Wow…what a weekend! Beginning this past Friday, we ran two Canyon Overnight trips and four Day Trolls. Starting out on Friday, I ran the day trip and ended up in the Spencer after checking out some inshore action in about 210′ which didn’t produce. We arrived in the Spencer about 10am and it didn’t take long. As soon as we got to 65 fathoms, a nice Blue Marlin comes charging up on the flat line. Everyone on board saw the bite, it was awesome! He ate a ballyhoo 15′ from the boat. One of the coolest Blue Marlin I’ve caught in some time. He stayed close and on the surface the whole time, jumping from one side of the boat to the other. It was pretty sporty out there Friday, which made things pretty wet in the cockpit as we got the quick release on the estimated 300# fish. After getting the lines back out and working our way back up sea to where we had the bite, we got jumped by the tuna for the first of two times. This time we came tight to 3 of about 5 bites. Again, the bites were great…eating the flat lines off the transom. We boated all three and trolled the area some more, but no more bites. With it getting more “sporty” by the minute, I decided to troll us inshore a bit, and we got jumped again at just about 55 fathoms. Think we came tight to 1 or 2, honestly can’t remember anymore, it’s sort of a blur, but I know we had 4-5 explosions again. We boated the fish and headed for the Barn.
As we were running home, Joe was running our 55′ out for an overnight and heading up towards the S. Toms/Carteret area. They put the lines in about 40 fathoms and in about 45 fathoms they started picking at fish pretty good. I think they put 9 in the boat before dark, with only 2 anglers aboard. They set up in the Carteret and picked at fish the whole night, till they decided to head for the Barn about 2am, with plenty of tuna in the box and two pretty worn out anglers. The chunk bite was good, with a fish about every 45 minutes and only fishing two rods.
Again, I was headed out on the 48′ and crossed paths with Joe on the way in at about 3am or so. I headed right to his numbers from the previous afternoon, which put us inside the S. Toms. Things didn’t look as good there as they had the previous day, but we managed to pick two yellowfin, and go 2-2 on white marlin between 7am and 9 am. We then moved down to the Carteret and got in on the tail end of a bite that had developed, picking one more Yellowfin and jumping off a white (we only fished there about 45 minutes…wish we had more time as it seemed the bite was just starting). The bites on Saturday were much different, with everything coming on a single long rigger bite, except for one White I hooked on my bridge center ballyhoo. Most of the bites were on a bird/soft headed green machine combo we’ve been having good luck on.
Heading in (beautiful weather Sat/Sun), our two NJ boats again crossed paths and our 55′ headed back to the tip of the Carteret where the afternoon troll had been pretty good. This overnight produced a handful of fish on the troll, but only a lone chunk bite, right after dark, which unfortunately they pulled the hook on. Sunday on the troll, both our boats picked at fish, from the Carteret, up the line and inshore in about 45 fathoms. It sounded like Joe came home with about 5 tuna on the overnight trip. Out there for a bit longer on the day troll, I found a sheet of plywood that produced a real good flurry of bites for us for about an hour and a half. First pass hooked us up to a nice 70 pound yellowfin (again single long rigger bite). Second pass…a swing and a miss. Third pass a spreader bar bite, and an even nicer 75# class fish. Third pass or so, produced a real nice shot at a white on our middle rigger, but we didn’t come tight and our last quality bite was a Blue Marlin that exploded on the right long, so much so that I think he actually knocked the bait out of his own way and we didn’t come tight on that one either, unfortunately. We worked back inshore, eventually picking up and running to about 210′ where there was a Sea World exhibit going on of marine mammals like nothing I’ve seen before. We couldn’t pull a bite out of the area (spent an hour there), but it sure was cool watching the whales do their thing so close to the boat.
Yesterday we had a shorter trip that kept us inshore of the canyons and I tried a whole bunch of spots but couldn’t find a tuna anywhere. Hit the Cigar, E-Trunk, 19 Lump and a whole lot of ocean in between. A couple of dolphin bites was all we could muster. Fishing is certainly best in the Canyons right now, so it pays to go the extra mile. Shortest bite I know of is 65 miles out of S. Jersey and some of the best of it has been 80-85 miles. For what it’s worth, my feeling is that time is precious out there. I felt like I ran out of time on two of the day trips and if I could have fished another few hours, we’d have doubled (or better) our catch. The bite was not an early morning bite at all, but seemed to begin to pick up late morning, with some of the best fishing from 11-3pm. For this reason, we are again adjusting some of our trip times to try to have lines in the water during the most productive times.
We are scheduling an open boat overnight trip for Friday/Saturday, leaving 9pm, allowing us to chunk for 4 hours and troll the next day till 3pm….
Captain Trey Rhyne