Blue Fin Tuna Fishing Off The Cortez Bank
We were lucky enough to find time with the legendary captain Ray Summer and his ultra fishing machine, the Voodoo. Near 70' feet of luxury, the boat, well we can call it a yacht, was absolutely perfect for us 6 members. We headed out fishing for Blue Fin Tuna and came back with a boat load, literally and figuratively. This adventure scored serious points on the FACE Score with a 9.1.
Summary: Blue Fin Tuna Fishing of the coast of San Diego. Private yacht, 1 night travel, fish all day, back by sundown.
Where Was It: The dock in San Diego CA.
Who Made It Happen: Captain Ray and 1st mate Captain Jed Scott literally handled everything. Check them out www.vendettafishing.com and the team in Sand Diego at H&M Landing, they were amazing helpful and pros www.hmlanding.com
Here's how it went down:
We boarded the boat at about 6pm on Friday night. Captain Ray is legendary in the coastal fishing community and so when we connected and booked the trip I was super excited. There is nothing worse than booking a big fishing excursion and spending most of the time looking for fish as opposed to reeling them in. With Ray I knew that was not going to be an issue.
There were 6 members on this run which is the magic number for the Voodoo. If you have more you can go on Ray's other boat, the Vendetta. It was nice, because Ray and Jed had taken on provisions and bait so we were off to the races 15 minutes after we boarded.
The trip to the Cortez bank is 12 hours. So after some food and drinks and a movie in their lounge we all hit the bunks for some sleep. Ray and Jed manned the wheel and kept us on track. By 6am we were getting close. Jed made us an epic breakfast skillet and then he rigged the lines and prepped the landing. I sat up top with Ray as he searched the radar and sounders for schools of Tuna. By 7:15 he had halted the boat and was hollering at us to get lines in the water.
Jed chummed the water by showing the live bait off the back. Within 5 minutes you could hear Captain Ray yelling "boil!" as the tuna churned the water around us striking the bait. The tuna were circling the boat and jumping out of the water like sharks circling prey, it was crazy. By 7:45 I had my first fish on. It was massive and heavy and fought like a possessed animal trying to pull me down to the bottom of the ocean. Before I could get the fish anywhere near the boat, Keith had one on, then Dennis. It was mayhem. Rods were bending, we were chasing these fish as they pulled us around the boat in circles. Finally I saw 'color' under the water and Ray readied the gaff. Sure enough in one swoop Ray scooped up the 85lbs Blue Fin Tuna into the boat. After fighting this thing for 45min I was exhausted and ecstatic. But that was just the beginning. Form that moment on one of us had a fish on for the next 3 hours. Then we stopped and put the rods away. Why? Because we had caught our limit. All of us, in less than 4 hours.
The Cortez bank is literally in the middle of the ocean and you could see the other 20 boats in about a 1 mile radius. We were the first to leave. I never heard another boat yelling and screaming with joy like the Voodoo. That's why Ray is a legend. So we stared home. Jed made the most delicious burgers for lunch and after an amazing afternoon nap we started to prepare the fish for haul home. Jed rigged up this filet station and went to work. I've been through some epic experiences before, but honestly, eating fresh cut Blue Fin sashimi off the back of the boat with the sun setting in the background was simply beyond words. (but I got a pic or two.
Took us 11 hours to return back to the dock but about 10pm on sat night with 100's of pounds of fresh tuna. My favorite.
It was truly and amazing trip with one of the most knowledgeable captains I've ever met.
Best Moment: Having fresh sashimi on the back deck at sunset while Jed filleted the fish was world-class. Although it just beat out Jed's cheeseburgers fresh of the grill for lunch.
What We Loved: The boat was beautiful, Ray and Jed were simply amazing, the fish were something special!
What We'd Change: Absolutely nothing (maybe stay one more day out there)
Who Is This For: Anyone who likes to fish will love this. The combination of spectacular fish and camaraderie of the private excursion is pretty special. I have sushi grade tuna in my freezer for the next 6 months, so if you like tuna it's worth that alone.
Fun: 9.6 - it was crazy fun because of the size and the fight of the tuna. They were not hard to catch but they put up a fight like crazy. If you love to fish this could be a 10.
Adventure: 8.9 - the 100 miles and 12 hours travel time made this a serious adventure and added to the score big time. It really made the trip.
Cost: 6.1 - its not cheap but split 6 ways it becomes very manageable. The ratio cost to fun and adventure is absolutely worth it.
Effort: 3.4 - other than fighting traffic to get there it's a breeze. Basically sit back and let Ray do the work.
Overall FACE Score™ 9.1
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