Friday, August 17, 2012
Albacore - a day off Monterey
As mentioned in an earlier post, I have been spending more time fishing since I bought an 18' Parker skiff. This, of course, was the plan all along.
Wednesday the sea surface temperature, wind forecast and fishing conditions made it possible for my friend Stan and I to launch at Monterey harbor and run 25 miles out to the offshore albacore grounds. In this El Nino year the number of albacore being caught close to shore is up over past years.
So we ran out and reached the temperature break, where the water was 61 - 62 degrees and the sea showed 'offshore' blue water. Set the trolling gear (10mm tuna feathers in 'squid' colors) and about 10 am we got our first albacore. It was exciting to see such a wild and beautiful creature appear out of the depths. Shortly after we had fish on all three lines and it was chaos - the good kind of chaos.
After a couple hours the cooler was completely full of gutted, headless fish on ice, and we had three more fish head down in the 30 gallon bait tank. We were out of room for fish - save the blood covered deck. We decided to troll back to the break and head in. On the way we found a promising edge with weed, birds and current and had to stop and fish. Stan cut up our anchovy baits and squid that were regurgitated from the albacore already landed and started a chum line. Then he picked up his fly rod and cast a squid fly on a sinking shooting head while I fiddled with cleaning up the mess on the boat. Seconds later he was fast to a nice 23 pound albacore on a nine weight rod... a rod well suited to small striped bass or steelhead. Not everyday that you can hook blue water tuna on a fly rod - especially off central California.
We had a wonderful day of fishing and, after processing, over 60 pounds of excellent albacore loins, filets, and belly flaps for many meals this Fall.