Luc Bruskin’s thrilling fish story: the one that never escaped our grasp

Luc Bruskin’s thrilling fish story: the one that never escaped our grasp

Luke Broskin set out alone in his small boat from Monterey and returned with the biggest fish of his life – a 150-pound bluefin tuna. (Contributed)

We were blessed with good fishing conditions last week in Monterey Bay. Next weekend also looks to be nice with low winds and calm seas.

Deepwater fishing remains the mainstay of charter operations out of Monterey and Santa Cruz. Chris’ Sportfishing reported limits of up to 200 rockfish and eight ling cod on their Wednesday trip aboard the Checkmate.

The best deep-water locations near Santa Cruz are now near Wilder Ranch and Davenport, says Todd Fraser, owner of Bayside Marine.

Luke Bruskin of Carmel Valley with his first bluefin tuna. For reference, Bruskin is 6-foot-3. (Contributed)

Dungeness crab fishing is also productive, especially for those who drop their nets along deep canyon ledges. Inshore fishing is getting better and better. From Santa Cruz to Seaside, we are receiving reports of limited perch catches, and they are increasing in size as winter approaches. Striped bass are seeing an uptick, especially near the mouth of the Pajaro and Salinas Rivers.

This week’s big fish story stars Carmel Valley angler Luke Bruskin. He only started fishing seriously four years ago, after enjoying a local kayak fishing trip. He soon bought an 18-foot boat to give himself more range, and since then he’s been able to catch plenty of fish locally, as well as halibut from the south-central coast.

As Bruskin said: “Even the 50-pound halibut and the larger salmon and lingu that I caught, I felt like I was in control. I could handle them.” Last Tuesday, he caught a fish that “dealt” with him instead. Like a rag doll.

Setting out solo from the port at Monterey, he found a good temperature break about 15 miles from Cypress Point.

“The area was full of life, with dolphins, whales, birds and bait. I knew this had to be the place,” he said.

He dropped a pink and black Madmac tuna with 100 feet of 130-pound mono as top braid weighing more than 150 pounds on his Makaira 50 reel.

“It didn’t take long,” Broskin said. “The clicker started screaming. I slowed the boat to idle and grabbed the rod but there was literally nothing I could do. As the fight progressed, I started thinking maybe this fish was beyond my physical capabilities.”

A large bluefin tuna darted down his line hundreds of yards before turning around. “I did everything I could to get him,” Broskin said. “By the time the fish got to the side of the boat, I was beyond completely exhausted. I made a good shot with the spear, but then the hook of the spear broke due to the weight of the fish.”

He managed to keep the fish close to him and finally hooked the large tuna with its tail to pull him aboard.

The fish weighs about 150 pounds. This is a tremendous achievement for any hunter. Proskin said this is not only the first bluefin he has ever caught, but the first he has ever seen. This makes his achievement even more remarkable, as most tuna fishermen follow a chain of learning from others and undertake charter trips with an experienced crew.

Broskin knew they were there, followed local information and reports and just went out and caught the fish of a lifetime. Well done, Luke!

Allen Bushnell also operates a surf fishing and broadcast guide service at Santa Cruz Kayak. Please send your reports, photos and questions to

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