‘First Blood’ drawn on the Nor Cal bluefin scene

‘FIRST BLOOD’ – Joseph Green of the Codfather and Hammerdown with one of the first Nor Cal bluefin of the year in March, that’s right, in March!


ALAMEDA – Just like the fictional character, John Rambo, in the 1980’s series of films, ‘First Blood’ was drawn on the Nor Cal bluefin tuna scene this past week. Single bluefin were landed out of Half Moon and Bodega Bays along with the 130-pound tuna brought in by the combined crews of Tanker City Fishing and the Codfather, both out of Alameda, Joseph Green, deckhand of the Codfather, said, “We have been planning this trip for close to a year as the plan was to head out around my birthday in late March.

The first bluefin in 2023 came on July 1 by Captain Ross Corbett of Pacific Angler out of Alameda, but we figured that the tuna would be out there earlier, just a matter of gearing up and heading out. That was the fish that launched the rush to get offshore. John Marfia, captain of Tanker City, his deckhand, Joe, Captain Justin Young, and I waited for the right weather window and launched at 5:00 a.m. in the middle of the week on Marfia’s boat. We went to where we figured they would be, but we didn’t see any life. After trolling for a while, we observed a dark-colored dolphin which we hadn’t seen before, and around 10:30 a.m., the rod that we set out at 65 seconds of release with a Nomad MadMac 240 went off. We had a collective understanding that I would be the one to bring the fish to the boat as it was my birthday trip, and after passing off the fight, I fought it for close to a half-hour before it came under the boat. As soon as the three gaffs went into the fish, I felt a big sigh of relief. When I was fighting the fish, I felt like the entire weight of the Bay Area fleet was on my shoulders to bring this fish to the gaff. With salmon season in peril, we need the promise of bluefin to help keep the industry afloat.”

WE FIGURED THEY WERE OUT THERE – Planning nearly a year in advance, the combined crews of Tanker City Fishing and the Codfather out of Alameda waited for the first weather window to hunt down a 130-pound Nor Cal bluefin tuna.

Steve Carson, aka ‘Senor Tuna,’ of Penn Fishing University, said, “It’s no surprise that bluefin are already in northern California, and these are generally larger fish as their large size allows them to endure the colder water temperatures. Carson added, “The bluefin and even, yellowfin tuna, have should up out of San Diego this week, but if you haven’t changed your line, adjusted your drags, and double-checked your knots, you are most likely going to lose these fish.”


Carson’s recommended gear:

  • Downrigger trolling live baits: Reels – PENN Fathom 11 FTH1140NLD2 or FTH1160NLD2; Rods – PENN Carthage 11 ‘West Coast’ CARWC1140100C78; Line: 80-pound braid.
  • Trolling Cedar Plugs, small swimming plugs, or feather jigs for tuna in the 50- to 175-pound range: Reel – PENN Fathom 11 FTH1180LD2; Rod – PENN Carthage 111 ‘West Coast’ CARWC11160100C70: Line – 80- to 100-pound braid.
  • Trolling swimming plugs for tuna in the 100- to 300-pound range:

Reel-PENN International 30VISX or 30VISW; Rod PENN Carthage 111 ‘West Coast’ CARWC11180130C70; Line: 100- to 130-pound braid

  • Trolling large swimming plugs and spreader bars for tuna in the 100- to 400-pound range: Reel – PENN International 50V1SX or 50V1SW; Rod PENN Carthage 111 ‘West Coast’ CARWC11180150C70; Line: 130- to 150-pound braid.

Unfortunately, the weather doesn’t appear to be cooperative for a few more weeks, but rest assured, once a window opens, boats will be heading west from Monterey to Shelter Cove in search of the saltwater odyssey for bluefin.