This year got off to a very slow start. Over the past few years we have become accustomed to productive albacore trips in early June with the fish often found in the inner banks off Ensenada and around the 295 spot. Not so this year. There were productive trips from the long range fleet over 110 nm south which was pushing even our two day range so we spent the first two trips at the Islands where we found all the smaller rockcod (mostly lings) you could want, lots of hook hungry barracuda, and a few sandbass.
Our first tuna trip of the year left on calm seas for two days of nice weather and fairly scratchy albacore fishing. The inner bank which was yielding limits of nice tuna shut down for us and yielded only a steady diet of jig fish. The fish were nice size ( none were below 12 lbs and several were in the 20 to 30's) and were complemented by Tom Smith's nice 21 lb. yellowtail. The fishing (but not catching) made for a long but enjoyable two days. firsttuna
After trying to find fish closer to home we next tried to get down to this area on a Looong one day trip to below the 500 spot (about 95 miles). we got to the hot spot at about 8 AM and were immediately attacked by a triple jig strike and hungry fish who stayed with the Seabear for about an hour. Julytuna Finally after the deck was covered with fish and there was no room left in the 4 ice chests and the cockpit Refer, we broke off from the school ( a decision that was not universally supported) and cleaned up. When we returned to the site things had slowed down a bit but we still managed another half dozen fish mostly for photo ops. photofish
We lost an early august trip to the weather and finished up the month with our second two day trip. The first day of this trip started off with a bang surrounded by the sportfishing fleet when Arno hooked up to a large albacore just before dawn. earlytuna The fishing was pretty typical Albacore fishing with brief episodes of panic allhookedup as the fish came to the boat following jig strikes interspersed with long periods of plowing the ocean for tuna. Nearly all our fish were bait fish and they were huge by local standards. One Albacore and one Bluefin weighed in at 47 lbs and most tuna were over 25 lbs. Several Yellowtail were in the 30lb range. erichyellow Arno (as usual) found a productive paddie which accounted for most of the yellowtail on the first day. The wind came up during the night but it seemed to help the grey light bite. Unfortunately only Erich and the skipper were awake to fend off the fish that attacked the Seabear. We missed "the Kid" (Nick) who out fished and often out worked everyone on the boat. With some fairly groggy help we managed to nearly double our take from the first day with smaller Albacore (15lbs). Coming home we were called into a productive paddie by a gracious fisherman who rapidly collected half a dozen boats around the 213 spot on a day that had been pretty bleak for people on 1 day trips. We ended up in a wide open bite that followed the Seabear for a nice interlude on the long grind home. yellowtail
We had some difficulty scheduling trips in early september and october but the weather let down long enough for the Woodchuck Flooring group to get to the East Butterfly to look for what had intermittently been a wide open bite on smaller yellowfin. After threading our way in the dark thru a fiberglass spotted ocean, we spent most of the day chipping away at kelp paddies and scoring one or two yellowfin occasionally. The rest of the time we were returning sore mouthed skipjack to the ocean. By the end of a warm day on very calm ocean we had just under 20 fish cleaned and bagged and headed for home via the 371 spot. The space between the 371 and 302 turned out to be a bit of a gold mine. There were several large paddies that had reloaded after what must have been a busy day and we had to leave for home in the middle of a wide open bite. woodchuck
Make a Wish Bruce Ito, Erich Schenk, Dennis Johnson, Dennis Sato It was a dark and stormy night ... Well not really but it sure looked that way. Reports of 25 knot winds, very bumpy weather on the outer banks, railings and bow pulpits ripped off, a partially sunken sportfisher drifting around and other scary tales just about had this trip cancelled. However, rumblings amongst the crew , and one antecdotal report of improving weather led us to tentatively poke the Seabear bow towards the outer banks. The Skipper fully expected to be turning around and running for home after a few hours underway. However, a bumpy but steadily improving ocean found us near the 1010 trench for a wide open 2 hour grey light stop on huge Albacore. We spent the rest of the morning sorting troll and bait caught Skipjack from the occasional Albacore. Along the way we kept the largest four fish to represent the Seabear in the Make a Wish Tuna Tournament. More later on the Four Amigos as this group became known. About midday the bite again took off. Two more wide open bait stops completed the limits (overall about 30 large Albacore and half a dozen smaller Yellowtail) lassofish and sent us trolling toward home in the hope that we would find a paddy that produced that big bluefin that would win the tournament. However, the Albacore continued to attack the Seabear and after several more stops and playing catch and release for awhile we gave up even trolling. We did continue to try to and find the deeper Bluefin with Salmon fishing based deep trolls and dropping big Sardines deep to no avail. However the Four Amigos who weighed in at 153.13 did the Seabear proud. The total was good for second place in the large boat class. Bruce Ito and Erich Schenk represented the Seabear at the Make a Wish Awards BBQ and Raffle. The head Amigo who weighed in at 42.2lbs won the Prize for largest fish caught in the large boat class, and a trip to an Alaskan fishing resort for the Skipper and Jackie this coming June. 4amigos
After several false starts we made one more trip but the season ended pretty much like it started .... with a whimper. We groped ( no help from the new governor) our way out of the harbor in a thick patch of fog and out to the 390 and 371 areas to look for small Yellowtail and despite a long day on the ocean found only 5 paddies and 4 small yellowtail.
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