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Old 08-14-2009, 09:24 AM   #1
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Smile 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

What a beautiful day on the ocean.

Tuna fishing started off pretty slow. We had like 3 in the box by noon when we hooked up a single, and tried to turn it into a bait stop. I collar-hooked a live anchovy, and sent it down with a little lead under the stern of Shake N Bake. Nobody else hooked up this stop, but I kept paying out line.

The hookup happened like any other live bait tuna take. Spool starts spinning...wait for 3-4 seconds...engage lever drag....come tight...fish on!

Well, this fish didn't stop like most albies after a short run, it ran past my 50 yd topshot and well into the braid. Hmmm, drag set too light? NO. I had just reset it to nearly the max setting on the last fish.

I work the topshot back onto the reel a couple of times, just to see it go back off in a flash. Its runs were nearly vertical.

By this time, the boys are getting impatient looking at me pinned against the combing pads with my heavy bait rod bent fully over and calling me names <insert your favorite>. Why haven't you controlled that fish yet Dave???

All I could say is that I've got 12-13 pounds of drag on this fish, and it still is not under control. I didn't dare to go to full drag on the Avet MXL I was using, but I came close. I was using 30 pound hybrid flouro topshot, and prayed I did a good job on my terminal knot.

Clark let out a shreik when he saw color the first time, mumbling something about a 100+ pound Opah. I couldn't look over the side of the boat cuz my back was burning so bad by then. I have heard of Opah before, but was not familiar with them like he was.

One more run left and we got it to gaff. Clark stuck it, and I grabbed another gaff to stick it and heave it over the side.



Here we are at the dock in Ilwaco after off-loading all the tuna (btw, the tuna fishing was great on bait).

Clark and I trying to man handle this thing. Glad to have him on the boat with us yesterday. Heck of a fisherman.



After this photo, we put it (partially) in a large cooler and drove over to Pacific Salmon Charters to borrow their scale. A nice older gentleman let me weigh it (we gathered quite a crowd of onlookers and picture takers at the dock). 97.4 pounds on the electronic scale.



Looks like my buddy Bill Monroe might give this beautiful fish some press. We shall see.

Fresh Opah for lunch today. Mmmm.

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Old 08-14-2009, 09:26 AM   #2
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

WOW!! What a treasure!! A fish of a lifetime on the Oregon coast.....Boy do I envy you right now.....Good catch!!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:30 AM   #3
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

That is a prize!! Hows it taste ?
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:30 AM   #4
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

That might be a Washington State Record fish. I would check on it.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:41 AM   #5
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

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Originally Posted by fish'n time View Post
That is a prize!! Hows it taste ?
I hear it is excellent.

I will know for sure in a couple of hours.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:43 AM   #6
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

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I hear it is excellent.

I will know for sure in a couple of hours.
Makes me hungry just looking at it!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:44 AM   #7
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

Awesome job! No sitter needed!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:47 AM   #8
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

That is one beautiful fish!!!

Just wait until the local TV gets ahold of this one.
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:49 AM   #9
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

Lunch at your place Dave??

This could not have happened to a nicer guy
You deserved this fish buddy!!!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:56 AM   #10
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Default Re: 97lb Opah 8-13 off the CR

Ok.... PETA just called... something about "Sea Kittens".

Shall I take a message?
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:59 AM   #11
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How do they taste?
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:20 AM   #12
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

That's just too cool.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:44 AM   #13
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

That is one of the wildest thigngs that I've ever seen around here!!! WOW!!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:02 AM   #14
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

I am thrilled to say that I was on the Shake N Bake to see Dave "whip" this Opah!!! First off, before I expand on the Opah, let me say that the day I spent on the Shake N Bake with Skipper Mike, "Old Pro" Clarke and "Fish Killer" Dave was one of, if not THE, best day I have ever had on the water! Everything from the helpfulness and desire from these guys to make sure everyone had a great time and learned how to whack some Albies to the great energy and spirit on board made it an unforgetable day.

I was warned that once I get the bug for Tuna, I will forget all about any fresh water fishing -- I don't know if that quite happened but I can tell you that I am already thinking about and anticipating my next trip!

OK, so outside of a good day on the tuna, seeing whales and orcas, and great weather and ocean conditions, I get to see an exotic on the 100lbs category get landed!!!

When I looked up toward the bow, as Dave states "This is one ticked off fish!" I see his rod doubled over and line pealing and when the fish stops running, Dave simply cannot lift this fish an inch -- at least for the first 15 minutes of the fight. Once Dave gets to the back of the boat, he starts making ground but it comes slow and hard fought. I joked with Dave that I didn't know we could go after other species as we all started to question what actually was on the other end of the line. Once Clarke yells out "It's an Opah", the intensity on board picks up and after a scramble and a double gaff - see see the craziest fish flopping on deck that I have ever seen. Amazing job by Dave to land the fish; many would have given up or tightened the drag to compensate and would have lost it.

I will try to add some more pictures soon, including one of the crowd that the fish drew -- for 15 minutes, Dave was a fishing "Rockstar"!!!

I will be telling stories about my day on that boat forever -- thanks Shake N Bake and crew!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:06 AM   #15
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

If there are "moonfish" swimming about here, ought there to be "sunfish" or "mola-mola" wandering about?

-Case
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:07 AM   #16
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Congrats Dave....I'd say that is a PNW fish of a lifetime!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:07 AM   #17
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Nice Fish guys! Wish I could have seen it. Thats Opah #2 for the Shake-N-Bake. Was the scale certified for a record? Are you going to pursue it?
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:11 AM   #18
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

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If there are "moonfish" swimming about here, ought there to be "sunfish" or "mola-mola" wandering about?

-Case
Seen "mola-mola" every trip out so far!
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Old 08-14-2009, 11:54 AM   #19
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Fish of a lifetime for sure here in the PacNW. Totally unexpected too.

Kudos to Mike and the crew, especially Clark.

By the way, it tastes awesome. Took my office out to lunch. It has a light, dense flesh with a rich but not a heavy flavor. Reminds me of the consistency of swordfish. We had it pan seared and blackened with a fruit/mango salsa.

I'm stuffed.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:06 PM   #20
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Great job on getting that fish to the ice.I to have a MXL....and it would have been so easy to pop that 30#. I have to ask...what rod were you using?Congrat's to you...Skip...and crew...might be a NW record.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:10 PM   #21
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

My man, that is one pretty fish. Mega congrats to you for landing such a prize.
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Old 08-14-2009, 01:14 PM   #22
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

The Hawaii state record is 138 lb. http://www.hawaiifishingnews.com/records_d.cfm?ID=524 That was on 200 lb test. It may be a world line record.
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Old 08-14-2009, 02:14 PM   #23
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Man, what an awesome fish!! The colors sure pop off the white bibs.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:00 PM   #24
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Way too cool Dave, like Bernie said, Mega Congrats!!!

Here's the irony...... Just this May in Cabo San Lucas, you, me, Brook and Treb talked about the possibility of landing one of these after hearing that a couple of these were being landed, and that they were so good eating. When we left Mexico, I thought that dream was over. Who knew you were still gunning for one of these big orange flatties....
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:01 PM   #25
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

That's a big boy alright.congrats.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:09 PM   #26
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Just an awesome fish!!
Congratulations.
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Old 08-14-2009, 03:19 PM   #27
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

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Originally Posted by Teton View Post
Fish of a lifetime for sure here in the PacNW. Totally unexpected too.

Kudos to Mike and the crew, especially Clark.

By the way, it tastes awesome. Took my office out to lunch. It has a light, dense flesh with a rich but not a heavy flavor. Reminds me of the consistency of swordfish. We had it pan seared and blackened with a fruit/mango salsa.

I'm stuffed.
Dang, that sounds quite tasty! Sweet fish too, by the way...
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:32 PM   #28
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Well Teton you've had a career year haven't you? Good on yah.

What a beautiful fish. I am guessing the guy with the H&M Landing shirt on had seen Opah before.

Very cool!

Edit to add: That would make a really cool reproduction mount. I sipped many a whiskey while playing the ring game at Rancho LeoNero next to their (much smaller) mounted Opah.
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Old 08-14-2009, 04:35 PM   #29
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Dave,
Check that line class business Brian talked about...You DID save the rod, reel and line with lure still attached in front of several witnesses and made sure Milt's scale at Pacific Salmon Charters was certified...DIDN'T YOU????
(A lawyer might have suggested that to you...maybe the one up on the flying bridge!)
Where was that fish a week and a half ago when Clark was repairing a tuna hook tear in my finger?
Sigh...Congratulations!
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:05 PM   #30
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Very nice Dave, a fish worth dreaming about in our waters and a deserving guy to catch one
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:15 PM   #31
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Great work, photos and thank you for sharing Teton!
How do you clean a Opah and who do you call to find out? A very good eating fish. Hopefully, the taxidermy man did not not have a heart attack when you showed him what you brought him! Congrats...

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Old 08-14-2009, 05:26 PM   #32
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Risingfish,

Luckily we had a real pro, my buddy Clark (used to run a tackle shop in San Diego) who knew what to do.

Really weird fish, as it was like an albacore on the top loin, but the bottom part of the fish had a tough, thick skin. It had a pretty thick layer of subcutaneous fat on the lower loin and the meat was red like a bluefin.

Strangely, youtube has a video on how to cark one, not that it did us much good at the cleaning station.

Mike C
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:49 PM   #33
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

You know I think the only reason you caught your second Opah was because I was in the area, I think you or I are the only ones that were on the boat last year when we got that little one, so who's the lucky charm?

We ended with 30 albies, 26 fish on that last stop, and they were still at the boat when we left, I was throwing out my last few baits and they boiled again. Great day congratulations, you ever thought maybe your actually a better Opah captain than albie. Erik
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Old 08-14-2009, 05:55 PM   #34
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Wow...excellent fish! Congratulations!
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:07 PM   #35
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Thanks for the great photos and story.
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Old 08-14-2009, 06:15 PM   #36
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Nice. Hmm, I wonder if opah would eat a fly (don't think my 12wt would cut the mustard though.)

Gorgeous fish, congrats!
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Old 08-14-2009, 07:50 PM   #37
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Quote:
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Risingfish,

Luckily we had a real pro, my buddy Clark (used to run a tackle shop in San Diego) who knew what to do.

Really weird fish, as it was like an albacore on the top loin, but the bottom part of the fish had a tough, thick skin. It had a pretty thick layer of subcutaneous fat on the lower loin and the meat was red like a bluefin.

Strangely, youtube has a video on how to cark one, not that it did us much good at the cleaning station.

Mike C
Wow Mike. I would not have known what to do with that thing without help... Good job.
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Old 08-14-2009, 08:06 PM   #38
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Thumbs up Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

That is the coolest fish I have ever seen, what a prize!

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Old 08-14-2009, 08:41 PM   #39
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Your the man dave fish of a lifetime period not just PNW. Awesome
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:00 PM   #40
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Oh Baby! Too ******* cool!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:21 PM   #41
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

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Originally Posted by Teton View Post
Fish of a lifetime for sure here in the PacNW. Totally unexpected too.

Kudos to Mike and the crew, especially Clark.

By the way, it tastes awesome. Took my office out to lunch. It has a light, dense flesh with a rich but not a heavy flavor. Reminds me of the consistency of swordfish. We had it pan seared and blackened with a fruit/mango salsa.

I'm stuffed.
Nice work Dave...what a fish. RB
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:52 PM   #42
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Man....that would be a sweet fish to have on your wall. Congrats!
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Old 08-14-2009, 09:57 PM   #43
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Gun Rod Bow View Post
Well Teton you've had a career year haven't you? Good on yah.

What a beautiful fish. I am guessing the guy with the H&M Landing shirt on had seen Opah before.

Very cool!

Edit to add: That would make a really cool reproduction mount. I sipped many a whiskey while playing the ring game at Rancho LeoNero next to their (much smaller) mounted Opah.
Heck of a year brutha. Thx!

A pretty fish like that deserves a place on a wall. I just might do it.

All the record stuff is fun to talk about, and I may apply for a line class record, but the memories made from such an experience are priceless. Glad to have shared it with some good buddies.
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:34 PM   #44
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Nice Job.....What a Catch....The Ocean is a true wonder that is for sure...
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Old 08-14-2009, 10:52 PM   #45
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Heck of a year brutha. Thx!

A pretty fish like that deserves a place on a wall. I just might do it.

All the record stuff is fun to talk about, and I may apply for a line class record, but the memories made from such an experience are priceless. Glad to have shared it with some good buddies.
They are unreal gorgeous fish. I've already thought about painting an Opah. What comes to mind is an underwater scene with rays of light playing across the fish, showing the amazing colors in contrast to the dark blue backdrop of the open Pacific. It would be a challenge to do justice to this beautiful fish, but pretty sure I could pull it off and would be serious eye-candy done right. Anyway, something to think about if you're interested.
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:07 AM   #46
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One heck of a fish. Congratulations catching one off of the PNW coast!
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:08 AM   #47
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

All I can say is WOW. Fish of a life time.
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Old 08-15-2009, 05:55 AM   #48
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

One caught out of Eureka this year too...I think 85lbs...Congratulations...Fishing is like a box of chocholates you never know what you gonna get...yahooooo
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:47 AM   #49
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Some more pics for your viewing pleasure:

Gaff job:



Beautiful fish:



Beautiful ocean:



Outside Pacific Salmon Charters ready to put it on the scale:



Weight including 18.6 pounds of cooler:



Crowd gathering:



Carking:

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Old 08-15-2009, 07:21 AM   #50
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Thanks for all the photos and sharing the excitement with us. What a ride.
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:23 AM   #51
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Nicely Done!
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:04 AM   #52
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Great job Dave,
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:07 AM   #53
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Other than fishing for salmon and bottomfish several times a year out in the ocean, I'm not a salty dog. I've never heard of an opah. Other than being a big fish, why is everyone saying this a prize catch??? Please enlighten me...
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:40 AM   #54
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Because it is one of the finest gourmet fillets you will ever have to eat when available fresh , very pricey entree, quite a few showing up in So.Cal water last couple years..............Congrats..and Cheers...


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Originally Posted by I'mThe10Percent View Post
Other than fishing for salmon and bottomfish several times a year out in the ocean, I'm not a salty dog. I've never heard of an opah. Other than being a big fish, why is everyone saying this a prize catch??? Please enlighten me...
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Old 08-15-2009, 09:41 AM   #55
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Nice job gentleman!

The Shake n Bake seems to be hot this year

The opah sure puts last years little one to shame
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Old 08-15-2009, 10:36 AM   #56
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Awesome job! I'm jealous!
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Old 08-15-2009, 11:55 AM   #57
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

Wow....what more can I say?
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Old 08-15-2009, 04:00 PM   #58
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

congrats buddy don't forget to add that 40 + bull dodo from cabo to the wall of shame.

nice work
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Old 08-15-2009, 06:12 PM   #59
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Originally Posted by SecondSeason View Post
congrats buddy don't forget to add that 40 + bull dodo from cabo to the wall of shame.

nice work
Yeah, I think I should order two fish mounts from King Sailfish Mounts. That would make for a colorful wall!
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Old 08-15-2009, 07:09 PM   #60
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Default Re: 97lb Opah, 8-13 off the CR

I intially read about Dave catching this fish yesterday (what a catch), I never even heard of an Opah before. As I was inbound after several hours on the ocean this morning, between Buoy 4 and 6, I was cruising at about 15 knots, and saw what I thought was a jacket in the water. I instantly cut the trottle, and turned around to see what it was. When I got along side what I believe I saw was a fish just like the one talked about in this thread. It still had some life to it, but was floating on it's side. It's side fin's sticking out of the water about 12" or so. I beleive that this fish was about 1/2 the size of the one Dave caught. My boys attempted to net it (probably would have been a huge mistake), when I got caught crossways on a wave and accidently drove over the fish. I know I hit it with my prop, and we didn't see it again after circling around several more times.
Obviously while reading this thread, these are not common fish to the Oregon coast, I Googled Opah and it mentioned they are usually caught off the coast of Hawaii. Weird, but kinda cool.
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