Perhaps most important, this story might not be over, as reports at press time indicate the schools of big tuna are still around, having wintered far offshore. Lessons learned over the past two years could pay dividends as anglers get another chance to target the fish of a lifetime if and when these tuna move closer to the coast.
To set the facts straight, neither 2015 nor 2016 was the best year on record when it came to numbers of Pacific bluefin tuna caught by California recreational anglers. In 2013, for example, passenger boats reported landing 63,702 fish, according to records maintained by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife. However, keep in mind that most of the fish in 2013 were less than 50 pounds and fairly easy to land, and there was a 10-fish daily bag limit. In addition, the CDFW records do not include private‑boat catches.