We just got in this dawn from a 2.5-day hunt for Bluefin on the ISLANDER out of Fisherman's Landing. The boat left the dock with just 16 of us including Norm Fujimoto from Izorline, who sponsored the open trip. One of the main reasons that I like to ride the ISLANDER is Capt. John Coniff, who has the kind of attitude that I like in a skipper, a burning desire to give his passengers the best chance possible to have a memorable trip. The first evening in the safety meeting before leaving the dock he told us that we had two choices, we could go south and quite likely find some ten-pound yellowfin and small-to-medium yellowtail to play with, or we could head more to the west and hunt for the bigger Bluefin. We all smiled and told him to go get them! He warned us that these were very strong fish, if we didn't have an 80-pound rig we should go up to the landing office and rent one, and several people did just that. Plus Norm had brought bulk 80-pound Izorline, and offered to spool-up anyone who wanted to modify their outfits for big game. Then Norm pulled our tag numbers at random from the hat and each of us got to go up to his gear spread out on the table and pick a new lure like a Tady 4/0 or A2 plus fluoro or finger wrap tape and some 2/0 ringed hooks and gloves, etc. Really nice, everyone got twenty or thirty dollars worth of good stuff before even leaving the dock! We woke up and started fishing about 5:30am, and dropping Flat-Fall type jigs began to score. Within a half-hour we had a couple of nice 60 to 80 pound Bluefin on the deck, and as the morning continued about every hour a fat fish in that size range would be caught, and about every fourth fish hooked would be lost. The crew was ON IT, if you got bit a couple were at your side for the whole fight, keeping other people out of your way up and down the rail and dealing with the inevitable tangles, and two gaffs reached for the fish at the end. So we actually had a really good percentage of fish landed. My buddy Earl Johnson turned out to have the lucky hand of the trip, he got bit three times while retrieving his Flat-Fall, and I got to fight one of his fish for a few minutes while he took a brief break to get his composure back. It seems that I'm not the only one who sometimes is concentrating so hard on the fight that I forget to breathe! It never went wide-open, it was the usual drive-you-crazy tuna hunt, trying to get close to foamers and having them sink out, watching them pass under the boat and ignoring everything you are trying to tempt them with, having your carefully selected sardine on a long soak with a rubber-banded sinker get cut in half as if by a pair of scissors, without any idea of the culprit. At the end of the first day there were 12 nice Bluefin in the RSW hold, and at dinner we agreed to stay where we were instead of hitting the beach for maybe some small stuff, but try again for the bigger models. And all day Tuesday we drove around looking for and finding schools again, but this time they just did not want to play hardly at all. One was tempted by a mackerel, and I don't know what the other one came on, but at the dock today we had 14 so somebody got lucky in the end. Other than getting my sardine cut in half by the Mystery Fish, I never got a bite. I had a moment of hope as my line started jumping off my reel, but within twenty seconds it was clear that it was a tangle caused by another persons' fish, so I stayed completely passive and in about ten minutes the fight came to the up-and-down at the bow stage and the crew were able to get my line free and get gaffs into the nice tuna, one of the bigger ones. The meals were excellent, as always, Chef Rick knows his stuff, and the staterooms are exceptional, very comfortable. It is really nice to be able to open a sliding window in the galley and get some fresh air, too many boats are all sealed up. It was fun to watch Dave and Peter and Ken and Carter fly the kite and try both twin sardines and a flying-fish lure, although nothing came of it. I put my tricked-out Halco in the troll three times, and nothing came of it, which surprised me as I usually get bit. But nothing was interested in anything on the troll. So I'm back home with empty ice chests, nothing got to wear my tag, but it was a gorgeous couple of days on the water and the fish are beautiful, it is always fun to see them even when they drive you crazy. Next Time, Tuna!