A Look Back: 2019 Offshore Review - The Fisherman

A Look Back: 2019 Offshore Review

Some of the highlights included wild bluefin action around the Coimbra and an unprecedented swordfish bite at the canyons. 

The offshore season kicked off in June with warm water moving in early, which resulted in some consistent fishing. Bluefin tuna entered the scene early and set up residence along the 30-fathom line, and while they were also caught in the canyons and closer to home, the 30-fathom line held them all season. When the weather permitted there were plenty of cooperative sharks to make this year’s tournament circuit a huge success, with good numbers of mako, thresher and blue sharks.

Ted Prager and his son Teddy with a late season 60-inch bluefin
Ted Prager and his son Teddy with a late season 60-inch bluefin from Hudson Caåçnyon on November 26.

Among the highlights for June, Mark Keller of Bay Park Fishing Station in Oceanside reported that Gary Grey, Alex and crew were east of the Linda where they caught several bluefin on a black/purple Chatter side tracker. TJ on the “Lady Maureen” won this year’s Point Lookout Shark tournament. Captain TJ Montilli and his crew of Jim Hoyler, Lou, Eddy, John and Woody fought, landed and weighed a 310-pound thresher. Bryce from White Water Outfitters fished out of Shinnecock on Wednesday and they had six bluefin from 49 to 57 inches, including one on a fly rod. Ben Mahler, general manager of Star Island Yacht Club and Marina mentioned that this year’s shark tournament had to be canceled due to adverse weather conditions. Ocean Vue Charters out of Captree, ran a charter just east of the Hudson for nine yellowfin. I ran my boat FoxSealady to the Coimbra area and got into a wild tuna bite. Acres of dolphins, whales, and tuna—all exploding on sand eels. I have seen plenty of wide-open bites, but nothing this large or intense. We chaffed off a bunch of fish, but I was lucky that one I hooked on a popper sounded, went under and away from the melee, and eventually found its way into the box.

July was another banner month. The amount of life that was present around the Coimbra was incredible. The bait never left, and neither did the fish. Late July turned into more of a jig and topwater bite. The Canyons started to pick up with bigeyes to the east on the troll. Warm water south of The Claw pushed north and stretched from the 100 Square to the Tails. The Hudson and the Tails produced plenty of bigeye tuna; the Dip was loaded with small yellowfin; and white marlin seemed to be everywhere. Mahi numbers increased as July progressed.

Babylon Fishing Station reported that Over Budget weighed a 185-pound thresher shark caught at the Rock Pile by Chris. Kevin Derrick and Bob Brennan took the Miss Philly to the Hudson where they scored three bigeyes over 100 pounds and three yellowfin. Ryan Keane jigged an 88-pound bluefin outside Fire Island Inlet. Patrick Riley and Brian Koch brought back a 189-pound thresher from the San Diego.

Tosh from Oakland’s in Shinnecock relayed that Mike Tucci took his boat Rebel south of the Dip. On board was Ryan “Woody” Kelly, Bryan Youngkin, Paul Scopinich, and Captain Mark. They caught 14 bigeyes to 150 pounds, a 170-pound bluefin and a nice mahi. Ziggy owner Mike Anderson Sr, Mike Anderson Jr, Jason Anderson, Terry and Andrew went to the 100 Square and got in on the bigeye bite, weighing a 212-pounder. The crew also had a bunch of mahi. Jack Cangemi and Keith Sullivan went three for five on bigeyes, and loaded the cooler with mahi.

Late July and August saw some good bigeye action at the canyons. Steve Safrany caught this 135-pounder aboard Bolshevik.
Late July and August saw some good bigeye action at the canyons. Steve Safrany caught this 135-pounder aboard Bolshevik.

By August, heading east was the name of the game and Atlantis and Hydro were the places to be. There were plenty of bigeyes caught, with both white and blue marlin mixed in. The inshore bluefin action remained hot, however the fish to the east were smaller. We did see fish to 100 pounds mixed in though. The bluefin bite became almost exclusively a jigging and popping effort. Trolling worked, but the fish seemed to be down deep rooting sand eels out of the bottom. Mahi were mostly small but around in good numbers, while yellowfin never came into the 30-fathom area.

Dave at Westlake Marina in Montauk reported that there was a ton of life in the form of bunker, whales and sharks just off the Point. The charter boat Susie E II returned with a beautiful mako landed by Neil Hardie who made short work of the 258-pounder. Courtney at Montauk Marine Basin in Montauk mentioned the storm that pushed through mid-month changed things up, however the good temperature break and clean blue water east of the Tails to Atlantis remained intact and continued to produce. Keith Sullivan was back from a 14-hour trip to the Edge where they had an amazingly productive trip! They caught over 30 yellowfin to 75 pounds and a 242-pound bigeye. John, general manager of Star Island Yacht Club and Marina, mentioned he had several boats score at West Atlantis throughout the week. Stefanie Anne came back with a good catch of yellowfin, bigeye and mahi. The vessel Tonto also had a nice mixed bag, including four impressive bigeyes. John Levitt on Go To Go and Arman from Kazoo had yellowfin, bigeyes, mahi mahi, and wahoo.

Nelson from Center Yacht Club in Center Moriches mentioned that he had several boats go way offshore where they scored well with bigeyes, yellowfins, and mahi mahi. Tony on Alexa Corinne did a trip to the Edge for a mixed bag. They caught bluefin, yellowfin and a bigeye tuna on the troll. They were back at it Saturday into Sunday where they scored more bigeyes and yellowfin. Mike Trovich took the Bolshevik approximately 95 miles southeast of Moriches. When they found the temperature break, they found the fish. They boated a pair of nice yellowfin tuna and a 135-pound bigeye. Also, out of Center Yacht, I ran my boat FoxSealady to west of west Atlantis. Fishgak.com’s Kirk Fay, Roger Williams, Steve Farrugia, and Chris Dicerbo were the crew. We nailed a few yellowfin on the troll as the sun set. At night we didn’t have much squid but did manage a 3 a.m. tuna on the chunk. Back on the troll at 5 a.m. we had a huge blue marlin come up. After a quick fight she came unbuttoned. We spent the morning picking away at yellowfin to 85 pounds. We headed to the deep weather buoy and picked up some nice mahi. Kirk decided to throw a popper and a 60-pound yellowfin inhaled it. We had just enough ice to keep nine yellowfin to 85 pounds and six big mahi cold for the trip home.

The year 2019 proved to be a good one for shark fans. Fourteen-year-old Danny Cusack, Jr. whipped this 285-pound mako off Montauk aboard his dad’s Backlash in July.
The year 2019 proved to be a good one for shark fans. Fourteen-year-old Danny Cusack, Jr. whipped this 285-pound mako off Montauk aboard his dad’s Backlash in July.

By September and October, the bite had mostly been to the east way off the Edge. A good number of swordfish were taken on the chunk at night and during the day. Allison tuna showed up at the scales from Shinnecock to Montauk. These yellowfin were caught trolling and ranged in weight from 110 to 140 pounds. Both white and blue marlin were released in good numbers with some guys getting multiples on a single trip. Wahoo never really got going. There were a few mixed in with bigeye and yellowfin. For the most part, wahoo were limited to the Edge and never showed this year at 30 fathoms. Mike, general manager of Star Island Yacht Club and Marina, reported Jon and Paul Moran took Jon’s Gotta Go to East Atlantis. The highlight of the trip was a 122-pound Allison (yellowfin). Capt. Tom of the charter boat Driftin N Dreamin had Greg Runfola and three of his buddies out shark fishing. They were in 150 feet of water southeast of Montauk where they hooked up with three short makos that were all safely released. They also hooked up with three nice size blue sharks that were cut loose. In addition to the sharks that were released at the boat, they pulled the hook on a large mystery shark that they fought for 30 minutes.

Thomas from Pelagic Outfitters out of Lindenhurst mentioned that Scott Troise of Bass Bandit Charters had an epic trip to the Edge. They went three for four on swordfish and also had two nice yellowfin, some mahi and other exotics. Jack at Babylon Fishing Station reported the On The Edge made a long run to the east for a banner overnight trip. The sword bite at night produced three broadbills. They also decked six yellowfin, a bunch of mahi, and released a blue marlin. Dave at Westlake Marina in Montauk reported the Three G’s had a great trip, bagging two swords and an 80-pound bluefin. He also had customers come back with mahi mahi, noting that water temperatures remained warm well into October.

November saw the usual late run of bluefin move through our area, but weather windows were few and the fish were on the move. Several boats did manage to end their season with some late bluefin action. Several were caught by boats working 20- to 30-fathom wrecks, like the Linda, over the course of the month. The last catch reported to us was made November 26 by Ted Prager and his son Teddy with a 60-inch bluefin from Hudson Canyon. They also had two smaller bluefin and a 60-pound longfin aboard their Revenant.   

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