WON Reader Report
BY JOSHUA ZAMBRANO
SAN DIEGO – Hours before daylight, the San Diego crew arrives. Captain Ryan Bostian and the boys begin setting up the boat and prepping for their annual old boys charter. As the group of quality, hand-selected anglers start to trickle into the landing, hugs and high fives start flying and some friendly competition is brewing.
Over $100,000 of gear is put on deck, beers are instantly cracked and the bacon is on the grill. The excitement is building as we untie, heading off to a full day trip that is now known as the best big fish trip any full-day boat has ever seen.
Hours passed as Captain Ryan steered the San Diego south into Mexican waters. Nerves are calming and the comradery is building. We knew we were going to get the normal bluefin show, with very limited opportunities at them. They were, as they say, “bluefin being bluefin” on previous trips. But soon we were about to find out we were going to be participating in today’s show rather than watching from the sidelines.
Pulling into the zone, Captain Ryan almost immediately has the boat pointed towards a couple of active birds diving and picking at bait. As we get closer we notice multiple spots of fish, whether it was a random boil off the port side, or a small puddler getting up on starboard side, Captain Ryan ignored them all and kept his bow pointed towards his first instinct.
The engines slow and the fuzz of the PA comes across the speakers, “start some chum” as the 75-foot Dittmar slowly turns its bow portside. Anglers rush to the rail, taking this last second to test their drag and double check their knots. The engines cut and the knife jigs go flying like some sort of weird Benihana experience. It seemed like time stopped as I can’t tell you if it was seconds or minutes until I heard The San Diego regular Chuck Busey get bit and the deckhands yell “BITER!” at the top of their lungs.
As jigs start to fall to depth, another scream comes out and Gary Jubilado came tight on the pump. Instantly, we had three more bites and it was full speed bluefin tuna fishing.
Once the first fish hit the deck at 80 pounds plus a few going longer than we expected, the entire boat stepped up their gear and got ready for battle with the big boys. The morning went on and the bite continued at a steady pace of 1-6 fish going every hour. With the size of the fish growing by every fish hitting the deck.
By mid-morning, every fish hitting the deck was 100-plus pounds. A line was forming at the bow to drop your jig for a very good chance at a triple digit, world class bluefin tuna only 50 miles away from San Diego.
Heartbreaks, pulled hooks, chewed off jigs on 80-pound and a whole bunch of tequila – this trip was off to an epic start. By 12 p.m. there were 14 fish on the deck, 8 of them over 100 pounds. All going from Captain Ryan’s initial instinct of choosing this school among the others readily available.
Fatigue was setting in but the opportunity was still available for a trophy tuna. All it took was a drop of a jig, flutter of a knife or pump of your rod and you had a pretty good chance at hooking a 100-pund-plus bluefin tuna.
Captain Matt of The San Diego spent his off day as part of the charter and had a standout 300-pound limit by 2 p.m. Around that time, exhaustion was winning the battle across the boat and guys were trading their rods for beers and choosing to cheer on their buddy fighting their fish of a lifetime, rather than get another one for themselves.
As the end of the day came near and the majority of the boat was too exhausted to continue to pull on 100-pound fish, Captain Ryan came across the PA signaling the end of an epic full-day charter. He tells everyone to reel them up as we would be heading towards the barn. As the rowdy cheers rang out celebrating today’s epic haul, the engines are fired up, but one last fish gets hooked and the boat screams out in facetious boos heckling the angler who didn’t follow captain’s orders.
With 24 bluefin tuna, including 18 over 100 pounds with fish up to 180 pounds, this was another epic day for The San Diego out of Seaforth Landing. A huge thank you to owner/operator Ryan Bostian, Captain Matt Bralla, Fisher Quigley, Andrew Warren, Doug Burrito and Riley Greene and, of course, our charter master Ali Profezar. Without you guys none of this is possible. Thanks for dedicating your hard work to bringing world class fishing to our local fleet.