Targetting opah

Dexter Outdoors

lasparky11

I Should Upgrade My Account
Mar 7, 2008
1,479
355
65
Ontario, CA USA
Name
Gene
Boat
X-wife she's so fat she floats
I caught mine on a paddy stop, dropped a jig deep & got bit.
 

Attachments

  • Opah Surprise.jpg
    Opah Surprise.jpg
    126 KB · Views: 73
Upvote 0

screamingreel

Long Range Fanatic
Jan 14, 2006
2,465
2,946
Walnut Creek CA
longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
Name
Jeff Burroughs
Boat
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
 
Upvote 0

SouthBayKiller

I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
Mar 27, 2003
7,640
8,167
39
Long Beach, CA
Name
Robert
Boat
none
^^^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.
 
Upvote 0

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
2,083
2,874
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
8b5c63e7-7d8c-48b0-a017-885a111cf0c7-medium16x9_AP20080733257555.jpg

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)
 
  • Like
Reactions: Bill W
Upvote 0

mogambosquid

Member
Oct 31, 2004
639
511
Carpinteria, CA, Chiriqui, Panama
Name
Greg
Boat
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.
 
  • Like
Reactions: woodfish330
Upvote 0

FishRock

Still trying to figure it all out
Mar 27, 2013
2,083
2,874
Alaska
Name
JAM
Boat
Thunnus - 22' Koffler BayBee (1990)
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.

Got numbers on those spots. I am sure there are a few anglers who would hop on a LR boat targeting them.
 
Upvote 0

woodfish330

I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,334
    2,660
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    On a "crew" trip with J.R. on the TRACER in the early 90's ...we were experimenting with downrigger slow trolling.... In the dark for BIG EYE. We had had some luck the previous night... (6 fish).

    So that morning.... doing 4 knots with skirted lures (glow in the dark) about 4 a.m. we got meter marks. So we circle around slowly zig-zaging... to make the jigs rise and fall. Both down riggers go off. One was screaming. ....The other taking line.... A little at a time. We'll you guessed it..... The screamer. ...117# Big Eye. The slow runner.....80# Opah. First and only one I've ever caught. We split it amount the crew. It WAS delicious!
     
    Upvote 0

    COSDoug

    Member
    Nov 23, 2008
    260
    679
    Colorado Springs, CO.
    Name
    Doug
    Boat
    Hobie Kayak
    I did actually target Opah once. I was who knows where on the Intrepid fishing a kelp. Captain Kevin from the sun deck above announces ' I have a single mark at 200 feet and I think it's an Opah. $500 off a trip if you can catch it.'
    Everyone scrambled for a jig .Zero.
    That Captain KO sure had a way of lighting up the place.
     
    Upvote 0

    $norkle

    Member
    May 6, 2008
    690
    1,327
    Corvallis,OR
    Name
    Bruce
    Boat
    In my dreams!
    A good deal of the commercial catch comes from Hawaii and are caught while longlining. I don't know what depth and I'm not sure whether they are targeted or just a frequent bycatch in addition to bigeye. Although little is known for certain about their biology, they are considered a mesopelagic, meaning that their habitat is roughly in the 50 - 500 meter depth.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: woodfish330
    Upvote 0

    Eric Ancog

    Almost A Member
  • Mar 3, 2018
    219
    213
    Lakewood
    Name
    Eric Ancog
    Boat
    Independence, Shogun, Red Rooster III
    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.

    I caught this Opah on a kelp paddy a few years on a flat fall! He was deep, about half my spool of line was out when I hooked up on the retrieve. Its the first Opah I've ever seen on a boat and damn glad it was me reeling it in! Hand down the best tasting fish I've ever caught! Never seen a fish with so many different color meat tones.
     

    Attachments

    • IMG_2898.JPG
      IMG_2898.JPG
      771.7 KB · Views: 117
    • IMG_2905.JPG
      IMG_2905.JPG
      769.9 KB · Views: 134
    • IMG_2911.JPG
      IMG_2911.JPG
      775 KB · Views: 143
    • IMG_2914.JPG
      IMG_2914.JPG
      918.2 KB · Views: 149
    Upvote 0

    ZZZZZ

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Dec 11, 2003
    7,864
    9,801
    .
    Name
    .
    Boat
    .
    So. If you have some spare time. Check out my thoughts on the Opah and BET stop

    No way of knowing for sure.

    But. After reading your BET and Opah trolling under darkness experience

    I'm curious of other fishers thoughts

    Did the Opah peel off the kelp?

    Or was it traveling with the BET school that showed up? Maybe eating the sinking scraps from BETs feeding frenzys down deep

    Temporarily related to those BET?

    Have caught yft off a whale

    Family gathering in Hawaii 2003. Moon fish special
     
    • Like
    Reactions: woodfish330
    Upvote 0

    swami 805

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Mar 9, 2016
    3,837
    5,215
    66
    805
    Name
    Bill
    Boat
    sunk it
    They would get a few ever year albacore fishing out of Morro bay, same deal a guy fishing a sinker rig
     
    Upvote 0

    AndyJ

    Undocumented "Member"
    May 8, 2008
    1,241
    767
    Dana Point CA
    Name
    Andy Jakubas
    Boat
    1984 Cobalt DV 18.5
    Saw an opah caught on a paddy stop on the Apollo a few years ago. Got a piece and it was amazing. Then found some fresh opah at Costco of all places for $10 per pound. What a deal. Have not seen any since.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Eric Ancog
    Upvote 0

    woodfish330

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,334
    2,660
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    Zzzzzz.... can't explain it.to you. That year.... BIG EYE were still caught locally, ie off Baja. Although there were a few.trips with great numbers...ie a Dennis Bunker trip on the TRACER had about 100 fish.... All BIG EYE.

    J.R. skipper on the boat had his own theory... He felt they were traveling together.... With the BET. I believe they are creatures of opportunity.... With the BET rounding up the bait in the upper water column and the OPAH feeding on the lower part of the bait school..... pushing them up for the tuna. Their bodies are perfectly shaped for that.

    All I know is slow trolled skirted lures on those 2 downriggers did the job. COLLECTOR brand.... soft glow skirts, pink pearl over white..... or pink pearl glow over hot pink. We tried many colors... but they ate that pink again and again. I believe they love squid here.... where ever they find.it. MORRO.... Ensanada... off shore. The 80# opah had a few small squid (3") in its stomach.

    As for deep trolling into the dark.... and out of the dark (both twilights) with the down riggers...... deep marks on the thermocline.... that wouldn't rise. Saw it work....and never forgot. Hense my continuing curiosity with deep trolling in the dark and the daylight. Whether on the ZWING.... down riggers. ...sinker fishing.

    There some interesting research done by Dr. Barbara Block (Monterey) about tuna/marlin vision. Worth the read. Look her research up if your into BIG GAME fishing... seriously. Be safe out there.
     
    Last edited:
    • Like
    Reactions: ZZZZZ and Shooter
    Upvote 0

    screamingreel

    Long Range Fanatic
    Jan 14, 2006
    2,465
    2,946
    Walnut Creek CA
    longrangesportfishingsandiego.com
    Name
    Jeff Burroughs
    Boat
    Long Range and Private
    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.

    Agreed, there are lower by-catch methods for targeting swordfish. Don't get me wrong, I love the way they taste. I would only eat swordfish if I caught it myself. Have not caught one since 27 years ago. Maybe this year...probably not!

    - Jeff Burroughs
     
    • Like
    Reactions: SouthBayKiller
    Upvote 0

    nicodemus

    Fish, he said softly, aloud. I’ll stay with you...
    Apr 10, 2012
    656
    906
    The 505
    Name
    Nick B
    Boat
    African Queen
    Does anybody know of footage of Opah in the wild, swimming and feeding? That would be cool.

    I didn't find any doing a quick Google search just now. I did learn that opah are almost fully endothermic, more so than the tunas. Also, there are two known extinct opahs - one that was 10-15 inches long and the other around 13 feet. I guess the mid-size was an evolutionary advantage. Also, main predators include great whites and makos.
     
    Upvote 0

    ZZZZZ

    I Post A Lot But I Can't Edit This
    Dec 11, 2003
    7,864
    9,801
    .
    Name
    .
    Boat
    .
    Private boat deep trolling with down riggers. For sure. Good stuff. Thanks for confirming along time ago. There is a time for it. I love both twilight and pre dawn

    The Opah was definitely eating the scraps while helping push the tunafish up

    I remember the early 90s and hearing about local Gorillas and seeing them in WON. Eating pink and white zukers rings a bell. Off the Coronados and near by areas. Your sett up sounds much more effective

    My buddy caught a Gorilla on a blond anchovie early 90s that was mixed in with the sardines

    Durring the bft phenomenon of 92 or it was 93. Spirit of Adventure 4 day. Landed 9 bft 70-123lb on a 12 hour plunker. Penn 4/0

    The bft bit into the dark until 10pm. Hung a bft on a tady 9 dorado color in the dark, which was a thrill as a young teen. Ate it on the sink after Captain Mike chose the jig for me. When I landed the fish. I looked at the deck. And there was a 100lb BET that bit in the dark and got shark bit. Mixed in with the bft. So cool. The shark chose the BET.

    Also 2 yft in the 40lb class were landed in the day. Same drift. Nice grade yft for that year

    Mixed pargo trolling for mid grade fish close to shore or in the mangrove channels. We are trolling freshwater big lip deep diving largemouth bass plugs. They swim 25' down with a small profile. Changed out the stock treble

    Make A Wish Tournament in 2004. I was fishing with Ali and Brent. We got on a kelp. We landed 9 bet, I caught 5 :D 40-55lb fish. They look so cool. Like a yft with albacore pectorals. And more radical markings near the tail. Never caught one since

    Seen 5 different trips produce bet. Have a nice photo of a fisher with a 100lber. Dig it up later. Aboard the Pacific Voyager

    They are cool
     
    • Like
    Reactions: woodfish330
    Upvote 0

    AKSalmon

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Jul 15, 2006
    2,032
    1,347
    70
    Juneau, Alaska
    Name
    Bill Brown
    Boat
    Sold my Parker. You can find me on the Red Rooster.
    I'm missing something. In the context of targeting Opah, what is a "gorilla", and what is a "BET"?
     
    Upvote 0