When a party of 13 catches close to 90 albacore tuna off the coast of Oregon in a day, it’s a memorable trip. Throw in a couple of powerful, beautiful fish normally found in the tropics, and it becomes the trip of lifetime.
On an early September Tidewind Sportfishing trip out of Brookings, Oregon, anglers endured a rough ride some 60 miles off the coast to reach a large body of albacore, recalled Tidewind’s deckhand Danny Gardner. Gardner is lifelong friends with Tidewind’s boat owner Kyle Aubin. “He’s as dialed in on West Coast fishing as anybody,” says Gardner.
The weather turned out fine. And along with the tuna, the party hooked two dorado, a hen and a bull, at the northern edge of that species’ range. “It was the icing on the cake, and half the cake was icing,” Gardner said. “Even though we had 90 albacore, half of the fun that day was those two dorado.”
If Gardner’s name rings a bell, it might be because he was on the TV show Naked and Afraid in 2013. He also hosted and produced a show on great white sharks, using Tidewind Sportfishing boats, for National Geographic.
Dorado Visit the Oregon Coast
The anglers were from Klamath Falls, hours from the coast. They were casting albacore clones, a skirted, lead-head jig made for surface fishing. “It was the trip of a lifetime for them,” Gardner said. “When the bull first hit, it flew out of the water, and it was nothing anyone had ever seen. I’d seen it a few times, but only because I fished commercially for so long.”
Dorado, also called mahi mahi, dolphin or dolphinfish, are primarily a tropical species in the Pacific, Atlantic, and Indian oceans. Greenish blue on its back, gold or silver on its belly, and sparsely speckled along its sides, the dorado is a thrill to catch, capable of swimming nearly 60 miles an hour. It’s certainly not a species you’d expect to see in the Pacific Northwest. Fishermen in Southern California were excited earlier this year when a huge push of dorado took over the local fishing grounds — anglers often have to head south to Mexico to consistently target the species.
“Everyone else on the West Coast that day wanted to go hit a little bubble of warm water about 22 miles offshore,” Gardner said. “You only catch those exotics like mahi, yellowtail, bluefin, if you’re in the heart of the albacore at the right time. We were out there with clients because that’s where we knew we had to be.” He guessed the size of the male at around 40 inches and the female a bit smaller.
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