alan tani @ fishing reel repair rebuild tutorial 9/28 to 10/3/06 - spirit of adventure
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Author Topic: 9/28 to 10/3/06 - spirit of adventure  (Read 3348 times)
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« on: December 09, 2008, 08:14:33 PM »

the local grady white dealer hosts a 5 day long range trip out of san diego every year. it's open to grady white skippers and their guests. we launch out of san diego aboard the 85 foot "spirit of adventure" and run 200 miles down the coast of mexico to fish guadalupe and cedros islands for yellowfin tuna and yellowtail. i think this my 8th year. it's a great trip!
september 26th, 2006 - i spent the entire day before my trip getting my gear together. rods were packed into the tube after getting a shot of corrosion x and having all the rollers checked. i found a calstar with a busted reel seat. i made a quick call to the manufacturer in southern california and made arrangements to drop off the rod on the way down. all the reels checked out fine. spent an entire afternoon tying bimini twists and albrights. hey, no shortcuts for me! i restocked my box of ringed owner hooks, both circles and flyliners. packing my personal gear took an hour - socks, shorts, levis, t-shirts, sweats and sunscreen. by midnight, i'm packed. one duffel, a reel box, a rod tube, four boxes of reel parts, my tool caddy and i'm ready to go.
september 27th, 2006 - 5:30am - ugghhh! either mornings are getting darker or i'm getting older. by 6:00am i'm on the road. it's a solo drive this time. no problem, though. i have coffee and breakfast at mcdonald's to keep me going.

it's a 450 mile drive from san jose to san diego. i start down highway 85 to highway 101 in darkness. cutting over highway 152, "blood alley," i hit fog climbing up to pacheco pass, then catch a nice sunrise over the san luis reservoir.


from highway 152, it's a straight 4 hour shot down interstate 5. it's late september, when california turns into one big tinderbox. all you see is miles of dry brush. this is what california looks like in the fall.


at the south end of the central valley is the grapevine. it's a long uphill stretch of road through the angeles national forest and into los angeles.


remember i mentioned that california was dry this time of year? well, i saw this mess and my first thought was smog. then i smelled the smoke. yeah, they had a huge brush fire in the hills above los angeles.

i cut over from interstate 5 to the 405 san diego freeway and got stuck in a little bit of traffic, but most of it was pretty clear sailing.

my first stop was tackle specialties in gardena, home of calstar rods. remember that i had one with a busted reel seat. the place is owned by pat and leon todd.



these folks didn't know me from adam, but they were very kind. mr. todd offered to give me a tour of the facility, so i jumped at the offer. we started in the back building, where the blanks are made. the first thing that happens is that sheets of prepreg carbon fiber or fiberglass are cut in the shape of a long tall triangle.

these long triangular sheets are then glued to a long tapered stainless steel rod.

it's then rolled under pressure.

wrapped with a layer of clear tape.

and baked in an oven.

the rod butt is wet sanded by machine.

the tip of the rod is sanded by hand.

the rod blank is then pushed through a reservoir of 2-part epoxy and set aside to dry.

mr. todd then personally checks each rod blank for any defects.

he estimates that one blank out of 50 will have a slight bend, crack or fissure and is rejected. these rejects then become the worlds strongest flag poles. now, if this photo is not enough to make you rod builders out there drool a little, i don't know what will.

the rods are wrapped in the building next door. how's this for a drying rack?




the town of gardena is not only the home of calstar rods. it also holds alot of old memories for me. i did a residency at long beach memorial hospital from 1981-1982 and lived with my grandfather in gardena during that short year. it was the only chance that i had ever really had to spend any time with him. he died 10 years later. i took a few minutes to swing by the old house. a little more run down than i remembered....

on the road again. down highway 405 to interstate 5, out of los angeles and my first glimpse of the water.



my next stop was noah's. hung out for 2 hours with kevan, don and nelz, seemed like 10 minutes, fixed a reel that nelz brought over (i didn't get it right the first time) and got some gear. great shop!




made the short run over the vagabond hotel, then to the captain's quarters for a few beers (morning photos), and joined the guys for dinner at the local italian place just past the fisherman's landing. met up with frank, brett, mark, jason, dave, jim, jack, kim and ken.


september 28th 2006 - the boat pulled in early morning and offloaded the passengers from the previous trip. here's a look at what we could expect from cedros island.


we stowed most of our personal gear and started breaking out the tackle, then pulled out of the slip to get bait.




i don't know how much bait we got, but i think it's on the order of about a hundred scoops. they looked a little small this year. they're gonna be hard to cast......

a few last minute details before dinner, featuring baby back ribs and cole slaw.


9/29/06 - first call for breakfast is 6am. we've been running all night and hardly anyone slept well. "hacksaw" jim's got his sausage, eggs, biscuits and gravy.

we won't arrive at guadalupe until 11am and will troll for wahoo until we find a good spot to anchor up.


here's jeremy.

harry and one of our deckhands, big frank.


tom and frank, jr..

john, jack and dave.

we finally arrived at guadalupe. it's basically a rock in the middle of the ocean, about 200 miles out.

jeremy, matt, me and tracy.

new for this year is a wrist band for 40 pesos that allows you to fish at guadalupe.

scott with lunch, chinese chicken salad.

we anchored up on the lee side of the island and started chumming. most everyone followed the captain's suggestion and used 40# test mono. i grabbed my 30# rig with the ringed 1/0 owner flyliner hook. yup, it was that prochallenger reel. the rod was a penn sabre 270 that was a gift from an old friend of mine. of the 30 taken that first day, i tagged 7 and handed off three. the first four fish came in on the prochallenger/sabre combo.




yeah, four in a row! the next one was handed off to matt, so i grabbed my back up 30# rig, the little progear 550 (remember alaska?) on a calstar 700xl, and stuck number 5.


i handed off two, then stuck number 6 and 7, and that was it for the day. here's frank, jr..

frank, sr..


and here's charles. this 75 pound fish took him 45 minutes and around the once the boat. we'll call him "mr. jackpot."


here's our take for the first day. alot of guys were snakebit on day one.

september 30th, 2006 - morning at isla de guadalupe. it was nice to be anchored up all night for a change.

harvey (with captain mike keating) was off to a fast start,


the landlord was off to a fast start,


and so was i! i stuck four fish in a row on the prochallenger. on the fifth fish, i had a sudden backlash and the fish broke off. that was the end of the prochallenger for that trip.


i grabbed my back up progear 550/calstar 700xl and i was back in business.


first call for lunch from danny and randy. fresh yellowtail sandwiches!

now the bigger fish started showing up. we went from 20-30 pounds, up to 50-70 pounds. brett (our chartermaster)
using 40# mono and a 4/0 penn yellowtail special

tom on a converted penn 320 gt2 with 30# mono.

ken on an accurate and a calstar grafighter.

my 65 pounder on a calstar grafighter 700xl with a progear classic series 550 with a 30# topshot over 50# spectra. my total for the day was 13 tagged yellowfin. lost fish included one that was "prochallenged," one pulled hook, one in the anchor line, two sharked, and one sawed off by "hacksaw!"

ok, we're done. big frank has our second day's total. 97 more yellowfin (a dozen over 50 pounds) and three yellowtail.

and we're out of there! next stop is san benitos island. we'll be on the move all night.


"hacksaw" jim is having a dinner of stuffed pork chops, mashed potatos, gravy and green beans.

october 1st, 2006 - we took a quick stop at san benitos, stuck a few yellowtail and i lost my favorite 10 year old knife jig on the first cast! i was using 40# test, flung it out about 40 yards, it dropped to the botton, i got two cranks and a yellowtail dragged me straight into the rocks. goodbye, san benitos!



believe or or not, john and jason are not brothers.

it's a two hour run from san benitos to cedros. good time for "doc" ken to break for lunch, ziti casserole and garlic bread.

"hacksaw's" got himself a nice cedros yellowtail, one of ten for the day. jim was definitely on his game.

i got four for the day. just couldn't find my groove. i had at least 15 hits, and kept on getting rocked, sawed off, chewed up or spit out. very frustrating.

frank, jr., was really off his game.

overall, we did ok, with about 4 fish per rod.

we stayed until 9pm before leaving for san martin island. cedros is 32 hours south of san diego, so we had to make up some of that distance if we were going to get any fishing done at all on our last day. i wanted to get a little night fishing in, so we had dinner on deck, breaded yellowtail, cabbage salad and rice. thank god we finally got some rice!

matt is holding jason's lizard fish.

and mike's sculpin.

october 2nd, 2006 - 6:00am, first call for breakfast, san martin island, big frank is serving, danny is cooking, jack, tom and harvey are relaxing.



12 noon, first call for lunch. no one is really catching anything at san martin. don's fish tacos are the best thing going.

i took some time out to work on the boat reels, including this old penn international.


i finally decided to get out and fish, and stuck a couple of nice reds one of the jigs that i got from noah's (thanks, guys!).

pretty soon we were on the road and packing up to go home.



first call for dinner, prime rib, green beans, baked potato, sour cream and horse radish. danny, randy and big frank.



kim, jack and dave.

ken, brett, tracy and john.

frank, jr., harry and scott.

mike, tom, charles, jim, and harvey

frank, sr., matt, don and jeremy.



sunset over the pacific.



october 3rd, 2006 - sunrise over san diego.


first order of business is the bar tab and the crew tip. these guys worked pretty hard and i like to tip them well.

time to pull out the fish from the holds. the first two days worth of tuna were frozen. for the yellowtail on day three,
you had your choice of fresh (refrigerated sea water/rsw) or frozen.




the big ones were 65-75 pounds.


charles was first, brett was second, and jason was third.


my father and a friend of his came down to pick up my fish.


back on the road again, i stopped off in gardena to drop off a fish and pick up a rod.


then back through downtown los angeles.


over the scorched hills.

back down the grapevine and up interstate 5.

across highway 152 with a quick stop to help a motorist that ran out of gas.

back up highway 101 to highway 85 and home. 7 days, 24 fish, 1000 miles by land, and maybe 600 miles by sea.

whew! alot of photos, i know. thanks for sticking with me. hope you enjoyed it. it was a great for me to see old friends and great to make new ones. and i learned quite a bit this last week.
things that worked....
* 30# test berkeley big game.
* 1/0 ringed owner flyliner hooks
* butt-hooked baits
* iron
* calstar rods
* progear cs 550's
* big reel handle grips
* sunscreen
* dramamine
things that didn't work ....
* big hooks for small baits
* heavy line against yellow fin tuna
* light line against yellowtail - hey, i'm just hard headed
* big reels - can't cast
* my xtra tuf boots - my feet must be getting flatter
* my prochallenger reel - but i can fix it
things i am thinking about changing for next year.
* changing from berkeley big game to berkeley high test
* getting a pair each of the avet 2-speed sx, mx and jx
i'd like to thank the captain and crew of the spirit of adventure, including danny, big frank, dean, randy, scott, captain mike keating, and brian.

and lastly, i'd like to thank brett townsend, owner of central valley marine in cambell, california, for another great trip. i'll be back next year!

send me an email at for questions!
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