Coming off the heels of the Charleston OTC the week before, Team KingFisher rolled North with a skeleton crew to give the Washington Tuna Classic a shot. Logistics prevented a pre-fish day so we went into Saturday cold, but optimistic.
Weather reports hinted of a rough, but manageable day. The sunrise greeted us with long swells and light winds for our 34 mile run out to our planned starting position.
An hour and a half later, a large temp break presented itself on nice structure and the three of us deployed gear for the troll. After 3 ‘drive-bys’, a medium grade fish came over the rails. The day proceeded to produce fish one at a time spread out over 30-45min intervals.
“Everybody grab a live bait rod, it’s oooonnnnn!”
In the morning we grinded out enough fish for weigh-in and became more aggressive with our live bait the closer we got our ‘bingo’ time. Around 12:30, and after dumping a half scoop of bait, a rod went down with an anchovy on it. ‘Everybody grab a live bait rod, it’s oooonnnnn!’ We hooked 5 nice fish, (and a couple blue sharks) when I hear those three words every captain fears offshore, ‘We lost power’. After a quick troubleshoot, I found a fuse I suspected to be the problem and realized much to my dismay and embarrassment, I don’t have a spare. (Probably have 20 of the other size, Doh!).
Knowing we had our fish, I elected to call it a day and run back to enjoy an early arrival. Luckily, the run was nice and uneventful and did not require any assistance.
We arrived at the dock a little after 3pm and handed over 3 of our fish to be weighed right away and 2 of the biggest saved for the live weigh-in. 24 of the 42 teams checked in fish, and we were fortunate to have found ourselves in the running with a good grade of fish.
The forecast was for 10-12 kts of wind to produce 3’ wind waves on top of a 4’ swell. Our morning run ended up with around 5 kts of wind that was on top of a 10 second wave producing a relatively good run. With brief periods of higher winds, the day for the most part produced good fishing conditions with sunshine for half of it.
We started with a heavier set of surface gear early with cedar plugs intermixed. After tweaking a bit, it was the cedar plugs that seemed to be getting bit the most. Swimbaits and iron did not produce all day. With good quality bait, we turned on one good stop that yielded 5 fish on live bait until our electrical problems occurred. Unlike most other days we only saw one multiple hook-up despite our efforts.
After a fantastic dinner and exciting live weigh-in, Team KingFisher found itself in 2nd place with a weight of 135.8 lbs. Congrats to Team Kora with the first place at 149.06 lbs. and Team Reel Broke for 3rd place with 135.56 lbs.
Here is a link to the final results: http://www.washingtontunaclassic.com/prior-years-results/wtc-2011-results.
A state record yellowtail was caught by Team Painkiller. What a beautiful fish and a catch of a lifetime! Way to go.
The tournament produced lots of fish going to Northwest Harvest, Washington’s own statewide hunger relief agency, and supported the Wounded Warrior Project and the Disabled American Veterans association. It was an honor to have participated in such a cause. A big thanks to Mitch King and his great crew of volunteers that made the event what it was.
Team KingFisher travels to Garibaldi next weekend for the finally of the OTC series of tournaments. With expectations high being in 3rd place overall for the season, Team KingFisher prepares for battle. We are excited for a shot at the IGFA top finish and look forward to competing with such a great group of fishermen..….Look out Little Italy, CR boys (and girls) are ready to go!