Boat: 30′ Fortier “Grey Goose”
Engine(s): Twin Volvo Diesels
Home Port: East Marine, Falmouth
Rod & Reel Choice
Shimano Talica 25 (Reel) & Terez TZC59MHSP-SR (Rod)
Why this outfit?
For starters, I love this outfit because it is impossibly light but has enough power to land big eye tuna in the Canyons. I load my Talica 25 with 425 yds of 80lb Jerry Brown Hollow Core Spectra Backing and 100 yds of 80lb Momoi Top Shot. I have my local tackle shop add a spliced loop so I can easily connect a wind-on leader. If your shops cannot accommodate these specs, you can send your reels to BHP Tackle in NJ and they will take care of everything for you and they will ship them right back.
For wind-on leaders, I vary between two sizes, 80lb test and 130 lb test. I use 80 on days where fish are ultra finicky and 130 when the action is hot and heavy. Wind on leaders are great because they collect less junk in the water, flow through guides nicely as compared with knots and make it easier to land fish.
This combo allows for easy crimping to swivels, enough stretch for trolling and enough stretch for trolling but due to the heavier than average top shot, it is abrasion resistant and not too much stretch when pulling bars. Also, the 80lb top shot will allow you to utilize the 45lb of drag that this tiny reel boasts.
I carry (4) basic offshore lure styles on every trip south of the Vineyard, although only 3 are listed in the diagram above. Machines can easily be swapped out for Flexi-Bars.
The Harness jigs have become my ALL TIME favorite flat line clip lure and have permanently replaced cedar plugs on my boat. I fish harness jigs on each flat line clip, about 10 feet in front of each of my closest spreader bars.
Flexi-Bar Squid Bars
I probably fish more bulb squids these days than machines, even in the Canyons. For starters, the 6” common size is perfect for matching much of our bait fish South of MV. Secondly, and most importantly, they are MUCH lighter so they can be fish on large bars for greater presentation and still used on light gear. Lastly, they can be trolled faster, allowing for more ground to be covered. I like our Hogy SI bars because the ultra light bar pulses with wave action rather than tumble allowing for rougher trolling or higher speeds in calm water. They are quite light in terms of drag and they can be fished on 20lb class gear (like my outfit above).
The 9” Green Machine is the perhaps the most iconic of all offshore lures, certainly South of MV. They have a great swimming action and the translucent nature of the epoxy head has very fishy characteristics. Daisy chains and Titanium spreader bars are the standard, but I have become a huge fan of the pocket Machine Bird Bar that can be fished on light 20lb class gear, way way back without outriggers.
Joe Shute Skirted Ballyhoo/Softbaits
There are times when meat is hard to beat, and a skirted trolling head over ballyhoo is the number one method. The local favorite is a head made by Joe Shute, 3oz being the most popular size. I also fish the same rig over soft baits. While the soft bait has less “smell” the action of the soft bait is actually more lifelike than a dead ballyhoo.
Video: How to Rig a Ballyhoo
How to Catch Bluefin Tuna at The Claw with SI Harness Jigs