Weather limits anglers’ opportunities to score tuna

Weather limits anglers’ opportunities to score tuna
Captain Tom Joseph on the Sara Bella is considered one of the best tuna chasers in Northern California. this Suday he and his clients boated eight fish weighing up to 25 pounds each.

by Allen Bushnell

Most Monterey Bay anglers are pretty darn excited, having multiple species of tuna in our area. Many are also frustrated due to weather conditions that make it a dicey proposition to foray far offshore in search of the exotics. Big bluefin have been in the area for a while now. Many have searched but few have found them. The bluefin can be as close as 10 miles from shore at spots where deep submarine canyons cut into the sloping shelf from shore. Boats from Monterey, Moss Landing, Santa Cruz, Half Moon Bay and San Francisco have reported big bluefin catches within the past two months. “Big catches” does not mean lots of fish, it means catches of BIG fish. Tuna in the 100 to 200 pound range.offshore
Now, for the first time in ten years of so, we have albacore in our waters as well. These smaller longfin tunas typically feed and travel further offshore, from 30-100 miles, with most catches reported between 30 and 60 miles. Albacore tend to inhabit areas with significant temperature breaks where warm offshore water meets colder inshore currents. We have good temp breaks from Morro Bay up to Washington State right now, with the contrasting temperature line becoming more solid and closer to shore offshore fromfurther north. Locally, the break line is from 40-70 miles offshore from Big Sur up to San Francisco, and it’s somewhat splotchy with no clean clear delineation.
Despite windy days and choppy seas, the lure of the longfin is enticing boaters to get in on the hunt. Reports came in this week from the big Sur area, up to the Farallon Islands of albacore anglers burning fuel in hopes of a tuna strike. Most of them got blanked, but there’s always “that guy” who seems to sniff out the tuna. One such fisherman is Tom Joseph from Fish On Sportfishing Carters. Joseph got out on Sunday with a few hopeful clients. The day started out slow, but persistence usually pays off. Joseph reported, “ Started out slow but they came up to play at 3pm. We had the one peanut then at 3pm it broke open for us. We boated seven big ones to 25 pounds, broke a couple off and a few just  didn't stick. We pulled the plug at 4:30. My clients needed to get back and we left them biting.Our total was eight for the day.”
No bluefin catches could be confirmed this week, but quite a few jumpers were reported as sighted, some as close as ten miles from the beach. There are bluefin being caught right now in Morro Bay, and the weather is pushing from the South. Ideally, that will push more warm water and more bluefin into our area by next week.

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