Been out there with a friend on his boat 6 years ago. Haven't tried it again since because I must be a light weight when it comes to seasickness. I've got two words for you if you go: Scopalomine patch!;(
I went out with Jeff Grillo a few years ago. We had absolutely awesome fishing on conventional gear. 6 of us, ~57 fish up to the high 40's. The largest would have been a state record at the time if we would have known to get it officially weighed. Jeff is a great skipper and I would highly recommend him.
(for you unflagging C&R's reading this - yes we kept everything and tuna is absolutely awesome eating! I C&R all native SH, wild trout, etc. but tuna is fair game.)
I did bring my flygear along but ran into some problems notably:
1. I brought a 9 weight (that I have landed 30lb mint bright kings on) and was completely undergunned. If I did it again I would bring my 12 weight, and a saltwater class reel with lottttsssss of backing.
2. Sharing a boat with the gear guys was tough. I ended up casting from the bow and the high gunnels made it difficult to cast and retrieve properly. Even if everyone on the boat was using fly gear, I would guess it would be tough to have more than 3 people casting at a time. And, you better be trusting of your boatmate's casting ability. Lead core heads on 12 weights and huge deceivers flying around wildly in the air during a tuna frenzy is asking for injury and impalement.
3. You need to ask the skipper to place the chum properly for a good fly presentation. If they throw the chum just to the side of the boat, it is difficult if not impossible to get a presentation as the fish are actively feeding right over the side, and not 30-40 feet out where your cast and fly is.
If you hook one - hang on, have fun and be ready for a big fight. You need to put the beans to them right away and try to keep them as close to directly under the boat as you can so you can keep maximum leverage.
The muscle tone on these fish are stunning.
Finally, bring a sharp fillet knife, some Wasabi and your favorite beverage. Fresh Ahi (tuna) sushi is as good as it gets!
Love tuna fishing. But used to do it back when my teacher had his boat out in Westport. Was great. I agree completely about a 12wt rod. Never used a fly rod, but the rods we used were comparible to a 12 wt and was one heckuva fight with those.
Wow, really odd this came up. Was watching a show today on the history of tackle. Fishing for tuna came up. Was a pretty good show (was part of the modern marvels series). Was pretty cool to watch these guys fishing for marlin, tarpon, and tuna with old hickory and greenheart rods and the old direct drive knuckle busters. If it's on again, I'd suggest anyone watch it. Was mostly towards gear, but did have a small section on fly fishing.
Just a few thought about this one. My experience was a bummer so take it for what it's worth--just one man's experience and may not be yours at all, but I do think it bears reading as it might help you be better prepared.
1. Left from San Diego and traveled all night, Stopped to get some bait about midnight and and then plowed on to the tuna off Catalina (mostly yellowtails, but some nice yellow fins as well.
2. Chumming is everything and it's usually done from the stern so only those guys in the stern hook up in the chum.
3. They were supposed to rotate, but, being buttzeros, they didn't.
4. Fly gear would have been useless and impossible under these conditions. Please rember that the fish can only be taken where the chum is, so the sides and the bow are out.
5. It was kinda pricey so I was sorta pissed about it all and onldy the regulars got fish. I manged three bonitas and was spooled by a big tuna.
6. Don't think I'll go again.
7. In some years the tuna will only get as near as 200 miles off the Washington coast. Find out how far they are out and talk to the skipper about your plans and my complaints. Best of luck if you go. Hope your trip is much more pleasant than mine. But just beware!
Although not a "Tuna" tale, some pertinent things if you fish with a Westport charter operation. While crossing the bar, do not stay inside the boat unless it's really mild water. Something about being inside and not being able to let your equilibrium roll with the boat motion. Stay outside & keep your eyes to the horizons. Never go sit on the john with the door closed, you won't have much fun after you get out. Our skipper and crew let a 40+ King get away from them after having it halfway in the net 3 times. After a 30 minute fight, not what we expected but that one had a great set of genes & happy it may have gotten to its place of origin. They are not the most competent people in the world. Watch out for the local bubba that will hog one area of the boat. 2 years ago one of those types paid for his wife and 10 year old son to accompany him only to catch all the fish he and they were entitled to. Wouldn't let his kid or wife wet a line if it meant he couldn't catch another one. After all his b.s. he continued to fish several minutes after the skipper said "hoist em" and caught a prettty nice King for his defiance of the skipper and by then the guests on board were ready to keel-haul the s.o.b. His decision, hey one of you unlucky fishermen can have my 12 pounder & I'll keep this nice slab, whattya think? Grrrr!
I remember my Dad took me on a salmon charter trip. We both had tickets to the derby. Where the skipper took us, we were having a problem getting our bait past the dogfish to get to the salmon. The baitboys were busy snipping lines and and rebaiting. We were ordered to hoist lines so he could move, when my Dad's rod went off. It was bucking and running deep. My Dad knew for sure it was a king by the fight. A baitboy said "It's a dog, I'll snip the line". My Dad said a few curse words for the guys remark. My Dad played the fish up to about 40 yards behind the boat. The skipper was watching as the fish spooled. It was about a 45-50# fish easy by size. The skipper looked like a giddy school girl when he yelled "everyone keep your lines in". I guess the skippers are involved in some type of boat derby themselves. Well, guy up the boat (we always fish off the transom if possible) dropped his line off the side and let it out and tangle up my Dad's line. Guy started yanking on the line saying "Fish on, fish on!!!!!!". Only one problem, as he yanked, you could see my Dad's line yank too. Captain yelled at the guy to snip his line. Guy refused, and really YANKED on his line. As he did, his line went slack and so did my Dad's. The captain and my Dad were ticked, and looked like they both were going to yardarm him off the boat. Worse thing of all, the derby winner was a 35# fish. The guy the whole time kept saying "I had my own fish on", eventhough everyone else knew he hooked into my Dad's fish. Luckily, we both caught fish. We even hooked into more fish and let some of the younger kids and other people who weren't catching anything play them (when we had our catch and were playing boat limit rules, we tried to let the person play it instead of ourselves). Oh well, there's always one on a boat like that, unless it's a private charter.