Albacore 2020?

SilverFly

Active Member
Given the current offshore discussions trending to albacore, and the fact that a lot of us are bored, seems like a good time to start a dedicated albie thread. At least in hopes we can get out and fish this summer.

Things I'd like to see here:

> Charters and private trips (boat whoring) being set up. Any boat, any charter, any port.
> Questions from tuna-curious fly fishers.
> Discussions of tactics/techniques (i.e. "matching the hatch", "run-and-gun" vs "troll-n-chum")
> Fly rigging for tuna (rods,/reels, flies, lines, retrieves, etc..)
> Sea conditions (marine forecasts, using satellite data to find the fish, etc..)
> Trip reports past and present
> Discussions/pics of cool stuff that we see offshore (whales/dolphins, giant sunfish, jumping marlin, mako sharks, etc..)

The primary intent being fly fishing, but by no means should conventional tactics be discouraged. It is possible to do pure fly, and that would be a interesting challenge in itself, but a successful fly trip almost always takes troll or jig gear to get the party started. And keep it going. There's also no shortage of potential knowledge transfer between conventional and fly. This fishery can be incredibly easy, or challenging in the extreme. So keeping an open mind is a huge advantage.

The floor is open...
 
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Steve Saville

WFF Supporter
I'd be curious to know who/what boats cater to fly fishers. The guy I used to go with in Warrenton, OR is out of business. I went on numerous trips with him; used an Xi2, 14 wt. coupled with a Tibor Gulfstream. Most fish were in the 25 lb. range but I did get one at 38+ lbs. It was a bitch to get up but I managed after four or five runs to deep water.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
I'd be curious to know who/what boats cater to fly fishers. The guy I used to go with in Warrenton, OR is out of business. I went on numerous trips with him; used an Xi2, 14 wt. coupled with a Tibor Gulfstream. Most fish were in the 25 lb. range but I did get one at 38+ lbs. It was a bitch to get up but I managed after four or five runs to deep water.

Hi Steve,

Sadly Capt Chuck had to stop fishing and sell the business due to health problems. I caught my first tuna on the Bewitched and have fished with Chuck several times over the years. One thing I'll miss about his operation was rolling up to the lodge and not having to deal with much beyond that. The older I get, the more fondly I remember having everything taken care of. But yeah, I've also spent some time on the rail of that boat, not winching up anything pushing 40#, but as you know, even a mid-20's albacore is a workout on fly gear. Bet you were glad to have a 14wt when you hooked that toad.

As for what charters still cater to fly fishers, I only know of two for sure, and possibly a third. As @cmann886 pointed out, @Nick Clayton is a tuna captain working for All Rivers & Saltwater Charters out of Westport WA. The other would be Meanwhile Charters out of Garibaldi OR. One other I know that is open to having fly rods on board is Shake n' Bake Sportfishing out of Ilwaco. Not saying there aren't other tuna captains that are willing to run fly trips, or simply let you bring a fly rod on board. Just that these three are the only captains I've met, or fished with, that are enthusiastic about fly fishing.

I'm sure Nick will chime in at some point but here's a quick breakdown of the current charter options, and some differences in the ports they fish out of. I haven't fished with All Rivers but by all accounts they run a slick operation and are booked solid every year. This is pretty much the case with any reputable tuna charter in the PNW, so there's really no "pimping" going on here by trying to book fly trips on these boats. In reality, we as fly fishers are vastly out-numbered by conventional gear clients competing for a limited number of dates. Which is the primary reason for this thread, and something to keep in mind if and when the restrictions are lifted and charter calendars start filling up.

Anyway, back to the charter options:

All River's and Westport: Nick please correct me if I'm wrong about any of this but All Rivers runs "6-pack" boats (a full crew of 6 clients), out of Westport WA. Again, this is a popular charter, possibly the #1 by numbers, so getting on the books early will be crucial. Westport has a number of advantages besides the fact that it's the closest tuna port to the Seattle area. It has one of the better bars on the coast so cancellations due to weather/sea conditions are (somewhat) mitigated. Another huge plus is that live bait is available in WP. Overall this is probably the best option, but it will require 6 fly fishers, or a combination of 6 that are OK with FF to collectively book Nick's boat (edit: or fewer anglers splitting the full boat rate at higher cost each).


Meanwhile Charters and Garibaldi: Meanwhile is a one man operation owned and operated by Capt Randy Kane. Although last year he partnered with Capt Kevin Teasdale to cover more days. Meanwhile is a 30' Grady White Marlin, with twin 250's. A smaller boat than most, but fast, comfortable and has a good fly platform up front. Although is rated as a 6-pack, a crew of 4 is considered a full load for booking purposes. Personally, I like the smaller crew aspect which seems to work particularly well with fly crews. Another advantage having fished with Randy so many times over the years, is that I can book the boat with a text message. Randy also loves to run fly trips, and actually prefers them to conventional, which is possibly the best advantage of all.

The downsides to Meanwhile have more to do with the Port than the boat. Unfortunately there is no live bait in Garibaldi, although some of the big boat charters have their own personal supplies trucked down from Ilwaco. Having fly-fished with and without live chum, I have mixed feelings about this. While nothing beats the surface action live chum creates, I'm weird in that I actually enjoy the challenge of hooking tuna without it. We can still get them keyed using dead chum but generally tuna aren't as fired up and tend to be more selective about flies and retrieves. More on that later but suffice it to say fly fishing for albacore without live chum feels more like fly fishing for anything else. Anyway, a couple other not so great things about Garibaldi. Oregon doesn't allow filleting fish on board so we are on our own as far as processing the catch. I'm far from the best but can, and have done much of the filleting myself. The last downside to Garibaldi is a relatively higher rate of bar closures. Sometimes we can get out but depending on time constraints, sea conditions, and how far out the tuna are, we might end up fishing for salmon, bottomfish, and crab.


Shake n' Bake and Ilwaco: I've only fished with Capt Mike once many years ago on a sport commercial trip for another captain. Might be a waste of time to even mention Shake N' Bake, because it's very high profile boat, that is booked solid every year. Pretty sure it's also the most expensive. The upside for potential fly crew with money to burn - it's a big, fast, and very comfortable boat with a huge live well. Ilwaco has a massive live bait operation so this might be the best bet to experience totally insane action. IF you have the money and can get on the books.

That covers what I know. Would love to add to that list.
 
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SilverFly

Active Member
I’m good to go this year silverfly as long as Oregon let’s use fish down there. I have my normal trip booked down there and I have a lot of vacation time so we may try to go out one day when I’m down there.

Hey Dennis, I figured you were in but glad to hear that anyway. I'm also a Washington resident so it's possible Orygun could "force" me to fish with Nick. Weekend fishing will be a lot easier for me this year. We're down a night shift tech, so my boss asked me to switch from back half nights to a modified mid-week schedule when we do most of our scheduled maintenance ... and most problems arise. So no more having to request Friday or Sat night off to set up a trip (at least in theory). I've got plenty of vacay as well, so mid-week is still an option.

Regarding mid-week fishing. A few of us were hoping to get a beach rental and set-up a multi-day, multi-species trip. Tuna being the primary objective, but other fishing venues included nearshore salmon/bottomfish/crab, jetty salmon/rockfish/perch, surf perch, and bay/tidewater salmon and SRC There's always something to fish for on the coast so it never hurts to have a plan B, C or even D. Even if the fishing sucks, washing down grilled oysters with a cold beer isn't a bad way to end the day.
 
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DenWor54

Active Member
Hey Silverfly,
I had my redfish trip canceled which gives me an extra week to play with. I’m thinking about doing some inshore stuff if it opens up. If your game I will shot you a pm and see if we can put something together.
 

Blktailhunter

Active Member
Was listening to Mark Coleman yesterday on the Outdoor Line and he said that with the later opening of halibut this year the season may go all the way into August, and combo Albarcore/Halibut trips may be in the offing.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Hey Silverfly,
I had my redfish trip canceled which gives me an extra week to play with. I’m thinking about doing some inshore stuff if it opens up. If your game I will shot you a pm and see if we can put something together.

Absolutely, depending on when (and a lot of if's).
 

cabezon

Sculpin Enterprises
WFF Supporter
Hi Silverfly,
You know that I'm certainly in on this adventure. I'm invested in a pair of 12 wts. and have scopolamine patches on hand. [I know that I will never see as flat a day as we had 35 miles off Garibaldi last October.]
So, if one were to spend some of the downtime (not that I've seen any down time myself...) tying for such an adventure, what would you suggest? Patterns and sizes.
Thanks,
Steve
 

SilverFly

Active Member
Hi Silverfly,
You know that I'm certainly in on this adventure. I'm invested in a pair of 12 wts. and have scopolamine patches on hand. [I know that I will never see as flat a day as we had 35 miles off Garibaldi last October.]
So, if one were to spend some of the downtime (not that I've seen any down time myself...) tying for such an adventure, what would you suggest? Patterns and sizes.
Thanks,
Steve
Hi Steve,

Don't really have time to dig into patterns right now but a good starting point is the main two baitfish prey species a tuna box should have imitations of.

#1: Northern Anchovy (Engraulis mordax). 4-5" on average. This is the primary prey species for albacore in our waters. Silvery sides, with dark purple/blue backs.
1587950212452.png

#2: Pacific Saury (Cololabis saira). These guys can grow to trout size but typically are 2-4" in our waters. Usually dark bluish-black backs but Nick has reported seeing them turn pale green when fleeing from tuna. Sometimes albacore hyper-key on these. Any sandlance imitation should work, so long as they are tied on strong hooks. Such as #2 or #4 tuna live bait hooks. The Aussies have similar small/skinny bait issues with their long tail tuna, and for that reason surf candy patterns are standard issue down under. Definitely wouldn't hurt to have a few in the box.
1587953516134.png

 

Steve Saville

WFF Supporter
I’ve been in touch with Nick. He did give me the name of a guy in Ilwaco who might do a trip but beyond that, had no ideas at the time. If I can find a boat, I have the six bodies.
 

SilverFly

Active Member
I know tuna season is a ways off yet but if anyone is looking to buy flies (or other gear), now might be a great time to help out area fly shops. One time tested, and arguably the standard PNW tuna fly, is the "Shock and Awe" developed by Anil at Puget Sound Fly.
 

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