Right as we heard news on the Corona virus erupting all over the world I received a last minute call, I was invited by Bill to go fishing on the Sea Breeze with Captain Ned and mate George. Luckily that at the time of the trip there were no warnings here in the U.S. The fishing trip was to be a jigging and popping trip for Bluefin Tuna. The weather was iffy and the tunas had been caught in previous trips so our trip seemed to have a good outlook. After Bill called on Monday night I had to rush and get my gear ready through the night then started driving Tuesday 3rd of March at 1am. It was a long road towards Georgia for me. I was to meet Bill and then make a decision on whether I kept driving or drive with him and get some shut eye. Well, I slept while Bill drove. Upon arrival we prepared our rods and reels and the next morning off to fishing we were.
We arrived at the dock and loaded our gear. We met with Dan who was to fish with us for the next 2 days.
Soon after Captain Ned introduced us to George the Mate, he gave us a safety talk and a bit about the fishing plan. We were to look for Tuna schooling up under dolphins and whales or simply find them and jig or pop for them.
Off we went and after an hour the Captain spotted some two-tone dolphins so we stopped to give it a try. We tried jigging, different depths and had started with 200 gram jigs; then I ended up using 400 gram jigs. The jigs were not working so we switched to pencil lures. We were unsuccessful since the fish were deep and very sporadic. We moved several times, then Dan suggested we just try trolling our lures and so we did. Bill and I ended with two small Yellowfin tuna. The tuna were regurgitating small squids and puffer fish. Below is a small video of catching one of the tuna on spinning gear using a Maria Loaded while trolling it at 6 knots. That was to be the end of day one.
This is now day 2 of our trip. We got to the docks at 4:30am and departed at 5am. This time the plan was to troll for the fish then jig and pop when we found them. The day started with Dan on the troll catching another small yellowfin tuna. Then we took turns each getting more small keeper yellowfin tuna.
As Bill was reeling in a Yellowfin Tuna the other rod went off, with Dan inside the cabin not wanting to use the heavy boat gear I picked it up. At first it seemed to be another small Yellowfin Tuna but as I was reeling it in it got heavier and heavier. The fight lasted about 20 to 30 minutes on the heavy tackle provided by the boat. I just wish I was able to have fought in with my own gear, I think it would have been a lot easier. Well, maybe next time it will be. Below is a video of the last minute or so showing the release.
Here is another video of the trolling action.
Below is a combination of Yellowfin Tuna caught trolling lure and ballyhoo with skirt.
Below is the boat, a 58′ custom built Carolina Sportfisherman. It is a very comfortable boat. I even forgot many times that we were in 5 to 7 foot seas.
Commercial fishing season ended but this boat was still at the dock. This is a very nice boat.
As we were packing up I took a picture of Dan’s sweet setup of his van. He was going to stay fishing for ten days after the trip. Next time I go I will try to do the same. I now have a better idea on what I wanna do to my tackle box of a car 🙂
Below are a few pics of the ways I ate the tuna.
Once again a big thanks to Bill for the last minute invite that put me on my very first Bluefin Tuna. I sure enjoyed it and enjoyed the yellowfin tuna in so many different ways for the next 3 weeks.
Tight lines everyone and take care of yourselves and those near you.