2023 Report on North Pacific Albacore Jig Season



North Pacific Albacore Troll Season, 2023

West Coast Jig fishing aboard F/V Ocean Joy

Skipper John Harder (JB/John-boy) reporting


2023 Albacore season was a big Bust! A record low for “Ocean Joy”

To start with, got word that the blast markets still had fish from last year. That the market was still saturated. Then, reports that Japan & China were having a big year across the Ocean. Cannery price dropped to $1.07 per lb. It was said that China sent Starkist 1,000 containers of Albacore. The market was flooded before we got to wet a line.

Boats started out around the middle of June with little luck. No volume of fish located until the middle of July & that was 6-700 miles offshore. Low to no production being done inshore. On top of all this, fuel prices were $3.50 per gal. & going up. Not looking good.

July 18th, Ocean Joy sailed from Port Angeles & headed west along the US/ Canada border.

7/21 We caught our 1st fish at 46:48%N x 131:50%W. We had good weather.

7/22, 46:48%N x 135:50%W, we picked 60 fish working West. 20 fish were in the 10 lb. class. We turned some loose & moved on.

7/23 – 7/28, we averaged 25 fish a day looking all around towards the West. What we did find was moving fast. We still had cold water. 60-61%F.

7/29, We finally hit a spot of fish at 48:01%N x 141:08%W. We ended up with 97 fish. The fish were bigger here. Average around 18 lbs.

7/30, at 48%N x 142:30%W, we had our 1st prosperous day of fishing, ending up with 242 fish. Too bad it was just a small strip of fish with lots of boats in the area.

7/31-8/8, Ocean Joy looked all around the area & worked back to the East with little sign. We averaged 30 fish per day for over a week. Good Weather, no production.

8/9 at 45:31%N x 125:16%W, We entered a area that had some smaller fish mixed with a few larger grade further in. We had a good day with 123 fish landed. We also had a bad day as our 1st sign of Gillnet marks on the fish.

This was is a 11 – 12 lber

This was is a 11 – 12 lber that has been through, or brushed up against a driftnet/gillnet from across the Ocean. This is a migratory species. Hard to migrate through nets…

8/10 – 8/13 “Ocean Joy” tried boxing the area only to run out of sign. Average catch still under 70 small grade fish.

8/13, returning to the area of 45:25%N x 125:10%W (inside the dumping grounds), we landed 111 albacore & more scratched fish.

8/14 – 8/23, we stayed in the general area as this was the best sign of fish that we knew of. The body of fish was small & we were not getting a ton of fish per day, (200 fish), to pay expenses. To top it off, more scratches are showing up on our future fish for next year. This was the case last year, as we had scratched 10 lb. fish towards the end of our 22’ season.

8/24 29 fish had net marks on them. Over 15%???? Sad

Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish
Driftnet Fish

This is only a 10 lb. fish. This is our albacore future. Our freedom of fishing rights has been violated for 40 years & counting. This remains a dead fishery. Gillnets continue to infringe on our benefits.

This is only a 10 lb. fish. This is our albacore future
Other side of 10 lber

8/24 – 9/18 our fish catch rate dwindled down to 30-50 fish per day. We could not catch enough to pay our expenses & gave up. By the time we paid the fuel bill, we were -12,000$ for the season. This is, by far, the worst season I have had with is vessel. Since 2009 till now, we have always ended up with something, but this year NO!

9/20 We tied up in Port Angeles for the season. Not sure what to think for next year.

Special thanks to our crew for taking the time to take pictures. Not easy stop fishing & hold the camera… Only wish other vessels would do the same.

All in a nutshell, We got paid less than ½ the normal price for the fish & caught less than ½ the normal tonnage for the year. The fish were small & scratched towards the end of the poor run. Nothing coming from the west.

This is JB, signing off. Hope to see you then.