One hundred twelve bluefin tuna today from a couple of stops that were reminiscent of days past. After an incredibly therapeutic night on the sea anchor the morning for us began on a slow note with plenty of driving looking at blank screens and a generic ocean surface. Then it happened. I have to take a side step and relate that an overwhelming sense of confidence was pervasive despite our slow beginning. I felt we had something significant figured out yesterday that translated into success. I believed that same approach would again produce today. I had no doubts.
It came in the form of a beautiful school that acted exactly as we like - no darting away to avoid us, no diving off the fathometer; no skittish behavior typical of fish that have been relentlessly harried by the industrial fleet. Chief engineer Sean Bickel eagle eyed the spot, we slid in nice and easy, we let them have with all the influence four brimming tanks of bait can muster, and they surrounded us, crowded under us, and got down to biting just like days of old. Man was it sweet - ten to fifteen going for the first twenty or so minutes that added up in a hurry. Afterwards the action slowed to a traditional "plunker" where we managed to keep one to three or four on the lines for the better part of three hours. Between the constant show of thirty to forty pound bluefin crashing around and anglers continuously tied into the prize scombroids it could not have been sweeter or more motivational to everyone angling for bites. Every angler fished hard, and was richly rewarded.
Another three hour tour followed our big stop but we were not finished. One little subtle hint led to a final stop for the remainder of our catch that followed the same pattern as the first but simply petered out sooner. We cherished everyone of them though recognizing the triumph, value, and beauty of each individual. And that did it as we steamed around the final couple of hours satisfied but not sated. We had a fantastic day, actually two fantastic days, but, it will take a whole lot more of these beauties to satisfy the deep pangs they engender. We are just getting started - I hope.
Our final day will be spent prospecting offshore hoping to stretch our success into another zone up the line. As I mentioned in the beginning of the voyage this is the transition time of the year. What we observed on the southerly tack one week past has zero bearing on what is happening now. And the only way to find out of course is to dedicate time and effort to the cause. That is our exact idea tomorrow. The old sage wisdom of "you gotta look to find 'em" rings true, especially at this time of the year.
Photo for the day features Royal Star angler John Stuemke and again crewman Steve Gregonis doing the gaffing honors on a worthy "fatso" albacore estimated at thirty five pounds; a nice bonus for when fishing for bluefin or otherwise.