August 15th & 16th, 2009
The prior weeks weather reports were sort of pessimistic for Tuna fishing….
Lying in bed early Saturday morning listening to the sound of the surf crashing on the beach, signaled that at the very least, this was not going to be an easy day. A phone call for a weather report from the Stonewall Bank Buoy on the drive to the harbor confirmed it…. a bumpy day was in store.
Unfortunately, the fishing reports from some of the other boats in port showed that the Salmon were located in parts unknown, so with our options limited, we loaded our crew and poked the boat out into the ocean to see just what the conditions really were.
At a measured pace, we motored west past the harbor buoys, and headed out to see what the morning would bring. Before long, one of the crew spotted something to the north, which turned out to be a couple of Humpback Whales, one of which was waving one of his huge white and black fins back and forth high in the air. Wow, what a sight….
Continuing on our way, we slowly made our way out to about the 35 mile mark, and stopped to do a little prospecting, but no Tuna in the area. On we went, trying a few other spots, with very little action. By about 1:00 with only 4 fish in the box, we moved to yet another location…. Bingo, FISH ON! In the next hour, we rapidly made up lost ground, and by about 2:00 we had added another 8 nice fish to make an even dozen, (which was somehow appropriate, as our crew for the day were Ray, Brian and Brian from the Fred Meyer Bakery!) These guy’s very quickly learned the art of the “Controlled Chaos” a hot Tuna bite provides!
To complete the day, a pod of Porpoises came rushing in to dart around back and forth, and under the boat, checking us out before finally moving off to the east. Wow…. what a neat experience to be able observe these magnificent animals so close at hand!
Unfortunately, the day had to finally end, so into port we headed, to put all our fat Tuna into bags and onto ice in the coolers, for the tired fisherman to pack back home with them. Thanks guy’s, we had another great day, and really enjoyed your company!
Sunday dawned with an even worse report than Saturday. Our crew for the day, Todd, Lee, Kyle and Brock boarded and said that they S U R E were excited to go fishing for Tuna! Well, after our usual safety talk, and with our options again a bit limited, we decided to head out to just take a peek and see what things looked like.
Initially the ocean looked a little better than it had the day before, so off we went, working our way west under a beautiful sunrise, out toward the Tuna grounds.
After slowly and steadily traveling for about about an hour an a half, we found ourselves out about 35 miles in a very bumpy ocean, when we stopped to toss the Tuna feathers out for a first try. It was becoming very debatable whether we would stay, or turn around and head back to port, after the boat fell down off the back of a few large waves, and everyone was holding on tight to the railings. We tried the first spot for a just a few minutes, before deciding to move out a few more miles to check conditions and again deploying the gear to hopefully entice the Tuna to bite. “FISH ON!!” Holy cow a double…. what a way to start the day! The sun eventually burned it’s way through the clouds to reveal a warm beautiful day, the waves subsided somewhat, and the action continued at a fairly steady pace through the morning, with many repeats of “FISH ON!” being yelled, many before we could even get all of the lines back in the water. After a short lecture regarding the difference between vegetation and fish, (see picture below) the crew quickly became experts at handling the gear and subduing the strong and scrappy Tuna. Before we knew it, the clock showed it was about 1:30 and time to put things away, and prepare the boat for the long trip back to port.
On the way back in, we spotted a couple of small Ocean Sunfish “Mola Mola” (see picture below) and gently captured one to show the crew these truly unusual and amazing creatures. Sunfish are typically found in temperate and tropical oceans around the world, and we find them here in the NW because they have followed the same warm tropical currents the Tuna are traveling in. They are frequently seen basking in the sun near or on the surface, and are often mistaken for sharks when their huge dorsal fins emerge above the water. Their teeth are fused into a beak-like structure, and they are unable to fully close their relatively small mouths. Ocean Sunfish can become so infested with skin parasites, they will often invite small fish or even birds (which is how we spotted them because a bird was with them) to feast on the pesky critters.
After safely releasing the Sunfish back into the water, we continued back into port to prepare the day’s catch for transport home. After we cut and packaged the catch, and said our goodbye’s to our outstanding crew, it was time to do a through cleaning of the boat to prepare for our next big adventure next weekend!
Again, we want to thank our great crew for sharing a truley outstanding day with us!