Targetting opah

nicodemus

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Apr 10, 2012
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Nicholas Bronson
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themodcatfish

Anyone know if there's a commercial fishery for opah, as the photo in this story indicates? Or would they just be bycatch? Where/how would they target them???
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
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JAM
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Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
Bycatch for the most part. Wish there were a dependable method to target them. Very interesting and unusual fish. (Like the toad ling you are holding in your avatar.)
 

nicodemus

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Apr 10, 2012
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Nicholas Bronson
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I would love to catch an opah one day. I understand they're fabulous table fare - much like that ling! I imagine you must have tangled with a few of those big lingcod being as how you live in AK. On that particular fish, everybody hooked up on one drop (6 of us). A couple came over the rail about he size of the one in my pic. Mine looked to be 30-35 lbs. I told the captain to release it, I wanted a bigger one. He sort of looked at me oddly, but released it. Next drop produced the 50-lber. Which immediately regurgitated a whole pink salmon carcass and a couple rockfish carcasses onto the deck. Should have weighed it before it could, I could claim a 60 lber! Haha.
 

mike garrahan

TheSabreGuy
Sep 7, 2007
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mike garrahan
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23 ft. crestliner
I've been fishing out of San Diego for over 50 years and I have only seen 2 or 3 opah caught on trips that I was on. Usually they are caught by accident when the boat stops on a kelp patty and someone drops a jig or megabait down deep. Sometimes you see them floating on the surface but they almost never bite a bait. At the end of a patty stop I often drop a jig down deep just in case one is lurking around but I have never hooked one.
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 27, 2003
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Deep-set bouy bycatch from swordfish fishing as well.

I’m surprised no one has caught one deep dropping yet, but maybe they are more seasonal locally than swordfish?
 
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nicodemus

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Apr 10, 2012
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Nicholas Bronson
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I've been fishing out of San Diego for over 50 years and I have only seen 2 or 3 opah caught on trips that I was on. Usually they are caught by accident when the boat stops on a kelp patty and someone drops a jig or megabait down deep. Sometimes you see them floating on the surface but they almost never bite a bait. At the end of a patty stop I often drop a jig down deep just in case one is lurking around but I have never hooked one.
That's exactly what I plan to do next trip...whenever that is...if we do a patty stop. You never know...
 

sdrepairman

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Jul 2, 2012
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nick
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I have read before the commercial Fisherman normally get them as by catch( while fishing for tuna or sword fish).
Still a by catch on the sport boats.
It’s super random
Usually it's the guy that goes deep on a patty with a 6x or like jig and finds the needle in a haystack. Right next to Elvis a dream fish
This is what normally happens
 
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swami 805

I've posted enough I should edit this section
Mar 9, 2016
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sunk it
One of the best fish I've ever eaten, would love to catch one. I've heard there's 4 or 5 different cuts of meat on them, not sure if that's true, hope to find out one day.
 

ZZZZZ

natural born jig slingers
Dec 11, 2003
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.
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Figured you had caught one.

I will take a 50lb Ling over a 200lb yft.

Only seen one Opah. On our way to Benitos in I think 04. We stopped on small YFT. Captain says some big fish are on the meter. I reel in my peepee outfit and grab 50# with a button. The juvenile yft and skipjack scatter and cease to boil anymore when they were on the corner. Red carpet got laid for the BETs arrival. I get cherry picked as 4 other good fish are hooked.

Resulted in 2 bigeye and 1 opah. I wonder if the BET were carrying the Opah deep. Not sure if a Opah could keep up

1225540_26836db2e27d3bf5974ee175eec2eafb~2.jpg
 

ironfish

"Veni,Vidi,Vici"
Aug 13, 2009
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Leonard
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Excel
Was fishing on the Excel with my son, Travis, at the end of July, 2014.
Our Captain, Justin Fleck, stopped the boat on what he thought was a school of yellowtail.
He told eveybody to drop a yo yo jig or a dropper loop down 200'.
We hooked five Opah and lost two close to the boat.
My son on the right, caught the smaller, 121lb. Opah.
Manny on the left caught the 155lb. Opah.
Joe Ludlow, now known as "Opah Joe", caught the official world record Opah at 181lbs.
All the Opah were caught on 40lb mono line with Salas 6xJrs.
Opah Joe caught his fish with a Penn Yellow tail special reel, a single speed.
The Excel crew went crazy and Jason Fleck immediately put the picture up on the internet.
My wife in Lake Elsinore and my son's wife in Seattle turned on their home computers the next morning and saw Yahoo's main feature picture of the the three smiling fisherman, holding some unusual looking fish.
They freaked out when they both recognized my son Travis and read the Yahoo caption naming the lucky fisherman.
The picture on the right, is of the Excel crew that year, having a good time with the Opah.
 

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ZZZZZ

natural born jig slingers
Dec 11, 2003
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.
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Jet Ski Yamaha FX Show. ZZZZZ
I think we first stopped on a kelp but drifted far away. So the Opah probably peeled off the kelp and then became related to the boat like the boat is a new kelp or a refrigerator full of food. The Opah probably is not strong enough to travel with tunas. Keeping that meat a delicacy

Yah but Bill you caught one which is the accomplishment as you know, and on 25#, 3x line class, congrats. Plenty of Tunas to challenge

The Opah challenge. Is right place right time, little skill required to hook one. First color must be a thrill
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
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Next drop produced the 50-lber. Which immediately regurgitated a whole pink salmon carcass and a couple rockfish carcasses onto the deck. Should have weighed it before it could, I could claim a 60 lber! Haha.
Biggest lingcod I have been around was right at 80 lbs.
 
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fishkilr

on the water
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alby
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Had a buddy tommy (rip) who worked on the drift net sword boat the aurelia..
He Said they mostly fished 3 miles inside Avalon and would throw back sometimes 30 to 40 dead opah per night while drifting swords...
Said their yield is too low to take up room in the hold..
 
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lasparky11

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Gene
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X-wife she's so fat she floats
I caught mine on a paddy stop, dropped a jig deep & got bit.
 

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screamingreel

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Jan 14, 2006
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longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
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Jeff Burroughs
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Long Range and Private
Had a buddy tommy (rip) who worked on the drift net sword boat the aurelia..
He Said they mostly fished 3 miles inside Avalon and would throw back sometimes 30 to 40 dead opah per night while drifting swords...
Said their yield is too low to take up room in the hold..
^^^This is the reason I stopped eating swordfish. The by-catch death from commercial drift netting is unconscionable. Especially for such a rare fish as the Opah (aka Moon fish).

- Jeff Burroughs
 

SouthBayKiller

I've posted enough I should edit this section
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^^^This is the reason I stopped eating swordfish. The by-catch death from commercial drift netting is unconscionable. Especially for such a rare fish as the Opah (aka Moon fish).

- Jeff Burroughs
What about bouy and harpoon fishing? Virtually no bycatch (zero for harpoon) and minimal for bouy (most of which is marketable like Opah or theoretically can be released.
 

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
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Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)

Opah fish are hauled onto a dock for sale Friday, March 20, 2020, in San Diego. Fishermen coming home to California after weeks at sea are find a state all but shuttered due to coronavirus measures, and nowhere to sell their catch. A handful of boats filled with tens of thousands of pounds of fish are now floating off San Diego's coast as they scramble to find customers. (AP Photo/Gregory Bull)
 
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mogambosquid

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Carpinteria, CA, Chiriqui, Panama
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Greg
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22' panga, 24' diesel inboard
Had a buddy tommy (rip) who worked on the drift net sword boat the aurelia..
He Said they mostly fished 3 miles inside Avalon and would throw back sometimes 30 to 40 dead opah per night while drifting swords...
Said their yield is too low to take up room in the hold..
The guys on the Aurelia told me the same thing.

I talked to the capt of the Ventura III, and he said that some of the banks/seamounts they fish wayyy to the SW are too loaded with opah to set on, they don’t target them for the same reason.
 
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