Saltwater – Rare dorado caught on North California charter

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RARE CATCH – Captain Justin Winder of Hooked on Mendo Charters had four passengers aboard his 6-pack targeting albacore 26 miles offshore of Ft. Bragg when one of his trollers got whacked. A few jumps from the fish on the business end was no mirage – it was improbably a nice grade dorado. Talk about a crazy season.
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BY ANDREW MACK AND BLAKE WARREN

FORT BRAGG – While it’s been absolute mahi mayhem these last few weeks throughout much of the Southern California Bight, this past week Northern California’s waters were the extension of the great dorado migration of 2022. Dorado in NorCal? Yep, in this crazy season, it seems anything can happen.

Captain Justin Winder of Hooked on Mendo Charters set out offshore out of Ft. Bragg on his 6-pack this past week in search of coveted albacore. With four passengers aboard, Winder was about 26 miles offshore when they deployed dark broomsticks and feathers on the trolling rods.

“I had found a good school of albies and kept going back and forth on top of them, picking away,” Winder told Western Outdoor News. “We had boated about 30 fish or so, and then it happened. One of the trollers got smacked and something started jumping, and I couldn’t believe my eyes. Holy $#!&, it was a dorado! I’ve been trying for 8 years to find one up here!”

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Winder said they were in a zone with no other boats and they were hoping to find another dorado bite but that never materialized. The group refocused on the albacore and would put more than a dozen more on the deck before heading back to port.

Total fish count for the day? Fourty-four albacore and one unicorn of a dorado. What a season.

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