Albacore - August 25, 2004

Kenneth, my son the doctor, and his wife Meridith are having a little open house this coming Saturday in celebration of the finish of their kitchen expansion. They requested we bring in some fresh fish for the bar-b and so, as indicated last week, a "meat" trip was scheduled for yesterday. Ken, Harry Okuda, David Thomas, and "Capt. Eddie" Thompson joined me in this, my 1st trip of the season, to the outer banks.

With information from Bob Vanian (976bite) and BitesOn, we headed out in the direction of the "Dumper" (i.e. the Dumping Ground) some 85 miles out. Plugging the numbers into the GPS we opted to leave early and save fuel. Clearing the point at 9 PM we headed out on a 209 heading at a leisurely 9 kt speed. There was a little bit of a 10+ wind from the NW us into the trough causing a little bit of a rolling, but relatively comfortable, ride. Way off in the distance was perhaps one lite, but as the AM hours rolled on the fleet of sportboats at their usual 10-11 knot speed slowly caught up with us and by 5 AM we found ourselves in the middle of the entire local sport fleet. What was noted were multiple strong bait marks on the meter.

Our aiming point was about 80+ miles and we found ourselves a little above that by gray light. We trolled our usual outside Zuker B&P with line green head lures plus the mandatory B&P Rapalas and a small B&P jet head lure down the middle. Water temp was about 67.2. In the gray light, about 6:15 first one of the Zukers, then the other, and then one of the Rapalas were bit. A triple is not a bad way to start the morning. This was followed by what can only be described as an epic bait stop. By 7:15 we were limited out with 25 of these quality fish with nothing under 25 pds. and the largest eventually weighed at 37.7. Looking around we noted that every boat in the fleet was stopped. Soon our two bait bags were full and we had these large beauties all over the cockpit. It was almost impossible to reach the bait bags and following your fish was an ordeal. But we managed. A bonus was a 20 pd. Dorado.

The b8 was gr8. (Translation: the bait was great.) At first I thought we might get cured bait for the trip, but Kenneth pointed out that not too many private boats were going the distance and the bait was probably holding well in the pens. Thus, the bait we got was virtually as good as the cured stuff and, of course, cheaper.

The fish bit everything we threw out. Kenneth pulled in 4 on 50 and we had instant bites on 25, 30, 40, etc. Harry even got bit on a marlin casting set-up with an 80 pd leader.

We were 80 miles on a 210 heading out of Point Loma - about 8 miles east of the "dumper." "Capt Eddie" wanted to know if there was a "spot" in the area. I told him it was the 8 miles East of the "dumper" spot. We probably were the first boat in the area to pull out and proceded to troll to the north looking for warmer waters and maybe even one of those striped creatures. Along the way we had single bites on small yellowfin tunas adding three of these to our totals. As we proceded up the line (entering American waters - i.e. no limits) we saw several spots of breaking yft, but they would not bite the lures and they sank out when we tried to slide in on them with the baits. But we also found albies mixed in with the tuna and managed to pick up a few more jig fish with some decent bait fishing once again. Eventually, we had over 20 of the fish filling the cockpit. Our final score was, with confusion in the counting, at least 39, possibly as many as 43, of these quality fish, along with the three YFTs and the one Dorado. Since I run the boat I didn't have to do any cleaning.
But the fun was not over. Looking for the warmer water using the Terrafin SSTs (Sea Surface Temperatures) as a guide we then crossed of the "60" (60 mile bank) and headed up toward the "fly" ("Butterfly" bank). The water temp was slowly rising, but only 68 degrees, when Harry's Rapala went off. He insists on running that thing and also had his $200 electronic marlin lure way back there on a "whikey line" running off the bridge. The line screamed out like maybe a big one was out there. But David saw what looked like a Marlin back there in the wake while Harry was pulling on his rig. Cranking in the lines we found that the fancy "beeper" lure had been cut off. And then, up came a nice sized Marlin jumping way out there. Apparently we had had at least two Marlin back there in the jigs. It was decided that since this was a quality fish and that "Capt. Eddie" wanted to bring fish to his friends south of the border we would take it - if possible. One never knows about Rapala fish. But with the violent calisthenic show it looked like this fish was hooked solid. 27 minutes later we had the fish - almost - to the cormer. Kenneth with his long arms and a long 8' gaff found they he needed only about 3 more feet to reach the critter. But it was not to be. The fish swam off a few feet and as Harry pulled on the 50 pd. line (no leader), the next sound was the all too often heard four-letter "S" word as the Rapala let loose and the fish took off. It looked like about 180 pds but turned out to be zero in our day's score. And Harry was $200 poorer for the experience.

Crossing the Eastern half of the "Butterfly" bank there was no life and no baits. We had not seen bait marks on the meter since leaving the hot spot. Later, there were excellent marks in the 70 degree water between the "kidney" and 9 mile banks. We looked, but no tailers or sleepers.

With 2 for 2 on the Marlin fishing last week and this trip Harry suggested I quit while ahead. But it looks like a half day of local Marlin fishing with Daniel (the other half of Ken-Dan) and Geoff Halpern on Saturday before the evening's open house festivities at Ken's. And don't forget to set your alarms for 0700 on Sunday (Aug. 29th) on radio 1090 for the "Let's Talk Fishing" Pete Gray and Marty Milner featuring Ken and myself. You may actually hear something about the up coming Make-A-Wish Tuna Challenge tournament (Sept. 18-19) and the pre-tournament.