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Thread: Albacore out of Westport, WA

  1. #1

    Default Albacore out of Westport, WA

    considering taking an Albacore charter out of Westport, WA next year during mid August.
    two night deal on the "Rampage" at about $600 + $4/fish to fillet, 50 to 100 miles offshore, on a big boat with a refrigerated hold.
    no limit, average catch on Westport charter boats for Albacore is about 12 to 15 fish per person.
    any thoughts from any forum people that know about these charters?

  2. #2

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    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    ...12 to 15 fish per person....
    Dunno the charters, but I know albacore. Better be ready, really really ready to deal with that much fish when you return to port. Lotta guys aren't, and they lose fish or come out with poor quality just cuzz they're pooped after two days on a boat and haven't a clue what to do with so much fish in a strange town far far from home. Albacore is lots more perishable than salmon or halibut.

  3. #3

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    I have never done it but lived in Ocean Shores for a few years across from Westport. My recollection was mid August is a crap shoot with everyone pouring over sea surface charts and chlorophyll charts to find the blue water edge. I thought it got a tad more consistent in September when ocean temps peaked. Sometimes they are 20 miles out...more often 60. The 50 to 100 miles out is probably accurate in August.

    I will say this about the albacore out of Westport. It is NOT the white albacore you get in the cans at the supermarket. They are younger fish that have a TON more oil to them. If you ever get a good can of this particular albacore it will be INFINITELY better than the white canned stuff. It's awesome!!

    Some of the more region specific boards like ifish for Oregon, their saltwater section seems to be nothing but about tuna with some salmon mixed in lately...

    If you can get on fish, you'll have a blast!!!!

  4. #4

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    Right now you can buy it fresh from the dock in Eureka CA, Woodley Island Marina, for 3$ / lb

  5. #5
    Member tlingitwarrior's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rav'n Mainiac View Post
    Right now you can buy it fresh from the dock in Eureka CA, Woodley Island Marina, for 3$ / lb
    Come on man. If you use the $$ comparison for fishing, nobody would ever buy a boat
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    The most fun and amazing fishing you will ever do!! There is nothing like a wide open albacore bite on live bait (which is what I bet you will be doing). $ 4 bucks is a fair price for filleting. But as one of the others posters mentioned be ready to handle all that fish. I would usually freeze mine and then later thaw and can the majority of it as well as smoke some. I love smoked albacore!! Last time I went we drifted 5 miles with a school of albies following. Put 65 fish on the deck in an hour on live anchovies as well as jigs!! I'm going to try and make a trip down next summer as well!

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    I have caught a lot of tuna off private boats. We take between 100-200 lbs of ice for each trip. As soon as the fish is on deck we would bleed the fish. There is an vein under the base of the long fin. We stopped cutting the gills. It is easier to cut the vein under the fin.
    Then the fish goes into a ice slush in the fish box. On the way in we would filet the fish into zip locks and pack into our coolers with the ice.
    I would ask the charter boat how they keep the fish cool? Will they let you bring your cooler with ice for your filets?

  8. #8

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    Forget the Rampage go on a smaller 6pack boat. The Rampage is a meat wagon...

  9. #9

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    Quote Originally Posted by elim View Post
    Forget the Rampage go on a smaller 6pack boat. The Rampage is a meat wagon...
    I'm not sold on the Rampage yet. The idea is to go on a two day charter to have the best chance of getting on a good school of fish since this is a one shot deal for me travelling down from Alaska.

    The two day charters either have to carry a bunch of ice which limits their capacity for fish, or have a refrigerated hold.
    Supposedly the Rampage is the only boat there with a refrigerated hold. However, I did read on one lower 48 forum that somebody went on Rampage and the refer unit could not keep up and they had some fish spoil anyway...............

    The other factor is wanting a big enough boat to get out there 50 to 100 miles and be less susceptible to cancellation due to weather like a smaller boat would be. There is a company that runs fast 6 pack boats that sounds like they can get a decent number of fishing hours in a single day trip at that distance, but I think they are more likely to cancel due to weather. I don't want it to be like a Montague trip with the Seward Rec Camp where you are on a 11 hour charter but only get 5 hours fishing because of the 6 hours round trip travel time to and from the fishing grounds.

    I don't mind the meat boat deal, I think they give you a poker chip each time you catch a fish to keep track since the fish are all about the same size anyway. Their average catch per person is 18 albacore on the two night trip which would be plenty.

    I also looked into trips out of Tofino, BC because they have a typical 25 mile run. However they run small boats that often cancel due to weather.

    Not sure if there are other bigger 2-nite boats comparable to the Rampage or not. I would definitely want to know their hold capacity v.s. number of passengers and how they deal with ice.

    I still need to call them to learn how they package/store your fish on the boat after they are filleted. I don't think they are vacuum sealing on the boat. Hopefully not in a great big pile of gooey mess?

    All the comments are appreciated. If nothing else it gives us all something interesting to read about.

  10. #10
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    Used to catch a lot of tuna out of Westport on my North River OS26 and later my Skagit Orca 27XL. Religiously monitored the weather forecasts, surface water temps & chlorophyll charts, and then picked only good days to make the runs offshore. When it all came together, some of the best light tackle fishing this side of Panama. But, pick a bad day, and even on a "big boat", you'll wish you'd stayed on land, either because the fish aren't there, or the rough seas are, or both.

    Always made day trips, with early morning departures and early afternoon returns. Had to time the tides, too, in order to avoid crossing "the bar" at a bad time. The USCG also "closed the bar" to various sized vessels, if things got too rough. The prevailing weather conditions along that coast, even on the good days, is for the on-shore winds to pick up in the late afternoon and chase all of us "small boats" back into port. Did some wicked boat-surfing on the way back into WP sometimes!!! Under very rare conditions, folks in 25-30' boats could make overnight trips to double their catch or save on fuel. Never had that kind of lucky timing myself, and couldn't carry more than one day's worth of tuna & ice anyway. Just came back on another day, with a different crew to pay for the gas.

    Since you have a while to plan your trip, my best advice is to spend some time on the forums that cover that fishery:

    As mentioned previously, "The Salty Dogs" page on iFish.net is good: http://www.ifish.net/board/forumdisplay.php?f=28

    But, my favorite was the Washington State page on BloodyDecks.com: http://www.bdoutdoors.com/forums/for...hington-state/

    Still have their dripping red tuna sticker on my truck. Good Luck, Dave.
    "Luckily, enforcement reads these forums, and likely will peruse this one...Especially after a link of it is forwarded to them....." - AlaskaHippie.

  11. #11
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    I like that type of thinking.
    Quote Originally Posted by tlingitwarrior View Post
    Come on man. If you use the $$ comparison for fishing, nobody would ever buy a boat

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  12. #12

    Default how does it taste ?

    Can't find anybody in Anchorage selling Albacore steaks, just cans ..................
    Supposedly the troll caught shallow water fish are better than the deeper water commercial caught fish that are typically canned.
    Supposedly the troll caught are sold in NW restaurants as seared steaks (like you would normally do with Ahi).

    Anybody have experience eating Albacore steaks from the smaller (20-30lb) fish ?
    Have heard it is also good smoked?

  13. #13

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    Quote Originally Posted by titobandito View Post
    ...smaller (20-30lb) fish ?
    Ummmm.... Those are actually pretty big for albi's (called slugs or bullets by albi-heads). To get that size, you'll probably be hanging right on the temp edge with lower catch rates most of the time. Further out and warmer you'll get the big schools, but mostly "schoolies" in the 8-10# range.

    The schoolies are my faves for steaking. You can cut them thicker for single servings, and they're just easier to cook right. Every house is different, but we canned the slugs and steaked or loin-cut the schoolies. Smoking is outrageous, especially for canned. But go really, really easy on it. We'd lightly smoke the whole fletches (2 hours max!), then cut the fletches for fit in 1# flat cans. Don't be in a hurry to open the cans and sample. It takes time for the smoke to move through the flesh and distribute. We'd wait a month before opening, and lots of folks wait a lot longer. Any more smoke than that couple of hours might taste fine if you open a can and eat it right away, but a month or 6 months later the smoke taste will be so strong you can hardly eat it.

    We seer loins from the schoolies more often than steaks from the same fish, just because they hold together better and are easier to cook. No prob with seared steaks, but we like the seered loins better. Our fave is to brush them with olive oil, splash with cracked pepper and cook.

    BTW- The loins from slugs make outstanding sushi block, but it's lots more tender than ahi. You have to take really good care of it from the time it comes out of the water until it hits the table, or it gets really soft and mushy. Taste is still good, but it's not so nice on the table.

  14. #14
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    I picked some up from a boat in Juneau a few weeks ago. Was the strangest thing I've ever filleted but I'm always up for a new experience. It was really delicious and mild, ironically, the only problem was that the smell left in the house (pan seared) lingered for a few days......even on the clothes I was wearing while cooking. Do I have some kind of super sniffer? or are they just strong smelling on their oil etc.

    Still have about 8 pounds and there are definitely some that will make the sushi plate next to the white king in a few weeks.

  15. #15

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    The smaller juvenile fish found north of northern CA have a much higher oil content. When I was canning them, it really makes you wonder what "white" albacore tuna is. The canned stuff was ugly brown but it was infinitely tastier than any supermarket albacore!


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  16. #16

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    I live down here and tuna fish out of Westport on my own boat. If you fish on the Rampage, make sure he cuts the blood lines out of your loins. We took 10 guys on the trip and they left the blood lines in and we had to cut back a fair amount of meat to get the tainted meat off. Randy is pretty hardcore on the Rampage, but has a bit of an attitude. But he is very good. He has a large boat that can sleep 10.

    The other good party boat is Dave McGowen on Miss Magoo. He is the original party boat tuna charter. He is a great guy and will get you into fish too. He knows his stuff! http://msmagoocharters.com/

    The Highliner down here on the faster boat is Mark Coleman. He has a couple of Defiance 29' Guadalupes with twin outboards. He is fast to the Tuna grounds and keeps an eye on them everyday. Its a one day trip and they do ice down your fish. He hauls in a lot of fish too.
    Mark Coleman - All Rivers & Saltwater Charters
    www.allwashingtonfishing.com
    425-736-8920
    The charters do not vacuum pack your fish for you here nor freeze it for you, but there is a place right in town by the marina that will. Its called Merino Seafoods. All of their info is on their webpage and you can call them too. There are plenty of Hotels in Westport too. http://www.merinoseafoods.com/

    Your average offshore fish is going to be mid teens to low twenties. More than likely you are going to run 40-55 miles offshore to catch your fish. There are fish closer in that are bigger but harder to catch called green water hogs, but you wont want to spend much time onesy twosy fishing when you can go farther out and get the wide open bite. This is a real workout on a bait stop. Non stop action and they fight hard.

    The day and a half trips on the larger party boats are set up like this. You meet in the evening on the boat and run out at night. Before you leave you will get a full briefing on how to fish for them, so you need to listen and be ready to put all of this into play the following morning when you start to fish. It takes a bit to figure it all out.

    The boat will travel out over night and then shut down. More than likely you will have tuna under your boat the next morning as you have become the structure. They will start it up and drag some gear in the water until it gets bit, then stop and you start throwing your baited anchovies in and wait for the bite. It happens fast. If you have not done this before you better get your arms and back in shape cause its non stop action!

    Miss Magoo and the Rampage, I believe, are two of the only party boats that have actual bunks to sleep in. The rest I think are sleeping bags set up somewhere in the boat. So you might check this before you book. Mark Coleman is a one day trip that will get you plenty of fish too.

    Good luck on your trip!
    Ron

  17. #17

    Thumbs up

    By the way there is a saying, tuna clothes are forever. So be ready to toss the clothes if you are not wearing Grundens and Extra Tuffs. Smoked tuna is one of the best smoked fish that there is. Very good and oily. When canning we always do it outside as it is a very smelly fish, but very tasty. On an earlier post It listed Ifish.net and bloodydecks or bdoutdoors.com and punch up the Washington forums. Both are loaded with great tuna fishing info.

    Brownbear has pretty good info in his posts too. He apparently has some history of tuna fishing.

    If you go with the party boats, call and make sure you are fishing two days and not traveling one of the two days. Its a long haul in those slow boats if they go 50-60 miles.

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by Fishinnut View Post
    By the way there is a saying, tuna clothes are forever. So be ready to toss the clothes if you are not wearing Grundens and Extra Tuffs. Smoked tuna is one of the best smoked fish that there is. Very good and oily. When canning we always do it outside as it is a very smelly fish, but very tasty. On an earlier post It listed Ifish.net and bloodydecks or bdoutdoors.com and punch up the Washington forums. Both are loaded with great tuna fishing info.

    Brownbear has pretty good info in his posts too. He apparently has some history of tuna fishing.

    If you go with the party boats, call and make sure you are fishing two days and not traveling one of the two days. Its a long haul in those slow boats if they go 50-60 miles.
    Good to know. When I filleted it I could tell it was a fatty fish (especially on the outside of the meat) but after shaving it, it seemed nice and lean and mild tasting. So, I was surprised at the smell......nothing like it tastes.....almost petroleumish.

  19. #19

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    One thing to know about cleaning tuna is its night and day when they are warm or kept on ice over night. We wait until the next day with them packed in ice in kill bags. The skin comes off really easy and they cut so much better when they are internally cold. When they are warm the knife blade drags through the meat. When its cold it is very fast and easy.

    This is the best and fastest way I know to do it. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tb-jNxvSSrU

  20. #20
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    These were frozen in the hold and after about 26 hours in a tub of cool water......the core was still frozen.....borderline ridiculous cold retention. I think that's the clip i watched before digging in.....the big ones must be a real butcher job.

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