Greetings from Garibalbi, Oregon, where your humble correspondent is nursing a serious case of a bruised belly and a slightly bruised ego as well.
I'm now getting my first taste of West Coast albacore action, alongside host Bud Hosner, tournament director of the Oregon Tuna Classic and owner of Big Tuna Marine... These fish are terrific! Longfins off this wild state have been creating quite a stir amongst the recreational crowd over the past few summers - the fish have been running thick and plentiful - and best yet, they're available via a number of different angling techniques close to shore!
We caught albies during my stay anywhere from 10 to 20 miles out, quite a treat for these splendid game fish. They're coming in big numbers too, and all that hard pulling has my mid-section absolutely rubbed raw!
The coolest part of the trip, however, came on the second day of fishing, when Mr. Big decided to crash the albie party. A tuna, I'm guessing in the 100-pound range - it was no albacore - smashed a lure in the spread and began dumping our Penn International 30. In my excitement and haste to slow the dump truck, I tightened down too much and popped the big girl off.
I could've kicked myself! But apparently this sort of thing has been fairly common in this area of Oregon: Monster tuna smashing the albacore spread and taking surprised anglers and their light tackle down for the count. The best guess is that they're bluefin or big-eye. I saw the fish that hit our lure. I believe it was a bluefin (in fact, a smaller, 20-pound bluefin was taken on another boat this week during the Oregon Tuna Classic).
So that's the skinny from Garibaldi: A beautiful place and one helluva tuna fishery. Drop Bud Hosner a line at Big Tuna Marine (503-349-7715; www.bigtunamarine.com) and give it a try next time you're out this way!
Associate Editor, Sport Fishing