Bluefin Excitement in Monterey

Monterey Bay

Tony and Joey Puccinelli, along with their father Don on the vessel Earlylimits proudly display their bluefin tuna caught on Sunday only three miles off the coastline near Carmel.
Photo Credit: Courtesy of Let's Go Fishing Radio Show

by Allen Bushnell

Salmon fishing has been sketchy this week in Monterey Bay, but remains strong near Half Moon Bay, Pacifica and along the Marin Coast. Our normal species are here in abundance and inshore fishing is productive. The biggest news for this week, and maybe for this year or even this decade is- Bluefin tuna on the bite from Carmel to Half Moon Bay. Big bluefin tuna in the 150 pound-plus range!

The tuna are scattered in small, dense pockets across the breadth of the area described above. When anglers come upon an active school of feeding tuna, they are observing dozens of fish jumping more than three feet in the air as they chase the bait. Most anglers in Northern California have never seen anything like this. A few years ago, we had a month or so of bluefin fishing about ten miles off the coast of Davenport. Those fish were in the 50-60 pound range, and were hard to catch. Slow-trolling live mackerel seemed to be the ticket back then. The tuna here now are behaving more like, well, tuna. They are hitting on fast trolled cedar plugs, Rapalas and tuna feathers.

The excitement really started with a fishing report on Sunday from Coastside Fishing Club member Don Puccinelli from San Jose. Fishing with his sons Tony and Joey on his boat Early Limits and launching from Monterey Harbor he reported, “We got our lines in the water at 6:30, trolling southwest of Point Pinos. At 10:30, right in the middle of a pod of dolphins, we hooked up a triple. Our best rod with 600 yards of line almost got spooled. I got some line back but the fish came off. For the next 2 hours we battled till 12:40 and finally boated our two bluefin estimated at 169 and 141 pounds. We called it a day with great memories made with my two boys. Go get ‘em guys. Caught on cedar plug and magnum Rapala 300 feet back.

Since then, there have been more reports of bluefin caught from Point Lobos up to Half Moon Bay. Todd Fraser at Bayside Marine reported, “There were a few fish seen straight out of Santa Cruz, 10 miles out.” On Tuesday David Hurley from Western Outdoor News passed on a live report, saying “Captain Tom Mattusch of the Huli Cat is out at the Deep Reef right now, and he said, ‘You wouldn't believe what I am seeing right now. There are bluefin all over the Deep Reef, and we have seen five at one time leaving the water. I have never seen anything like this before. The bluefin were at the Davenport Fingers yesterday, and they are clearing moving up the coastline. There are also bluefin reported three miles inside of us so they are in a wide area. The tuna range from over 150 pounds to smaller grade.

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