Fleet slams big bluefin in the dark, Ridge and Rocks wahoo improve
BY GUNDY GUNDERSON
SAN DIEGO — The allure of trophy bluefin fishing put the long range fleet in the middle of local offshore bluefin grounds, decking a parade of large grade fish. A nighttime jig bite developed after sunset and extending into the wee hours of the night. The daytime and nighttime fishing tested the endurance of the long range anglers. Luckily, slower daytime fishing provided important nap time for rest and recovery. But after the evening meal it was game on. The Flat-Fall has been the preferred jig in the dark. The fishing on the Ridge and Rocks, the traditional fall haunts of the fleet, was good for big wahoo and quality yellowtail.
Indy finishes on bluefin grounds
The Independence was on the annual Danny Mun Charter with Capt. Matt Kaullen at the wheel of the big sportfisher. The trip began down below with a few days of fishing exotics. The skipper sent this report, “We departed a couple days ago on our annual Danny Mun charter and we headed south to start the trip. We rolled down the beach and started our trip hunting for yellowtail. We had good fishing this morning on 18- to 25-pound fish before we busted our next move. The hot ticket was the yo-yo jig and the infamous dropper loop. We are going to keep sliding down for tomorrow’s festivities and the plan is to target wahoo.
After a couple days of steady wahoo fishing, the boat finished up the trip on the trophy bluefin grounds. “We decided to concentrate our last few days on the magnificent bluefin. We have had some long days and some long nights here lately. We arrived on scene yesterday at the bluefin zone and boy did we get lucky. The days have been slow and the bite starts at night. We had great action on 90- to 200-plus-pound fish — hot and heavy action ‘til midnight on the jigs. We are going to remain on scene and hope for more fun tonight.”
Intrepid on bluefin grounds
The Intrepid was on a bluefin special 5-day with Captain Bill Cavanaugh on the bridge. The big sportfisher sent this report, “All is well on the Bluefin or Bust 5-Day Trip. We ended up with 24 bluefin yesterday that were 120 to 190 pounds. We are catching fish again this morning as we currently have 2 bluefin on board in the 140-pound class, one hooked up, and one 100-pound class opah. Life is good.”
Two days later, another report, “We had a really good night bite last night. Over 2.5 hours we landed 20 bluefin, 12 over 100 pounds, one that is right at 200 pounds and the rest are in the 30-to 80-pound range. We have had a good morning with 6 fish over 100 pounds and one that taped out at 225 pounds. We picked up 30 yellowtail in the 15-to 18-pound range to go with the bluefin. We have 120 bluefin onboard for the whole trip — 44 are over 100 pounds and 4 are over 200 pounds.”
RP on bluefin grounds
The Royal Polaris was also on the spot as the night bite developed. The boat described the first night bite this way, “It’s 0200 hours, and there’s only one crewmember up. He goes to check the ER, and he hears a sound, a very big splash. He looks over the side, and it’s bluefin chasing mackerel to the boat. He grabs a rod with the hot Shimano Flat-Fall, drops it down (about 200 feet), and it stops, but there’s no bottom. BANG, he’s on. The next thing, how do I wake someone up to help gaff this fish? He put’s it in the trolling straps and wakes up Doug. By the time Doug gets on deck, the fish is at color… bingo! A nice 100-pound bluefin hits the deck.
The report gets humorous, “By this time, Roy wakes up, he drops down, BANG, he’s on too. But the funny thing is, Roy forgot to put on his shorts. So Roy’s fighting this bluefin in his underwear. Roy lands another 100-pound bluefin tuna. So surprised, he wakes up some of the passengers, still in his underwear. When all the smoke cleared, we landed 7 bluefin, all over the 100-pound mark.”
The report went on, “The rest of the day would be very slow, but once the sun went down it was game on once again. This time, the fish were larger than this morning with the largest going 192 pounds, and most in the 120- to 170-pound range, with one fish under 100 pounds. What a very long day, but very good night bites. We are now headed south and try our luck at some yellowtail, dorado and wahoo.”
Star on wahoo
The Royal Star was down on the Ridge after a couple days of good bluefin action. The boat found good wahoo fishing with some better quality fish in the mix. Capt. Brian Sims sent this report, “Today we concentrated on wahoo, the elusive speedsters of the sea. We found excellent water conditions and pretty good fishing. When the sun went down everyone on board had landed a wahoo.”