August 31st, 2014 – Yellowfin Tuna

I suppose all is well that ends well. Fishing was once again great, but the motor had a hiccup on the way in. We repeated the routine of running toward the 302 with jig strikes and paddy fish.

Summary

We pulled out of Dana Landing around 5am and got in line at the bait barge.  We were about 10th boat, so it was crowded, but I’ve seen worse.  Weather was out of the South East which made the run out wet like a run back from the islands usually is.  We were happy to have the pilot house once again.  The change in wind direction actually made it pretty easy running on the way out.

Just shy of the 226/302 high spot, we slowed down to put the trollers in.  We saw plenty of boats and I thought I was going to feel claustrophobic right away.  After a few boats trolled very close to us, we got a blind double jig strike to start the day.  After cleaning that up, we headed South West for another 10 minutes to stumble on a great paddy.

As we slid in 75 yards up wind of it, I started to chunk bait and Andy got bit right away after seeing something huge.  Lots of life.

For about an hour we were bit or doubled up with a solid tuna bite.  We also pulled a very nice yellowtail on the light gear.

A very cool and respectful Farralon pulled up so we waved them in.  We both enjoyed it for another 45 minutes.  Then I looked up to see 3 boats heading our way.  A few minutes later I see 10 boats.  When we had 15 boats running in a full speed the paddy shut down and we left.

We looked a bit more, but candidly, we were tired.  We moved on toward the North 9.  Lots of life an birds on the way, but no takers.  Near the high spot, we found a paddy with rat yellows on it. As we moved on from that paddy, the motor wouldn’t run.

I was able to isolate the problem to a fuel issue.  We could fast idle in as long as we hand pumped the fuel pump every 10 minutes or so.  We quickly went from being in before 1pm to hitting the dock after 3.  At least we made it in.  We were going the same speed as the wind, so it was hot.  I’m sure the heat was worse on shore.

Catch

Not long after starting the troll heading Southwest across the 302/226 high spot we got a blind jig strike.  We ran it a few extra seconds looking for a double but didn’t get one.  As I’m winding in a little football yellowfin, the troller with the Mexican Flag feather goes tight.  We got a blind double with one coming on the falling feather.

10 minutes later we trolled by a big paddy loaded with fish.  We got the rest of the Yellowfin (bigger models) and a nice Yellowtail.  The paddy shut down when the fleet spotted us.

Everything was caught on sardines.  We chunked with some old, fresh-dead squid and any dead sardines.  Bait once again was great.

We pulled some rat yellowtail off a paddy at the North 9 before the engine went on the fritz.

2014-08-31 Yellowfin Tuna
Yellowfin Tuna off the paddy.

2014-08-31 Yellwo Tail
Bigger model Yellowtail off the paddy with 20# gear.

2014-08-31 Catch
Kill bag was full early.

Conditions

Water

Temps ranged from 71 in the bay, 69 at the harbor mouth and 75.9 out on the banks. There were some good temperature breaks, but it was consistently warm.

South West swells around 2′ at 13 seconds. Some left over wind chop out of the North West around 1-2′ at 8 seconds. Some new wind chop at 1′ out of the South East. Ultimately the wind chop wasn’t bad and got better all day.

Tide

Almost a quarter moon with a steady rise all morning.

2014-08-31 Tides

Weather

The wind from the day before shifted around to the South East. There was a good ground swell from a hurricane out of the South West. This made for a bit of chop and spray on the way out, but we weren’t beat up too bad. We had the overcast clouds working our favor which broke around 9am to sunny skies.

The wind backed off and shifted to the south west for a warm but pleasant day. Good conditions for spotting kelp.

Notes

On the way in the engine died. After checking for debris strike and electrical problems, I figured out it was a fuel issue. The motor would run as long as we kept pumping the fuel line bulb. It seems that the fuel pump may be out.

Fuel: Burned 21.9 Gallons
Distance: 68.5 nautical miles for an average of 3.12 MPG.
Engine Hours: 10.8 for total of 763.7

 

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