TROLLING BLUEFIN TUNA
TROLLING BLUEFIN TUNA
- Posted by Nick Honachefsky
- On June 14, 2019
If you haven’t heard, bluefin tuna fishing off Jersey has been absolutely bananas. In an incredible early start to the season, BFT catches from 12 to 40 miles out on fish between 30 to 450, yes 450, pounds are making daily headlines.
I recently ventured out on the Fortunate Son with Chris Driscoll to get on the troll for the BFT’s, and we decked two unders at 45 inches each going roughly 50 to 60 pounds, and also released two others in roughly 6 hours time. While active casting and chunk baiting has its place, right now the troll has been hot for hooking BFT.
Our spread generally consists of wide tracking spreader bars, black/purple, pink, and rainbow squid color patterns with a jet trailing. As well are deployed three Ballyhoo baits rigged on blue/white and pink/white Joe Shute skirts and two Cedar plugs on the flat lines in the wash. Trolling speed is at 5.5 to 7 knots and we mainly had hits going downcurrent.
Right now, water temperatures are ranging from 63 to 66 degrees in most spots. Look for temperature breaks and work ledges, edges and lumps, stitching over contour lines and flats to find fish hanging in the upwelling currents. As tuna right now in Jersey can hit 400 pounds plus, you do not want to be undergunned. Troll with Shimano Tiagra 50 wides and Shimano Tallus stand up rods.
When landing fish with bulkier trolling gear, the end game is of utmost importance. Streamline your process with proper methods. When you get the word of “Color!” the angler will reel the spreader bar to where the spreader bar will exit the water halfway, then steps backward, backing off the drag as the wire man grabs the leader. After the wireman has control of the fish at boatside, the gaff man sinks the point into the head area of the tuna, where a back up gaff can be deployed if necessary. For ultimate success, the captain will always position the boat with the tuna alongside port or starboard, never behind the engines or near the bow.
Get your game face on, know the plan beforehand and get in on this sick Garden State BFT bite!