Saltwater albacore - ilwaco, washington - august 15-19, 2018


I Should Upgrade My Account
Jul 24, 2005
Saratoga, CA
alan tani
grady white tournament 19, grady white journey 258
i was contacted by one of the guys at a while back, inviting me up to washington to fish for albacore. now, for the last 5 years, the san francisco bay area has been a ghost town as far as albacore have been concerned. northern california, oregon and washington, on the other hand, have been doing pretty well. so this guy says, "come on up! i've got a boat. there's a club house so we've got a place for you to stay, we'll feed you and take you fishing. hell, we'll even pay for your plane ticket!" um, that last one was different. i've never flown on anyone else's dime before. so, what can i do in return? "well, post a report. oh, and maybe take a look at a few reels.....". ok, that i can do! being the dutiful husband, i asked my wife first. she just rolled her eyes and said, yeah, just go....

august 15, 2018

even though alaska airlines destroyed my penn 50 vsx and refused to pay for it, i still like these guys and i still fly with them.


what you see is not clouds. this is smoke from the northern california fires. there is smoke choking out northern california and a good part of oregon.


i landed in portland and was picked up by joe and his wife. they were nice enough to drive me all the way from portland to ilwaco! the scenery on the way was beautiful!


it was a 2 hour drive and there was alot to see! we arrived in ilwaco and found the without any problem. the side facing the water is the club. the side facing the street is and!


here's the club house side entrance.


the deck overlooking the water.



no club house is complete without a bar!


they even sell tackle!


gary was one of the first guys i met. he was loading live bait into a little dockside receiver for our trip the next day.


so our host for this trip turns out to be mike colbach. he runs a boat called shake 'n bake it's a henriques 42 sportfisher and it's, um, pretty awesome.


remember the part about, "and we'll feed you..."? dinner that night was at The Depot. they have a fabulous rib eye!


August 16th, 2018

first call was 6am. i barely slept and was up and ready to go at 5:30!


this fishery is all about live bait. the tank was loaded up. not sure how may scoops, but the anchovies were packed in like sardines!


the dockside receiver makes it easy.


looks nice when it's lit up!


we're going to take a quick tour of the boat. the latest in electronics.


shimano rods and accurate reels.


compared to what i have locally, ilwaco is a HUGE harbor.



these guys are used to it, but navigating the channels out of the harbor is pretty involved.

exiting the mouth of the columbia river, the seas are starting to pick up.

now we're crossing the columbia bar

we ran 60 miles all total and finally got to the spot where guys had picked up fish the previous day. we were just getting set up and john was giving instructions to the group.

once we got the deck cleared, we set up the troll lines again and got hit again.

and again!

53 albacore in less than 3 hours. live bait really makes a difference.


here's the 8 of us on the transom with mike taking the pictures, plus 53 albacore!


captain's recap of the day. just another day of tuna fishing in southern washington!

thanks to mike colbach and for a great day!

august 17th, 2018

mike already had another charter scheduled, so i was given the opportunity to fish the columbia river at buoy 10 with friends of the tuna club. matt garner, his wife kate, and their 8 year old son axil, would be my hosts for the day. matt runs a 24 foot grady that is very similar to my own. we soon worked it out so that i was at the wheel and he ran the deck. it was an easy choice because i knew the boat, but i knew nothing about the local fishing. ok, so albacore fishing is fun, but being behind the wheel of a boat is where i am most comfortable.

for those of us that never fished buoy 10 on the columbia river, our skipper is going to give us an introduction.

kate was the one catching all the fish!


and then there is the ax man, axil garner. the kid is a stone cold killer.


there were literally a thousand boats on the water. this poor lady could not control her fish and it ran under matt's boat, picked up our lines and hung a U-turn. in san francisco, this would have resulted in a fist fight. people really are more hospitable up north!

ok, we're going to take a minute here to pose for our christmas picture.


hmmmm, not quite......


ok, got it. here's your card for christmas 2018.


and a recap of the day!

after a day of fishing, i was invited back to the garner's home for dinner. thank you matt, kate and axil for a great day!

august 18, 2018

had an offer for another day of fishing but decided to pass. i'm getting older and these old bones start to creak too much if i try too many days of fishing in a row. decide to check out the town and found a local place for breakfast.


they had a corned beef that was really tasty!


walking back, there was something as simple as the parking lot. during the winter, ilwaco has 1000 residents. during tuna season, it swells up to 4,000!!! the place is just packed!!!


there are a couple of businesses.


most of the harbor activity is geared towards the commercial fleet.


saturday mornings feature a crafts fare.


this place has a great bar!


and don't forget the harbor!


cornered barrett and ray with and for a little video. so, a word from our sponsors!

spent the rest of the day working on a big pile of fishing reels that had accumulated over the last few days. i think i went through about fifty. next time i need to bring all of the tools and parts. there is certainly a need for a reel repair guy in this town!

august 19th, 2018

hitched a ride back to portland with gary and had an easy flight back. this was fun. the fishing up north is alot like what we have in the san francisco bay area. well, except that our albacore have vanished. and the other difference? people up here are really nice. it is very different from california. thanks to shake 'n bake sportfishing, the ilwaco tuna club, tre-fin, dayboattuna, and the garners for a great time!
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Fishing The Pacific Ocean & Puget Sound Since 1969
  • Aug 26, 2008
    Kitsap/Westport, WA
    Prowling for a Cat
    Great write up and images Alan!

    Thank you very much for taking the time to post everything up!

    Upvote 0


    Almost A Member
    May 29, 2008
    SF Bay Area, CA
    Looking for a World Cat 320EC (hit me up if you have one for sale)
    Great report! I think I'm going to plan a boys trip next year with that boat. Always wanted to fish up there.
    Upvote 0


    I'm off probation
  • Mar 28, 2008
    Arlington WA
    40' ocean sport fisher
    great report Alan, mike runs a clean show. what was the blue tape for on the live bait rod you were using?

    that was a nice bar crossing you guys had.
    Upvote 0


    Shake N Bake
    Oct 17, 2007
    Ilwaco, Washington
    Mike C
    Henriques 42' Express

    Great write up and great fishing with you.

    Thanks to the Ilwaco Tuna Club for buying Alan's plane ticket and putting him up for the trip- we are trying to spread the word about our fishing to the boys down south.

    The blue tape was marking my deckhands personal rods, so I wouldn't turn them into boat rods.

    Fishing is red hot right now, we are pretty much booked forever, but Mark Coleman probably has a spot or two and he absolutely crushed them this week.

    Mike C
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