Offshore Thursday 7/15 Popper Bluefin - FINALLY Got Em'

Cole418

Almost A Member
  • Jul 18, 2019
    144
    377
    36
    Encinitas
    Name
    Cole
    Boat
    2018 Parker 2320 - "Reel Busy"
    Hey BD peeps... long post alert... I guess I'm a bit excited 😆

    First a little context and disclaimer... these dang bluefin have had me in a real funk and have tested all of my patience, confidence, skill and more...

    Now I definitely know why they say "bluefin being bluefin"... and we had about 4 trips in a row of that.

    Zero problem finding the fish and having them jumping all around of us, sonar marks etc etc... with no bites.

    And then about a month ago, when we did hook a couple nice ones on poppers, we lost em. One to a damn Sea Lion (the worst).

    So yea, these Bluefin have had me in a funk, but despite my frustration mounting, I knew I had to keep at it and get my day for some good grade BF fishing...

    OK now that that's outta the way...

    We fished both Wednesday afternoon and yesterday.

    Wednesday afternoon... not much to report, BF being BF and ultimately we struck out... again... no shock there haha.

    Thursday... got a gentleman start and met at the boat at 8am because didn't want to expend too much energy early and expected to fish hard all day into the evening if need be.

    High tide was at 2pm so I was hopeful things would pop off then....which it didn't but I digress...

    A few miles outside of the Point and a buddy hits us up on radio to tell us they are on a paddy a few miles from us and have 4 on the boat already and invited us over. We quickly took him up on the offer to join the party and our "bad luck" (more like lesson learned and ignorance started).

    My dad quickly hooked up to a Yellow and after a quick fight... he was off. What the heck? ....broke the hook. Never had that happen before.

    My buddy Chau got a yellow in the boat... then my turn, hooked up.... fighting a decent yellow and fish off... reel up and see my hook totally bent out.

    OK... lesson learned, can't use Owner Mutu Light circle hooks anymore!!!

    Figured it was good to have these "mishaps" on yellowtail and not the tuna.

    My dad ended up hooking up again and we got a nice 15lb Yellowtail on the boat.

    2 Yellowtail on the boat early to get the skunk off so off we went to blast to the tuna grounds with plan to work west of the fleet (between North 9 and 182)

    Instantly started seeing tuna boiling here and there under birds here and there and started some long soak drifts, Chau got hooked up pretty fast and fish was OFF after barely taking a run.

    Chau reels in and there is no hook...he was chewed off right away.

    Not too long later my dad hooks up on bait.... fish is.... on and off.

    Brings in his hook and no hook but the knot is still there - still a mystery to what happened but seemed like another "chew off casualty".

    At this point it was hard to not start letting my mind get the best of me... I wasn't getting bit, those that were kept having weird but repetitive casualties... you get the idea.

    A couple hrs later as we kept moving west around midday we found some nice foamers, we chased em around with two other boats which I figured would pretty much be tough to get a bite so I was pretty dang shocked when my popper finally got smashed... "I'M ON!!!!!!!!!"

    He didn't feel huge but I didn't care, fairly quickly got him to boat with my Tranx 500 and 9' UC Del Mar and dad stuck him... the stoke was HIGH... I finally got my bluefin.

    After that we kept chasing the foam as it would pop up but now we had about 5 boats chasing after em'.... that sucked but the foam was staying up so we give it a little attention and sure enough, we were hooked up again.

    Chau brought another 30lb popper fish to the boat... fish was foul hooked and hooked in the side. I stuck the gaff in him and was in the side of fish but fish went crazy and the gaff ripped out of the side of the fish and hit the popper as it ripped out and pulled the hooks out... definitely a bummer.

    After that we didn't get any action for the next 3.5 hrs or so, so we decided to work east to try to find some fish that wanted to bite and came across the fleet.....what we found was LOTS of boats and NO birds and only about 2 people hooked up out of a LOT of fishermen.

    It was almost 4pm and I knew our day was starting to wind down and my gut just didn't think that lifeless fleet zone was the place to be so I decided to work back west... we kept driving and checking the binos and I started seeing birds on the horizon, kept driving and kept seeing birds and I knew there was fish on em... then we found the foam. Bluefin going wild and nobody around.

    It wasn't wide open AT ALL, lots of running and gunning and trying to get the boat in the right position to get everyone at least 1 cast into the frenzy before the fish sink out or simply change direction.

    It didn't take long for my popper to get totally exploded on by a bigger fish (80+ lbs)... "I'm ON!!!!!"

    Still a bit shocked that they actually bit but settled in for a good fight.

    I gave it hell, wasn't getting too aggressive fighting it but didn't want to let the fish have too much latitude and wanted to keep him coming.

    After about 15 min, right when my dad turned the go-pro back on the hook pulled.

    I expected to be super pissed but I wasn't.

    It was a good fight with by far my biggest fish but I knew the fish were biting and my confidence was back and ready to get on em again.

    I jumped back into the cabin and powered us up from school to school and I hooked up again... after about 10 min I got the fish to the boat and it was a beautiful 70lb fish (weighed on scale).

    We kept at it and I hooked another, this time I quickly handed the rod to my dad to fight the fish to give him some action and he brought the 40lb fish in.

    It was getting late and the foam had moved on... sorta (it was actually just really hard to spot since looking right into the sunset with big wind chop and white caps) so we were going to head back to the barn and then we found more foam...

    This time I stayed in cabin to focus on boat positioning for my dad and Chau hook up...

    Next thing I know, Dad is on.... a nice fish, after 20 - 25 min of him getting his butt kicked, hook pulled.

    Bummer but we still were appreciative for the action and good fights.

    Rinse and repeat... this time Chau is on, which ended up being a 60+ nice fish.

    At this point it was almost 730pm so we started heading in and hoped to see some action on the way, which we didn't.

    So instead just recapped the epic day we had and kept acknowledging that we finally got the BF action we've been searching for.

    After all the recent trips where it was either an "off day" that the fish didn't bite for anyone or we were in the "wrong zone"... I finally was rewarded.

    Also so pumped that I made the late afternoon call to double back to the area that had way more signs of life which ultimately led us to a brand new zone that nobody was really fishing.

    BTW - later starts to the fishing day are pretty sweet...going to do more of that. Got to sleep in, take my time and even give my little girls a kiss goodbye before fishing all day and not getting back till nighttime.

    Thanks for reading, this post is way too long but I got carried away
    🙂


    Here's a little video I made with the gopro footage we had and some photos below it too. Enjoy and keep after em' the payoff is worth it.


    IMG_8979.jpg


    IMG_8974.jpg

    IMG_8976.jpg


    IMG_8982.jpg

    IMG_8993.jpg


    IMG_8979.jpg
     

    woodfish330

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,636
    3,592
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    "MAG POPPER" FISH.... good for you brother. Your electricity flows out of your pen. Good write up... good picts. Went through a number.... to get a few good ones.... that works for me.
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Cole418
    Cole418
    Cole418
    Yea man after going thru the ringer trying to get these MFers it deserved a quality write up haha
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    Omarkayak

    I've posted enough I should know better...
    Jul 26, 2007
    1,307
    663
    Northridge, CA
    Name
    Donald W. Clarke III
    Boat
    11+ ft, Ocean Kayak Scrambler, P 'N' Queue Pod
    Friggin awesome, that right there. Way to stay with 'em. Great post, too. Could feel the heartbreaks and the triumphs.

    Good fishin'!
    BDC OK
     
    Upvote 0

    stuman

    Brawndo the thirst mutilator
    Sep 18, 2004
    1,742
    1,773
    Oside
    Name
    stu
    Boat
    skiff
    What lb test leader are you using? Did you have to change the split rings on the popper. We are using the Noebi poppers and the split ring was slightly opened after one fish. The VMC hooks held up well.
     
    Cole418
    Cole418
    80lb leader. No split ring on these poppers.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    Paul Ward

    I Should Upgrade My Account
    Jul 17, 2007
    1,141
    639
    Costa Mesa
    Name
    wooddog
    Boat
    Boaty
    Hey BD peeps... long post alert... I guess I'm a bit excited 😆

    First a little context and disclaimer... these dang bluefin have had me in a real funk and have tested all of my patience, confidence, skill and more...

    Now I definitely know why they say "bluefin being bluefin"... and we had about 4 trips in a row of that.

    Zero problem finding the fish and having them jumping all around of us, sonar marks etc etc... with no bites.

    And then about a month ago, when we did hook a couple nice ones on poppers, we lost em. One to a damn Sea Lion (the worst).

    So yea, these Bluefin have had me in a funk, but despite my frustration mounting, I knew I had to keep at it and get my day for some good grade BF fishing...

    OK now that that's outta the way...

    We fished both Wednesday afternoon and yesterday.

    Wednesday afternoon... not much to report, BF being BF and ultimately we struck out... again... no shock there haha.

    Thursday... got a gentleman start and met at the boat at 8am because didn't want to expend too much energy early and expected to fish hard all day into the evening if need be.

    High tide was at 2pm so I was hopeful things would pop off then....which it didn't but I digress...

    A few miles outside of the Point and a buddy hits us up on radio to tell us they are on a paddy a few miles from us and have 4 on the boat already and invited us over. We quickly took him up on the offer to join the party and our "bad luck" (more like lesson learned and ignorance started).

    My dad quickly hooked up to a Yellow and after a quick fight... he was off. What the heck? ....broke the hook. Never had that happen before.

    My buddy Chau got a yellow in the boat... then my turn, hooked up.... fighting a decent yellow and fish off... reel up and see my hook totally bent out.

    OK... lesson learned, can't use Owner Mutu Light circle hooks anymore!!!

    Figured it was good to have these "mishaps" on yellowtail and not the tuna.

    My dad ended up hooking up again and we got a nice 15lb Yellowtail on the boat.

    2 Yellowtail on the boat early to get the skunk off so off we went to blast to the tuna grounds with plan to work west of the fleet (between North 9 and 182)

    Instantly started seeing tuna boiling here and there under birds here and there and started some long soak drifts, Chau got hooked up pretty fast and fish was OFF after barely taking a run.

    Chau reels in and there is no hook...he was chewed off right away.

    Not too long later my dad hooks up on bait.... fish is.... on and off.

    Brings in his hook and no hook but the knot is still there - still a mystery to what happened but seemed like another "chew off casualty".

    At this point it was hard to not start letting my mind get the best of me... I wasn't getting bit, those that were kept having weird but repetitive casualties... you get the idea.

    A couple hrs later as we kept moving west around midday we found some nice foamers, we chased em around with two other boats which I figured would pretty much be tough to get a bite so I was pretty dang shocked when my popper finally got smashed... "I'M ON!!!!!!!!!"

    He didn't feel huge but I didn't care, fairly quickly got him to boat with my Tranx 500 and 9' UC Del Mar and dad stuck him... the stoke was HIGH... I finally got my bluefin.

    After that we kept chasing the foam as it would pop up but now we had about 5 boats chasing after em'.... that sucked but the foam was staying up so we give it a little attention and sure enough, we were hooked up again.

    Chau brought another 30lb popper fish to the boat... fish was foul hooked and hooked in the side. I stuck the gaff in him and was in the side of fish but fish went crazy and the gaff ripped out of the side of the fish and hit the popper as it ripped out and pulled the hooks out... definitely a bummer.

    After that we didn't get any action for the next 3.5 hrs or so, so we decided to work east to try to find some fish that wanted to bite and came across the fleet.....what we found was LOTS of boats and NO birds and only about 2 people hooked up out of a LOT of fishermen.

    It was almost 4pm and I knew our day was starting to wind down and my gut just didn't think that lifeless fleet zone was the place to be so I decided to work back west... we kept driving and checking the binos and I started seeing birds on the horizon, kept driving and kept seeing birds and I knew there was fish on em... then we found the foam. Bluefin going wild and nobody around.

    It wasn't wide open AT ALL, lots of running and gunning and trying to get the boat in the right position to get everyone at least 1 cast into the frenzy before the fish sink out or simply change direction.

    It didn't take long for my popper to get totally exploded on by a bigger fish (80+ lbs)... "I'm ON!!!!!"

    Still a bit shocked that they actually bit but settled in for a good fight.

    I gave it hell, wasn't getting too aggressive fighting it but didn't want to let the fish have too much latitude and wanted to keep him coming.

    After about 15 min, right when my dad turned the go-pro back on the hook pulled.

    I expected to be super pissed but I wasn't.

    It was a good fight with by far my biggest fish but I knew the fish were biting and my confidence was back and ready to get on em again.

    I jumped back into the cabin and powered us up from school to school and I hooked up again... after about 10 min I got the fish to the boat and it was a beautiful 70lb fish (weighed on scale).

    We kept at it and I hooked another, this time I quickly handed the rod to my dad to fight the fish to give him some action and he brought the 40lb fish in.

    It was getting late and the foam had moved on... sorta (it was actually just really hard to spot since looking right into the sunset with big wind chop and white caps) so we were going to head back to the barn and then we found more foam...

    This time I stayed in cabin to focus on boat positioning for my dad and Chau hook up...

    Next thing I know, Dad is on.... a nice fish, after 20 - 25 min of him getting his butt kicked, hook pulled.

    Bummer but we still were appreciative for the action and good fights.

    Rinse and repeat... this time Chau is on, which ended up being a 60+ nice fish.

    At this point it was almost 730pm so we started heading in and hoped to see some action on the way, which we didn't.

    So instead just recapped the epic day we had and kept acknowledging that we finally got the BF action we've been searching for.

    After all the recent trips where it was either an "off day" that the fish didn't bite for anyone or we were in the "wrong zone"... I finally was rewarded.

    Also so pumped that I made the late afternoon call to double back to the area that had way more signs of life which ultimately led us to a brand new zone that nobody was really fishing.

    BTW - later starts to the fishing day are pretty sweet...going to do more of that. Got to sleep in, take my time and even give my little girls a kiss goodbye before fishing all day and not getting back till nighttime.

    Thanks for reading, this post is way too long but I got carried away
    🙂


    Here's a little video I made with the gopro footage we had and some photos below it too. Enjoy and keep after em' the payoff is worth it.


    View attachment 1299707

    View attachment 1299700
    View attachment 1299701

    View attachment 1299705
    View attachment 1299706

    View attachment 1299704
    Yellows will bend a light wire circle hook and laugh at you! J hooks for yellow tail. Imho
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Cole418
    Cole418
    Cole418
    Yea we usually use j hooks but had circles for the flyline tuna setups. In hindsight, we see that would have been a bad idea too... we've caught plenty of fish on em without issue but these fish are a lot bigger and meaner than little YFT schoolies
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0

    woodfish330

    I Should Upgrade My Account
  • Aug 14, 2012
    1,636
    3,592
    San Fransisco,CA USA
    Name
    John
    Boat
    Fishead
    .....laughing.... Brothers.... switching back and forth between "J" hooks and "circle" hooks... could be maddening on the same trip... let alone outfit ...all day. Do I set the hook?...NO... its a circle hook!.... no I retied a J hook on this one.... RIGHT?? Just saying.....
     
    • Like
    Reactions: Cole418
    Upvote 0

    Hey-19

    Member
    Aug 31, 2020
    324
    602
    62
    HUNTINGTON BEACH
    Name
    barry skaggs
    Boat
    C-Dory TomCat
    Great report and pics. Persistence paid you guys some huge dividends. Nice work skipper!
     
    Cole418
    Cole418
    Much appreciated. Definitely felt good to make that last decision to retreat west in hopes of fishier waters.
    Upvote 0
    Upvote 0