We haven't had this kind of fishing down here since 2004, and before that it was on like Donkey Kong in 1998, the summer just after my senior year. Every El Nino, the water warms up locally, and the Tuna come within striking distance. The local stuff off La Jolla isn't as hot as 90-100 miles down south into Mexican waters. Rather than take a day off work, and run my little skiff out to the Local Kelp beds, I decided to take the $300 plunge and go on a day and a half boat out of Seaforth Sport Fishing.
I left Tuesday night around 9p, slept in my bunk aboard the Aztec, over night and woke up to the captain on the bull horn. I hadn't slept nor dreamed like that in years. Being Rocked to sleep on the sea is a great experience. Frankly, I can't remember the last time I had a dream. Tuesday night I dreamt of fish and whales...
"Were comming up on our first paddy boys, maybe a couple minutes out." I've never been so awake at 5:30am from a dead sleep. You know how a toddlers wakes up, it's part of our fight our flight, survival instinct that God indwelled in us as kids. They open their eyes, ready to go, and coherent in less than 3 minutes, grumpy, but ready to go. It takes me 45 minutes for me to role out of bed these days... Today was a little different, I liked being excited like a kid again.
We fished a group of 3 paddies all day going back and forth between them when the fish would no longer bite. I limited out on Yellowfin Tuna, had a couple of Yellowtales, a couple of Dorados, and a handful of Skipjack.
The toad of a YellowFin in the picture gave me the best fight of my life! I don't say exaggerated things like that unless they're true. It was the best fight of my life that Wednesday.
It was a little late into the bite, meaning the fish come on good when the boat initially slides up to a paddy. The bitters are taken, and then the fishing slows down. Out comes the lighter tackle to pick off a few more fish that are finicky. The set up I was using when the toad bit, was a trusty bass rig. I was using 20# test on this rod, with a top shot of 20# Florocarbon, and frankly I'm surprised I got this big boy to the boat. The standard combo for such a fish would've been a 35-40# ocean rig that has twice the girth of my tiny bass rod.
When I set the hook on this fish my real immediately started zinging. The rod doubled over and my line was being pealed off the my bait caster faster than I could have ever imagined. My heart sank as I watched my spool puke more than half of it's content into the ocean.
"This is the real deal and I'm fishing my light tackle." I gave my star drag a half turn. It slowed the fish down a little, but line was still pealing off.
It took about 4 minutes to get down to the last row of line on my reel. "This fish will spool me in about 15 seconds."
I didn't have a choice but to give my drag a full turn and lock down the spool. I have never had a fish take all 280 yard of line off of a reel until today. I got down to the knot I had tied onto the spool, and by golly what do you know, I didn't snap the fish off. I was able to get 5 cranks on my real and took a half turn out of my drag as a comprimise. The Tuna promptly took my 5 cranks of line back, and I was back down to my knot again. It was a battle of tug-o-war and it looked like I had lost.
I was 5-7 minutes into the fight at this point. One quick run by the fish and he would've been a free fish... Well, a "free" fish with 280 yards of 20# mono tailing him around for a couple of days before the hook rusted away or worked itself out of his lips. This Tuna was tired, and I was able to gain a little bit on him every 5 minutes or so. The fight lasted 45 minutes that afternoon, and I'm happy to say, I won...sucker.
I've never been spooled before. Most guys never have this pleasure, and the guys that do get worked over by a strong fish, usually don't have a picture to tell the rest of the story. I got lucky on Wednesday being spooled by this tuna, AND landing what would be the best fight of my life.
Want some Tuna?... Come and get it, there's a freezer full that we'll never finish all of it.
Labels: the fight of my life