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I had mixed emotions when I left for the trip. The landing’s counts had been down for the last three weeks, but there were signs of fish moving up from where they had been a few weeks ago. The water was warm ranging from 68 to 71 which had the albacore down, but when fish did come up there was a good chance at a nice one. The fish were ranging from 30-40lbs, so I felt confident that I would at least get a good one.

We cleared the point at 10:30pm and traveled to a ten mile stretch of fish between 60-70 miles down the coast. Good bait signal very early and at 6:00am we are fishing. We get a jig strike early and we get another 5 or so. Nice ones, ranging from 25-30lbs. we start trolling again and the captain decides to shut down on a school at 20 fathoms. We get a few live baits in the water to get them up, hopefully. The school rises, but doesn’t surface. I hang a good fish that ends up weighing 35lbs. I get him in along with at least another five fish being caught.

My buddy who came with me had his chance next. We stop on another school and hew gets a nice 30lb slug. His first albacore! I stopped fishing when he hooked up and took photos while saying, “you gotta eat the heart!” We took the fish's heart out he eats puts it in his mouth beating. Takes one chomp, tries to swallow and spits it out. I can hardly wait to see how the photos come out. We scratch until 9:00am while heading south to an area 12 miles further down and the fish never come up again. That is to say, if you could consider them coming up at all.

Next day, we start in the same area as the next morning. I hang another fish and land a 30lb. fish. My buddy gets hung and fights a nice fish up to the boat. It takes two last surges and breaks itself free. We get another 20 fish and it’s the same thing as the previous day. They go deep. Do we stay and hope like the first day? No, we go patty hoping. We head down a break with 6-8 foot swells from the northwest with a lot of chop and start to find some kelp patties. Right off the bat I see a nice swordfish riding a swell while sunning. He dives as we go by. Good fishing here I am thinking. We land at least 45 yellowtail during the afternoon. I catch 3 ranging from 12 to 18 lbs. I also pulled the hook on a fish that was at least 20lbs. He was the only fish home on that patty and I got a real good look at him. Jesse from Vegas ends up hooking something else at a patty. He is fishing 30lb line and the fish takes off for a long run. 20 minutes later, we are all wondering, Bluefin, Yellowfin, Big Yellow, Huge Albacore? Big Albacore! 40lb toad. Jackpot.

We also have seiners all over the place. So we knew some bluefin were in the area. Two other boats were pulling pens up the coast that I know have to be loaded with the beautiful beasts. We had one spotter plane high and a helicopter flying low. The helicopter came for a visit also while on a patty. It hovered over us after giving the boat a buzz. He was around 75 feet from the boat. An hour later while riding on the stern, a series of explosions begin. Big bluefin busting, we set on them and they disappear. The seiners have them spooked in a serious way. After dark we call it a trip and head in.

About the BMS. Great people and good food. Louie cooked great meals and snacks. The bunks were WIDE and clean. If you shut your door you couldn’t see your hand in front your face. It helped when trying to get some rest. Our captain handled the boat great in the rough weather and could shut the boat down perfectly for us to get fish off a patty. Not easy when people where having a difficult time standing up.

To some it all up. We ending up with 45 yellowtail and probably as many albacore. I got 2 albacore and 3 yellowtail. Not very good, but for the conditions I was pleased. I always have fun no matter how it turns out. I wish we could have been there 3 weeks earlier, but who has the crystal ball? I think the albacore would have cooperated more if the seiners weren’t working the area as hard too. Does anyone else have theory on the seiners putting the albacore down even further? We must have seen 30 separate seiners. I know they don’t set on albacore, but surely they get nervous with all that gear going in the water. Not to mention the fleet on their tail too.

Pope
 
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