Offshore Pacific Queen overnight 6/14



Aug 13, 2008
Eric Austin
19' Hydra Sport (salt)/22' Bayliner (fresh)
Hello Bloodydeckers,
Sold the fishing boat so it's been a while since I've been able to fish consistently or provide a useful report.
I fished on an overnight trip on the Pacific Queen Friday 6/14 and there are several things learned that are worth bringing to attention.

First off, all of the great things you hear about the crew on the PQ are an understatement, these guys are professional and really know how to fish the bluefin. If you want to see how kite fishing works book a trip with them. There was a steady stream of fish hooked and handed to the less skilled fisherman on the trip which really made the trip fun for all and kept the bite going steady all day.

During the pre-fish talk the crew stressed the importance of having your gear set up properly and using the correct tackle and drag settings as this is the key to success with bluefin fishing. I'm a veteran and a little salty so I don't usually pay a lot of attention to the "talk", but I'm glad I did listen. These guys are out everyday and have been producing bluefin consistently for years now and had some great suggestions which included stressing using circle hooks for the big bluefin
I'm not a fan of circle hooks since I'm old school and never really had any issues before but one thing I learned this trip, circle hooks are a must if you want to land a fish after a 35 to 180+ minute battle. (Yes, we saw some 3+ hour fights-- I'll comment on this later).
Put the odds in your favor by upping the chances of a corner of the mouth hooked fish.

After the fishing started we saw several anglers with heartbreak in their eyes talking to the deck hands about braid to mono, mono to fluoro, and hook knots after breaking off on their first bite-- too late.
Have this discussion before you loose a fish. If you have any doubts about your knot tying skills get help before you miss the one bite of your lifetime, don't let your pride get in the way.
How often do you tie a SD Jam knot with 50LB fluoro to a 1/0 hook? They do this every day.. before you throw a cast make sure your line, knots, drag, reel, pole, etc are ready.

On to the report-
We went long.... 80 miles south on an overnight trip, it was windy, snotty and pretty miserable at grey light when we started fishing. The captain set up trollers and started slowly hunting right at first light, there were a few other boats in the area and we started metering fish right away.
After two stops on meter fish for nothing, we start coming up on a third meter mark and the capt shuts down the boat early and starts drifting (Hmm.....). After 5 minutes he tells the crew to start sending some bait, then more, then he gives the word for lines in.

Within minutes it starts and we consistently had 1 to 3 hooks ups at a time for the next 4 to 5 hours. It was an incredible drift of a lifetime with big fish hanging for hours. We ended the day with 32 Bluefin from 50 to 100#s for 34 anglers and lost many more. Everybody had a shot at a fish of a lifetime and the people who were prepared made it pay off.
There were many casualties at the beginning before adjustments were made to tackle selection and knots, the bigger fish are a whole different kind of mean.
There were a lot of tangles by "that guy" with the white spectra and the other guy with the "red spectra", it was amazing to watch the crew untangle lines and save fish I thought there was no chance of saving. Again this crew is top notch.

I used a Fathom 25N LD2 with 50# braid, a 40# mono top shot, and a 40# Seaguar blue label fluoro leader tied to a ringed 1/0 Gamakatsu circle hook. My first fish weighed 85lbs bled, gutted and gilled, (the deck hand said to add 10lbs) which puts it in the 90lb class. It was a 35 minute hard fought fight on the 2 speed reel. I never rested during the battle, whenever the fish stopped pulling I would do everything I could to gain any line back.
I chose to but hook the bait for two reasons. It usually makes the bait swim down and it hides the circle hook (I heard the deckhand telling another person he likes to but hook for this reason).

I handed this whole set up to my less experienced friend when I hooked my third fish and he was able to land an 80lb fish after a 50 minute battle that took some coaching to keep him fighting. Just when you think you are winning by gaining some line these fish take it all back and then some and make you want to give up. It's a battle of wills.
If/when these fish stop pulling line you need to do everything you can to gain some line back or you will sit there all day. The captain kept telling people "when they are not taking line, you need to be taking line". This was the difference in the guys who landed fish in less than an hour the ones who battled for hours.
We saw a guy with a 500 Tranx hooked up for over 3 hours because he would rest on the rail when the fish was resting and they ended up stuck in a stale mate. And when the crew finally convinced him to start pulling harder to get line back he broke off at deep color (after 3 hours) because of chaffed line with no circle hook, ouch.
A 2 speed or reel with more torque, a circle hook and better angling might have made the difference.

What worked
Most fish were caught on bait on 40 - 60lb test with Fluoro leaders. I had 2 instant hook ups on the chum line after a great cast, and one more with a hot bait on a long soak. The long soak with a hot bait is what worked best for most people.

Next were the kite hook ups, it was a blast to see the professionals use this technique effectively. I think all of these fish were landed because they were hooked on heavy tackle.

And finally a couple of fish came on jigs.
The first jig hook up I saw was Captain Gavin on a chrome colored salas 6x junior.
Captain Gavin confirmed that a megabait, crocodile and salas all still work, but did say the flat falls and colt snipers have been working too.

We did end up catching a couple YFT and Bonito trolling on the long 7 hour boat ride home. This just confuses the tackle situation when you catch 15# YFT and 100# BFT on the same trip so make sure you have a game plan and choose your tackle wisely.
Sorry for the long and late report, I hope there is some helpful info for someone.

Pac Queen.jpg 95lbs.jpg Seared Bluefin.jpg Cajun blackened.jpg
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I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Dec 28, 2007
:appl: PQ is a well oiled operation. Can’t wait for my trip in September.
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Rum is Tackle
Dec 3, 2003
Bay Park
Visit site
Dave Cairncross
Currently looking for a new Ho'ing opportunity
This is a great informative report, thanks for taking the time!
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Aug 22, 2010
Compton, Ca
Fantastic report . I will have to read it more than one time . I will definitely benefit from all that info you shared with us .
Is the mono top shot a better choice or it can be just spectra to fluorocarbon.
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  • Jun 26, 2014
    San Diego
    s and hoes
    Fantastic report . I will have to read it more than one time . I will definitely benefit from all that info you shared with us .
    Is the mono top shot a better choice or it can be just spectra to fluorocarbon.
    You want more stretch than just a short piece of flouro. Less chances of pulled hooks when they head shake. Also, why anyone would be fishing J hooks with the caliber of fish around is beyond me.
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    Stay salty, my friends.
  • Aug 15, 2017
    Pedro Point, Ca
    Livingston 15.5
    Awesome info. Northern California based and I have only been on one unsuccessful SoCal long range trip.. headed on the pacific queen late sept. Any information how to fish southern waters is good info! Thank you!
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    Black Sheep

    Sticky Hook
    Feb 28, 2014
    28' Pilothouse: Sticky Hook
    Great report. Thanks for that. Pac. queen is crazy consistent. My avatar pic is from a 2 day with them last year.
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