Current offshore tuna update from Capt John fishing on the 55 Hooked Up II out of Cape May, NJ

Most of the really good inshore Yellowfin fishing during the daytime has been mostly by chunking and more recently live bait fishing with a kite at times. I have caught Yellowfins trolling along the 30 line many times mixed in with the skippies and big rays but overall chunking has been the most productive way to catch them from my experience. Once you get out beyond the 30 line trolling is pretty much the only way I have ever fished for Yellowfins except during the fall night chunk bite but many years ago we used to be able to chunk them in October during the daytime in our local canyons.  These days I personally prefer trolling mostly because to chunk them during the daytime you have to drop down in leader size to get a bite which I do not like to do as you bust far too many off with 25-30 lb leaders and at times this is the only way to get bites. I think last year when inshore chunking Yellowfins we used 40 lb leader on most trips and only dropped down in leader size when there was extensive boat traffic like on a weekend.  For this reason I prefer to troll Yellowfins inshore but over the years it has been my experience the chunk bite far out produces the troll bite when inside 30 fathoms. Sometimes chunking is all that works inshore so we do what it takes to put our customers on the meat even though we prefer trolling if possible.

Bluefins are not quite as picky as inshore Yellowfins and in the past when we had great Bluefin fishing we were able to chunk, jig and troll them on any given day and at times used leader over 100 lbs especially when jigging or fishing live squid, ling or dead sardines. The normal leader size when chunking Bluefins is between 60-80 lbs on most trips but when fishing in shallower water along the 20 fathom line we have gone lighter at times. I have friends that refuse to chunk and quite often they did extremely well trolling around unnamed lumps and hills that offered steep drop-offs but usually a few miles away from the more popular chunking locations. Overall we fish Bluefins exclusively along the 20 and 30 fathom lines during the summer months and most I know usually chunk or jig compared to those that troll except early season when we are searching for hills and lumps holding sand eels then trolling is the most effective way to find the Bluefins prior to them setting up in large numbers on specific locations. We usually catch the smaller class inshore tuna early season up above the thermocline that offers more warmth as the smaller tuna have less body fat to insulate them early season.  

With the recent reports of Yellowfin arriving down in the Norfolk Canyon it will not be long before the tuna are within range of the South Jersey fleet that have the range and speed to get to good water holding the tuna.  I do think we will see some quality inshore Bluefin action shortly along with traditional canyon Yellowfin action which is later than last year but could be epic starting any day now.

The tuna are now within range now of the Hooked Up II  We plan to start running open boat and regular charters the week of June 16 targeting Yellowfins.

If you haven’t booked an offshore charter yet, be sure to do so soon as the fish will be here before you know it!