The entire Westport, Washington fishing community has been eagerly awaiting the return of Albacore Tuna. Each year we wait in anticipation for warm ocean currents to break through the chilled flow of the Columbia River to encourage the pelagic hordes of Albacore to make their way north and within range of the sport fleet. Well, I have been looking forward to seeing my first Albacore soon, and it was just my luck that I rolled into Westport on the same day that Mark Coleman of All Rivers & Saltwater Charters brought the first-of-season Albacore back to port. They landed 6 on Friday, which was more than enough to get the entire community excited.
On Saturday, the crew met at the FV Integrity at 530am, settled in, motored to the bait pen for a fresh scoop of live anchovies, and headed out.
The Grays Harbor Bar was as calm as you could hope for and we cruised out past the channel markers and crab buoys to a calm ocean. Once we got past the GH Buoy the light fog had completely lifted and we were out 45 miles before I knew it.
We went to approximately the same area that they had caught before, and we had a great showing from nearby Humpback Whales, one breaching completely! What a show! Early season is all about the hunt without the intel from the fleet, as we were one of the only boats out searching for Albacore.
We ran five troll lines, and eventually found a small school of Albacore, and on one pass hooked three, landed them all. We attempted to convert to live-bait but didn’t capture their attention, even though deckhand Chance was brailing bait. Not much you can do beyond flooding the water with anchovies and getting the live bait rods out asap. We trolled through a few patches of Albacore jumpers after that but couldn’t stir anymore up.
With a handful of Albacore iced down in the fish box, we had run out of time and prepped to run back to port. On the way in, Chance rigged up the Rockfish gear, Mark slowed down at around the 160′ line and found a very promising school. We stopped, deployed gear, and within a few drifts had our boat limit of Yellowtail Rockfish as a big bonus!
It was another awesome day fishing with All Rivers & Saltwater Charters… already planning my next trip with them!