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THE 600

Known for its TD Coordinates 14600 X 43600, the 600 Square, which is sometimes referred to as “The Aquarium,” can be a highly productive offshore hot spot.
By Capt. Jack Sprengel
THE 600

40.3400° N, 71.26100° W

Geographically it is located at a bottle neck of the transition between the 35 and 40 fathom curves and virtually right in the middle of other hot spots like “The Horns,” “The Ranger” and “Little Fish Tails.” It also sits directly to the East of “Outer Butterfish Hole.” This location can be particularly hot during the beginning and the end of the New England offshore season.

As the warm eddies from the Gulfstream begin to push up onto the flats and into the shipping lanes, they can form sharp temp breaks in this area, often accompanied by noticeable changes in water clarity and color. These drastic changes in color and temperature can stop fish from passing through and hold them in this area for days at a time. In addition to the potential contrasts in water conditions, this location is often saturated with commercial fishing gear and marker buoys. It’s likely because it sits on a transition of depth and because it is the last stop before the start of the high traffic shipping lanes where the deployment of static fishing gear is not permitted. This collection of gear and markers creates a multitude of temporary structure that will produce growth attracting small fish, crustaceans and other invertebrates. This in turn attracts larger gamefish like mahi, wahoo and even tuna and billfish. In this region when the sea surface temperatures begin to rise north of 70 degrees, you can expect to run into a wide variety of species including mahi, white marlin, wahoo, bluefin tuna, long fin albacore, yellowfin tuna, and pelagic sharks species including makos, threshers, duskys and even large tiger sharks.

To target this area bring your basic Northeast trolling gear; 50-class reels spooled with 65- to 80-pound class line and troll a spread of small bars, bird machine combos, diving swim baits and natural ballyhoos, skirted or naked. Consider using lighter fluorocarbon leaders in the 80-pound class. It is also a good idea to add short sections of wire between your lure and the hook if there have been reports of wahoo taken recently. A good speed to troll in this area is 6 to 7 knots; adjust accordingly to get the bite. Another suggestion is to bring along some jigging and casting gear. In between trolling you can stop at any of the floating gear markers or any other flotsam that is encountered and you can enjoy catching fish on the lighter more involved gear. In the absence of commercial gear or floating structure, try to target any surface slicks or collections of small petrel birds behaving erratically.

This spot has always produced fish for my crew when the temperature and water conditions are right; many get too focused on a specific waypoint and pass right by without ever giving it a second thought. Next time you’re looking over the SST charts be sure to take a peek at what’s going on in the Aquarium.

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