We ran an open boat overnight tuna trip this past Sunday-Monday departing from our home port of Cape May, NJ and was able to put together a limit catch of Yellowfins for our customers. Not real big tuna but respectable plus we added small nice size Mahi and lost a sword at the back of the boat. Overall very good action that provided our best overnight trip in the last few years with at least half our tuna coming on a various assortment of jigs.
The past few years we did not run many fall overnight trips and I think this is only the 4th trip in the last 3 years and it reminded me of the good old days when we were able to provide limit catches on Yellowfins chunking and jigging in the southern canyons. Usually never had to run more than 65-75 miles from our home port in Cape May in October and it was never a question if the tuna bite was red hot but more weather related allowing us to get offshore. We did troll starting around 40 fathoms and down the East wall without a touch before setting up for the night chunk on the East Wall about 4 miles above the notch that put us at least a couple of miles away from the main fleet. I picked this area to start our drift as my records showed some fantastic overnight chunking trips in past years with a drift of around 160 degrees at under one knot which would take pretty much right down the 100 line on the East side of the canyon right out to 500 fathoms or more later in the night. This is exactly what we did and it produced really well for us very similar to so many fall overnight trips over the last 20 years. My goal when fishing the Wilmington Canyon is to drift over depths that go from around 350 feet with a steep drop-off to over 1500 feet plus and if the tuna are there in decent numbers I have found it matters little what speed your drift is as all you had to do was hand feed them and the baits will not spin. At times I feel that anchoring or tying off to a pot is way overrated and not necessary when you have little current or relatively calm seas as I like to cover lots of different depths and drifting has always been my favorite way to chunk or jig at night if the seas are manageable. Having said this I know at least one boat that was stationary and slammed the tuna and was loaded up long before we got them going on our boat and we drifted within ¼ mile of them early in the evening and they were fishing much shallower water than were we caught most of our tuna. This was just another example of it being hit or miss as I know some really top tuna boats that fished not that far from us that struggled all night while we were experiencing pretty much nonstop action especially from 3:00 am to daybreak on Yellowfins. This scenario is what happened to us on our last overnight trip to the Spencer a few weeks ago when friends limited out while we struggled to put a catch together. Overall this turned out to be a great last minute open boat trip and we hope to get at least one or more open boats trips in before the season ends.
[B]As soon as the weather allows we plan to run another open boat trip and I have personally experienced some great fishing in the southern canyons well into early November in past years. It would not surprise me to even see some excellent Longfins and even Bluefins showing up locally with the cooler water.
Search for more Catch 10.23.2011 photos
10-26-2011 07:17 AMOvernight tuna catch