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So I finally got to go on my much anticipated tuna trip. Myself, my wife, two colleagues from work, and one of their wives all booked on the Fury from Deep Sea charters. As this was a 10 person party boat no fly-fishing gear was used. We arrived in Westport Wednesday at 4p with an anticipated departure of 7:00p. My Scopolomine patch was placed to allow it to kick in. When we checked in at 6p we were told the weather/seas has been rough on their trip in from the previous days charter, and that we would wait until 10:30 to let the worst of it past. At this time the flags on the wharf were standing straight out from the stiff breeze. After dinner on shore we returned to the boat at 10:00, and were told we should go down and get some sleep, but that we would depart with enough time to be on the fish by sunrise.
At 12:00 midnight the motors started and we pulled out of the harbor. By 12:20 we were getting tossed about like crazy and I made it up to the deck for he first of many purgings. After spending a nearly sleepless night on deck on a pitch black sea without a horizon and with repeated emptying of stomach contents the sunrise started about 6:00.
As the seas calmed slightly and a horizon was visible the motion sickness began to improve. Fishing commenced with trolling four jigs until a strike occurred, at which time the boat would turn back over the school and we dropped lines baited with live anchovies over the side. Most of the time we would have 1-2 hook-ups on the jig, then get another 2-5 fish on bait. This continued until 8p with occasional episodes of no fish on bait, and occasional episodes of 10+ fish on bait. Fish ranged from 15-29 lbs, and did pull like a train. Not a whole lot of skill involved in this fishing, apart from selecting an anchovy lively enough to swim rapidly away from the boat. As the day progressed the motion sickness did improve, and by afternoon I was able to eat.
After fishing ended we had 120 fish on board in the refrigerated hold. We had dinner (this was strictly bring your own edibles, but our group put together a nice spread), then went to bed. As a precaution I slept on one of the benches on deck, but thankfully the seas had calmed and my sea legs were finally under me, so I slept soundly.
Up again at 6:00 Friday, with more fishing until 9:00a. By 9:00 we were just about out of bait, had the hold full of 145 fish, and decided to head in. Made it back to port about 1:00p, divided up the fish, and headed for home.
Reflections: There needs to be a limit on Tuna, if for no other reason than to stop people from catching more than they can use. Because the fish were caught for the boat and then divided in equal shares there was really no way to say "I don't want any more fish, so I'll stop fishing now". My wife and I got the meat from 29 fish between us - well over 150lbs - and will have a hard time using it even after giving large amounts away. Additionally, there was large amounts of down time with very little skill involved in either the hooking or landing of fish. I'd much rather catch an 8" trout that I know I targeted, presented the fly correctly to, and played and landed with the risk of losing the fish. At least if you're not catching while fly-fishing you are working on reading the water, presenting your fly, fine-tuning your cast, or building skills in other aspects of the game. In fact, I think the tuna fishing experience would have been much more enjoyable if I had only caught 2-3 fish, got to experience the fight and see them in all of their beauty, then enjoyed the other wild life - and calm seas would make it nicer as well. We did see about 7-8 off-shore bird species (a few new ones for my life list), a humpback whale, 2 mola molas (ocean sunfish), and a leatherback turtle. All in all, I'm glad I had the experience but most likely would not go out again. For the same amount of money I could do 2 guided days on a river of my choosing, fish in an environmentally responsible manner, have a nice dinner, and sleep in a comfortable bed.
 

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Rob, great report and reflections from the outing. How much per person was the charter? I'll offer to buy some of that tuna from you if you have some excess to offset the cost and free up some of your freezer space. The boat that I am thinking of chartering will allow fly rods as long as its not in the way of the other gear casters. I just want to feel the tug on the end of the rod and see how it compares to other species I've caught on the fly down in Cabo. I know its a more of a meat fishing trip, since the lack of sleep, motion sickness and uncertainty of the weather and seas all play a major factor in the overall enjoyment. Its one of those things thats on my fishing bucket list to-do, so despite your experience, Im still wanting to go. Thanks again for the report, was wondering how you did...
 

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Rob,

I was on one of the boats a few days ago that headed out to the grounds, only to get hammered by the rough seas. We steamed out for seven hours, spent a rocky two hours overnight "waiting out the storm," then promptly headed back in. Many of us tossed our cookies, none of us fished a single line. Way too rough to even troll the lines. Pick your weekend wisely.

Devin
 

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... I just want to feel the tug on the end of the rod and see how it compares to other species I've caught on the fly down in Cabo. ...
An albacore is one fish I've yet to catch, on fly or otherwise. However, I bet they hold their own against any of the scrombridae family: skipjack, bonito or yellowfin etc of equal size. Any tuna-like fish can be an ass kicker on a fly rod.
 

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Rob, Put me on the list if you want to
sell some fish....Your post answered and
echoed how I feel about that kind of
fishing, but to each their own. I hate
getting sea-sick.....

Dave
 

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Smells like low tide.
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Thanks for the report and commentary, Rob. The motion sickness is what keeps me from going out on the ocean. Sounds like you weathered it well. You are a better man than I! All that puking on an overnight trip sounds like living hell to me. I'd never pay to experience that!
(I don't like to fish on charter boats anyway). I was going to go down to the docks and buy some tuna directly from a commercial boat, and even have them fillet it for me.
Cool wildlife! I've only seen Humpbacks when i lived in Hawaii, and I've never seen a Leatherneck Turtle. Saw a big Mola Mola swimming around in the boat basin with the fake coho run one Sept several years ago, though.
 

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I went out Friday at Hammond, OR. We went out about 40 miles to fly fish for tuna. The day started with a very rough trip over the bar and pretty big swells all day but it was tolerable. We managed only 4 fish but that yieded about 40 pounds of fillets. I was the only one that boated a fly caught fish. The others were caught on plastic swim baits on gear rods. The trip was okay but we had hoped for a few more fish to share between the six of us . The day was nice and warm with a small wind. We all got sunburned a bit. By the time we headed back in at 3:30, the swells had increased and the trip back over the bar was pretty harrowing. The skipper knew what he was doing, for sure. I'm not sure I'll do that again but I may. The Scopolmine patch worked well and for me, I'll never go out again without one.
 

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Try using a marinade of 50% soy sauce, 50% olive oil and lots of crushed garlic---soak refrigerated overnight and then bbq on the grill being careful to not over cook---you will find the fish absolutely amazing.
 

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Keep in mind that it's illegal to buy or sell
sport-caught fish
Gosh, I feel bad about saying something
so illegal....please, would everyone just
forgive me for such an horrible error in
judgement. You don't know how truly sorry
I am.

Sob, sob, bawling:

Dave
 

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Thank you for sharing your trip and lessons learned with us.

Someday I would like to take my wife out on a day charter for halibut or salmon..
Unfortunately tuna would be out of the question since she doesn't care for it so this would definitely be a trip for my son and I.........

P.S. Rob.
I didn't know your name was actually RALPH!
:clown:
 

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Thanks for the report. I've yet to get sick on a daylight charter, but not sure getting pitched around in the dark wouldn't start me chumming also.

I can understand the frustration with the no skill aspect of trolling/live-bait fishing. You really need to try fly fishing for them, because challenge is NOT an issue. Casting accuracy might not be that critical but placing a fly among boiling fish is exciting. Hooking up isn't guaranteed either as albacore can be very picky about both fly and presentation.

I tend to agree with you on the limits since there seems to be an attitude that these fish are an unlimited resource. I would suggest an annual limit so people aren't taking more than they can use. In that sense, one massive "meat" trip would actually be more environmentally sound than several trips with limited take. That said, wish I could trade you one of the 2 fly charters I went on this year for your meat trip. I've got a houseful of kids, - 3 of them teenagers, so you can guess what our grocery budget looks like.
 

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I left Friday night on a two day tuna trip from Westport. Bumpy ride out and a downright nasty day Saturday especially toward nightfall. It was slow for the nine of us boating 30 fish for the day. Saturday night we ran South about 35 miles off the Columbia...running before the sea thank goodness so a bit of sleep was had. Sunday morning started out very slow with no jig strikes. Finally the skipper spotted fish on the sounder, put the boat in a tight circle and started tossing anchovies over the side sucking the school to the surface. From then on it was pure mayhem with us boating over 50 fish by 1030 when we had to pick up to head back to Westport. The live bait thing is not all that challenging. Toss the chovy into the water, start letting line out on free spool and then when the fish takes the line goes out faster, count to five and flip the release. It's all hard work from there. Sunday I could have caught fish with my fly rod but I didn't want to mess up the rest of the crew so left it in its case. I don't think I'll do it again unless it is an actual fly fishing trip. Several cases of tuna were received in exchange for the catch and today I ran three fish worth of fillets up to Jenson's Smokehouse in Seattle...can't wait to get that back next week.
 

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Just returned from a tuna trip (gear) out of Ilwaco. Taken for what it was, it's a unique experience and I brought home plenty of fish. The weather was rough and most people got sick. Thanks to Rite Aid for the fine motion sickness pharmaceuticals. I had my hands full getting those fish up to the boat on 30lb casting gear. Much respect to those who get them on a cast fly. View attachment 34049
 
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