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Yellowfin Tuna out of Marathon.

Hey Guys. Up here in Jersey, we often run anywhere from 60-90 miles looking for yellowfin tuna. We fish places like the Hudson and Toms Canyons.
Are Yellowfin caught anywhere out of Marathon? Not looking for any spots, just info on how far you have to run. Do you have to run towards the Bahamas ? Thanks.

Replies

  • razorreilly09razorreilly09 Posts: 8,401 Admiral
    They are considered a bonus catch whenever someone catches one this side of the Gulf Stream. Not very common but does happen.
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    That's how I understand it as well. They are never common. I hear there are certain times of year when there are a few more, but still not really worth fishing specifically for them. I think spring and fall.

    There used to be an epic migration of giant bluefins across the Bahama Bank. I've seen pictures of them in the clear, shallow water. Back in Hemmigway's time they used to clean up. I guess that's why the migration is a mere shell of what it used to be.

    KCB: I'm sure you remember when you could catch bluefin at the Mud Hole, or the East Lumps off of Cape May. I consider myself lucky to catch a few bonito there now. :)
  • swordslayer71swordslayer71 Posts: 398 Deckhand
    One was just recently caught out at the humps I believe. I saw a picture of the fish, but not 100% positive it was at the humps but believe so. Caught while catching blackfin. Sometimes there will be multiple smaller ones caught or a few big ones caught throughout the year, but out of Marathon I don't think they could be considered "targetable". I've heard a few people say you can target them way W out of Key West, but that's about it.
  • KCBKCB Posts: 129 Deckhand
    Thanks guys.
    yes AS, I started fishing in the mid 80"s and the mudhole was great.
    My grandfather was a charter Captain out of Pt. Pleasant and he used to catch tons of 50 lb Bluefin, with in sight of the Pt. Pleasant Boardwalk.
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    Unfortunately bluefin take so long to reach the age to reproduce... they take like 8 years and have to be around 72 inches to reproduce. Yellowfin on the other hand reach maturity at 3 years and are more prolific. I don't even think yellowfin are considered that overfished worldwide...which makes it even more mysterious why they aren't caught more in the Keys.

    I never got a chance to fish for bluefin in the old days... I've fished for them a few times since 2008. In 2008 it was a pretty good year out at the lumps 40 mi. east of Chincoteague VA, but in subsequent years it hasn't been that good. Part of the problem I think is the 2005 year class was pretty strong, but those fish grew up and the larger ones have different feeding patterns. Plus, the bait they feed on (mainly sand eels, in that spot) doesn't always act the same. The bluefin migration through VA is mysterious... most of the big ones skip right over VA and head straight up to Cape Cod, but a few come inshore (40 miles out) to feed on the sand eels. But I guess the sand eels have to be at the right migration stage for them to follow them in, or something... I don't understand it completely, that's for sure.

    A friend of mine goes down to Hatteras / Oregon Inlet for bluefin (mainly), but also yellowfin and blackfin are there. The bluefin hang out around there from January until April. He says he's seen schools of *thousands* swimming in a big circle there. They are very difficult to fight there because the water isn't shallow like it is up off the coast of VA - they're out in 5000 ft of water and they can head straight down. He's had his Stella 20000 SW spooled by them. I've only joined in on one trip to NC, and caught a bluefin AND a bigeye on that trip...2 fish that weighed a total of 364 lb.

    I feel a little bit guilty fishing for bluefin, but at least the way we do it is pretty sporting. Basically we vertical jig for them. Up in VA, they are not easy to find, even on the lumps where they feed. Basically you scout around a 2 x 2 mile area, watching the sonar and hoping to see some marks (or at least a decent bait ball), and then start jigging. Most times, the tuna aren't there even if you see the good bait. It's a lot of work the way we do it but it is rewarding to catch one like that.
  • KCBKCB Posts: 129 Deckhand
    We are pretty much in the same boat ( no pun intended) as you. Our best recent year in Jersey was 2011, because we had scallop boats fishing hard, and the fish were with the boats eating the scraps. I think they are having a good year right now in North Carolina. They seem to really bypass us now in Jersey and head straight for New England. seems sort of strange that the Keys do not really get a shot at Yellowfin.
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    Used to clean up on the YF tuna at the Hot Dog off of OCMD. Last bluefin I caught was about 3 years ago. About 40 miles out of Cape May. Chunking butterfish. It was an over. Couldn't find any unders and certainly no giant. :)
  • ontheedge5658ontheedge5658 Posts: 2,667 Captain
    I used to fish the Mudhole in the early to late 70's. I remember getting spooled by a Bluefin that probably went 300lbs. The tackle I had was no match for a fish that size. I used to fish the Hiudson Canyon as well. I worked on the party boats out of Sheepshead Bay. 100 mile run to Hudson Canyon. We used to Tilefish there.
  • NauticalWheelerNauticalWheeler Posts: 445 Deckhand
    I've only caught yellowfin one time, but it was interesting. A couple of years ago we were out near Washington Canyon and we saw what looked to be a huge mat of sargasso weed, except that it was the wrong color. It was reddish brown, not the normal color for a weed line. We figured whatever kind of weed it was, it would hold dolphin, so we ran over to it. When we got there, it turned out to be a huge school of squid trying to escape from a school of yellowfin and skipjacks. The squid were trying to get out of the water. That was a really wild bite for a couple of minutes, but then the whole thing went down and disappeared, and we never could find them again.
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    N-Wheeler - that's definitely a right place at the right time event. :)

    KCB: I wonder what would happen if you brought a couple flats of butterfish down and chunked the humps. Fished it just like we do up here. One on top, one close to the bottom, a couple at mid-depths. Maybe discover a new fishery :)
  • Yellow fin are getting hit pretty hard by the "bait" boats off the Gulf of New Guinea while they are near fry sized. That is the main impact to our yellow fin tuna fishing. ICCAT has been attempting to regulate the "bait boat" fleet and slow fishing off of FADS which concentrate those fish. Most of our yellowfin tuna are spawned in that area.
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 6,621 Admiral
    Yellow fin are getting hit pretty hard by the "bait" boats off the Gulf of New Guinea while they are near fry sized. That is the main impact to our yellow fin tuna fishing. ICCAT has been attempting to regulate the "bait boat" fleet and slow fishing off of FADS which concentrate those fish. Most of our yellowfin tuna are spawned in that area.

    Ron, I am sure you are aware of the difference but others may not. You accidently put "New" Guinea instead of Guinea.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • ComandanteComandante Posts: 289 Deckhand
    KCB: I wonder what would happen if you brought a couple flats of butterfish down and chunked the humps. Fished it just like we do up here. One on top, one close to the bottom, a couple at mid-depths. Maybe discover a new fishery :)[/QUOTE]

    There are usually plenty of Blackfins at the humps not yellowfins. The guys that I knew in the keys who were targeting the yellowfins, were running across the line down to Cay Sal. Even then, the bite was very spotty. Your biggest problem to fish as you say above would be how do I carry enough anchor line? The Tuna at the humps are usually stacked in front of the break in the current. You will be faced with placing your anchor in about 900 ft of water and having enough scope to position yourself in front of the fish. There are plenty of guys who do this by power drifting not anchoring. They chum and fish live pilchards for the Blakfins.
  • KCBKCB Posts: 129 Deckhand
    Someone mentioned Cay Sal, and that was my thinking when I wrote the post. I have never been there, but I have heard stories. It also seems like a scary place, since it is so close to Cuba. My general thought was just to head in that direction, but not get very close.
  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    Technically, Cay Sal is Bahamas. You'd have to clear in Bimini and then head down. Although not everyone does this and takes the risk.

    For chunking, I would not anchor....too deep. Would drift.
  • Jack HexterJack Hexter New Port RicheyPosts: 4,946 Moderator
    I've caught YFT in the Bahamas, and have heard of them, in the 70's &80's being caught out of Key West at certain time of the year, but not recently. A friend, fishing out of Miami, several years ago, while fishing in a sailfish tournament (and leading) had a quad of YFT eat his kite baits and cried when he had to brreak them off to keep fishing for sails. I hooked one out of Miami, also while sailfishing, off a kite, about 7 years ago but broke of (leader frayed thru).
  • conchydongconchydong Pompano BeachPosts: 6,621 Admiral
    It seems that every year, a few people catch them along the coast of S. Florida and the Keys but not in numbers to make a specific target. Like Jack Hexter said, they used to be targeted off of Key West, October I think, years back. Jose Wejebe used to do fairly well on them out of Key West. I don't remember if he was fishing the Wall or the shallower areas like the Eyeglass Bar. Same method as for Blackfin, live chumming with lots and lots of Pilchards.

    “Everyone behaves badly--given the chance.”
    ― Ernest Hemingway

  • aquasport190aquasport190 Posts: 337 Officer
    I stink at catching pilchards. :)
  • TeamTekeTeamTeke Posts: 984 Officer
    Interesting timing...just this week Marathon Captain Jack Carlson of Two Conchs Charters had a client catch a nice yellowfin at the Marathon Hump. This is the first I have heard of in the middle Keys since I started coming here in 2001.

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    Happiness is the journey, not the destination.
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