Big Albacore biting, Lots of Bluefin on the surface, Tuna season has arrived to Bodega Bay.
Left the dock at 530, headed due west to the caynon and put in right at the edge with 60 degree greenish blue water, had a few others boats within gyro range, saw some saurys jumping and locked the gyros in on them and saw 20lb albacore go full airborne close enough I could see it grab the bait mid air and I had a big sigh of relief knowing there was at least some fish on this water. We trolled way west to the 50 and the water got green, trolled northeast to the football and saw tons of life with some bluefin busting on the surface, I started switching to madmacs and saw albacore marks on the screen and my dock neighbor called me on the radio and told me the albacore are hitting so I kept the clones out, instantly got a foamer patch of albacore and hooked 4 way, landed 2, we chased the albacore under birds bluefin style and managed to grab 10 absolute jumbo fish, 20 by 40 area right west of the football. Mini mex flag seemed to work best but they weren’t picky once they got under the boat, lost a ton of fish and many more short strikes. All visual fishing that required a heads up run and gun style that makes my job driving the boat both fun and very difficult since I had to stay on the fish that were moving like crazy and keep the deck under control. This is my favorite type of albacore fishing since its complete chaos when you get them under the boat, If they would have stayed up for a little while longer it would have made for an epic day.
Friday we left and charged out early running in the dark to a dead flat ocean to the same numbers and put in just before daylight. Started with a bang with a small bluefin and 5 way on albacore within the first half an hour of setting gear, we were surrounded by jumping albacore and picked up 7 nice fish really quick, thought it was going to an epic day. Tuna had to humble me and unfortunately the fish went down and that was it for the day. We saw lots of jumpers throughout the day but the fish didn’t want to eat our gear, we found octopus and small rockfish in their bellies signifying they are likely feeding deep and not too interested in our gear. Had another dock neighbor hook 2 yellowtail and I stopped on the patty and we all threw a variety of irons and got nothing even though we could see a school of yellowtail hanging under the patty visually and on the sonar. In the afternoon we switched to bluefin high speed trolling and found lots of schools of foamers in the same area as some of my best bluefin fishing last year year around 10 by 30. At one point we could see 4 groups of fish foaming within bare eyesight and several more pockets birds chasing through the gyros in the distance, unfortunately the bluefin also seemed to not be interested in our gear, but there are a lot of bluefin around which is good news as well with more on the way from the south.
we tried to get out and got turned around like everyone else due to some serious wind that was well over double the forecast. Tried to go to the football and opted for bluefin to save a few miles of running to the albacore grounds, got the 37 west line and got bucked around pretty good. I’ve spent a lot of time on parkers in nasty conditions and know the limitations of the boat and never felt sketched out but absolutely no one on the boat looked like they were having fun with me included. The wind was only getting worse so we trolled back home. All the clients stuck through a pretty brutal 4 hours on the water.
I’m hoping those albacore stick around for a little while longer to run more trips but the clock is ticking for sure and these storms may blow the water up. We have caught albacore late into November before so its possible we’ll have some more opportunities and Id love to run some crab tuna combos. I think this is just a beginning for the bluefin and they will be sticking around for a month or two at least.