Tuna Report from Westport, WA
Much better report this time around, which doesn’t involve taking on water or Coast Guard airlifts! (See that story, here)
Our original plan was to fish Saturday, but the small “hurricane” that arose off the Washington coast made us push the trip back. Fortunately, the crew was able to play hooky from work and fish Monday on Lake Pacific. Our port of departure this time around was Westport, WA, and the plan was to run southwest to break just north of the Astoria Canyon, a mere 50 miles down and out. This trip was aboard the Paakaaar, the “Reel Hooker,” which had every rocket launcher full. We had to leave some rigs in the truck.
We headed out at 5:30AM after picking up two healthy scoops of chovies and made it to the grounds in relative short order, with a 2-3 foot swell and zero wind. We knew we were in the right spot when we got there — we were smack dab in the middle of 5 stick boats working the area. We dropped the troll gear in and within 5 minutes we were hooked up. We couldn’t convert to a bait stop, so we trolled again and took 10 minutes for the next hit, but again, we couldn’t convert. We set out to troll again, and after 30 minutes, we started to doubt ourselves. That’s when the short dorado cedar plug exploded off the port stern. From then on it, was a 2.5 hour stop of pure chaos, with everything getting bit, from live bait to iron to swim baits.
I even had an impromptu jack pole moment when I went to clear the long swim bait troller, which had been dragging since the stop started. Of course it got bit when I reeled it in, so after I landed the fish, when I went to put the gear away, the braid got wrapped around the tip of the rod. I dropped the swim bait on the deck and proceeded to try to unwrap the tip of the rod, which was hanging slightly over the side of the gunnel. When I did this the swim bait dragged over the gunnel and was hanging right at the water line……next thing I know the water exploded (essentially in my face) as a fish grabbed the swim bait and tried to head for the deeps, all while the braid was still wrapped around the tip. My only option was to jack pole the fish in, and fortunately, it was a stout enough troll rod that allowed me to torque it over the rail and not snap the tip.
We ended up leaving the fish boiling around the boat, as we has run out of space and ice and knew we still had one stop to make on the run in for some white meat. We started toward port at 25 knots, again in flat calm conditions, and stopped at about mile 20 at a little know pinnacle to drop some pipe jigs for big lings. We had our limit (2 per person) within 30 minutes. Then it was back to the dock to clean the boat and process the fish. Final tally was 43 albacore, with the big fish weighing in at 30# on the scale, which coincidentally, was the last fish caught on the boat, by yours truly.
Awesome day of playing hooky, literally.
Until next time, tails up and tight lines.