Last week Tommy Tuna calls early in the week asking if I want to do an overnighter this weekend. After seeing the pics of the EYEBALL from two weeks ago, I had to go. Thanks for calling Tommy.
The boat- HIT N RUN's 31 Shamrock the Reel Fancy.
The Crew- Tommy Tuna, Bill, Loach, Loach's girlfreind Carolyn, Becky, and myself.
After some morning boat prep, we got underway somewhere around noon on Saturday. We set off for the point. Once on scene we put out a nice spread of of seawitches with meat, small trackers, and some Squidnation Mauler squid chains and spreader bars. It was very difficult fishing as the were scattered weed everywhere, making clearing lines few minutes a chore. We came tight on the first YFT of the trip, and things were on. We had multiple hookups that came loose. After about 5-6 hours of slugging it out with the weeds we decided to set up for the evening chunking.
Literally less than 5 minutes after chunking we had our first fish on. For about 2hours we steadily caught YFT one after another. Then we started drifting deep in seach of an eyeball or sword. Altough neither of these made it to the boat, we hooked a couple reel screamers and had several shark bite offs and one 7-8' shark that made it leadering where Tommy broke it off.
Dawn arrived and the trolling resumed. After about an hour of getting creamed by the scattered weeds, we had enough of trolling for scattered sargassum. I suggested we switch over to chunking again as we stilll had one flat of butters. Good decision.
Again within about 10 minutes of starting chunking we were hooked up. As it was day time we scaled down our leaders to 30# floro and fished some lighter tackle. We had a double header on with 40# yfts which both made it NTHEBOX. A couple more made it in the box, with several other pull offs/break offs.
Then late into the chunk we hooked a very nice 28# mahi/ After this fish we called it day and headed for the dock around 2pm. 36hrs of fishing and great times. Thanks for the invite.
The tuna are definitely at the point mostly between 60 and 100 fathoms. The water color is good, the temp is right and the current is well under 2 knots. The problem right now is that there is very little change in temp throughout this area. And with the wind blowing out of the SE those huge grass mats that were offshore last week have broken up and are in little patties so dense you could walk across it everywhere.
The fish are staying down and apparently are feeding on reel small crill like bait that when you look at in their stomachs looks like little earth worms.
There were so many beautiful marks that were clearly tuna particurarily in about 70 fathoms at the 590 that I believe after a wind shift the bite will pick up.
Because most all of the marks I saw trolling were 30 fathoms or below it would have been a huge advantage to have been able to pull a planer. But the grass would not allow that at all.
I talked to LC last night and he said that they are having the same problem all the way down in Hatteras and that the sheer waters are so hungry from the lack of surface feeding that they too are having a difficult time keeping them off their baits. We fought this for most of our trolling time and while chunking during the day they would dive down and eat our chunks right in front of us.
There is an incredilble amount of life at and just above the point arounf the 640 line with bottle nose dolphin, pilot whales, birds galore and eveything else you would typically look for while tuna hunting. I think it's just a matter of time! Any day now!
It seems that all of our successful chunking was within that same depth range. And if it weren't for the lure of a possible swordfish or another eye we would have stopped our drift at 150 fatoms and gone back each set. This would most likely have continued the yellowfin bite which was consistant about every half an hour to forty five minutes with the deepest bite occuring at aboiut 125 fathoms.
When we cleaned the fish caught on the chunk we looked to see if they had any chunks in their bellies and none did which explains why we never got them behind the boat to stay with us. There was another boat out there who was fishing in the same area however, they chose to anchor up and only managed one tuna bite for the night. I believe this was becasue they are not relating to the chunking at this time but rather they are seeing a whole butterfish drifting by as a free meal and probably looks better to them than the crill.
Thank God for an alternate method otherwise this trip wouldn't have been as productive. From now on I'll be keeping a flat of butterfish in the bottom of my ice chest for weed wars in the future. I absolutely cannot stand trolling in heavy grass and I'm certain my crew doesn't enjoy it either.
At the very end before we packed it up we had a beautiful Bull dolphin come in on a suface chunk but pulled off shortly after hookup. At about the same time the cow took the other surface bait. All I can say is when you look at the size of this cow dolphin try to imagine what her Bull mate must have weighed. [sad]
Sorry for the novel but hopefully this info will prove useful for someone else.
Thanks again for the ride. Glad that the Chinese Fishing saved the day for us. It was pretty peaceful yesterday catching Tunas on the light stuff while everyone was circling in the Salad Bowl. We had a couple shots at some big big fish again - would like to know what ate the 18" Squid down 300' in the middle of the night