This spot always goes down smooth. The Bacardi wreck lies approximately 66 miles outside of Manasquan Inlet in generally 180 to 190 feet of water. Officially, the Bacardi is known as the 279-foot Durley Chine wreck but the story goes when one adventurous and presumably drunk angler had a banner day fishing and wanted to mark the spot, he used the empty Bacardi bottle he polished off as a wreck buoy.
When it sank in 1917 due to a collision with the steamer Harlem, the wreck had roughly 12 to 15 feet of relief off the bottom, but through the millennia the vessel has deteriorated to nearly nothing now, with maybe 3 to 5 feet of structure off the bottom in a widespread debris field. Being so far offshore and roughly 15 miles inside of the Hudson Canyon, pelagic opportunity abounds here. Tuna are most definitely the main game. Come late spring through summer, the bluefin tuna bite goes ballistic in the area, especially in the past 5 years. Trolled sidetracker spreader bars, ballyhoo, cedar plugs and green machines can hang plenty of small to medium bluefin tuna spanning anywhere from 30 to 250 pounds on any given day.
If you’re lucky, you’ll find plenty of sea life of whales, porpoises, turtles and such in the area crashing on bait schools which will allow for anglers to target the bluefin on large poppers and slidebaits. Yellowfin tuna will also slide in from the canyon edges into the Bacardi range, especially if waters reach above the 72 degree mark and more.
Though trolling and popping tuna are the hot game nowadays, the spot is also a historically awesome locale to set up on an overnight butterfish chunk slick to target tuna and even errant swordfish. Mahi will also congregate in the area as will varieties of pelagics like skipjack, false albacore, mackerel species and such. As the area lies inside the canyon flats, golden tilefish are also another solid option for bottomfishing using bug chunks of herring, squid or mackerel baits.
Though the wreck has been crumbled in the passage of time, there is still opportunity to find some pretty large cod and pollock of 15 to 30 pounds in the area. Drop fresh clam or squid baits down deep on a three hook dropper rig, or work a hammered diamond jig of 12 to 20 ounces off the bottom to find any takers. Many charter captains will make a stop on the spot after trolling up tuna to pick off pollock and cod to spice up the fish box.
Another big selling point of the Bacardi is that it lays easily within reach of the Texas Tower and the Bidevind wreck structures, so you can pop around and make a move to find tuna without wasting too much time.
Look for the Bacardi on your Navionics or Navionics Boating App at 39° 52.928’ N / 72° 38.740’ W about 65NM east of Manasquan Inlet. This year, take a shot and try the Bacardi; either way it’ll be a good time.