Posted by: socalsalty | September 20, 2012

Trip Report: 976-Tuna / Seeker Rods Eclipse 2 Day (Day 1)

Neil with a light scoop

Labor Day Weekend 2011, I rode the Eclipse for a 1.5 day trip.  I had a great time.  I was impressed with the boat…captain, crew, galley…all good.  When I saw that 976-Tuna was doing a 2 day trip with the Eclipse in September, I knew I wanted to be on that trip.  28 anglers boarded the boat at Seaforth Landing and we departed a bit the late.  The boat was returning from an overnight trip, and immediately turning around into our 2 day (another overnight too after we got back!).  The bite has been so good this year that the crews/boats have been busy.  The crew was completely different than the one last year.  I was immediately impressed though when I saw the care with which they loaded the bait.  Very light scoops…it took longer but I knew it was critical.  Bait has been an issue this year.  You can’t call in a delivery, so moves we made at the bait receiver could mean everything later on.

Once we got underway, Capt. Rich Fairty introduced himself and the crew…Neil, Ping, Adam and Ben on deck, and Will in the galley.  His plan was to head down about 120 miles the first day where the fleet has been getting into more yellowfin tuna.  Day 2 we’d head back north and get into the zone where it was more the bluefin area.  Works for me.  Capt. Rich said that bait was going to be an issue, so we’d have to be conservative about it.  I was glad to have some jigs in the bag, just in case.

I brought 5 setups, 25lb mono, 25 spectra/fluoro, 30lb mono, and then a 60lb. setup.  Wishful thinking?  Sure, but there have been a handful of 100lb-ers caught in this range this year…better to bring it and not need it, than need and not have.  My personal gameplan was to fish the 40lb setup in the gray, then drop to the 30lb setup once the sun was up.  I was using 2/0 circles on all the setups, except the big gun.

One of the nicer yellows

The next morning I was ready to fish at 6am, but it would be sometime before we got to put out lines as we still had a way to go before getting into the target zone.  Before getting there though we happened on a kelp paddy and did a drift.  We got into a few dodos and mostly smaller yellowtail so we pushed on.  I managed a little yellowtail.  Felt good though to get one quickly under my belt.

We moved on.  The next kelp yielded more of the same, but we also got our first yellowfin tuna!  It took awhile before we would get into the desired zone.  I made the best of it and re-rigged my 40 lb setup to put on a jig.  I picked a silver and black butterfly.  I put a mint waxwing on the 25lb fluoro setup.  The next stop was on a jig strike.  I was fishing my 30lb rig.  I was ready with my bait on the slide.  I flipped it out to the side and let it drop in as the trollers were reeled back.  Bam!  I was bit.  Got it in and it was a yellowfin.  I tried to play it cool, but I was pretty excited.  My Top 10 quest had been completed 🙂

The trolling jigs were stopping the boat

The rest of the day was mostly jig stops…more so than normal.  The jig fish seemed to be the bigger ones getting caught too.  Typically people will pass their turn, but no one did.  We were working in 4 man groups.   My bag number was 25, so I was in the last group.  I found myself actually looking forward to my turn.  The hot jig seemed to be a green diver.  When I got my turn, I got it and got my big fish for the trip.  Big fish for Day 1 was a jig fish also, but not a trolling jig.  Eli scored this nice yellowfin on a butterfly jig!

To be continued…

Eli’s butterfly yellowfin

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