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California Spearfishing Talk here about spearfishing on California's Pacific Coast, and post those reports and photos!

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Old 09-21-2018, 01:05 PM   #1
TheMackDaddy
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Does anyone hunt albacore?

I'm curious if anyone spears albacore in norcal or further north to oregon. Its not a fish i ever see anyone showing reports of spearing, but they are caught on line quite a bit.

Is spearing them something that is too difficult to be worth while due to distance? sparsity? speed or size of moving schools?

I was actually looking for boat rentals to do some trips, but it didn't seem like there were many options in the bay area to rent your normal 20-25 ft center console fishing type boats. Does anyone know of such boat rental in the area?
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Old 09-21-2018, 02:51 PM   #2
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

Spearfishing for albacore is pretty impractical.

Before the last few years, you didn't really see guys shooting bluefin or yellowfin here with any regularity either. Shooting tuna requires very specific behavior and conditions.

You either need some structure where they reliably hang out so you can make drifts/drops and actually have a chance to see something (most likely yellowfin in tropical areas, over prominent rock pinnacles, islands, or temporary structure like floating objects or dolphin schools) or you need them to act in such a way that you can reasonably drive the boat around and find shootable fish.

With the massive amount of mini bait around right now, you're seeing much more surface activity, with large meter marks near the surface, foaming schools that aren't moving a million miles an hour, and lazy surface breezers.

In the past, these things were much less common, to the point where putting on a wetsuit and driving around all day looking for shootable tuna was pretty futile. I'm much more used to seeing sporadic, scratchy marks while tuna fishing that are typically 100 feet down. These "fill the screen for minutes at a time" marks are definitely not normal.

So the fact that we're shooting tuna at all is weird. Even when we'd get BFT/YFT in the past, they weren't acting the way they'd need to to shoot them.

But albacore are even worse. They don't swim like yellowfin/bluefin do. I've never seen them in the water, but I've seen plenty of freeswimmers from the boat and they are complete spazzes. They shoot up from the depths and shoot back down in a parabolic arch. They aren't going to swim lazy circles around you checking you out, and they aren't going to be in a school travelling at uniform speed in a uniform direction.

The best chance to shoot one is to get a jig stop, chum bait, get a supremely WFO bite going, and then jump in with your gun pointed at a piece of chum hoping your reflexes are quick enough to pick one off as it eats. And you should probably expect to miss 90% of your shots. But even that only works when the albacore are sticking around the boat after a jig stop, which they don't always do. Many times you just get sporadic jig strikes all day with a few bait fish here and there, and while that kind of fishing can plug the holds, it offers no chance for spearing any.
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Old 09-21-2018, 03:17 PM   #3
Bob Ballew
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

They have been speared but, conditions are usually bad to worse, with green water. If I recall correctly, there was a run a few miles off the Cen Cal coast wherein some jumbo size albies were speared for a new record...like mentioned, chumming would be the way to go...finding a run would be key, as they often don't show up here for 10 years or more and frequently, bypass Southern CA; going outside and heading up north to Oregon......
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Old 09-21-2018, 04:30 PM   #4
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

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Originally Posted by Bob Ballew View Post
They have been speared but, conditions are usually bad to worse, with green water. If I recall correctly, there was a run a few miles off the Cen Cal coast wherein some jumbo size albies were speared for a new record...like mentioned, chumming would be the way to go...finding a run would be key, as they often don't show up here for 10 years or more and frequently, bypass Southern CA; going outside and heading up north to Oregon......
They definitely like rough water, but green? Not in my experience. Albacore seem to be the pickiest of tunas when it comes to wanting pure, deep blue/purple water.
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Old 09-21-2018, 10:31 PM   #5
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

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They definitely like rough water, but green? Not in my experience. Albacore seem to be the pickiest of tunas when it comes to wanting pure, deep blue/purple water.
i read the same thing recently about them liking purple water.

That sucks about how they zig zag up and down. i have experience with Black fin tuna and bonito in florida that act like that and they are almost impossible to track/shoot because they go so fast. that was actually my biggest concern with targeting albacore that they would do that.
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Old 09-21-2018, 11:36 PM   #6
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

Could definitly chunk chum in a really fishy zone you are scoring troll fish in. Until they come through. Like LPS said, get the school following the troll fish and chum into it. Haven’t seen concentration like that on the central coast in 7 years or so, but up there is much better. Post a report if you go. I’m very interested.

Good luck!
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:11 AM   #7
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

I shot a 23lb Albi once. The way it happened is we had some guys rod and reel trolling them. When they hooked up I immediately dove off the back of the boat to try and intercept the school. They do swim zig zag, interweaving each other. I aimed a foot in front of them and got one.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:34 AM   #8
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

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Old 09-22-2018, 06:13 PM   #9
Bob Ballew
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

True, albies like blue water and down south, that is where we find them...However, Cen Cal and Oregon has primarily green water conditions and they still show up...Joe Tobin speared a 30 pounder on the outer edge of Monterey Bay in 25' green vis....several Oregon divers have landed one...chumming and sharks go together in green vis....

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Old 09-22-2018, 09:55 PM   #10
TheMackDaddy
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

What about Norcal? Does the water typically clear up by the time you get out to tuna distances (20+ miles).

Bluewater hunting in murk is almost a deal breaker.
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Old 09-22-2018, 10:39 PM   #11
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMackDaddy View Post
What about Norcal? Does the water typically clear up by the time you get out to tuna distances (20+ miles).

Bluewater hunting in murk is almost a deal breaker.
Yes very clean water offshore there

and up there, "tuna distance" can be as short as half what you quoted (but it can also be 2 or three times it)
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Old 09-24-2018, 10:53 AM   #12
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

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Yes very clean water offshore there

and up there, "tuna distance" can be as short as half what you quoted (but it can also be 2 or three times it)
Been fishing tuna hard in norcal for many years now and brought the gear a few times this year but havnt had luck on the gun yet mainly due to the lack of bait. Once we ran 70 miles offshore for 3 fish and one day we ran 15 miles for 40 fish.


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Old 09-27-2018, 05:45 PM   #13
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

Quote:
Originally Posted by TheMackDaddy View Post
What about Norcal? Does the water typically clear up by the time you get out to tuna distances (20+ miles).

Bluewater hunting in murk is almost a deal breaker.

My friends had 42 the other day, all jig fish. Clear blue water. Totally shootable. I think chunks right after a jig stop will get them going. Line up on the chum, close your eyes and pull the trigger.
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Old 09-28-2018, 01:35 PM   #14
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Re: Does anyone hunt albacore?

I’ve shot a few albacore, including two records.
Breezing/puddling fish are the best scenario, but we’ve got a few trolling, then diving immediately after hookup. A flasher or lure left in the water can attract them also. They are fast and erratic swimming fish at times when feeding. Aim in front of the nose a few inches. I’ve seen schools that were an endless river of fish at 50’, something I will never forget seeing.
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