8 Days and 1 Hour at Sea

dtfisherman

GONE FISHING
Nov 9, 2015
216
574
San Juan Capistrano
Name
Danny
Boat
None
8 Days and 1 Hour at Sea
October 11-18, 2020
Day One
Aaron and Troy make the 14 hour, 4 tire burning (needed 4 new tires to go home), 1000+ mile run down from Oregon to Dana Point, towing his World Cat 270EC Catamaran named the Millennium Flounder.
Load Up: food, gear, gas, ice 20 bags of 20# crushed and 20 bags of 10# block. 600#’s of ice
We make the run to Avalon around 4PM from DP Harbor.
While docking we find a mysterious cabin water leak, listing us about 5° to the port side.
After 3 hours of trial and error the plumbing problem was solved by changing valve shut off switch direction 90°. The seacock valve was plumbed previously incorrectly.
A nearly trip ending disaster averted. Leaky boat no good.
Wendell’s homemade tasty pork ribs, rice and sesame dressing drizzled salad for dinner.
Lights out at midnight
Day Two
32 33 119 05
Left Avalon a bit late. Around 1PM. Gearing up took a little longer than expected. Every rocket launcher on top of the cabin was filled. All 32 of them.
40+ mile run to Tanner
Royal Star, Vagabond, Searcher and one more long ranger hanging with us on the bank.
On the way to the tuna grounds, around the 9, we played with bonito foamers for an hour. One 8-10#er landed on a stickbait.Wishing they were bft foamers…
To warm up our arms and gear, we drop some iron for a nice Ling, sheephead, whitefish, some reds and too many to count bocaccio’s on the 150’ high spot.
Warmed up, we get back to the BFT chase. Worked the ledges and drop-offs for no marks. Eventually we run into the big tuna fleet around 5PM, southwest of where they they’ve been working the past few days.
We kite trolled a Flying fish from sunset to dark. Around 8PM, called it a day.
12 hour day. Pooped.
Slept just west of Tanner in 5’-6’ rocking swells among 4 long rangers. Troy’s the only person I know that can slide back and forth outside on a cot all night long like a pinball on a pendulum and still be sound asleep and snoring the whole time too. He’d do the toe test and wake up periodically to make sure we weren’t sinking and that the scuppers weren’t clogged up. He also was the only smart one that slept with a life vest attached to his waist.
Day 3
Moved back to Tanner Bank with the Polaris Supreme, RP, Vagabond and Pacific Voyager.
8 hours of trolling and drifting the flying fish for nada. BFT No Show.
Polaris Supreme on the 20-30#ers with live bait.
At 6PM, we called it a day and ran the 60+ mile run back to Avalon for rest and refueling. Took about 2.5 hours with Aaron ripping through the dark on radar at 25-28 mph. Got a little beat up even though the Millennium Flounder was super smooth through the dark. I was outside the cabin and it felt kinda like riding on the back of a motorcycle on the freeway unaware you’re completely worn out.
Gas $7 per gallon here, ouch.
Dinner tasty burgers.
Hand frozen and toes too so r&r time.
Day Four
Refuel
129 gallons $920
Time to get serious
Used our own intel and made a call to fish the temp break at Osborn. We looked like geniuses at the start as we moved from 74° to 68.8° 7-8 miles below Osborn. Unexpectedly and unfortunately the temp break was just a small pocket that vanished as we approached the western edge of Osborn and 72° water again. We had made a 40+ mile run for nada so we headed back to where the fleet had been the past few days, on and outside the west end of Tanner. We passed the Pacifica just south of Osborn so they must’ve been fishing that break quietly and successfully for a few days before the change. Around 5:30PM we thought we hit the jackpot because New LoAn, Endeavor, Top Gun 80 and several others were all around us. We were finally in the zone and trolled fresh frozen flying fish until dark. Everything looked perfect but no blowups or biters today. Slept on the boat with 6 Sporties all around us.
Dinner was reelyricious ribeyes.
First time I ever saw a red star, Mars at night.
It was Lake Tanner til early morning then even us in the cabin were rocking back and forth the rest of the night. Began wondering if the four of us were really sane or nuts being on a 27’er, 5’-7’ swells, in the middle of the ocean...
Day 5
Woke up at 6AM to a Houdini Show. All 6 boats that were around us disappeared into the morning fog. We fished from 6AM to 7:00PM for a repeat of no BFT yet. Being a captain and finding fish not as easy as it looks. Didn’t want to admit it but by the third day of having the runs and almost embarrassingly exploding, I let the boys know my secret. Fortunately Troy is a PCU/ICU nurse when he’s not fishing. He had a pharmacy in his carry-on . After a couple doses of Loparamide I can say “He saved my butt!”
Dinner was delicious pasta and meatballs in a marinara sauce.
Sleeping on glassy Lake Tanner tonight.
Day 6
Drifted 4.4 miles at night. 9 hours. .5 mile per hour
We worked the bank again alone and around 3PM we run into the fleet again.
32 41 119 08
Intrepid Thunderbird Freedom Navegante Pacific Islander Game Changer New LoAn Outrider
Most of the fleet was anchored up so we drifted between them for nada. New LoAn decides to leave the Tanner Party so we do the same and run to the 300’-600’ ledge and start marking tuna. We set out helium balloons rigged with flying fish and we instantly get a teaser blowup 20’ from the boat. Next balloon launches and another teaser blowup next to the boat for nada. Our adrenaline subsides even though we know we’re in the zone so we decide to run a little north of our first drift and we start marking again. Out goes the balloons and Wendell gets blown up again and again and a massive swirl sucks the flying fish under water but no love and no hookset. Aaron retrieves his balloon and flying fish closer to the action and on the second blowup his indicator tape and helium balloon crash into the water as he winds down like a madman until the line tightens and its game on. Troy runs the boat perfectly to keep Aaron in fighting position while Wendell and I are on gaff duty. 20 minutes later we’re at color and I take a swing and miss the first gaff shot. Fortunately Wendell set the gaff deep on the second shot, I set the second gaff and we have our first 110#er on our private boat! Aaron quickly spikes, gills and guts our BFT. Then ceremoniously Aaron and Troy take a bite out of the heart and the deed is official. As we’re celebrating and higher than our kites, we see the Spotter Plane circle not 1X but 6X in an area about 1/4 mile from our drift. We know from a past experience mistake that he’s signaling and telling us that there was a school just ahead. We move quickly to the center of the planes circle trolling our helium balloons and both ff get instantly bit with two massive blow ups. Both balloons crash into the water. A Double! Unfortunately one of the lines braid sliced through a 300# crimped leader hookset like a hot knife through butter. It actually left black burn marks on the 300# Fluoro Seaguar. Then the other hookset was missed by a common mistake and habit, instead of winding down to tight lines it was lifted out of a hookset by our BFT rookie buddy. Non-bluefin habits are hard to overcome in the heat of battle even when you’ve been told what to do. Experience is our best teacher. In our 1 hour of Glory:
Wendell 5 Blowups 0 BFT
Aaron 3 Blowups 1 BFT 110#er
Troy 1 Blowup 0 BFT
Danny, me, got to witness and be a part of 9 Incredible Blowups. My turn on the next adventure.
Last 8 miles back to Avalon we’re running through a wall of fog with just a 100 yards of visibility then to 50’ of visibility at 27 mph. Running on radar just like running in the dark. Thank God for radar.
Left the tuna grounds in perfect timing. Swells around the CAT corner turned nautical. Our 80cf Helium Tank was empty but we were glowing inside and outside the whole 60-70 mile run back to Avalon. I’m still glowing 6-7 days after being on land. Still pumped up that night we try hooping til midnight and get 1 legal lobster after working two sets. Time for zzz…
Day 7
Weather and wind too severe for our 27’er on the offshore grounds so we shift gears. YFT seiners working the CAT Channel hard and heard several reports of PB’ers seeing 100#ers in their nets.
33 22 119 04
Osborn Bank
40+ miles
Porpoise schools flip flopping
Birds working
SBI Rockcodding limits
First time I’ve ever seen a Descender! 90%+ of the bottom fish caught we returned safely back to their home.
Moored in the SBI lee side.
Day 8
SBI
Rockcodding
Bonito Foamers put on a show at the 14 Mile Bank.
Back to land and reality.
Here’s what I learned:
1. BE THERE. 8 days seems like a long time to be on the water but when you’re living and surviving the moment, time simply disappears like a drop of water in the ocean.
2. The most important piece of equipment on the boat is a toilet seat and a 5 gallon bucket especially if Montezuma strikes for 3 days. Silver lining is that I lost 5 pounds for 2 reasons. One makes sense but who’d a thunk playing hide-n-seek with tuna and trying to think like a fish would burn so many calories.
3. Being a captain and finding fish is much tougher than being an angler and landing them. I have a much deeper appreciation and respect for the disciplined and dedicated salty ones now.
4. Real time data and intel is necessary in locating the bluefin zone consistently and constantly. It helps to have friends in the game.
5. Gaffing is a skill. It’s more like sawing wood as opposed to chopping it. Sliding the gaff over or under the neck area then pulling and slicing back smoothly sets the gaff. Chopping doesn’t.
6. A sense of urgency is critical if you’re 1 or 8 days on the water. That means keying in on the primary zones and not searching every inch of dead water hoping for a miracle. I’ll be much more positive the next time the Captain yells, “reel up!” When you’re in the zone, you can feel the energy in the water.
7. Radar is not an option offshore, it’s a necessity. Mastering the function and running through the fog and dark like the Daredevil is crucial if you want to make it home. Aaron crushed every danger we faced flying 25-30mph in his Cat.
8. Unforgettable, 1 out of 9 blowups, 1 fish, 1 memory and moment in 1 hour of Glory and 8 Days at Sea.
9. You don’t have to win the NBA championship or World Series to hug your friends.
10. He is good. Something I’m blessed to keep learning…

BFT 8 Day and 1 Hour at Sea.jpg
 

2Rotten

Live in Oregon/Love to Fish San Diego!
Jan 10, 2010
222
330
Junction City OR
Name
Rod Lathrop
Boat
24' North River Seahawk Hardtop "Sun Dog"
Great write up Danny and Great Job Team! Nice Fish!
 

Big_Tuna_

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Aug 3, 2017
336
190
40
San Diego
Name
David
Boat
Hobie Tandem Island
Nice trip, I think the spotter plane has pics of your boat and fish blowing up nearby
 
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ShadowX

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 10, 2010
1,939
1,730
Los Angeles
Name
Alex
Boat
None
Amazing story! I felt like I was right next to you while reading it. Sounds like a trip of a lifetime to be out that many days with just your buddies. We in Southern California take for granted the chance for cow tunas just in our back yards. Too bad my buddy's 21 footer can't make the trip to Tanner safely if conditions change. We were out on Osborne Bank about three weeks ago and it was strange to see all these big multi-day tuna fishing boats from San Diego all around us. Usually, you see them heading way down in Mexican waters for a cow tuna. I'm sure you remember this trip for a lifetime and all the blowups that didn't hook up.
 

Cole418

Well-Known "Member"
Jul 18, 2019
70
128
35
Encinitas
Name
Cole
Boat
2018 Parker 2320 - "Reel Busy"
Awesome write up. Yes.... captain is no easy job! But the victory of success is that much sweeter!
 

kdrouet

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 10, 2008
349
714
San Diego, CA
Name
Dude
Boat
M40 Knight and Carver
Nice write up and great reports. I need to do something like this on my sled.
 

Wandering Blues

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 19, 2008
1,364
1,409
The Land of Entrapment
Name
Curtis
Boat
A Pair of Simms G3 Waders
Your re-telling of the swells almost immediately put me back on my trip last week out on the banks, including getting sick... Even then, what a great report!
 

Fishin_Freeman

You'll never know, unless you go.
Jun 28, 2011
85
153
San Diego, CA
Name
Ben
Boat
Grady-White Sailfish 274
This was great!! Loved reading it. I agree with so many pieces of it. I tell people all the time, “I’m a fisherman” as I upkeep my own boat, research reports and data to come up with a plan, and then execute that plan while making adjustments on the water real time. My buddy’s who hop on the sporties, they’re “Tourists”. We may have landed the same amount of jumbo BFT, but the experience that got us there is way different.
 
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NoLDR

OG BD member
Mar 26, 2003
1,951
929
Sherman Oaks
Name
BRAD
Boat
29 Baha Cruiser NoLDR
Great report, thanks for providing so much information and insight, really makes one understand what it takes to do a Tanner trip on a private boat. However, doing 27 kts in the fog is a bit crazy regardless of radar IMO. Congrats on the 110lb BF as well.
 

THE GRAYS

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Oct 20, 2006
230
310
Redlands
Name
The Grays
Boat
2021 Parker 2320
And 100% agree on radar! Relied on it exclusively for 3 days a couple of trips ago and we helped guide a lost boat back to the harbor. Too many times the weather has been perfect when we leave and turns to pea soup offshore or in the channel.
Thanks for the detailed story and way to stick with it for the win! We need to step up our food game from hot dogs and PBJ, you guys are eating good out there. Congratulations on the fish of a lifetime!
 
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mullet

Metal Fabricator
Jan 10, 2006
4,320
4,079
San Fernando Valley
Name
Mike
Boat
19"Gregor
Great report .
To warm up our arms and gear, we drop some iron for a nice Ling, sheephead, whitefish, some reds and too many to count bocaccio’s on the 150’ high spot.
Remember once you have cods onboard your limited on the depth you can fish tuna .
 
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dtfisherman

GONE FISHING
Nov 9, 2015
216
574
San Juan Capistrano
Name
Danny
Boat
None
And 100% agree on radar! Relied on it exclusively for 3 days a couple of trips ago and we helped guide a lost boat back to the harbor. Too many times the weather has been perfect when we leave and turns to pea soup offshore or in the channel.
Thanks for the detailed story and way to stick with it for the win! We need to step up our food game from hot dogs and PBJ, you guys are eating good out there. Congratulations on the fish of a lifetime!
Even if you step up your game, its going to be a tough bar to beat, Wendell's Kitchen. We did enjoy PBJ several times but on Night 7 we had Polish Hot Dogs, Lobster and Clam Chowder.

Polish Hot Dogs, Lobster and Clam Chowder.jpg
 

HOOKNBOOK

yeah...whatever
Oct 23, 2006
112
53
Channel Islands Harbor
Name
Jon
Boat
2013 Parker 2120 SC
Awesome story, but you scared the piss out of me running 27 mph in 50' visibility. That's zero time to react to anything. You lived to tell about it, so it's a happy ending...
 
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stormwater

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Sep 3, 2009
101
334
Malibu/CA/USA
Name
Red
Boat
9' Inflatable
Even if you step up your game, its going to be a tough bar to beat, Wendell's Kitchen. We did enjoy PBJ several times but on Night 7 we had Polish Hot Dogs, Lobster and Clam Chowder.

View attachment 1217778
Epic story and that’s great you guys caught a fish but bro.... I can see open flames about three feet from two gas cans. Come on man...