On this trip we had Justin behind the wheel, Ryan in the galley, with Harry, Trevor, and Oat on deck. We loaded up with very nice 4-6” sardines, much healthier than the beat up bait we’ve been receiving lately. Man this boat holds a lot of bait, between the aft tanks, bow tank, and slammer there’s plenty of bait at your disposal. Captain Justin gave us an incredible briefing on what was to be expected on this trip. In short, big bluefin or bust! Use the proper gear, 2 speed with at least 400 yards braid backing with 50-60lb fluoro leader, and 1/0-2/0 circle hooks. Have 40lb setup with size 2 circle on standby. No spinning gear, no bass reels. Pick a healthy bait, butt hook, short soaks changing them out every minute tops. This was a reverse 2 day leaving at 9am. We got underway and in the afternoon we stopped about 20 miles short of our intial destination where the Aztec had done very well the previous trip, to find out that other sportboats in that area weren’t finding anything. So we zigged and zagged trying to locate these bluefin. Was greeted with a humpback whale putting on a sweet aerial show, as well as one of the largest pods of porpoise I have seen. In which we trolled through and stopped ahead of and dropped bait for nada. Stopped on a couple meter marks as well only to have a few fish boil on our chum, but no hookups. 0 fish landed on day one, very humbling considering how the past days had gone. But tomorrow is a new day. I fell asleep pretty early as I was beat from not sleeping much the night before so I’m not 100% sure what happened that night. But eventually we did end up making the move further west to where we initially had planned to start. Captain Justin was in communication with a few other sportboats and they game planned to spread out and look for signs of life. We finally stop on some decent meter marks and unload some chum and have some big fish boiling way back in our chum line. These were big girls. First guy gets bit on you guessed it, a spinning setup. I believe it was a 20 size Saragosa on a Phenix rod, 65lb braid to 60lb leader. Second guy hooked up is an older gentleman who held his own but was given assistance from the crew. Third was a more experienced angler, using 40lb and used the rail and put the wood to the fish and landed it in I believe around 45mins or so. Fourth guy was in for a relentless battle using a Fathom 40 two speed, must have seen him do a dozen laps around the boat. Fifth guy hooks up on Trini 20A on 40lb, no bueno. These fish were friggin mean! Second and third guy both land their fish, meanwhile spinner is still fighting his, and with the assistance of the crew finally gets it on board after what seemed like two and half hours or so. Fourth guy eventually landed his after a 2+ hour battle as well. Leaving the fifth guy still battling his, struggling to make any headway. By this time we had lost the school so captain made the call to chase this fish down, crew members got some fresh arms on it to put some pressure on this fish and kill it. All 5 fish landed were beautiful 100-120lb class fish. On that stop there was several casualties as well, straightened hooks, broken connection knots, very important to use the right gear and check your connections. We made a short move to relocate the school and captain says he’s seeing big fish down around 20-30 fathoms. I drop a sardine down on a 5oz sinker rig using a Makaira 15T on UC 80 Predator with 50lb and when I get down about 150ft I get picked up on the drop. Fought this fish for a good 20-30mins, this thing just didn’t want to die. Every time I’d get it near the surface it would make a 30 yard run back down. Finally started to tire it out and finished it off in low gear. To my surprise not a Bluefin, but my personal best Yellowfin about 60lbs! Although not what I’m after I’m stoked. Make my way to the back of the boat to see it had turned into a wide open sun downer Yellowfin bite. Grab my 40lb setup Makaira 10 on UC 80 Tilefish and went to work on the yft landing 13 or 14 in a row, mostly 15-25lb class fish, with a few pushing 40. These yft were hitting anything that touched the water and seemingly wanted to die. They also bit well into the pitch black darkness on flyline, sinker rig, and small flat falls. Never really witnessed them biting full speed in the dark before. Doing the over/under dance with 15 guys hooked up in the back in complete darkness is an experience in itself, fun! We then transitioned to trying to locate the big bft again, this time with flat falls. Stopped on a few meter marks and grinded away. One guy got sawed off on stock hooks on a flat fall, other than that I don’t believe any other bluefin were hooked. The writing was on the wall that it just wasn’t going to happen for us so we called it a trip. A little tougher on the bft for us compared to days past, but that’s typical bft behavior for you. They were around the boat, just tough to hook. No complaints... experienced an epic sun downer bite where 178 yft hit the deck in short succession, witnessed big bft hooked, fought, and landed, and came away with my PB yft. And the crew of the Aztec was fantastic! These guys worked their asses off to make something happen for us when things were looking bleak. Can’t wait to do it again.