Islands 8/2/22 Catalina Island BFT; Ended With A Damaged MadMacs


Jan 16, 2022
Boat Name
16 ft lowe
First pelagic run this season. Saw many reports of tunas from Santa Monica Bay to the outer islands down to Mexico so it was time to take a peek.

Left Long Beach area around 6:30AM with a heading to Osborn. Wind was light, water a little bumpy which kept us at 20MPH for a smoother ride. Didn't pick up any bait. This was a maguro sashimi run as requested by two newbie guys that never fished before. Never seen so many terns, seagulls and pelicans working the water from Long Beach all the way to the WestEnd. No sightings of dolphins or whales.

After a few miles passing the island we started metering large fish (8ish) from the surface down pass 400 feet feeding on scattered anchovies. Dropped a 160 Madmacs on the port corner and a 200 Madmacs on the starboard corner. Kept metering fish and then started seeing tunas foaming here and there. Large tunas stayed up for a few minutes and gone. Some foamers were very large but most were small with a few fish surfacing.

About 15 minutes into the troll, the 160 lure gets slammed. Within a few minutes, the other reel clicker starts screaming. It's a good problem to have but had the newbies take over for their first fish. After gaining most of the line back and reaching the leader with 100 feet left to go, the fish pops off. Had a second newbie crank on the second rod with the 200. After retrieving most all the braid line and some mono leader, he said there's no tension, so I told him "don't stop reeling until you get tight or see the swivel. Within 60 feet of line left to retrieve, the line gets tight and it's game time. Fought the fish for about 15 minutes and brought it to gaff with perfect head shots. Both factory hooks sealed the deal to secure this hook up.

First Bluefin Tuna on deck.

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After spiking, gilling and gutting and icing down this fish and replacing the leader line, we were on the hunt again. Didn't take much longer to see foamers popping up everywhere; this was about 10:30AM. Didn't know which direction to hunt so we decided to only troll one lure (200 Madmacs), so we could make tighter turns as needed. Within 15 minutes into the troll, we get picked up again. This fish was straight brute weight with no fight. Felt like reeling in a 90 pound sack of cement. I engaged the high gear every so often to see if I could crank the handle but no movement. This tells me it should be a big fish. Fish woke up around 100 feet under boat and went berserk with long runs straight down.

Got the fish to the surface within 20 minutes and sunk in two gaffs. Massive head shakes which made it difficult to lift over the gunnel. None of us ever caught a fish this size. After two minutes holding the tuna with gaffs, I decided to spike it to calm it down.. Before spiking the head with a knife, I see the 200 Madmacs slip out of it's mouth like a barbless hook. Ended up tying a rope around the tail and mouth to bring it on deck.

Second Bluefin Tuna.

Spiked fish after gaffing to stop the head shakes and to bleed the fish ASAP

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After gill and gutting and removing the organs, dropped back into the drink to dunk the fish for several minutes to flush out as much blood from the body cavity and head area. This keeps the fresh ice less bloody in the fish bag and the fish bag doesn't smell so iron like.
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Didn't have enough ice and more than enough meat for sashimi to share with family, friends and neighbors so we called it a good day.

After landing the larger bluefin tuna, I noticed the rear end of the lure was splitting due to a bent eyelet. The first (smaller) tuna was landed with both hooks in it's mouth. I replaced the mono leader before the second troll. Lure was not damaged. The hook fell out of the second fish's mouth at gaff so definitely not damaged when fish was brought on deck. Anyone else have this same experience with their 200 Madmacs? Lure still works but not sure if this will affect the tracking during high speed trolling.

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Sonar marks from a Garmin GT51 ThruHull

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Spicy Tuna with meat scraped between the rib bones
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Grilled collar was amazing!

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How fast were you trolling?