calstar grafighter 800L's (i just ordered two more).
* i will calibrate my scales carefully.
* i will recheck the drag settings each morning i am fishing.
* the served connection of fluoro to hollowcore worked great, so i'll continue with that on the 35, 40 and 50# reels.
* topshots on the 35, 40 and 50# reels will be 25 meters
* my stealth rig will be a grafighter 800L with a progear classic series 501, 50# solid spectra, a 3 foot blackwater fluoro topshot connected by a bimini and a worm knot (ala ken in oceanside), a 4/0 ringed gamakatsu nautilus circle hook and a drag setting of 10#'s.
* i will resist the temptation to go to my stealth rig first, and fish heavier gear until it is clear that the yellowfin will not eat 35, 40 or 50# fluorocarbon.
* i will wear more flex tape on my fingers. i got cut up a little this trip.
* i will wear sunscreen and a hat every day.
* i will eat my wheaties.
many thanks to the captain and crew of the spirit of adventure. right to left are captain brian evans, danny, anton, dean, sam, scott and angelo.

and thanks to brett townsend, owner of our local grady white dealership, central valley marine in campbell, california.

send me an email at for questions!
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Auckland, New Zealand

« Reply #1 on: October 10, 2011, 03:12:26 PM »

Just came across this one Alan - a great trip and an excellent review of what must've been a pretty frustrating effort.
Experiences like this sometimes provide the best learnings...
Your site continues to be full of little surprises.
Cheers for sharing, Justin

Fortitudine vincimus - By endurance we conquer
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Posts: 166

« Reply #2 on: March 12, 2013, 05:27:46 AM »

What a great trip and a lot to learn.
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Sierra National Forest

« Reply #3 on: June 12, 2014, 10:58:25 AM »

This was a great write up, Alan -- Thanks!

Just shows me that there is much more to learn than I already know.

Glad to be a part of a board with such knowledgeable, capable folks -- willing to share their expertise.

Also points out the responsibility of preparing and setting up clients reels properly.

A lot to learn...

I would love to come on a long range with you guys.  And I seriously considered driving up to the "staff meeting" -- but with Fathers Day the next day, the timing sucks for me.

Hopefully, another meeting soon?



Self-worth is how you value yourself. It’s not based on what others think of you or the things you have (or haven’t) accomplished—it comes from within. But it’s easy to forget that our worth isn’t determined by outside forces -- each of us sets our own price.

In life, be flexible, willing to listen to others, willing to change your mind based on your good judgement -- that is how progress is made, and new horizons are discovered.  When the winds of change blow -- A flexible limb moves and thrives -- a stiff and stubborn limb just snaps.
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« Reply #4 on: June 12, 2014, 02:38:17 PM »

Great write up Alan!
Thanks for sharing the experience!

Didn't see anything in the post about the knot contest though?

Also, did anyone have feedback on real world testing of some of the reels that were fished here (I.e,Penn Torque, omoto12, Release SG, tanked 6/0s, etc.)?  I would love to see some reports.

Thanks again!
« Last Edit: June 12, 2014, 02:44:03 PM by Tightlines666 » Logged

Hope springs eternal
for the consumate fishermen.
Bryan Young
Ultimate Upgrades Drags
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The Reel Whisperer

« Reply #5 on: June 12, 2014, 03:39:26 PM »

Great write up Alan!
Thanks for sharing the experience!

Didn't see anything in the post about the knot contest though?

Also, did anyone have feedback on real world testing of some of the reels that were fished here (I.e,Penn Torque, omoto12, Release SG, tanked 6/0s, etc.)?  I would love to see some reports.

Thanks again!
Many of those reels mentioned were not around back in 2008.

Cheesy I talk with every part I send out and each reel I repair so that they perform at the top of their game. Cheesy
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« Reply #6 on: June 14, 2014, 12:52:42 PM »

my, how things have changed!  you guys will get a kick out of comparing the two reports, this one and the one for our trip coming up!

send me an email at for questions!
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