August 20th 2022
It felt great to be back out there. The weather was awesome, the crew was great and the smiles were stretched from ear to ear.
JP, Hunter (JP's friend), Gina and I pushed off at 3:30.
I'm having a very difficult time finding the right size bunker. The bunker in my canal and the Patchogue River are way too small. Thankfully I had some snappers penned upped that I had caught in my canal. I have said it many times before...this time of the year I will not head offshore on my boat without live bait. The snappers and a few mullet went into the small baitwell and we put the rest of the small bunker in the large well.
We broke the inlet right at nautical dawn. I pointed the boat SE and off we went. The ride out wasn't bad due to the angle that we were hitting the waves. for the first 40 miles the ocean was devoid of life. We finally ran into a pod of dolphins. You need to capitalize on every chance that may present itself. Gina stood by the console under the hard top making sure she wouldn't get hooked as poppers were being launched in every direction. Hunter twice had his popper get blown up but didn't come tight. After a few more casts and knowing that there are tuna mixed in with the dolphin we picked up and ran them down again. I position the boat in front of the dolphin. Hunter's first cast, before he was able to even pop it once had a big YFT blow it up. This time the tuna didn't miss. I couldn't believe how quick the fish came to the boat considering how big it was. Hunter made sure I knew the fish was green. Sure enough I hit the tuna with the gaff and it goes ballistic. I had to let go. Good bye gaff and hello burn blister. The braided line hit the back of my hand with such speed that it caused a blister as if I had been burned by something hot. It could have been a lot worse. Twenty minutes later we get the fish back to the surface. The gaff was gone but our back up gaff did the trick. High fives all around. By then the dolphins were long gone.
We continued to head SE. After several more miles we ran into some lobster pots and we started to pick off some nice mahi. So glad I took the time to catch those snappers. Those small bunker were useless! After putting a bunch of nice mahi in the boat I decided to troll around in the blue water looking for a wahoo or a marlin. We didn't find any however we did go 2/3 on 70lb YFT on the troll. Poor Gina, she fought hard and had her biggest tuna boat side. We were just about to gaff it when the tuna spit the hook. It all seemed to happen in slow motion. The tuna just swam slowly into the deep blue water.
It was a great trip! No doubt Hunter will be invited back. Fishing with guys half your age is wonderful. A fish would hit the deck we would get the lines back out and they would go to work. I didn't have to say a word. The tuna was gutted, beheaded and iced.
The ride back to the dock was wonderful. The ocean was flat and we cruised home doing 34 knots.