Looked so nice and calm out there yesterday from that photo, and those were some solid sized fish. Did you seriously try for bluefin in a special place, like the closer green water you kept mentioning, or just head to the albacore coordinates and hope for incidental bluefin on the giant pink ***** squid fly? (I so want to assign that thing a rude name, PDS, but it's not my tie..)
I also can't wait to go again, that was really fun. I never thought I seriously would look for a 12 wt, but I'll be sure to have my own gear next time. Thanks for all the motivation and psyche Silverfly, Cabezon for coordinating logistics, and to Nick for getting a fly rod boat and expertise going. It will be a long time till next year.
There were some big swells early in the day but very little wind and no chop to speak of. By late afternoon it was greasy smooth with a mild swell.
This was, first and foremost, an albacore mission. So no dedicated unicorn hunting in the green water this time. Although a marlin was sighted and photographed the previous day. I did drag the big pink squid "*****" fly which I'm calling the Kraken. Plenty of joke material there but this was the first time in 5 trips a variant of that fly didn't get hammered on the troll. I did get one whack when retrieving it yesterday but still confused as to why it didn't stick with the tandem 6/0 hooks.
The marlin sighting had me dragging it a good chunk of the day, and pretty close in. Gotta say that thing pushes a lot of water and feels like trolling a kitchen towel, but looked damn good as it would break the surface, wake down a wave in the propwash, even leaving a trail of bubbles as air vented from all that fiber.
I'm not a huge fan of trolling, and agree it's not "fly fishing" by definition. BUT, by holding the rod there is a definite inter-active component to it that is strangely enjoyable. Particularly when running the fly close enough to watch and affect the action. With the squid it was easy to impart a pulsing action simply by stripping. Lifting the rod as it was cresting a wave would cause it to break the surface, leave a less than subtle wake, then sink again with a trail of bubbles. Another technique I was playing with was to strip in a yard or two, then let go, causing the squid to dive, turn to one side, then lurch forward again as the line came tight. Could work with a wide range of patterns but looked so killer with the squid. Basically bucktailing on steroids, only expecting a bill to pop up or see it disappear in a massive boil.
Agreed on the long wait for next year, although I will have to defer thanks for coordination/logistical efforts to others. Not my strong suit by a long shot. Until this year I've done out of sheer necessity simply as a means to get out there. Hoping that has all changed now that the albacore FF fire appears to have been lit. @cabezon and I were joking about the irony of having a hard time finding seats on fly charters in a few years.
Hopefully that won't be the case. There is now genuine, enthusiastic interest among the charter fleet in promoting fly fishing for albacore as a legitimate approach. And not necessarily "fly only". I feel safe in saying we've clearly demonstrated this year that fly fishing is not only effective, on par with bait and conventional gear, but that it can play nice next to same gear. So the idea that we have to run "fly only" trips has largely now been obliterated.