Hotspot: Seaside Lump - The Fisherman

Hotspot: Seaside Lump

If you have the Navionics Boating App, the Seaside Lumps will show up at 39°55.014’N / 73°54.046’W.

The New Jersey, Delaware Bay region has been absolutely ripe with nearshore bluefin tuna activity during the past few years and this summer one nearshore spot was lit up with the bluefin tuna – the Seaside Lump.

Why are we covering this spot in January?  Well, simply for the fact that in December, bluefin were once again loading up at the lump and the bite could very well continue into January.

During the summer – 2023 in particular – the Seaside Lump boasted a massive amount of squid which had gravitated to the area and tuna hounds were livelining the cephalopods to light up tuna.   Now through the winter heading into 2024, it’s been all about the troll and jig.

Laying roughly 6 miles off the beach of Seaside Park, the Seaside Lump can be easily reached for a pleasant day on the water out of Barnegat and Manasquan Inlets. Surrounded with deeper water on all sides, the Seaside Lump sits almost like an underwater island, or even like a proverbial Phoenix rising from the ashes, creating a storm of furious fishing frenzy. In reality, the hump is a small pimple that sits pointedly in the depths, a perfect little speed bump in the middle of a migratory track that will attract baitfish and thus gamefish.

Sitting on the pinnacle of the hump the depth reader will hit 54 feet, but circumnavigating around the hump the water depth will range from 71 to 92 feet around, with the deepest ditches on the south side.  This isn’t a very large piece of real estate to fish, and your success may largely be determined on the pressure it has received in the prior days.  Another worthy mention is the fact that the commercial squid fishery opened in August last season, which rather quickly affected the presence of bait!

There are certainly more largely accommodating lumps that are easily reached around this area, but for what the Seaside Lump lacks in bark, it makes up for in its bite.  Bluefin are fast and furious and you need to be mobile. Look for gannets diving, humpback, minke and finback whales breaking on herring mackerel, as well as bunker and sand eels, and adjust accordingly with larger or smaller soft baits to troll out.

Generally anglers will troll to find and intercept the schools. You can see bluefin tuna busting the surface and try and get ahead to drop jigs or soft baits, but the best way in January is to troll soft baits. Such as RonZ lures, Hogy harness jigs and Magictails. Troll with a three soft bait spread WWWWB (way, way, way, way back) about 300 to 400 yards and troll the baits down about 50 feet in the water column to connect with BFT that can range from 50 to 350 pounds or greater.

Lucky anglers can tempt bluefin on poppers if you can get ahead of the schools, but covering ground where the tuna are at is the best bet for success in a hook up ratio.  Another popular bluefin offering along the inshore grounds this past fall was the No Live Bait Needed (NLBN) Tuna 4X Super Duty Jig Heads with 8-inch NLBN baits screwed into the base of the jighead.

White, light green sand eel color or pink are hanging fish now, and these bluefin can break the 500-pound barrier if you hit it right and have the proper 50 wides or 80 wides to land them on the troll. Prepare to chase the fish down if needed and use heavy tackle to make the fight quicker.

The Seaside Lump is often a parking lot for tuna whenever the bait is around, and for those who still have their boats in the water.  Grab that copy of Capt. Pete Barrett’s Saltwater Fishing Guide off the shelf, and you’ll find the Seaside Lump listed as 39°55.395’N / 73°54.328’W on page 224.  If you’re able to brave the cold conditions and get yourself the ’24 Highly Migratory Species Permit ( required on your vessel to target tuna, you might just make yourself a hero around the fire this month by landing bluefin tuna right here and right now.



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