September 2004

September 24, 2004 - I fished with Al Kelly on his HIDE OUT. THere were reports the Bigeye were still around down at the 1010 trench. We took an extra 10 gallons as insurance. We went to the numbers from 976-BITE, but didn't see any boats or activity. I spotted a bunch of boats off in the distance with the binoculars, so we headed in that direction. As we approached I could see a large kelp paddy with a marker buoy stuck in the middle. The next thing I see is Ken Baruch and the Daiwa Pacific motoring up to make another drift. I found out later, we got there too late and missed the tuna bite. We managed a couple of Yellowtail.





September 18, 2004 - I fished the Make A Wish Tuna Challenge with Chris and Mark Thorson on his boat Safe Harbor.

Mark Had the boat at his house to do some repairs including work on the rudder. We met at the launch ramp on the 17th to launch the boat and discovered the batteries were dead. When Mark went to leave the launch ramp with the boat, he realized he locked the keys in the truck while it was running. Mark was able to 'break in' and parked the boat on the trailer. Mark pulled the batteries to charge them with this truck.

The launch ramp area was a zoo due to the tournament and Humphries having a concert featuring the Marshall Tucker Band. Mark had several errands to run and returned to the truck at 8:30.

We launched the boat and headed to the bait barge. Just as we pulled up, we discovered the bait pump died. Mark had anticipated problems and had another bait pump. It took Mark about an hour to install the new one, we got our bait and were on our way at 10:30.

We were heading to the 1010 trench. Mark ran the boat til midnight and I took over. The autopilot wasn't working so it took constant attention in the dark to stay on course when there wasn't a boat in front of us. At 2 when I checked the bait, the tank was almost empty with a few sardines managing to survive. Mark put the wash down hose in the tank and that was enough to keep a couple of baits alive.


I ran the boat til 3:30, when we arrived at our destination. Chris took over to keep watch while we drifted. Mark got up at 5:00 and and put out a bait. He eventually hooked a blue shark.


We started to troll at 6am. We heard of the Bigeye bite about 7am that was about 10 miles north of us. Mark opted to troll to the spot. When we got to the area, there had to be over 60 boats in the area. The HOLIDAY was there with a boat load of passengers. We trolled through, but didn't see anyone hooked up. We missed the bite.

Later we heard another bite going off and trolled to that area. The PENETRATOR, a 6 pack charter was hooked up when we got there, as well as several others. We put out our only barely alive baits and chunked pieces of Sardines. We were within 100 yards of the PENETRATOR watching them hook up over and over. Then we saw tuna swim past our bits and chunks without even stopping. All day long we heard fantastic reports of mixed bags of albacore, dorado, yellowfin and bigeye.


We trolled to the 390 and back down the bigeye area to be where the last bite took place at sundown. There were  4 boats there, but no one was hooked up. We watched the sun go down and then headed home. The wind was up a bit, but it wasn't bad.