Reader Report: Trolling for Bluefin at The Dump (7/28/16)


Salty Cape reader Tucker Simonsen had an exciting day of bluefin tuna fishing south of Martha’s Vineyard on Thursday morning, hooking up with a 53″ fish. In his own words:

“At 3:30AM Thursday morning we pushed off the Menemsha dock and started the journey to The Dump, south of Martha’s Vineyard. The ride out was pleasantly warm but uneventful with very little life spotted in the false dawn light. We arrived at the northrast corner of The Dump at around 5:30AM and searched a bit for any activity. Few whales were around. Because of the lack of birds and porpoises we had a tough time finding it – until we looked at our fish finder. I have never seen so much bait offshore and there were several other captains out there that discussed the same thing over the radio. The chatter buzzed on channel 68 until we heard, “Fish on!” and “Tight! Tight!” It felt like it would go off any second.

The buoy marking the NE corner was loaded with chicken mahi that refused to take lures, bait or anything from our 6 rod spread. A few minutes later our smallest rod started screaming. We’re on! We kept the boat moving and bumped it up a bit from our original 5.4kts trolling speed. The way back ballyhoo + blue and white ilander combo got crushed. Thirty minutes later (we hooked it on a Shimano Torium 16) we had the first fish of the day in the boat, a beautiful 53″ bluefin! We trolled around for another 3 hours and tried everything we had with no luck. We got hit 3 more times on the WWB ballyhoo+ilander and lost all three. There weren’t any busting tuna around, unfortunately. Some other guys said they stayed away from other boats and got into them on top, however.

Other boats around us were still hooking up and we probably saw 15 more boats catch fish, but even some of the most experienced captains were striking out even after 5 hours trolling, odd! Green plash bars and ballyhoo seemed to be most effective from the radio chatter. Some fish were caught on jigged Ron Z’s as well and I heard rumor of a popper fish. What we suspected to be frigate mackerel jumped all over the place on the ride home.

The Claw was a dead zone, we saw not even one bird in 5 miles of running around it!

Overall we had an amazing day. If I could go back tomorrow would I? Yes. I would carry sandeel imitations such as the Hogy Harness jig and bars in order to mimic the sandeels they were feeding on as well as fun light tackle for the mahi. Good luck and tight lines!