September 17th, 2022
I took the two guys (Chip and Alex) responsible for getting me back out on the water tuna fishing. Chris also joined us on the trip. I know the ride out would be a tough one. Before we pushed off at 3am I took a peak at the conditions at buoy 44017. Yikes! 15kts with gusts to 19kts. Out of the dreaded NE. We broke the inlet without incident. However just as we were about to head off a guy that was 6 miles out got on the radio and informed anyone who can hear him that he was turning around after 6 miles. I asked how big his boat was and he replied "30 feet". My Cape Horn is 31 feet. I looked at Chip and I asked what he wanted to do. Without hesitation the 69 year old salty dog replied "we go".
I knew there was no way I could get to where I wanted to go. No big deal. I usually have a plan B and plan C on my mind before we leave the dock. With the waves coming at us from the E and the wind NE I pointed the boat slightly SW. This made for a semi comfortable ride out. Despite being able to see white caps in the pitch dark ocean we managed to cruise out around 20kts. After about an hour relief came in the form of nautical dawn. Huge mental relief when that first sign of the sun's glow to the East appears.
Our course led us to a scallop dragger. As we approached we noticed a boat was already leaving. That's not a good sign. Right as we get behind the dragger Chris and Alex shouted to us Fins, Fins. They both quickly grabbed poppers and let them fly. They landed several perfect casts but the tuna weren't interested. That's ok, I busted my butt making sure we had plenty of live and dead bait. It didn't take long before we had tuna blowing up behind the boat. Chris and Alex came tight. As these guys were fighting the tuna Chip and I were busy throwing in freebies to keep the bite going. We use 40lb leader because the tuna have incredible eyesight. That means you cant horse this fish to the boat. With the ocean being rough it wasn't easy for Chris and Alex. At one time the lines got crossed. Luckily the lines didn't break. After 45 minutes we finally landed both fish. Nice 65lb YFTs. After that we landed a rat yellow and the bite shut off. We spotted another dragger in the distance. It would take us about a half hour to catch up to it. Of course it was East of where we were. The ocean still was a mess so we were only able to do about 13-15kts. Alex hooked up on a live snapper within two minutes of having our lines in. After that we were marking them really good but we weren't able to get them to feed again.
At this point we decided to go and look for mahi. Once again we headed to the East. We arrived at the mahi grounds and had a tough time. At this point our live baits had very little life left in them. We struggled to put three in the box. With the ocean finally laying down, it was time to pull the plug. We ended the day with 3 fat yellows, 1 rat yellow and 3 mahi. Not a bad day considering the tough conditions.
I would fish again with Chip and Alex in a heart beat. As for Chris he has been a part of my crew for the last several years. He has turned into a very valuable crew member. He always stays positive and works his butt off. Once again thank you team Accurate for getting me back out there!