We were pretty excited about this tournament, and hopeful about our chances. The crew included Andy, Walt, Calvin and Kelly. Predictably, we felt our chances rested on getting 100# class bluefin to the boat. The plan was to start at the Fingers and pound it out until we got that fish, then head further out in search of yellowfins. Of course, the plan was laced with the expectation of that bite happening early in the morning. Some times the plan just doesn't work.
I'd like to tell you the story of all the excitement that happened as we circumnavigated the Fingers, but I haven't made up that lie yet. Lines in at 730 AM, and we started just northwest of the 21 Fm Finger. And nothing happened. Gradually worked our way eastward, covering bluefin territory until the GPS screen breadcrumb trail looked like an manic child's etch-a-sketch. 9 Am and not a knockdown. Then 10 AM....still nothing. By 11 AM, everyone was a combination of restless, bored, and frustrated. By noon time it was apparent that the bluefin plan was not going to work out.
We kept working eastward, tournament hopes pretty much dashed. By 1PM, I think the crew was torn between hoping for a knockdown, or throwing the tackle in the ocean. Five and a half hours, and not even the hint of a bite. I was hearing rumblings that this was the 'worst fishing trip ever. Kelly and I discussed the dream of getting multiple knockdowns to save the day, but then admitted it was highly unlikely. We were in the Dead Sea.
Then a few minutes after 1:00, it broke loose. We were in 30 Fms east of The Fingers. First knockdown, and we're hooked up! Kept the boat moving in hopes of multiple bites. That didn't happen until we slowed down to fight the fish. Then, a second rod goes down. And then a third. Finally!
First one to the boat, a real dink of a yellowfin. Into the box, skunk is gone. Second one comes to the gaff, and we box a better yft in 30# class. One more to bring in, but it turns out to be a dusky, maybe 80 lbs or so. Leadered and released.
Its 1:15, and we finally caught something. Continue the troll, and within minutes have another bite, but no hookup. Crew is on the rods, jigging the baits. Calvin finally entices a hookup. From the tower we can see the tunas swiping at the jigged baits, mostly missing. Then Andy gets hooked up. Two on. Then a third. We put all three in the box. We continue working this area until "lines out" is called at 3 PM. Final tally from our late bite - 7 YFTs in the box, one dusky released, and two pulled hooks on decent fish.
We head for the weigh station with the yellowfins still snapping. We know we don't have the weight needed to contend, but at least we salvaged the day with a pretty furious late tuna bite.
We end up weighing three fish that combined are just over 86#. Congrats to BOB-FM for a well run tournament thus far. I think its quite a success, and a welcome addition. Seems to me this one is aimed at the local 'weekend' angler, and with so many entries still provides a nice prize structure. Good luck to those still fishing, and congrats to those at the top of the leader board.
Dave......Thanks again for the invite. Had a great time. I guess persistance pays off or is it patience. Glad we finally got the skunk out of the box with a bang. It was pretty chaotic there for about an hour and a half. Really wish we could have got the big bluefin to put us higher on the board for the tourney. Oh well maybe next year........
Bill.....The T'storms were never a factor. We saw them to the south all morning. It rained from the time we all got up in the morning until about 9am. Then the sun popped out a little before noon. Seas were 2-3 ft. and laying out as the day went on. Beautiful ride home.......
Regarding the weather -- it rained real lightly the whole way out, with just a few distant lighting flashes along the way. Once we got to fishing, weather was fine with early overcast eventually giving way to sunshine in the afternoon. Overall, very fishable weather. I fished one tournament a few years back with very nasty thunderstorms, so I can appreciate the concern some had.