Howse capped their successful trip with a beautiful 80 pound bluefin tuna. They found fish between the 9 and 182, stopping on birds and kelp paddies. “Small sardines and 30 pound line was key, the fish wouldn’t touch the 40,” Hanold said.
In addition to tuna, they saw big schools of dorado but were unable to get them to bite. The dorado apparently were even more line shy, “they would not touch 30 or even 25 pound test, you could probably do well on them with 15 though.”
“We were hand feeding them chunks of sardines, but they would not bite anything with hook and line attached,” he added.
Howse’s 80 pounder was not the biggest tuna of the season, but it is well above average and a fantastic catch. When filleting this fish, Howse found the stomach literally STUFFED with pelagic red crabs. Like the tuna, the pelagic red crabs are flooding local waters following the warm current up from Baja where they’re traditionally found. The water is 2.5 to 4 degrees warmer than usual with these El Niño conditions.
This last week there have been two tuna caught on local sportfishing boats pushing 200 pounds, and some spear fishermen last week shot a couple bluefin in that same range as well. If you’re going offshore, it would be wise to have a rig capable of fishing 80 pound line in case you run into a school of fish in that class and want a chance to land one.
But as Hanold alluded to, you really also need a rig in the 15 pound range if you want to capitalize on a lot of the dorado around.
The traditional 30-40 pound rigs are working for the majority of the bluefin and yellowfin you’ll encounter out there, and give you a good shot to land something in the 70+ range like Howse got on this trip.