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I got back from a 1.5 day aboard the O95 on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving and the trip was nothing short of epic. My two friends, Coleman and Andy, joined me for this trip. Let me start out with saying that Capt. Rick and the crew of the O95 are top notch and will do their absolute best to put you on fish and stay till late to get bit.
We started out the trip with the captain telling us it’s been a grey light and late night bite with a slow pick during the day and everything went exactly as the captain ordered. Weather was a little nasty the night before and we had to pace ourselves out to the Tanner. The boat didn’t start fishing until about an hour after first light, so we missed the grey light bite. That was kind of a bummer but there was nothing anyone could do about it.
We got on the first school at around 7 am and about four people hooked up within 20 minutes. A few fish were landed up to 100 lbs. One was a Shimano flatfall fish and the others were on 1.5 oz. glow in the dark sliding sinkers. For the next 8- hours we did the exact same thing, except fishing was even slower and only picked about one fish per drift for the boat. The fish were on the meter they just weren’t willing to eat a bait for some reason. All day our group had been pumped up for the night bite and hoped it lived up to our expectations so we weren’t too worried when the whole boat only landed 5 in the daytime fishing from 7am to 5 pm.
About an hour after sun set I hooked my first fish of the day. The captain said he was metering fish down at the bottom at 240 feet, so I put on an 8-oz. sinker rubber band rig and dropped straight for the bottom. Winds and swell were up so it was crucial to have enough weight get to the bottom quick. I hooked up about 10 seconds after reaching the bottom, 1 crank up. While I was fighting my fish the rest of the boat asked how I hooked up and soon enough they all had heavy weights on. About three more guys hooked up on fish, all of which were lost. I got mine to the boat after an hour of pain with my single speed Shimano Torium. The Bluefin taped out at 104 lbs. The Captain said we were going to start another drift but if it doesn’t shape up we are going to head home. By this time, it was already about 8 pm.
On the way back up the bank, Capt. Rick said the meter was starting to stack up with fish like the other recent wide open night bites from 180 ft. to 240 ft. He said he was metering solid Bluefin. The boat pulled up to our next drift and sure enough it went semi-wide open with about half the boat bent. If you could get a bait anywhere within 50 feet of the bottom, you were bit. It was also a bite every drop on the glow in the dark flatfall. We could see squid rising up to our boat so we must have been right over a squid bed. You didn’t need to have glow in the dark sinkers to get bit at night time, anything that got you deep worked. We repeated this for 3 more drifts and our boat ended the night with 34 Bluefin to 112 pounds. The Captain kept us out there until 1 am battling those big Bluefin, and I’m not complaining. And neither was anyone else. Most of the fish were around 70-90 lbs each. I would guess that everyone on the boat had a chance to get a fish because by the end of the night a lot of people were offering to hook and hand. I also heard the Fortune got a few fish up to 300 pounds. I ended up going one for four on the bluefin. Those with the right gear could have had at least 3+ fish each. The trip ended up being a trip of a lifetime and my friends and I all went home stoked as ever. I ended up feeding my family Bluefin for Thanksgiving dinner. That was quite a treat for everyone. Thanks to the crew of the Oceanside 95, truly one of the best operations out there. Thanks to Daryl Duong for taking photos.