It’s football season, watch for the strong side blitz!
Prepping for fall bluefin could be a multifaceted endeavor as you will have many options. The fish will hit on the troll, jig, chunk, or by casting poppers or Ron-Z type soft baits at them if they are up on the surface. Visual keys and current intel will be the clues as to how you should decide on your strategy.
The intel that bluefin are present can come from other recreational boats who may be bottom fishing the numerous wrecks and snags from Cape Cod down to the Mud Hole in the NY Bight. These are the sources that you want to check as these boats will often see them first
For instance if local intel has bluefin coming into chum slicks for several days in a row then I know for sure that the bluefin are in that area. If this is the case I will go to that area and set up on the chunk with sardines or butters and see if I can entice them to bite. Best bet would be to cast net peanut bunker before you leave your dock if they are still around and toss live ones into the water mixed in with your chunks. I can almost guarantee that if bluefin are anywhere around you they will find the peanuts and a feeding frenzy will quickly develop.
The other option you have is to troll the same area if you don’t want to chunk. You can use the same spread and lures that you would use when trolling for bluefin at the beginning of the season.
If the intel isn’t freely coming where I am going to head to look for bluefin is based on my past experience as to what I have recorded in my logs from the prior season. Let’s say there was a bite around the west wall of the Monster Ledge or out around The Claw off Massachusetts at the end of October last season, that is where I would head this season to take a look. When heading out like this it’s all eyes on deck. Everyone on board is looking for tuna up on the surface as I watch my electronics and track my course.
Signs to look for can be obvious such as tuna blowing out of the water, pushing water, corralling bait, or more on the subtle side such as tuna breezing along just under the surface. Here a keen eye can detect the silvery blue shimmer of the tuna as they quiver from side to side. If tuna are spotted I position the boat in front of the pod so the tuna are coming at the boat. Clients then grab the three specialized tuna spinning rods and fire away. One is rigged with a Nomad Design Chug Norris 150 popper, one with sardine style stickbait, and one with an olive Bill Hurley Rat Tail on a 3-ounce sandeel head.
If nothing is showing on the surface then my eyes are glued to my fishfinder. I am looking for bait either on the bottom or spread around the middle of the water column. Most importantly I look for the characteristic red meatball marks on my screen that mark the tuna. If readings are good we will set up on the jig with 80-120 gram Nomad Streaker, CB One F1, Mustad, or Stingo jigs.