In the early fall and during the summertime albacore tuna can be caught off the Washington coast, especially from Westport. August and September are the most popular months to go Westport albacore fishing although they can be caught all during the summertime. During the months of August and September they weather is usually somewhat calmer during the period and Westport albacore fishing is usually more productive.
Westport recreational visiting fishermen usually fish or albacore between 50 miles and 100 miles off of the Washington coast. Sometimes, Westport fishing is done when the albacore are as close is as 35 miles and, rarely they have been known to show up as close as 15 miles. Westport albacore fishing trips usually last between one and three days depending on how far it is to the tuna grounds.
Albacore can be caught on live bait and jigs. The fishing vessel trolls the jigs behind until there is a fish on. While the tuna caught of the jig is being played by the angler, the fishing vessel drifts around. The anglers who arenít playing a albacore tuna that was caught on a jig will usually fish for albacore tuna using light weight fishing gear and live anchovies while the albacore tuna that were caught on an jig are being played. Using a single hook, the anchovy will be carefully placed on the hook with little or no weight and then it will be free spooled out into the water until an albacore tuna strikes. Because the fight will probably last a long time since albacore tuna are such fierce fighters, they are extremely enjoyable to catch whenever they are caught on live bait.
In 2005, the State department and the NMFS (National Marine Fishing Service) committed, on the international level, not to increase the US fishing effort on albacore tuna above the current levels, although there is no current bag limit on albacore tuna. However, to prevent overfishing on albacore tuna in the future, the states on the West Coast are determining if they should implement state bag limits for albacore tuna. For example, currently Oregon has an albacore tuna bag limit of 25. In addition, California and Washington are current in the process of considering their options with regards to bag limits for their respective states.
A recreational fishing has been required to fish for albacore tuna since 2006. Anglers can be either a multiday stamp, a combination license, or a saltwater fishing license.
According to the Washington Department Fish and Wildlife OSP (Ocean Sampling Program), who used real collected data, between 2001 and 2005, the average catch for each recreational angler was 8.4 albacore tuna per person. During the same time, the highest recorded catch was 53 albacore tuna for each angler. Usually, it is rather uncommon to catch over 23 albacore tuna per person.
Approximately 28% of the entire sport albacore tuna catch on the all along the West Coast is caught in Washington State. This makes up approximately 7% of the entire sport albacore tuna catch on the West Coast. Approximately 61% of the recreational albacore tuna catch is caught in California and approximately 12% of the sport albacore tuna catch is caught in Oregon.
The sport albacore tuna catch in Washington is less than 10%, although Washington recreational anglers caught 27% of the sport albacore tuna catch on the West Coast.
Westport albacore fishing catches most of the recreational albacore tuna. Westport albacore fishing caught 88% of sport albacore tuna in Washington State in 2005. About 10% of that catch was landed into Ilwaco. La Push and Neah Bay, of the North Coast landed about 2% of the recreational albacore tuna catch in 2005. However, less than 1% of the recreational albacore tuna catch has been caught in some prior years.
Recreational Westport albacore fishing catches in Washington can be broken down between private anglers and charter boat anglers. Those who donít charter a fishing vessel are known as private anglers, and they make up approximately 20% of total number anglers. Usually private anglers tend not to catch as many albacore for each angler as do the charter anglers. Private anglers averaged 3.2 albacore tuna for each angler between 2001 and 2005. During the same time period, Charter boat anglers averaged 9.6 albacore tuna for each angler.
Albacore fishing on the Washington coast is becoming more popular every year. A total of 7,416 albacore tuna were caught by 884 anglers in 2000. However, 13,163 albacore tuna were caught by 1,509 anglers in 2005. The average catch for each angler in 2000 was 8.4 albacore tuna while the average catch of albacore tuna for each angler was 13.1 in 2001. The average catch of albacore tuna for each angler was back down to 8.7 by 2005.
As soon as an anglerís catch hits the deck itís bled and iced right away. While more fish are being caught throughout the day it will remain that way. At the end of the trip the anglerís albacore tuna will be divided equally depending on the needs and wants of all the anglers on board.