Hot bluefin bites on jigs off Hatteras, NC

Discussion in 'Jigging and Popping' started by ksong, Mar 24, 2009.

  1. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    I fished on the 50' Viking Nice-ly Done for two days.
    The original plan was to go to bluefin ground off Hatteras on the 50' Nice-ly Done out of Morehead City on Sunday (03-22), but Capt Mike decided to fish off Morehead City due to unfavorable weather forecast.
    The highlight of the trip was non-stop action of AJ in 30 - 50lbs on jigs. Everybody on the boat used hammered diamond jigs and it worked very well. They seemed to be surprised how powerful AJ were.

    We arrived at Hatteras Harvor after a long run and we got excited to hear most boats had very good bluefin bites in 300 - 400 line.

    We left dock around 6:00 am on Monday (03-23) and headed to north. After running 30 - 35 miles, we started to troll for nothing for an hour in 73 degree water. We headed 10 more miles to north and the first bluefin hit the trolling lure in 5 minutes after we started fishing. I grabbed my 350g JM Power Spell rod with Saltiga 40 and I hooked up a nice bluefin on 7.5 oz flat hammered diamond jig on the second cast.
    But I lost the fish as my trusted Mid Knot got loosened while fighting the tuna. 8*
    This was the first of my misfortunes/mistakes to come. :) A lessen is learned. To make a knot, to make it perfectly.

    After the boat repositioned for drift, I decided to use custom JM 500g with Accurate B2 30. The reel had 150 lbs leader line and I wanted to experiment whether bluefin don't mind heavy lines and the result was negative. While there were four hook-ups by other crew who used 80 lbs leader line on the drift, I didn't get any hit.
    Another lessen is learned.

    Capt Mike ran a few miles norh and he made a long drift which eventually was the last drift of the trip.
    I decided to test 7'9" custom St Croix rod rated to 80 lbs, but is super light. The choice of reel was Accurate 665 two-speed with 80 lbs braided line and 80 lbs Japanese soft mono leader line.
    It took only a few minutes to get a bite, but the mono line got broken. Japanese soft and thin leader line was never my favorite and it proved again.

    As I didn't have time to make a knot to connect braided line and leader line while bites were hot, I chose to connect both lines with a barrel swivel. And I lost a nice tuna again due to the knot failure. I never had a knot failure before even I landed 200 lbs plus tuna using the knot. It is apparent I hurried too much to get my line in the water as quickly as possible. :)
    Third lesson is learnded.

    I used the St Croix rod for the rest of the trip and fought a few tuna in 100 lbs - 110 lbs range. The rod performed beautitully and it reminds me of my favorite 8'Costotech Japanese rod. The Cosmotech rods were lightest 8' rod I could find, but the St Croix rod is lighter. 8* While the Cosmotech blank weighs 6 oz, the St Croix blank weighs only 5.5 oz. I caught several hundred tuna with the Cosmotech rod. I have a good feeling that the new St Croix rod can do the job as the Cosmotech rod did for me.

    While other fishermen used regular hammered diamond jigs and had good bites, my 7.5 oz flat hammered diamond jigs attracted tuna as I expected as I had 8 hook-ups with the jigs.

    This is a kind of trip which tuna jig fishermen dream about. It seems I had tuna bites on every 10 - 15 minutes and they are not small ranging from 100 lbs to 150 lbs.

    I must thanks Capt Mike for the invite and Capt Mark Garrison for the arrangement of the trip. I met new fishermen on the boat and had a great time with them. They were great.
     
  2. paul708

    paul708 Site Sponsor

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    nice report kil.
    glad to see you got some fish down there.

    sorry to see the knots giving way.

    the long rod is nice.
    i still like them alot.
     

  3. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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  4. Jason4606

    Jason4606 Tuna Club member

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    Sounds like a great day! Thanks for the pix!
     
  5. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    8 hookups is awesome, thats an incredible trip!

    sorry to hear about the knot failures, every trip you always learn something new though :)

    i really hope they are around on april 3. ill give you a call later tonight to see which boat to call for that day. id love a nice tuna warmup before panama :)
     
  6. kidflex

    kidflex Senior Member

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    great report and write up kil.
     
  7. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    8 hookups is awesome, thats an incredible trip!

    sorry to hear about the knot failures, every trip you always learn something new though :)

    i really hope they are around on april 3. ill give you a call later tonight to see which boat to call for that day. id love a nice tuna warmup before panama :)
    I think I didn't pay much attention to make knots as I know I would release them. :)
    The charter rate is around $1400 because most charter boats there are 45 - 50' big boat. It seems tuna are moving north slowly as we fished 20 miles north from the areas they fished last week.
     
  8. BretABaker

    BretABaker Guest

    oh so maybe theyll be off virginia next week? thatd be an easier drive. i think angelo wants to go too. if anyone knows of center console charters up there itd be nice.

    how nice was the big boat? ;)
     
  9. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    oh so maybe theyll be off virginia next week? thatd be an easier drive. i think angelo wants to go too. if anyone knows of center console charters up there itd be nice.

    how nice was the big boat? ;)
    We never had bluefin before June in Virginia water. When we fished yesterday, the water temperature was 73 - 74 degree. They might migrate north following Gulf Stream as bluefin show up in Cape Cod Bay and Virginia water at the same time.
    The bluefin I caught yesterday could be the same school of bluefin I caught off Cape May, NJ and Cape Cod Bay. We saw tons of small bluefin on the Atlantic Coast about 5 years ago and the same body of bluefin showed up every year and are getting bigger. The tuna we caught yesterday were in 100 lbs - 150 lbs and I didn't see single tuna under 100 lbs. We didn't see many small school bluefin tuna last year and it gets me concerned.
     
  10. rtran

    rtran Senior Member

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    patience kil! better to do right the first time than have it bite you in the butt later
     
  11. erezf

    erezf Member

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    ksong,
    I love reading your reports.
     
  12. fish4stripers

    fish4stripers Senior Member

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    Kil ,Nice report, sounds like a great time. Think I need to get you on my boat in CCB this year for gl, haha

    What blank is that StCroix? Is it available yet?
     
  13. JFLORES

    JFLORES Senior Member

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    IMO the bft in Cape Cod are trans-Atlantic fish i dont think they
    can be in Cape Cod in June and be only in Virginia at the same time,
    and not be in NJ or Long Island

    Im sure that Western and Eastern tunas are both in Cape Cod over the summer and fall but in early June i think its all
    Trans-Atlantic.
     
  14. ksong

    ksong SPONSOR

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    IMO the bft in Cape Cod are trans-Atlantic fish i dont think they
    can be in Cape Cod in June and be only in Virginia at the same time,
    and not be in NJ or Long Island

    Im sure that Western and Eastern tunas are both in Cape Cod over the summer and fall but in early June i think its all
    Trans-Atlantic.
    I don't agree with you this time, John. :)
    I remember massive foot ball bluefin were migrating north from south and many fishermen enjoyed fine trolling from NJ to RI about 5 - 6 years ago.
    The fish caught off Cape Cod and off Cape May, NJ are almost identical sizes every year since then.
    There is definitely south and north migration of bluefin though some are rans-Atlantic fish.
    Bluefin used to be inshore fishery, but they seems to change their migrating route in recent years. We never saw bluefin in canyons years ago and they started to show up in Caynon about 5 - 6 years ago and we catch them in canyon routinely now.
    We caught them on Monday at the edge of canyon in 73 degree water and I suspect they migrate to norh, probably to Cape Cod following Gulf Stream.
     
  15. FullStrike

    FullStrike Senior Member

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    In June we get the first push of fish off Cape Ann (MA) and these are usually larger fish most of which are pushing their way north to the Canadian grounds. I believe the majority of the migration is a North/South event with some eastern BFT mixed. The UNH Large Pelagics Lab has been researching this for the past few years and has some great data supporting this event.

    Last year we did have a good class of fish return in the 58-65" class and remain on the Stellwagen Bank area for most of the summer and into the fall because of the great concentration of bait that was present. Fishing was spectacular in late Sept and through October.

    In mid November an epic giant bite occured off of Chatham the likes of which hadnt been seen in quite a while. Fish over 1200 lbs were landed.

    This year we hope that if those fish on the bank return they should be pushing 64-70"+. If the bait is there it could be a summer and fall to remember.

    Tight Lines,
     
  16. JFLORES

    JFLORES Senior Member

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    I don't agree with you this time, John. :)
    I remember massive foot ball bluefin were migrating north from south and many fishermen enjoyed fine trolling from NJ to RI about 5 - 6 years ago.
    The fish caught off Cape Cod and off Cape May, NJ are almost identical sizes every year since then.
    There is definitely south and north migration of bluefin though some are rans-Atlantic fish.
    Bluefin used to be inshore fishery, but they seems to change their migrating route in recent years. We never saw bluefin in canyons years ago and they started to show up in Caynon about 5 - 6 years ago and we catch them in canyon routinely now.
    We caught them on Monday at the edge of canyon in 73 degree water and I suspect they migrate to norh, probably to Cape Cod following Gulf Stream.

    Kil,

    I agree that the BFT are migrating thru the canyons and i also believe
    that they remain in those canyons longer every year, thats why NC giant
    BFT fishing is getting worse and worse every year.

    If the BFT from NC are the same fish as Cape Cod as you say,:) how come
    we dont catch 300-400lb fish in Cape May and they routinly catch them
    in Cape Cod. Also they dont catch 1000-1200lb giants in NC but they
    catch them in Cape Cod i still think they are Trans-Atlantic fish:D