My Offshore Spinning Outfits
8’ St. Croix Avid Inshore
Paired with Saragossa 8000 rigged with 40-pound test braid and a long 6-foot, 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader. This longer outfit will give you greater casting distance, which really comes into play with a finicky white marlin that is very boat shy. The extra length also helps with giving extra line when you bow to a leaping billfish. This is the same outfit I use for stripers when I’m inshore.
Hogy’s Best Bet: On this outfit, I have a 10-inch Hogy Original in Smokey Minnow color rigged on a 10/0 Barbarian weighted swim-bait hook. This lure will catch everything offshore. It is proven on white marlin, bluefin tuna and mahi. Unlike an eel or live scup (two old school favorites) the lure is readily available and easily re-rigged.
7’ Shimano Terez
Paired with a Shimano Sustain 5000, rigged with 12-pound test Yozuri Hybrid and a 40-pound fluorocarbon leader. This shorter and lighter outfit is used for casting around high flyers, mainly for mahi. I have never seen a mahi bigger than 25 pounds around the high flyers, so this outfit is perfectly fine and fun for these fish. I rig this outfit with Yozuri Hybrid line because these fish can be very spooky as they can see a lot of fishing pressure.
Hogy’s Best Bet: I use a 7-inch Hogy Original in bubble gum rigged on a 6/0 Barbarian weighted swim-bait hook. Just about anything that swims will eat this lure. With the Barbarian hook, you can put a lot of pressure on a small tuna if you run into them.
Species-Specific Casting Tips
White Marlin Tips
Over the past several years these waters have been frequented by many white marlin, pretty close in too. White marlin are great candidates for throwing large soft baits. It is easy to get them to follow your lure, but the hard part is getting them to commit. I use a 6-foot, 40-pound test fluorocarbon leader, which is a lighter and longer leader than you would normally think to use as these fish are incredibly leader shy. I run a small center console, so I can chase after them. A medium retrieve is ideal. Fish with the rod tip pointed toward the water and retrieve with a series of twitches.
These fish really do get pounded with boats trolling by high flyers. To avoid spooking them, approach the high flyer very slowly. Many anglers often charge right up to take a look-see. Even though the fish will stick around, they will become very hard to catch if you do this. Approach from the up-wind side, so you have the wind at your back for added casting distance. If you hook up, have another angler cast toward your hooked fish, as others often follow the hooked fish. Fish the 7-inch Hogy Original with the tip of your rod pointed toward the water and retrieve with a series of twitching motions.
Breaking Tuna Tips
Though not as common as the bluefin tuna near Chatham or Cape Cod Bay, you do see breaking fish fairly regularly in this area. The best way to present to these fish is to cast from as far as possible but land the bait in the school. These fish go down fast; often you’ll have just a 30-second window to button the fish up. Keep your rod tip pointed to or even in the water and reel as fast as you can. The 10-inch Hogy Original will quiver and run like a bait grey-hounding away from death.