Albacore on the fly – August 2015

A brave fleet gathers offshore Pacific City in preparation of tuna fishing.
A brave fleet gathers offshore Pacific City in preparation of tuna fishing.

Finally, my shot at an albacore came on August 26th, venturing offshore in the dory Last Cast with mentors Kevin and Ed.  Thank you gentlemen for this wonderful opportunity.  We headed down the ramp at 0600 across a treacherously soft sand beach, and launched farther south on the beach than was our habit of late.  Benefiting from a long series of gentle swells, Ed and I held the dory steady while Kevin parked the Jeep, ran back and jumped in.

A brief period of gathering tuna boats just north of Haystack Rock ensued, and then with Fly Guy, Benny Beaver, and a few others, we headed west for the tuna grounds.

Jay and albacore, the first of the season.
Jay and albacore, the first of the season.

By 0830 we put out flies overboard to troll, with no signs of tuna to entice us yet.  Five minutes into the game, my rod went down with a hefty  tuna pulling at the other end of my line.  My first tuna pull of this season, I was pretty delighted, and more so when the fish materialized into a fish in the 25 – 27 pound class (called so by Ed, so more reliable than any estimate I would have made).

SAMSUNG CSC
Nice photo Ed, and thanks!

Next up, Ed was into the fight, followed by Kevin, and then, magically, my rod went down again, as if we had planned on taking turns. All but one of the albacore on this date were over twenty pounds, with Kevin landing an honest thirty pounder after an extended battle.  Very few fish were on the surface today, but Fly Guy had live bait aboard and managed to chum up a feeding frenzy while hooking up on the cast and strip.

A rare double for Ed and Jay. Look at that Hatch Finatic in overdrive!
A rare double for Ed and Jay. Look at that Hatch Finatic in overdrive!

Our fish were all on the trolled fly, but a ton of fun to be sure.  We are still hoping for the cast and strip encounter if we get out again, but for now, this is great.

Kevin put his ECHO PRIME with 400 gr  Big Game Depth Finder to the test repeatedly.
Kevin put his ECHO PRIME with 400 gr  Big Game Depth Finder to the test repeatedly.
Kevin's thirty pounder was the hefty fish of the day.
Kevin’s thirty pounder was the hefty fish of the day.
Nice Buff Gloves Kevin.
Nice Buff Gloves Kevin.

Ok, that’s about it.  Can’t wait to head west again and hunt tuna.  Big swells for a week but maybe by labor Day Weekend.

Jay at fly bench working on Steelhead patterns.
Jay at fly bench working on Steelhead patterns.

Meanwhile, Rob Russell reminded me I have  last minute assignment on our book Modern Steelhead Flies scheduled for release by StackPole late this year!  I’m on it Rob!

My best to everyone

Jay Nicholas, August 30, 2015

8 thoughts on “Albacore on the fly – August 2015

  1. I am always amazed at how nicely behaved the ocean is when you are fishing….do you choose when to go out based on tides and weather….? I ask because i am vertigo sufferer but really want to do this…K

  2. Klint: Great question/comment. Here is my reply. We only go out after albacore when the ocean is “well behaved,” never when it is “sloppy.” This is because we need to run somewhere in the neighborhood of 20 – 25 miles from the beach in 22 ft flat bottom boats, usually with outboard motors. The run out in the morning is usually faster/quicker than the run back to the beach in the afternoon, because afternoon winds nearly always rough-up the ocean with wind waves on top of the underlying swell, and our return run sometimes takes 3 hours whereas the run out in the morning may only be an hour and a half. When we are fishing black rockfish and silvers close to the beach, we can tolerate much bigger swells, and often find ourselves bobbing up and down in 5-8 ft swells for a few hours until we head for the beach. Still, we need sheltered conditions at the launch and often get these conditions back in the corner of Cape Kiwanda when the swells are coming in from the Northwest, but not if they are rolling in from the Southwest. I’d add that I experienced sea-sickness when I was served in the US Navy, first day we put to sea only. However, I have never been sick in a dory, no matter how rough it gets. My friend Jim who is a commercial fisherman and owns his own troller is fine in his craft, but got queasy aboard a giant cruise ship. I mention this because I think the only way to know if you will get seasick on a dory is to give it a try. the good news is that (except for the day long tuna trips) you are a few minutes from the beach, and if you call it, you can be put ashore if you are too miserable to bear it. I hope this helps and that you will find that you do well in a dory one of these days. Best Regards, JN.

  3. Looks like you had a great trip Jay. I am heading for Cape Cod to fly-fish for Stripers, False Albacore and Blues with my daughter and son-in-law. Will be my first time fly-fishing for these guys. I hope to share some of the love ….
    All the best – Alex

    1. Alex: thanks for the comment, I am sure you will have a great trip East and hope you find willing fish there for your flies. I understand that the False Albacore fishery back there is all catch and release and a lot of fun casting to boiling tuna. The stripers and blues look like super fun too and this should be a good time of year to find ’em. Check in with me when you get back, and travel safe friend. JN

  4. Nice halo on the last shot.

    Hope to see Frank A later this week when I pick up books for BC Bob. We’re headed to Skeena country for 3 weeks

    1. Have a great trip and poke BC Bob for me and jeepers it sounds like you will have a great time in Skeena country while I’m beating my head on a post trying to entice kings in my backyard here. Give my regards to Frank. Keep in touch as possible. JN

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