Bluefin Tuna Pacific Northwest!
Having loads of time on my hands here in Westport WA I been talking with the commercial Albacore Tuna fishermen. They are catching baby Bluefin mixed in with the Albacore. Sizes range from 25 pounds to 45 pounds. Has anyone ever explored this open ocean fishery with a fly rod? They are getting a few Yellowfin also. I have not been hearing of the charter boats getting anything but Albacore. Some guy got a 39 pound Chinook recently on conventional gear.
Hey OC -
As you know it's really popular on the atlantic coast and the small tuna (true) albacore fishing in the pacific is very popular in California but I got the impression they aren't tolerant of fly guys on those trips.
As I understand it the run to tuna waters off Washington are like 50 miles (similar in CAL) so the charters are typically overnight runs and then a crank'em-in mentality upon arrival. Unless you got a whole charter to agree to wait for each other I doubt you'd get the rest of the passengers to comply. The boats they use typically only have an open transom area so it could get dicey if more than one tuna was hooked up I would think.
This does raise a good question though... could we charter an albacore run among us one of these days? That way there would be agreement on the tackle. I'd be up for it.
Over here the run to tuna grounds is reasonable in a center console 21 footer where I don't think the warm currents are reachable the same way off the pacific.
Just a guess...
Albacore on the Fly
There is a local fly shop that has developed a relationship with an Astoria Tuna Charter that now regularly takes fly only charter boat trips. The current issue of Northwest Fly Fishing has a feature article on this fishery that is co-written by the fly shop owner (non-board sponsor) I will be taking a trip on September 23 for the second year. These fish make a 12 weight feel like a toy. A fun toy indeed.
I've been on couple of trips out of Westport pursuing albacore with a fly rod. It is an adventure to say the least. Big strong fish that humbles 12 wts and causes one's back to get sore.
The last two times out was late September -- Great fishing and great conditions. Flat seas and warm (very unusal).
A bunch of guys and I booked an entire charter. The Captain was game, but very much unaware of fly gear and its capabilities. It is possible to work with a charter to arange what you want. Just remember the culture of harvasting tuna by the ton and more is always better.
Its great to read about fly charters and for that matter publications featuring tuna off the Washington/Orgon Coast and the fly rodding sport they provide. Tuna on the fly is a very enjoyable blue water fly fishing expereince.
My last experience will always stay with me -- Calm blue sea, tuna streaking under the boat as I worked the fly back ten feet under the water as it vannished in the mouth of an albacor.
Salty Dog -- Good luck and post the experience. The more who play in this game the easier it will be for all of us.
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