Video: Tuna Tagging with Bluefin Researcher Willy Goldsmith


In early August, Capt. Mike Hogan, Capt. Shaun Ruge of Riptide Charters and Willy Goldsmith of the Virginia Institute of Marine Science teamed up to conduct research for Willy’s PhD project regarding the post-release survival rate of bluefin tuna caught in the North Atlantic Ocean.

The bluefin tuna bite between 30 and 60 miles south of Martha’s Vineyard in locations like The Dump, The Star, and Gordon’s Gully had been producing fishing from 40″ – 100″ consistently in the few weeks prior to their trip, so Capt. Mike and Capt. Shaun felt comfortable that they would be able to connect with bluefin on spinning gear. Equipped with Shimano Stella 14000Ws and Hogy Pro Tails, they set out from Falmouth Inner Harbor aboard the Grey Goose early on August 8.

After finding an abundance of bait in an area close to The Dump, it didn’t take long to spot bluefin in the 50″ range slashing on the surface. Willy was the first to hook up, throwing a Pro Tail just outside of the school of fish with the hope that one would peel off from the group and chase it, a popular technique for attracting topwater bluefin tuna on spinning gear.

Once the bluefin was boat-side, Capt. Shaun pulled the fish aboard, Willy measured it and deployed one of the 5 satellite tags he brought that day.

The satellite tags are an integral part of Willy’s research, providing light level and temperature data to help determine whether the fish survived the fight and release. After 30 days, the tag ejects itself from the fish and floats to the surface, where it transfers the data to a satellite and ultimately back to Willy.

The Salty Cape team is planning on following up with Willy later this season for an in-depth look at the results of his research, so stay tuned for another video on this topic.

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