FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
When is Tuna Season?
Tuna season starts around the third week of June and goes until October. We usually do not book trips in October as the weather is just too unpredictable.
How long are the trips?
Most trips last around 8-12 hours. If we “plug” the boat (fill the boxes with tuna) early, they can be shorter. The maximum allowed by the coast guard is 12 hours.
What time do we leave the dock?
We usually leave somewhere between 6-7 AM, depending on the tides and daylight. A big ebb tide can keep us from crossing the bar for a few hours.
Where do we meet you?
We are located in Ilwaco, WA. Our boat is in the middle of the front row in the Port. There is a giant parking lot a hundred yards or so north that has plenty of parking.
Do you cancel many tuna trips due to weather?
No, but it does happen. If it is not safe, we don’t go. If we cancel due to weather you get a full refund.
Do I need a fishing license to catch tuna?
Yes. You need an OR or WA saltwater fishing license. Because we leave out of the mouth of the Columbia River, a license in either state will work.
Where do we get our fish cleaned?
When we are headed in we can call ahead and have the fish cleaners meet us at the dock. It takes them around 1.5 hours to cark and bag (ziplock gallon bags) the fish, so you have time to clean up and then come back for your fish and still head home the same day.
What safety equipment do you have?
We have all of the safety equipment needed for an offshore run. We have an 8 man SOLAS A life raft, an EPIRB, life jackets, satellite phone, AIS and top of the line electronics and communications equipment. We even have XM Radio if you want to catch the big game while fishing.
How do we split up the fish?
We split our fish up six ways, so everyone gets an equal share.
How long is the run out to the tuna grounds?
Around 1 to 1.5 hours. Shake N Bake is a fast boat with a 27 knot cruise, so you spend more time fishing and less time running.
Will you teach us how to catch tuna?
Yes. A lot of people go fishing with us to learn how to catch tuna on their own boat. We will do our best to show you everything we know about catching tuna. If you can make it down to the boat the night before, we can teach you every knot you need to know to catch tuna and show you how to rig up for tuna. There are no secrets on Shake N Bake. We want everyone to learn how to catch tuna.
Do I need to know how to tie any knots?
No, but if you know the Palomar knot, you will be ahead of the pack. When it goes wide open and everyone has fish on, it is all we can do to keep up gaffing, bleeding, and tying on new hooks (a lot of hooks get swallowed or destroyed). If you know the Palomar, you can grab a hook, tie it on, and be back in the action in seconds. We will GLADLY teach you this knot before we leave the dock or you can try and learn it on your own. The Palomar is a very easy knot and it only takes a few tries before you master it. For a 15 minute time investment you can learn a great knot.
Do you jig for tuna?
Yes. If you are interested in jigging, we have a number of rods set up for working iron. We have both conventional Accurates and Accurate SR-12 spinning reels, the Rolex of spinning reels. We will do our best to teach you how to fish iron, as it can be a productive way to catch tuna.
How far offshore will we go?
It depends. Sometimes they are as close as 20 miles offshore, other days we run as far as 40 miles offshore.
Will we catch anything other than albacore tuna?
Probably not, but you never know. We have caught a 99 lb Opah (image above), yellowtail, some big Mako sharks, and bluefin tuna. People have caught marlin and swordfish in the area near where we fish, but they are very, very, very rare (in 30 years none of us has seen a billfish).
Can I bring my own tackle?
Yes. It is your trip and your boat for the day. If you have that special rod and reel that you really, really love, bring it along and we will rig it up for you and see how it does.
How many fish does the boat hold?
It all depends on the size of the fish. Our refrigerated (5 degree salt water brine) fish boxes can hold around 800 pounds of tuna. That is somewhere between 35-50 fish, depending on how big they are.
Will my cell phone work offshore?
Maybe. Verizon works out to about 20 miles for voice and 35 or so for texting.
Should I take seasickness medicine?
Yes. Unless you are 100% sure you do not get seasick, ask your doctor to prescribe you something or take an over the counter seasickness medication. Take it at least an hour BEFORE you get on the boat. If you wait until you are seasick, it is too late.
Is there anything I can do to avoid seasickness?
Yes. Do not drink alcohol the night before. Hangovers and boats do not mix. You will have a miserable time and probably get seasick if you drink too much the night before.
What do I need to bring?
1. A fishing license
2. comfortable clothes. Many folks like to wear rain gear and rubber boots. Tuna fishing can be messy and bloody. There is a saying that “tuna clothes are forever”, meaning that you will likely never wear them anywhere but tuna fishing again.
3. Your lunch. We will provide snacks (chips, jerky, nuts, cliff bars), water and, soda.
4. Bring some big coolers, but leave them in your vehicle.
What shouldn't I bring on the boat?
NO GLASS BOTTLES. NO COOLERS (we have a refrigerator). Too much stuff. You are only on the boat for 10-12 hours. There is no need to bring a bunch of stuff. We try to keep the boat free of clutter, as it gets in the way of fishing. You don't need to bring anything that won't fit in a small soft sided bag or backpack. DO NOT wear dark soled shoes, as they will mar the deck.
Can we drink on the boat?
Yes. Keep it in moderation. Tuna fishing is a fast paced sport with lots of sharp hooks and gaffs flying around, so you need to be on top of your game.
Does it cost more for live bait?
No. The price of bait is covered in price of the charter. We buy a lot of bait. We usually carry around two scoops per person- more than any other charter boat. The more bait you have, the more fish you catch.
Do you ever run fly fishing tuna trips?
In order to catch albacore on a fly, you have to get them going on bait first. Once we get the fish going on bait you are more than welcome to fly fish. We have a tuna rigged fly rod on board or you can bring yours. It is not easy to catch albacore tuna on a fly, but we have had pretty good luck doing it when the conditions are right. We have a top of the line fly rig (12 wt Sage and Nautilus Silver King) available for you to use if you don't want to bring your own gear. We also have a selection of proven flies for you to use.
What do I do with all of the tuna?
On a good day you could end up with 5-6 20 lb tuna per person. The boat is "plugged" (full boxes) with around 40 fish or 900 lbs of tuna. Make sure that you bring plenty of coolers, but leave them in your car or truck until we are done.
When we are headed in we can call ahead and have the fish cleaners meet us at the dock. It takes them around 1.5 hours to cark and bag (ziplock gallon bags) the fish, so you have time to clean up and then come back for your fish and still head home the same day. You also have access to the Ilwaco Tuna Club after your trip so you can kick back on the deck and enjoy a free beer while your fish are being cleaned.
If you would like your fish canned, you need to call Sportsman's Cannery at 360-642-3340. They are located on the dock and do a great job. You will need to call them a day or two in advance and let them know how many fish you want to bring in. They get real busy and can only handle so many fish, so call early.
What if we catch more tuna than we want?
The Warrenton Food Bank is ready, willing, and able to take your excess catch. If you would like to donate some or all of your catch (it is tax deductible) we can call ahead and they will have someone ready to take your catch and provide fresh, healthy tuna for Oregonians in need.
Can I get out of the elements?
Yes. Shake N Bake has a very large bridge deck with comfortable seating for 10. It is enclosed and has heat and AC. We also have a spacious, modern head (bathroom), cockpit sink, and a large, refrigerated drink box.
What comes with the trip?
We provide all of the bait and tackle. We also provide snacks (chips, jerky, nuts, cliff bars), soda, gatorade, and water and you even get a cool Shake N Bake t-shirt.
Will you teach me how to catch tuna on my own boat?
Yes. If your goal is to learn how to catch tuna on your own, we will do our best to show you how to find and catch tuna. We will show you how to read a SST chart (Sea Surface Temperature), chlorophyl chart, and general tips for finding tuna. We want everyone to leave the boat a better fisherman.
I am a first timer, can I get extra help?
Yes. Hundreds of people have caught their first tuna on Shake N Bake. We consider teaching the art of tuna fishing to be part of our job. Reading and familiarizing yourself with Livebait 101 will go a long way to making sure you have a productive day.
How do you care for the fish?
Shake N Bake has two giant refrigerated fish boxes. The boxes are filled with a saltwater brine that is kept well below freezing. This brine cools your fish down much faster than using ice. This allows us to get your fish cool fast, so you have a top quality product.