SPECIAL FISHING REPORT
TUNA, Yes Albacore Tuna, they are here just 20 miles off shore, sometimes less. This report started several years ago when a crazed Californian fisherman came to Tahsis and in late August through early September brought 10 to 22 TUNA to our cleaning tables regularly (you know who you are Bob Franko). Bob was famous for his statement “When TUNA want to die-- you need to kill them.” Franko was instrumental in our early education on the how, when and where on Albacore. Since those days in 2007 we’ve pick up much more intel on these fast, hard fighting and tasty fish.
Now we are 6 seasons later and have heard many adrenaline driven stories about hooking a salmon on steroids (tuna) which took off like a freight train and spooled them. Along with a few adventurous fishermen and our local aboriginal people who annually sought out these magnification fish. Over the past few years we have put TUNA trolling lures in the tackle shop with the colours that work for our area. We have also subscribed to TERRIFIN a satellite imaging company which gives us/you daily ocean temperatures and chlorophyll reading off shore. This information is posted on our board daily with weather conditions, surf and tide reports. Again more intel and tools to help you find and get these average 25lb TUNA & other fish.
Now the topper, Wednesday of this past week a significant storm forced several cruising vessels and TWO Tuna Commercial Fishing Vessels into the marina to hide out from the weather for three days. We’ve had lots of commercial fishing vessel at the marina throughout the years but not TUNA vessels. It cost us several BEERS but, it was worth every dime, First we got confirmation of much of the intel we had already gathered, like type of lures & colour, trolling speeds, ways to set the gear, methods of swing the gear into the schools of tuna, finding the fish, caring for the catch once on board, proceeding the fish & recipes. Second was some real eye openers – these boats had been fishing Albacore since mid-June off our shores (Estevan Pt. to Brooks Peninsula) Most of the time within 25 miles of shore into 14 miles from the beach. WOW!! And the larger fish (25lb ++) tend to be closer to shore in slightly cooler water than the feeder TUNA. We also learned that the international tuna VHF channel is #72, listen to it while you are out there, you will learn lots. Well it looks like we have just confirmed what a few of us have been thinking for a while- “ If you are fishing the highway and it’s calm seas, why not poke your head out there another 4 to 6 miles after you have your Salmon &/or Halibut to catch Albacore Tuna.
This all brings confirmation to why we ran out to the 4000ft break (about 18 miles out) on Sunday September 15th 2013. Yes- just a few days ago, the pictures below say it all! We caught 15 albacore tuna in less than four hours of lines in the water fishing time. Our coolers were completely full of on average 25lb fish and our hearts were pounding so hard from the continuous adrenaline driven activity. It was one of the highlights of the 2013 season.
The fishing trip:Tyler Hunt, Dave Smith and myself (John) left the Marina at 7:15 am for a way point which a few days earlier two boats had scored on Albacore. The location was up island off the Kyuquot Canyon, just short of 2 hours of travel time cruising at 30 knots in flat/calm water we arrived at the way point around 9:10 am. We had not seen the turquoise colored water indicating warm water (61-64*f/14-16*c) with the proper chlorophyll content, when you see it you know it, it’s water like you see in the tropics. Now the search was on for the right water, we tacked South/East to the weather buoy on south Brooks Peninsula then started a zigzag pattern back toward Esperanza Inlet. We crossed the 2000ft line coming in and just like a knife line in the ocean the turquoise water appeared. The number of feeding birds increased significantly and a whale broke the surface nearby. We found the correct water at 9:55 am. Just ahead on our starboard side tuna broke the surface chasing bait. Lines in the water at 10 am and by 10:20 we had each boated a tuna and lost two, the boat was covered in blood and the three of us were jacked up on adrenaline, smiles all around. We look up and don’t see any feeding tuna. In our excitement catching we had lost the direction which the school was traveling. Tuna are a very fast moving fish attention to the details is very important to your level of success. Dave put the boat in gear and brought it up to trolling speed 5-8mph. (we had our best luck on the high end) and headed inshore a bit further. There was nothing for about 15 minutes. Each of us in our own way expressed our concerns about losing the school. We spotted them again and off we went! Pandemonium struck the back deck as we had our 1st of many doubles. The reels were screaming and so were we, It’s GREAT crazy FUN!!!! Everybody aboard had fished LOTS and all of us agree that pound for pound there is no stronger fighting fish than these tuna. We then found ourselves in the middle of a large school of Albacore and it was none stop action. As soon as each fish was gaffed brought aboard, bled out and place in the slurry cool down cooler, we were off again. We turned the boat back toward the direction the school was moving, put the gear out, got up to speed and BANG another fish or two was hooked up. We moved the fish out of the slurry cooler into a 300lt. chilling cooler full of ice. 10 fish filled the large cooler and we started stuffing the slurry cooler with fish. By 2pm the coolers were maxed out, 15 Tuna, Hi Fives all around. We got the boat cleaned up a little, gear stored away for travel. By 2:15 pm we cracked our 1st beer for the day, that alone should confirm how busy we were. 1 hour and 45 minutes later we were back at the Marina 4 pm processing/fileting tuna.
Could we have caught more? Yes, lots more but, without adequate cooling capacity these tuna go soft and not so good quickly. Processing- these fish filet out just like halibut, 4 large loins. The recovery rate on tuna is about 60%. So 15 fish x 25lb. x. 60= 225lbs of TUNA filets. That’s a lot of fish.
Eating – We made sushi out of some, grilled some steaks in an almond crust, and sent some to be smoked & canned. Yum Yum all of it.
We are now looking for our next calm ocean day to go again. Limits are 15 per day per person, 30 possession.
Watch for our TUNA TUNA TUNA video soon on our web site. You will find it under media / video gallery
I’m exhausted just retelling the event/trip!!!
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