We fished in the Stone Harbor Yacht Club Invitational Marlin Tournament this past weekend on the 52′ Ocean, Saltitude. The weather was absolutely perfect but unfortunately for us the fishing was slow.
Day 1 found us fishing in the Baltimore Canyon. We started in the eastern flats and marked plenty of bait. Everything looked good, but no bites. We worked all around the canyon in the blue 82 degree water without any action. We had one white come up in the spread and look around but he never ate anything. At the end of the day we got on a sulfur line and managed to pick up some mahi, but that was it for us.
Day 2 we made the run to the deep of the Poormans. The water was beautiful blue and 83 degrees, plenty of life and bait. There were whales and dolphins all around. We got a few mahi bites early on and had a sailfish come up on our teaser in the turn, but the fish never showed much interest. The boys in at 500 fathoms seemed to be getting a little more marlin action so we picked up and ran into there from the 1000 fathom line. We got not he troll and looked around a bit. Plenty of bait marks but still no action for us until finally we had a blue marlin pop up behind the right long rigger and eat the naked ballyhoo. GAME ON! Justin Brown was into his first blue marlin and this one put up a solid fight. We got within feet of the release twice but the fish had other plans. Finally after about 30 minutes we got the knot to the tip for the release on the 300# Blue Marlin, then it got down and dirty. After another 45 minutes we finally got the fish up to the boat for a clean release and away it swam. We had a few hours left but unfortunately could not buy a bite. Congratulations Justin on your first Blue Marlin.
Here is a quick edit of a Bahamas Blue Marlin I actually got to catch myself in Cat Island, Bahamas. It isn’t too often I get to reel one in since I am either Captain or Mate, so this one was fun and all over the surface!
We put together a last minute overnighter to try and target bigeyes and swords. We made it to the Wilmington by 5:30 and ended up in a tight 4-6 foot chop which is no fun on a small boat. We were only able to make about 4.5 knots upset without dipping the bow. Anyway, it is what it is and we were there so we pounded it out. The whales were fairly scattered about and the water seemed to be pulling offshore (not great for fishing conditions). Anyway, we stuck to it and we did get our bigeye bite at 7:50pm. The last short rigger disappeared in the explosive bite and fish on!!! Always an extreme high when you hear the reel screaming! Unfortunately this was short lived and the hook pulled. Major bummer, but it certainly happens. I wasn’t too disappointed because I thought we would get another note around at dark, but no luck. We trolled until 10:30 before we pulled the trolling gear in. We spent 15 minutes checking our drift to see how bad it was going to be and we all agreed to call the overnighter off and head in. Just didn’t seem worth it. Always going to have a trip like this once in awhile, but we certainly try to keep it to a minimum.
I ran the 52′ Ocean Yacht “Saltitude” for the Viking Ocean Showdown this year, and here is how it went down.
Day 1 (July 17)
Day One I was running towards the Wilmington Canyon and ran over a very nice break in 38 fathoms on the way. The water went from 80-81.5 degrees and there was a slick line on the edge with scattered grass and some bait under it as well as a few sailor gulls and chick birds flying around. For me it is always scary targeting marlin this far inshore in July, but I went with my gut and stayed with it. Lines in was at 8:00 and by 10:30 we were 1/4 on white marlin and saw one more in the spread that didn’t eat. We also caught a 17 and an 18 pound mahi in the mix. We kept pounding out the area but we just couldn’t get another bite before lines up at 3:00.
Day 2 (July 18)
Given what I heard from Friday and also the SAT image shot from ROFFs, I decided to make the run to the eastern flats of the Wilmington Canyon. We pulled in at 8:10 in 60 fathoms and there were quite a few sailor gulls wheeling around this one particular area. We coasted over and WOW, there was a ton of bait. Balls of squid from the bottom to halfway up the water column. I also marked a few whites on the sounder so we hung out until lines in at 8:30. It didn’t take long to start getting the bites. We managed to get a hook into on around 10:00 and got a good release then hooked into a double shorty after. One of those two were Joey’s first white marlin ever, CONGRATS Joey!
Mid day action was slow, but the bait and fish kept popping up on the sounder. We never left a 3/4 mile radius all day and ended up 3/13 and had quite a few more lazy window shoppers in the spread. First time I ever saw white marlin cutting bait here in NJ in July. Hopefully this is shaping up to be an epic white marlin season.
We had a flat calm weather window for Sunday so we took it on the Trade In. We ran straight up to the Carteret Canyon where there was a hard 4 degree break from 75-79 degrees. There were some nice yellowfins caught there Saturday and with the lack of good reports elsewhere, this was the best option. We got there at 5:15am and got on the troll. We found the break right away and worked it hard for a few hours with no bites. We watched boats troll all around as it was crowded everywhere, and nobody was hooking up. We slid down the edge to the Lindy and it was all the same. SLOWW. We ran in and found some mahi on the way back and put enough in the box to be happy, and continued on to the Bluefin grounds around the Lobster Claw. It was lifeless here yet again. Not much to it, and it seemed pretty slow for just about everyone else too. Hopefully things shape up a bit.
We did a sunrise to sunset troll to the Wilmington Canyon on the “Saltitude” searching for bigeye. We ended up plucking 5 throwback yellowfin during the am, and the bigeye tunas just didn’t eat. Only two boats got bit in the morning. It was pretty rough and tough to troll upset in the blue 78 degree water. We switched over to Marlin fishing mid day and ended up going 0/3. Bummer! We got back on the tuna troll around 3pm as the whales started to come together and signs of a bigeye bite were right. We pounded it out all evening with about 20 other boats and at 9pm they came up and ate. About 5 boats got hooked up and that was all there was to it. Tough day and a long day. That’s fishing I guess…
Here is my latest edit and it’s a quick one. It is a start of a new string of videos I plan to start doing that I am calling a ‘fishy quick’. This one shows the action we had last week fishing the New Jersey Canyons targeting bigeye tuna. Watch in HD!