How-To: School Tuna Trolling | Simple 4-Rod Spread

Capt. Mike from Salty Cape and @HogyLures loads up his 28′ Contender and steams South of MV in anticipation of cashing in on a hot school Bluefin Tuna bite. With the fish being scattered, he name of the game was deploying a simple 4-rod spread of the Hogy Directional Bird Bars. These bars are ideal for any angler who doesn’t have or doesn’t want to deal with outriggers on their boat.

The area South of MV (Martha’s Vineyard) is a renowned and highly sought-after destination for tuna fishing. With notable spots like “The Claw” and “The Dump,” this region offers exceptional opportunities for targeting both yellowfin and bluefin tuna. Its unique combination underwater plateaus and swift currents creates the perfect habitat for tuna populations, attracting them in large numbers. The warm waters of the Gulf Stream, coupled with the proximity to the continental shelf, contribute to the abundance of baitfish and seasonal tuna migrations. Whether targeting bluefin or yellowfin, anglers can expect a thrilling and rewarding fishing experience in the waters South of MV.


  1. On this given day the fish were scattered over a size-able area. That means the name of the game was to deploy a trolling spread to cover the maximum amount of water. Other than periodic piles of bait, their wasn’t much action on the fish finder.
  2. Running a search pattern is extremely beneficial when fish are scattered. This not only allows you to cover a larger area of water quicker, but also singles out which part of the area has the highest concentration of fish.
  3. On this trip the water was very weedy. When fishing weedy waters it is crucial to frequently check your bars and take off any weeds. This will greatly improve your odds of hooking up and we found the more we were checking our bars for weeds, the more we were hooking up.


  1. A 4-rod spread was all the was needed today. Personally, I’m not a fan of fishing more than 4 rods when trolling. I like to keep things as simple as possible, and with the use of the Hogy Directional Bird Bars, I am able to still cover a vast area of water with only 4 rods.
  2. De-weeding was the key to getting bit. There was a lot of weed and making sure we were trolling clean bars was the ticket to getting bit.
  3. Teasing fish played a big roll in todays game plan. Conditions were greasy calm and the surging og the bars seemed to entice the fish just enough to hit them.


We were prepared for jigging and popping today. That being said, my conventional outfits switch hit as light-tackle trolling outfits too.

  1. Rod: Hogy Hybrid Conventional Rod
  2. Reel: Avet LX 6/3 2-Speed
  3. Line: 80lb Braid
  4. Leader: 1oolb Fluorocarbon
  5. Lure: Hogy Directional Bird Bars


  1. Surging bars can create a “FOMO” factor. You’d be surprised by how many fish are swimming up to your bars and not hitting them. Implementing the surge and drop technique, and you will often facilitate a reaction strike out of following fish.
  2. Check for weeds! I can explain how important this was for us today. I understand constantly reeling in your bars and letting them back out is tedious, but this was the determining factor in getting bites.
  3. Create a search pattern. This will allow you to strategically cover a a larger area of water and give you a better chance of vectoring in on a concentration of fish.

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