Saltwater Illwaco Tuna... Go Get 'em!!!

Trent

Almost A Member
Jul 16, 2009
213
36
Olympia WA
Name
Trent E Rickman
Boat
20' NorthWest Signature
The ocean was flat Tuesday and there was some warm water only 35 miles out of Illwaco, so LeRoy and I decided to chance it and jump on board with Stacy for a tuna run. Satellite shots didn't make the warm water look very blue, but there was a definite temperature break out there.

A report from Monday said the fish weren't hitting the troll and didn't start biting until after 3:00 pm. The ice shop didn't open until 8:00 am, so Stacy decided we wouldn't leave Oly until 5:30 am.... we SLEPT IN!!!! Got to Illwaco just n time to ice and bait up. We got three scoops of BIG, lively chovies, and headed across a bit of a snotty bar around 9:00 am.

When we arrived at the "warm" water, it was NOTHING like what was indicated by the shots from the last couple days! What was supposed to be around 60+ degree water was only 57.5??!!?!? We put out some troll gear and went in search of warmer water. We continued west and the water remained around 57.5 for about an hour...

Finally the temperature began to climb quickly and the water began to lose the greenish tint to become a more of a steel color. We spotted jumpers in the distance a little to the SW of us, so made a course correction towards them. But as we got closer, we realized they were porpoise.... and porpoise.... and more porpoise!!! We'd never seen so many porpoise! The "pod" must have gone on for almost a mile!!!Still no tuna, but good signs of life.

Then towards noon we see birds diving and jumpers almost straight ahead! We bring in the troll gear and Stacy slides the boat onto the school. Out goes the live bait and we're hooked up! We get four nice tuna in the boat before the sharks show up.... then the tuna are gone.

We pull in the bait rigs and go back on the troll for a few minutes... almost long enough to get the fish gilled,gutted and in the slush box, when a troll reel starts screaming line off! Dave, the tuna virgin, brought the troll fish in, while the rest of us tried to get a bait stop going... but no takers.

We barely got the troll rods back out, when another reel starts screaming... then a second one. Our troll double soon turned into a single after I crackered the second biter, but Dave landed the other fish so now we had 6 tuna in the boat. Again, nothing on the bait, so back on the troll again.

A few minutes later, we're hooked up again! I redeemed myself and landed this tuna... Then all the lines went quiet for the next couple hours.We search for fish all the way out to where the commercial tuna boats were working... about 45 miles out, but nothing.

It was getting later in the afternoon, and Stacy said if we didn't find fish soon, we were gonna make about a 10 mile run to another area where he had found fish a few weeks ago. Shortly after that, a call comes on the radio that it's wide open... guess where? Exactly where Stacy had been talking about! We pull in the troll gear and take off, cruising around 30 mph on an amazingly flat ocean!

We kept our eyes peeled for jumpers all the way, found a few and picked up one or two more fish sliding up and throwing bait. When we arrived at the spot, it was almost 5:00 pm and several sport boats were parked on bait stops. We were still quite a ways from the other boats when we saw birds diving and tuna jumping. Stacy slid the boat into 'em and all hell broke loose!!! Talk about "wide open"? We had tuna boiling and jumping all around the boat and willing to eat any lively bait we threw in!

We were very generous throwing bait, cuz we didn't want the fish to leave, but they weren't going anywhere! All four of us were continually hooked up, even when we got totally sharked out, including one Blue that was close to 6'! The tuna didn't care. We'd toss an anchovy beyond the sharks and Ka-Blam! Fish on!!! We continued hooking tuna until all of our lively chovies were gone and ended up with about 14 tuna on the deck. I wish I would have taken a picture of Dave ankle deep in tuna, fighting a fish, with blood everywhere!!! Too cool! Lol!!!

It was actually a good thing we ran out of bait, cuz the 23 big tuna we landed filled both kill bags and 5 had to stay in the slush box in the back. Most of the fish were 25 to 30 lbs, with a few over 30! Plus the sun was going down fast! We cleaned up and watched the sun set during the 35 mile run back in. We crossed the Columbia River Bar in the dark, but the bar was very flat... fortunately! I pulled into my driveway at 1:00 am, tired, but what a fun day!!!

No time for video, but here's a couple pics...

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Genie Aye

FISH BOSS
  • Sep 25, 2008
    4,647
    3,291
    Westport/Renton
    Name
    Cap't Paul
    Boat
    V-20 Wellcraft w/200 G2
    Awesome job!!! Nice numbers to and great size.

    Stacey always works them hard--and is good at the "slide in".


    The are were I have been trying to get people to go---we saw great catch ratios the 3rd week of august down there and then the 4rth as well--they have been hanging pretty close to the same area for awhile--but you have to pin point them--and Stacey is good at that!!

    Great job guys!!!:finger:
     
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    Jailer1

    Sea Raider
    Apr 14, 2010
    1,295
    0
    orting WA.
    Name
    kevin
    Boat
    24ft North River o/s Seahawk The Pelagic Expresss
    Awesome job!!! Nice numbers to and great size.

    Stacey always works them hard--and is good at the "slide in".


    The are were I have been trying to get people to go---we saw great catch ratios the 3rd week of august down there and then the 4rth as well--they have been hanging pretty close to the same area for awhile--but you have to pin point them--and Stacey is good at that!!

    Great job guys!!!:finger:
    Hey paul were those the numbers you were telling me about? My boat is at westport, but Im planning on running down there saturday if the water stays as forcasted. is that about a 65to 70 mile run out of westport? thanks paul, any help is appreciated.
     
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    Trent

    Almost A Member
    Jul 16, 2009
    213
    36
    Olympia WA
    Name
    Trent E Rickman
    Boat
    20' NorthWest Signature
    That's a loooooong day. What boat were you in?

    Good to hear some good numbers are being caught.

    We were in Stacy's 23' Parker... the tuna slaying machine! Lol!
     
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