Re: Would like some hints on how to search (hunt) for Tuna
Watch the birds. I am quite reluctant to pass up an area with mega bird activity regardless of my plans made on the beach.
I do bird watching as part of my sea-sick abatement program. But the side benefit is that after many years of bird watching I can discern behavior that screams "fish here!!!!!" from a long ways off even in rough water that makes it hard to see jumpers. For example just this week I saw the dog paddle on the tuna back behavior two days in a row. The birds performing this stunt are sitting on the water in small groups of one to twenty. They sit there on a school of bait fish until the tuna start breaking the surface nearby and then they extend the wings up at a 45 degree angle and paddle furiously with their feet into the wind towards the breaking fish. If you see this close up it looks like the birds are surfing on the backs of the fish. As they do this they gulp bait which the TUNA! blow out of the water in hot pursuit. At a distance you will see a shearwater or two hop up in the air and go back down very quickly as it flies twenty yards to the new boil.
The other thing you can see from a ways off is the sharp turn and dive of a cruising bird. Remember that birds are in the fish finding business and as a matter of survival are quite good at it.
There are many other 'birds on fish' behaviors which I'm sure all of you have seen in our trips offshore.
Enough about birds.
As odd as it sounds, I like the "same old spot". More often than not when we are on fish, a trip to the GPS to mark the spot ends with .. "Hey, we were here last year". For some reason rip lines and breaks form within a hundred yards of where they did before. And tuna being mainly concerned with eating the baitfish that like those rips and breaks are there every year too.
My guess is that the underwater structure did not move in the last year and the California current remains constant north to south every summer.
Therefore => the fish are in the same old spot. The spot known as '61 degrees' or 'Area 61' is a prime example of this maxim. I named this spot one day after seeing some 50 waypoints in a square mile area. Those waypoints were collected on a old non-charting GPS over several years of random fishing and when they were loaded into a newer GPS unit the structure and the blob of waypoints at it's tip made the lights go on for me.
As I head to the same old spot I look for life. Anything which indicates activity. This can be birds in any number, a color change or stuff floating in the water. And the biggest clue, airborne fish. There have been a few days when airborne fish led to very exciting fishing in places I almost always run through at high speed.
The other thing is the walking of the dock. You can learn alot about where you will fish tomorrow by talking to those who fished today. SO get out there and find those blood splattered fishers who are just getting in with a load of free range, organic, pacific pork.
Last edited by Han Solo; 09-11-2009 at 03:42 PM.