Long Range

Long Range Report: Fleet targets local bluefin

BY GUNDY GUNDERSON/Special to Western Outdoor NewsPublished: May 14, 2019

Quality bluefin to 275 hit the deck

SAN DIEGO — With the fleet chomping at the bit for the summer season, several boats scheduled shorter trips to target the terrific bluefin fishing in local waters. The long range boats offer additional expertise on big fish, garnering a better record for landing trophy models, with many in the cow class. There have been hit and miss days but the better days have put the goods on the deck for the hard working anglers.

Intrepid on the fish


The Intrepid was one of those boats on the bluefin grounds. Capt. Bill Cavanaugh was at the wheel on the 3-day trip. The boat sent this report, “The jackpot winners for our Rose/Sharmack 3-day trip were as follows: 3rd place went to Mark Debello with a 130.2-pound bluefin, 2nd place went to John Miller with a 144.7-pound bluefin, and 1st place goes to Chai Ung with a 150.1-pound bluefin.”

The next trip, a Tony Garza hosted Soft Steel / Okuma trip, took place in a different area as the fish moved south. Cavanaugh sent this report, “We made a move to look at a different area yesterday and we were not disappointed. We awoke in the morning to a flat calm ocean and no wind. After spending all morning looking in the binoculars, we did not see much in the way of bluefin tuna. At around noon we were in an area that looked better, started seeing fish, and at around 1345 we located a very nice school of 60- to 75-pound bluefin tuna.”

The report continued, “As the school started to settle in on us, it was very good fishing with guys getting bit right behind the boat. We drifted with this school for the rest of the day and kept between 2 and 7 fish hooked the entire time. The most productive technique was a fly-lined sardine on 40-pound test with 40-pound fluorocarbon, and a 2/0 ringed circle hook. The guys had an absolute blast. It is very encouraging to see fish in this area and it looks as though we are in for some very good fishing in the weeks to come.”

The boat sent the final JP winners, “Our jackpot winners are as follows: 3rd place went to David Keating with a 71.4-pound bluefin, 2nd place went to Al Simpson with a 76.1-pound bluefin, and 1st place goes to Aneel Nath with his 158.5-pound bluefin tuna. Strong work men!”

Angler drifts

youngjaydeyaaaYOUNG JAYDEYA HOOKED and landed this 130-pound bluefin on the Angler. PHOTO COURTESY OF AMERICAN ANGLER SPORTFISHING


The American Angler was another boat on the bluefin and found the same good fishing. Capt. Brian Kiyohara was at the wheel and sent this report after a good day on the drift. “We tied up this morning from a day and half trip out of Point Loma Sportfishing. We ended up with 35 good grade bluefin tuna from 60 to 275 pounds. We enjoyed a long drift all afternoon, with multiple fish hooked at all times. Because we had a little smaller bait, 40-pound test and a 2/0 hook was necessary in order to get a bite. This equivocated to many epic battles, with some ending in success and some in heartbreak. At dark we hooked a couple of cows and were fortunate enough to land them both. Charlie had the right tackle, which helped him land his 275. Rocco used his skill to land a 233 pounder as well.”

The skipper continued, “Jadeya, who is 12 years old, was my personal favorite story, as she single handedly landed a 130-pound fish of a lifetime.”

The next trip started slower, “We left the dock with high hopes. Everyone had their Flat-Falls and their 40- and 50-pound bait rigs tied up and ready to go. The guys drove around in the dark looking for fish but only saw scattered sign, not finding any solid schools. With the Saturday fleet all spread out and the spotter plane coming, we felt we would eventually get on them. Unfortunately, by the afternoon it was apparent to the fleet that the tuna were down or had relocated.”

The boat made a move to greener pastures and the move paid off, “Fishing in a new zone is full of risk and reward. Today we were rewarded with a large area of scattered fish that at times looked like it is on the verge of solidifying into some good schools of active and responsive fish. We had one extended drift for 5 fish in the 60- to 70-pound class with a 140-pound standout. With beautiful weather and bluefin tuna spread along the coast over a 140-mile area, we went long, exploring the souther reaches of the 1.5-day range. We continue to see excellent sign of fish.”


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