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The best bigeye catch ever on a party boat

7324 Views 28 Replies 20 Participants Last post by  bridgeman
I was lucky enough to witness one of the best bigeye catches in party boat history when I fished on the Viking's three day trip on 08-26/29.
We had four bigeye on troll, 2 on jigs and one on bait on a single day.
The biggest one is 296 lbs weighed three days later after the catch. The second biggest one was 234 lbs dressed. It should be around 260 - 270 lbs.
The smallest one was about 120 - 130 lbs.
I fought the 300 lbs bigeye along with two other guys and it fought much harger than 283 lbs yft tuna I caught in PV a few years ago.

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It was at Atlantis Canyon. When we left Montauk on Sunaday night we had a report that one private boat landed 5 bigeye out of 10 at Atlantis on Sunday morning and we decided to go to Atlantis canyon first.
We started to troll by 5:30 am, but it didn't take long we had hit. We had double header as you see in the first picture, but unfortunately one fish was lost as lines crossed each other. John fought for an hour and gave the rod to me and I fought on Smith Spyder Harness. I fought pretty comfortably using the harness, but there were some scary moments when the fish charged under the boat as I couldn't extend my rod as I used the harness. As the rail position is high on a party boat, the railing is much better choice than using the harness when fighting big fish on a party boat. Mike wearing white shirt is very experienced tuna fisherman. He goes to Hurricane Bank on the Excel every year and he caught 290 pound yellowfin tuna last year. This bigeye fought much harder than my 283 lbs yellowfin tuna caught in PV a few years aga and Mike also agreed that it fought harder than his 290 lbs yft. After the catch we had another hookup soon and Brian got a nice bigeye on Metalic Sardine jig when the boat stopped. Everybody rushed to his jigging rod and Tom got one on 8 oz hammered diamond jig, but I had a hit on my jig, but I cound't set the hook. It was amazing Tom got his 130 lbs bigeye in 5 minutes. He used Saltiga 50 as I did. We lost quiet a few bigeye due to various reasons. One time we had 4 hook-ups on troll and landed only one.
When trolling slowed down, we decided to go bottomfishing. After catching some tilefish,hake, barrelfish and wreckfish in deep water, they decided to head toward Hydrographer canyon for night chunking, but before we set up trollong lures, one line was screaming and we knew it was a big tuna. After two hour fight, we finally landed it. It was 73 inchers and was probably 260 - 270 lbs, but Mike who fought both big fish said this fish fought harder than the first one.
It was amazing bigeye bite through out the day. As bigeye bites were increadible, they decided to troll the rest of the day and we gave up going to Hydrographer canyon and anchored at Atlantis. The night bites were pretty slow though one guy had a 120 lbs bigeye on chunk.
We started to troll the same area next morning, but all bigeye just disappeared.

-fight of another big bigeye (243 lbs dressed (without head and gut))

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KIl, great report! what jigs were you using for big eye ? depth? Were you using your long rod, rail technique?

Hi Steve,
I was using Sevensea's 220 g Hooker jig.
Before the trip, I organized all jigs and tackles and put them in a cooler which I seldom do.
When my friend arrived at my office to pick me up, I forgot to bring the cooler !!! I have to borrow jigs from my friend. :(

Here is a picture of a damaged metallic sardine jig used by Brian to land a 130 lbs bigeye.

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Notice the location of the 4 gaff's on both of the cows? All in the head, that's the way gaffing is supposed to be done.
Seriously clean loins there.
Kil, do they bleed those Bigeyes before icing them down?
The crew are all seasoned veteran. Gaffing in the body of the fish is not acceptable. :)
Yes, they bleed the first big one and kept in salt ice for weighing and cut head off other bigeye immediately.

One of the objective of the trip was also to fish deep for tilefish, wreckfish or barrelfish. We fished 650 ft to 850 ft deep. Though we didn't catch any monster tilefish we had steady bites. A couple of big fish was lost due to the breakage of lines though they used very heavy lines. Most guys used 2 - 3 pound sinker and I even used 3 -4 pound downrigger ball as a sinker. Even though I had over 500 yard of lines on my reel, the lines was barely enough when we fished a wreck in 850 ft. All 20 guys on the boat were hardcore fishermen and they refused to use any electric reels though it looked forever to reel in.
I had one nice tilefish on an assist hook on my jig, but I don't know the action of the jig attracted the tilefish or the sweatened piece of squid attracted it. It is not easy fishing, but I'd like to do it again if any opportunity comes as there are some monsters there.

tilefish on a 28 oz jig

nice barrel fish caught on a 850 ft deep wreck
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What is the appeal of the Tilefish and BarrelFish? Are they good eating, or is it just a milestone or trophy? Just curious.
Tom - DBG
I don't know about barrelfish, but tilefish is very tasty. We didn't catch any big tilefish on this trip, but we used to catch them in 30 - 50 lb range.

Here is the picture of Tom's nice bigeye caught on a 8 oz hammered diamond jig. Amzaingly he landed the fish within 5 minutes using heavy drag on his Saltiga.

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Willie and Tom,
I've been sure I had a Bigeye since I caught it.

Are Bigeye of that size commonly caught in that area?
We have unusual excellent bigeye fishing at canyons this year. Capt. Mark of the Canyon Runner had 5 on troll at Toms Canyon yesterday.
The average sizes we catch now are in 120 - 200 lbs range.
Ryan and Tom landed bigeye in 130 -160 lbs range caught on jigs within 10 minutes by using heavy drag even though they used long 7'9'' and 8' jigging rods and 3/0 size jigging reels. It confirms my belief that light drag kills you, not the size of reels or length of rods as we can use the rail of the boat.

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