With what used to be the traditional late summer to fall giant tuna fishery in the Mud Hole only a memory in recent years, the best bet for anglers seeking to tangle with the most powerful fish in the world is the winter fishery for giants out of Oregon Inlet, North Carolina.
The Canyon Runner and local charter boats have been trolling giants regularly, and Mike Lockwood of Lockwood Boat Works in Perth Amboy showed me a phot last Saturday during the Hi-Mar Striper Club Flea Market of a giant boated on his boat that was sent down there for the winter.
In order to use this opportunity to join the fraternity of sportsmen who have successfully battled a giant it’s important to note that what you see on Wicked Tuna has nothing to do with sportfishing. Cranking on a reel with the rod stuck in a rod holder is a commercial technique no different from harpooning or purse seining. That’s fine if the objective is to boat a giant for sale. However, giants taken in that fashion don’t qualify as a sportfishing catch by any stretch of the imagination.
I can imagine what the late dean of N.J. giant tuna fishing, Capt. Bob Pisano, would have thought of fishermen bragging about “catching” a giant when they never had a rod in their hand! That’s like a golfer claiming a hole-in-one by dropping his club and waking to the green to deposit the ball in the hole.
If you go, make the most of the trip by really fighting the fish out of a chair or standing up. The relatively shallow waters are a big advantage for anglers, and the experience will be much more meaningful if you actually feel the power of those magnificent fish rather than just cranking on a handle while the boat does all the work.
Paul Haertel needs a count by tomorrow of all those planning to attend Saturday’s JCAA Beefsteak Dinner & Seminar in the Forked River Club — as noted in last night’s blog. Call him at 973 943-8201.
The N.J. Boat Sale & Expo opens tomorrow at the N.J. Convention Center in Edison — and continues through Sunday. For info visit jerseyboatexpo.com.
Though yesterday’s snowstorm turned out to be nothing but a dusting at the Shore, the winds eliminated any fishing possibility. The marine forecast for Thursday is for west winds at 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 and 5-foot seas. The wind shifts to southwest on Friday at 15-20 knots with gusts to 30 and 6-foot seas, but by Saturday it drops off to northwest at a mere 10 knots and seas down to 2 to 4 feet — though there may be light snow in the afternoon. Sunday looks fine with north 10-15 knot winds dropping to 5-10 in the afternoon.
The Ocean Explorer from Belmar got out Monday and reported a better bite than the day before as short tog were active in 80 to 100 feet depths along with some keeper blacks and cod.