San Diego local Joe Rodr was fishing with three of his buddies aboard the Ranger 85 on his birthday when his turn came up at bat. It was a monster bluefin on the boat's kite rig. The big beast was hooked on a Seeker OSP3X rail rod paired with a Makaira 50WII.
It was about an hour and forty-five minutes in when the coup de grace came, as 5 gaffs were required to drag the big fish through the gate. Initially, the gorilla of a fish taped out to 373.5 pounds.
At the dock it was an immense 345.1 pounds on H&M Landing's certified scale, a size that eclipses the current state record of 245 pounds set by John Correia last summer — by 100 pounds!
Capt. Robert Grey was at the helm and boat owner Capt. Frank Ursitti had nothing but praise for his prowess in finding and landing record-setting catches, in what has become the third epic offshore season in a row.
In the past week, we saw continued action on all fronts offshore. The school-sized yellowfin tuna consistently provided limits action for trips of 1.5 days and longer, and excellent opportunities all the way in to 3/4-day range.
Ursitti said there were two grades of these school-sized yellowfin, a smaller grade from 6 to 11 pounds, and a 20-pound grade topping out in the mid 30s. Some schools bit hard, 100-plus fish stops wide open on the corner, all around the boat.
Still, it could take some time finding the right bunch, so a few shorter trips missed entirely, while others absolutely creamed them.
Ursitti said 2.5 dayers like the one the super cow was caught on, have been fishing the yellowfin, then capping the trip out on the bluefin tuna areas, trying to draw a few strikes on the big gear.
Ursitti looked for an extended version of last season, where the scene "ran out of anglers before running out of fish." However, this writer's personal opinion is to get them while you still can this time around. Don't hold off thinking the fish will still be there two weeks from now, because one never knows.
About Thursday, the wind came howling down the coast offshore, and except for the yellowfin tuna grounds near the 302. When it finally eased enough to get back out, the outer banks SSTs had dropped a good 5 degrees, which is highly unusual for the season. Areas that had been holding fish inside of there all along were affected much less, providing a clue as to why those places were holding.
The yellowfin bite continued and the New Lo-An posted full limits of them Friday and Saturday. The entire fleet had big scores though the week and even the 3/4-day fleet fished offshore for tuna.