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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Fellow TF'ers,
I was hoping some of my more salty forum friends could help shed light on the sounder pics I am going to post after this short report.

Left OC inlet around 3 am with a few boats ahead of us and a few boats behind us. Thinking most boats would be heading off shore because of the OCttt we decided to beat around inshore in the Masseys/bone/tea cup area. Well, it turned into a whole lot of trolling with no tuna bites and two scrappy dolphin. One on a flippy floppy and the other on meat. Seas were calm and we shared the area with numerous other small boats throughout the day. The general consensus on the radio was that the tuna had vanished. "shoulda been here yesterday..."
The interesting twist of the day was when we tracked down a scallop boat and trolled behind him for a period of time. Most of the day the sounder was reading scattered bait/clutter. (first picture below) However, as soon as we entered the wake of the Scalloper our sounder lit up with the arches we all love to see. (second picture). We trolled behind him for a while, no luck. We jigged for a bit, no luck. We cut up ballyhoo and tried to chunk them up, no luck. We left the dynamite at home...

Anyhow, the fish were deep and my best guess is that they were tunas feeding on the scraps the scalloper was leaving in his trail.

So, my question is this: Anyone have any tips on how to lure those fish up from the deep? (i'm assuming they were tuna)
2nd questions: as to the first picture, any thoughts on whether it is bait or just junk/thermocline/jellys/etc hovering at depth?? We were not marking it all day.
 

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The mysteries of fishing. The first pic, IMHO, is a mixture of bait fragments small fish and other bait fish. Nothing really pelagic.

Now, the second picture is pure ecstasy. That one picture will put Viagra out of business. Pure tuna.
 

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Is your sounder on automatic gain? say "auto fishing"? I never use auto, split the screen high/low. Crank up the gain until you get a good red bottom or you can see the thermocline and don't touch it.

Mike
milliRem
 

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We've caught zig zagging behind the scallopers on more than 1 occurrence with just the standard ballyhoo/bar spread. To chunk them you kinda need those guys to stop so you can stop and not try to keep up with them at 5-6 knots. Try to hail them on 16 then ask them if they have another channel you can talk on. Some Captains will talk and share intel of what they seen and if they have tuna behind them. A simple question like, "do you guys need any refreshments" can easily score you a fresh bucket of bait and even a fresh bag of shucked scallops. Just give them space, be respectful and professional on the radio and you will get results. Once they stop and you have the guts its just like chunking any other time.
 

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My guess is Bluefins holding below the thermocline on second photo.

Off Ocean City - often down 40 -65 feet , the water temp. will drop to 55* or so. This allows Bluefin to be caught when surface temps. are in 70* range.

Trick is to get a lure down to them - slow troll at 3-4 knots with downrigger or a planer rigged off separate rod. Bally behind Sea Witch set back 100 feet or so will often tempt them. Rare they will come up through thermocline - not only does water jump 10-15 degrees but it goes from dark green to much clearer / brighter - Bluefins don't seem to like that.

Exception is very early morning - more / less sun rise.
 

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Discussion Starter · #7 ·
Sounder is set at auto gain -2 or -3. Set any higher and it picks up every speck. We will fiddle with it next time we are out. I'm much more familiar with the vx1.

Thank you all for the insights. I think the most important bottom line is that i need to be prepared with some decent party favors for the Scallop crew in exchange for guts. Aside from that i need to get creative and dynamic with my bland fishing style. Sounds like many of you have had luck where i have not.

Tight lines.
 

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Hail the scallopers on VHF ch 19 . we bring cakes bought from food lion to exchange for a bucket of guts . some of the capts will respond to your hail and will let you know if they are going to stop and shuck out . good luck it is fun fishing if there are some fish hanging with them .
 

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Hail the scallopers on VHF ch 19 . we bring cakes bought from food lion to exchange for a bucket of guts . some of the capts will respond to your hail and will let you know if they are going to stop and shuck out . good luck it is fun fishing if there are some fish hanging with them .
We had a hell of a day in 2008 when we found one shucking and threw them some beer. Swung right next to them and threw a circle with a huge chuck of clam and let it float down. 3 bluefin all 150 lbs+
 

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Used to be a line up to get in behind them similar to the power plant on the bay. First did this with Joe Riley and Mr. Kirby. Bag of snot from the dragger and onto the hook and hold on. Might be a couple of boats drifting off fighting fish back in those days. Likely still possible as the finder shows, but got to find a willing commercial captain to play along.
 

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alot of great trips putting the bow up towards there bird and drifting clam guts for the bft. Also used to rattle chains up against the boat to get them fired up.

Great screen shot.
 
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