Myself and a friend left the bait dock at 5AM and headed out on a course of 227 to take us through the 302 and down towards the bottom edge of the East Butterfly. By 6 we were smack dead into 17 working commercial boats waiting to transfer their BFT catch into the waiting tuna pens.
We trolled through the area using small feathers and cedar plugs with no success and continued on. Approximately 27 miles from the point ran into a huge pod of porpoise, again trolled through with no success. Continued out found a nice large patty loaded with shearwater tuna birds and began spotting breezing 30-40 lb BFT. Tried both running and gunning as well as drifting by the patty as well as trolling the area with no success. Water temp was around 68.4.
Continued heading out saw both a lack of life and cooler water temps around 40 plus miles and made it back to the patty. Tried the same again, this time picking up a small blue shark which we released. Headed back in to around 4 miles outside the 302 to where several sportboats were working and several private boats. Continued to run and gun on seemingly smaller but more numerous BFT still with no luck.
Heard chatter on the radio, and headed back out approximately 33 miles from the point into 69 degree water shut down and soaked. Picked up another blue shark released and worked a short distance south and shut down on some more breezers. Got a short bite from a rod in a rodholder, and as the day was getting shorter started seeing more of the bigger models coming through. Continued long soaks and at 1658 was rewarded with a hookup of the right kind. The fish wound back with little resistance until he got closer to the boat and began a series of long runs taking line at his leisure. After 10 minutes of this we got to a more traditional up and down fight with short runs and figure eights back and forth at the back of the boat. After 27 minutes a beautiful fat Blue Fin Tuna gave in to the gaff with a clean head shot and was lifted over the rail as its 50 pounds of gleaming body thudded onto the deck.
We tried for one more with no success as the fish seem to have come up with the evening high tide and were gone another day. We headed back in on downwind, flat seas passing the seiners who were again waiting for the pens with another wrap of precious tuna.
The following morning we ran over to Fisherman’s Processing with our iced down catch and were greeted by Sean Sebring and the rest of the eager crew who immediately weighed, filleted, and vacuum sealed our beautiful fish in a manner fitting for this magnificent creature.
Heading down the highway, we recapped our day and figured out that fishing for these particular BFT required more of a Guadalupe style of tuna fishing. It was not only important to set the boat nearby the crashing tuna, but to then totally shut the boat down(engines off), and long soak a nose hooked sardine with good swimming capabilities.
Our fish was caught using a small 2/0 VMC Nemesis Red Hook, 28 lb Seaguar Flurocarbon using an Accurate B2-270 and a 9' Phoenix 909H rod. And probably a bit of tenacity and patience didn’t hurt either.
ED TSCHERNOSCHA - BAJA FISH GEAR
SF KING FIN - 32 FLYBRIDGE BLACKFIN
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