With a flat-calm ocean, conditions were outstanding, both for spotting surface activity and for throwing topwaters. Even so, for a while it seemed a pretty lifeless sea. When we did find some activity, the good news was that there were big tuna busting hard on bait schools — probably triple-digit fish. The bad news turned out to be the capricious, unpredictable nature of the activity: They'd be feeding explosively on top for a minute or two, then disappear and come up some distance away a bit later.
But with anglers on the bow ready to throw poppers, Capt. Mendoza worked to dial in the movements, spending time running-and-gunning at high speeds to give us shots. And shots we got, including some seriously explosive blasts, with one tuna knocking a popper five feet into the air (and somehow missing it).