It just flat out does not get any better than our trip yesterday. We fought tuna for almost 6 hours straight with just short periods between hook ups all afternoon until the bite just quick about 7:00 pm or so. Two and Three on at a time which consisted of Yellowfins almost as big as the Bluefins. Most of the Bluefins were caught on jigs with 80 lb. leader while the Yellowfins were caught on hand feeders of butterfish, squid and sardines. The Yellowfins were a bit more of a challenge as they would only bite 30-40 lb. fluorocarbon leaders which resulted in a good number of lost fish and the only option to this is having live bait then if makes little difference what lb. test leader you use. These Yellowfins are almost all over 50 lbs. so light leader can be very frustrating plus the BFTs up to 80-90 lbs. do also eat sardines, butterfish and squid floater lines and any angler that can land a tuna on this size light leader either is very lucky or extremely skillful. That is why we prefer them on jigs with the heavier leader and it still is one heck of a battle on top of the line jigging tackle. Just some great inshore tuna fishing happening right now out of Cape May, NJ.
We are open next week and suggest doing a special 12 hour inshore tuna trip departing around 10:30 to 11:00 am and getting back to the dock around 9:00 pm. The afternoon bite is nothing short of fantastic especially on the Yellowfins that seem to show up in big numbers after the boat traffic thins out and can be caught right on the surface on hand feeders while they are boiling on chunks behind the boat. These are special trips we are offering next week along with normal one that depart around 3:00 am to reach the tuna grounds by 4:30-5:00 am.
Check the open boat listings for make-up trips for singles and small parties next week.
We had an action packed day troll trip yesterday with 22 Yellowfins caught but with only 5 keepers along with some nice Mahi-Mahi. We fished the Poormans Canyon along with lots of other boats but started way south from the main fleet and had real good action but again lots of short Yellowfin with some Mahi-Mahi and skippies in the mix.
We left the canyon and moved inshore to the Bluefin ground on the way back to Cape May and immediately hooked into a large BFT in the 70-90 lb. range as that is the size being caught by other boats prior to us arriving. Multiple boats were hooked up in nice BFT when we arrived but there were no chunking or jigging by any boats as all were trolling which is normal for early season BFT in our area.
There is no question they could be caught chunking and jigging right now and probably will drop some jigs on our Wednesday BFT charter trip. Most charter boats had their two overs but were having a hard time finding an under so these are not little football size BFT’s.
Overall some pretty good inshore BFT fishing going on about 40-50 miles from our dock and plan on running our first inshore BFT trip on Wednesday then the remaining trips this week we will be back to the canyon targeting Yellowfins and Big Eyes but we can always stop for BFT on the way home if our customers want a shot jigging or trolling for them. Hopefully more of the larger Yellowfins will show up again like they have for the last week or so down in the southern canyons and BFT over 100 lbs. stick around for a while like in past years also.
Overall not bad tuna fishing going on out of South Jersey right now. We have seen numerous boats show up in Cape May from Northern NJ and NY including some green stick commercial boats that target Big Eyes and yellowfins predominately.
We are back from Jensen Beach, FL now to our summer home in Cape May and ready to start our 2016 season. We will be running some striper-drum combo trips starting May 19-24 to take advantage of the full moon and the hard running tides which have produced great fishing last year especially for jumbo Black Drum on the NJ side of the Bay. Since the drum are only in the Delaware Bay to spawn we promote keeping a few for the table per person and releasing the rest to help the species flourish for future generations of anglers.
The Hooked Up II had preventive maintenance on both engines this spring performed by a certified Caterpillar factory mechanic to assure the reliability anglers expect when they fish with us. We also had a complete marine survey done on our engines and hull by a certified marine surveyor and the Hooked Up II passed all the safety requirements with flying colors. Nice to know when you fish 60-90 miles offshore. Our customer’s safety and mechanical reliability is always a top priority on the 55 Hooked Up II.
Here are the 2015 fall striper rates: I would strongly suggest not doing a 6 hour trip unless the stripers are close to Cape May and at this time there is no way of knowing if that is going to be the case but last year we ended up running at least 15-25 miles to get the best bite especially in November.
On Friday’s and weekends I am only doing the 10 hour trips as boat traffic does impact the striper fishing and we often depart early or fish late after most boats have gone home and that is when the bite turns on with less boat traffic especially if we have to troll to catch them. These rates are good for up to 20 miles of Cape May.
Last fall in early November the best fishing was up off Atlantic City approximately 40-45 miles from Cape May in early November and it did not get really good until mid-November when the stripers moved south towards Cape May. Only Mother Nature knows what it will be like this year as it depends on how fast the water cools down.
There were a few very large trophy striper caught in early November last fall in the Delaware Bay bunker chunking but this bite died quickly and after that it was all trolling in the open ocean. Our early season reduced price open boat trips are for targeting trophy stripers 25-50 lbs. when they first enter the bay and hopefully there will be some showing up in early November. These trips are exploratory trips looking for bigger stripers!
2015 fall striper prices and length of trips we offer.
6 Hours $800
8 Hours $1200
10 Hours $1400
Open Boat Charters*
Special reduced price early season bunker chunking the Delaware Bay from November 5-13.
6 hours $125.00 per person plus tip for the mate.
8 hours $150.00 per person plus tip for the mate.
Regular price open boat charters from November 14 through December 13th trolling or chunking
8 Hours $200/person
6 anglers Maximum
PS: If we have to run north to where the main body of stripers are in early to mid- November (25-45 miles) there will be a $200.00-$300.00 fuel service charge depending on how far we have to run and all these trips are for at least 10 hours.
Departure times will be determined once we know how far we have to run and where the best fishing is along with the tides etc. We can also schedule trips that best fit the charters schedule. We will discuss all of this prior to your trip.
We will have all NFL games on this fall on our flat screen TV in the salon.
We ran within 20 miles of the Washington Canyon where we had intended to spend the night but found the wind howling out of the NE up to 15-20 knots so we decided turn the boat to the north run up to the Baltimore. The recent reports from the Washington were better than our local canyons for tuna and we had some of our best trips of the entire offshore season down there and that is why we opted to make the long run south but it was not to be, so we ended up in the Baltimore which my latest chlorophyll and sea temp shots showed some good water just to the south of the canyon and out to 500 fathoms. When we got there we found the conditions nothing like the latest Satellite shots I had gotten on Saturday even out to 500 fathoms as the canyon was covered with had cold green water (69-70 degrees)with little or no life in it overall. There were no whales anywhere and actually thought about running up to the Wilmington but the radio reports I got from up there seemed to indicate there was more bait along with a few tuna but nothing great overall so we opted to target Big Eyes by trolling into the night but never had one bite on the troll nor did we see any tuna on our fishfinder while trolling. The end result was the tuna fishing was nonexistent in the Baltimore even though we did catch one on the troll (25 lb. Yellowfin) trolling around 70 fathoms but no chunk or jig bites all night and from what the radio said no one else did either. We sword fished but only had a couple of legitimate bites that did not come tight but we did have literally all the sharks you wanted at times during the night even when we did not chunk. It was just one long night for us in the Baltimore and one of the slowest tuna trips of the entire 2015 season.
Looking at the latest sea temp and Chlorophyll shots I would head north up to the Lindy or Toms if I was going today but it is going to be a while before we get back out and our next scheduled charter is October 23-24 if we get some decent weather and I feel the conditions lend themselves to putting a good tuna catch together. We will continue to run offshore if we can until early November if the fish the tuna are around and the weather allows us to get offshore.
Total lack of squid in the Baltimore. Very similar to some of our other recent trips as it is so different from past years in our local canyons when we could not put a squid, sardine or butterfish down without it getting eaten by other squid in a few short minutes. Big question is where has all the squid gone compared to the past in our local southern canyons?
Could not get much better overall on our trips the last few days. Overall just some great tuna fishing mostly on the jigs and chunk. We caught many of our tuna hand feeding butterfish on the surface but if you could catch live squid it took less than 30 seconds to get a bite. We did have to contend with an armada of boats on Friday night but still were able to catch some very nice size Yellowfins. Most of our friends that journeyed down to the Washington Canyon did really well also especially earlier this week with a lot less boat traffic. It sure is nice to see those 70-90 lb. plus Yellowfins show up in a Southern Canyon within reach of many of the South Jersey, DE and MD ports.
We have open next weekend and right through October 9th if any groups would like to take them out for the Big Eyes and the large Yellowfin. If you are a single or have a small group contact us as we plan to run some make-up tuna charters as soon as the weather cooperates.
Would like to congratulate Capt Phil from Duck Work Charters on another fine trip. Capt Phil and I always work together to help provide our customers with the best tuna fishing possible and we always appreciate any assistance from Phil.
When the weather improves it looks like we may have some excellent canyon fishing coming up in late September and October for those that want to load up their freezers with tuna.
We did not get in on this bite as we continued to troll targeting Big Eyes when the chunking boats got things going really good on chunks and jigs. We knew the Big Eyes would show up and we wanted to get ours on heavier tackle with lots of drag compared to our chunking outfits that are set up for daytime chunking on those 25-30 lb. Yellowfins that we expected at night from the recent reports we had gotten. We planned on turning over to the night chunk bite after boating a Big Eye and spend the rest of the night playing with the small Yellowfin and the sharks that show up once the sun sets. Well we did get our chance on one the most powerful Big Eyes to date on the Hooked up II that came close to dumping a class 50 reel with up to 35 lbs. of drag on the pins and this particular reel has 500 yards of 130 hollow core spectra and a few hundred yards of mono top shot. We had the Big Eye to the back of the boat and in its death circle but the line buried in the side of the reel and popped just yards before we could get a harpoon shot.
No big deal as we had all young anglers under mostly around 14 years old and their fathers wanted their sons to see what it was like to fight a Big Eye and a big Blue Marlin which the boys got to do on the trip. We had plenty of meet with a load of Mahi-Mahi and a 40 lb. Yellowfin we got on the troll around the chunkers at about 5:30 pm. We finished the trip by putting the young boys on some nice big sharks which they loved doing catch and release on. This trip was how about the young boys fighting fish and we did provide this and the fathers were so happy they reserved a trip for next summer when we got back to the dock.
The chunk bite started around 5:00 pm and lasted to night fall and then it was over as quickly as it started and the rest of the night there was not much caught except a few a sharks including the grey light conditions in the morning. It all happened between 5-9 pm but when it was on it reminded me of very similar conditions last August when the night bite never happened but it was red hot in the late afternoon until the sun set. Even the big eyes disappeared after about 9:00 pm. We also talked to a few boats that chunked during the day and left the canyon about 4:00 pm and they never had a bite had all day as it all started up around 5:00 pm. We will be at the dock the next few days with the weather but will be back out as soon as the weather improves.
Nothing to shout home about as some very good fisherman never had one big eye bite last night fishing one of the local canyons. The reports I got was it was much better down in a more southern canyon where we fish on a regular basis but it is 90 mile run from Cape May.
We had one marlin bite and one legitimate big eye bite and boated the tuna in about ½ hour or so. The tuna ate a 5 oz. Shute on one of the long riggers where we get many of our bites. . We then battled some pretty crappy weather on the way in last night and having one nice big eye on ice made the ride a little more tolerable.
We are hoping to see some yellowfins show up shortly to go along with the decent big eye fishing as it has been a while since we did any day time fishing as almost all out trips are concentrating on that late afternoon into the night big eye fishery which has become so popular the last couple of years. So far this season we have had only one trip when we did not boat a big eye so it has been very consistent for us the last few years but really looking forward to seeing some yellowfin showing up.
We had a group on board to celebrate of one members 60th birthday and did they have the opportunity to fight some super-sized big fish. We started the trip much like all our recent canyon overnighters with quick work on a couple of nice and fat Big Eyes but the best was yet to come. Shortly after getting our spread back in the water the center rigger goes off and we could not slow the tuna down even with 30 lbs. of drag on the pins. This was the first time we ever had to back down on a Big Eye to keep from getting spooled and we have caught a bunch with at least half coming on 30 class tackle. This one was on an 80 bent butt loaded with 200 lb. Jerry Brown hollow core and a fairly long top top shot of heavy mono plus short leader. I do not know exactly much line was on the 80 as it was put on a few years ago when I fished for Giant Bluefin Tuna down in Morehead City, NC but never thought in a million years a local Big Eye could some close to spooling us with that much drag. First time this ever happened especially when there is probably double the drag pressure when the fish with is stretched out that far. This was a nasty one without question but a challenge to everyone on board which is why we love Big Eye fishing.
In the end, the story did not turn out well for us when the angler could not get his harness straps to the reel unhooked in time to follow the tuna and it ran under the boat into one our large props and that was the end to this story. No big deal as we already had two nice butterballs in the fish box in our ice salt water slurry.
We all saw it and it had to be over 70 inches or bigger and the strongest one we have fought on the Hooked Up II to date. That was the first Big Eye we have ever lost and it had to happen sooner than later and it did last night. We had at least 6-8 bites last night that never came tight so the action was there throughout the night and there was quite a few Big Eyes caught or lost among the 20 or so boats in the local canyon we fished. We then played around with a few sword rods for a few hours while most on board rested in preparation to marlin fish in the morning. With no reports of early am Big Eyes we thought our best chances for some good action would be billfish and we were not disappointed. We got one nice White first thing and then hooked the big Blue Marlin on 30 class tackle which was a thrill for our charters as none of them as every seen one pushing 500 lbs. or better. Just ended up being a great 24 hour trip for everyone on board.
The bite last night was short lived with about an hour or so when almost all boats got bites. The sounder showed more big Eyes than I have seen since a few years ago when we had epic big eye fishing down in the Washington Canyon but it was not until almost dark when we got our bites yesterday. It seemed wind the wind was howling that was no tuna activity but we did have a short window when the dropped below 15 knots and that is when we got our bites. It took us about hour and a half to boat our three big eyes and all were caught on Shutes with large Ballyhoo. About half our 12 rod spread is meat and the rest is a mixed bag of lures, bars and chains. This is our third trip in a row where we caught at least one big eye and have not been skunked yet this year when we specially targeted big eyes. If a big eye is on your bucket list give us a call and we can discuss this.
When we finally got our fish taken care of and ready to go back trolling the wind had picked up again in the canyon and we headed to from home but could only make about 11 knots running almost directly into the wind to about the 40 fathom line when we were able to run faster and it just continued to get better the closer we got to Cape May.
We are running 12 hour open boat tuna trip both Saturday and Sunday. Contact Capt John for details.