After a skunked first canyon trip a few weeks back, the crew of the Riptide was looking for redemption. We lined up an all-star team of Bob Pink, Capt. Charlie Wade, photographer Pedro Blanco and videographer Matt Rissell, so I knew if we could find the fish, we’d have an epic day.
The surface temperature readings were almost non-existent for the last few days but we had some intel from a few boats that had made the run. They reported spotty action with some boats doing well, but others nearby getting just a couple of fish.
Rather than chasing Monday’s reports, we decided to get out in front of the action. The water and the bite has been moving west. With what I could see from the cloudy temperature readings, I picked where I thought the water would be for our trip.
We splashed at 3:45AM and were steaming fast down a flat Nantucket Sound by 4:00AM. At 6:20AM we were on the numbers. The temperature break was 67°-72° over about a mile. We swung down the outriggers and started readying the spread. Bob laid the first Hogy Flexi-bar in the water on the right side as I did the same on the left side. Before we could get the line in the rigger clips we both had the line ripped from our hands. DOUBLED UP!!!! We were barely moving and were not 60 seconds into setting the spread when both the lines in the water became tight. For the next 6 hours we kept the accelerator on the floor and it was full throttle action!
We had a dozen yellowfin to the boat before we were able to get a full 7 rod spread set out. As fast as we got lines in the water they were hit with abandon. Even at idle speed while fighting fish, the other lines left out would get blasted over and over as they wallowed on the surface.
The average fish ranged from 10 to 25 pounds with larger fish in the mix struggling to beat the smaller tuna to the rigs. When they did we were ready, taking a tuna up to 60 pounds. A nice white marlin crashed the right flat line and missed and before he could come back for it, we had a 7 rod wolf pack bite of tuna taking out every rod in the spread.
We had one 15-pound bull mahi jump on a short rigger bringing the species count to 2 for the trip. There was not much for variety but the tuna action was so fast it really didn’t bother us.
By 12:30PM the action began to slow, which is fortunate because we were all smoked. Matt had enough HD video both above and below the water to make 10 shows. I hunted around the area and found a few more small piles of fish but nothing like the morning bite.
At 5:00PM we packed it in and made the 2.5 hour run home. Besides the obligatory bumpy ride up Nantucket Sound, the trip was fast and smooth.
Final tally on the day was a CONSERVATIVE 80 tuna to the boat. The fish were on small squid so our Hogy SI Flexi-bars and Pocket Bird bars reigned supreme. Not even perfectly rigged ballyhoo got a bite, they wanted squid so that’s what they got. The hot colors were White and Chartreuse (aka Green Mackerel) and Rainbow. Zucchini did well also. The 6-inch squid were a perfect match to the bait on site. We ran 40″ bars on the flat lines TIGHT to the transom, 30″ bars on the short riggers and 18″ Pocket Splash bars on the long riggers and shotgun. That combination put 77 squid in our spread. We fished water from 450 to 550 feet. The temps ranged from 67°-72° with 71.2 being the sweet spot. The fish liked a slower than normal troll speed of around 6.2-6.8 mph.
Our trolling method of tightly running all the rigs in the hot zone made our spread a very dense bait ball. Early in the morning the short rigger position was on fire. So we pulled the long riggers in close and sent the flat lines back. We even pulled the shotgun into the “diamond” position (essentially the middle of the spread). All the rigs were pulled so tightly they almost touched. Later in the morning the fish ate tight to the motors. We then packed the entire spread within 30-40′ of the props.
Overall an amazing day on the edge with a great crew. It’s always nice when you make a decision and it works out well. We fished the ENTIRE DAY and never saw another boat of any kind. Having a bite like that to ourselves just added to the experience.
I hope this is an omen for things to come. I have a bunch of trips lined up over the next few weeks. I can’t wait to get back out there.