The Hot Bite: August 4, 2022

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The offshore tuna bite caught fire in the northeast and is only expected to get better.
Marc De Blasio

Hotspot: Point Pleasant NJ
Species: yellowfin tuna, bigeye tuna
Captain: Mark DeBlasio, Blue Runner Sportfishing

After an impressive performance at the Tri State Canyon Shootout, Captain Mark DeBlasio of Blue Runner Sportfishing was talking about yellowfin and bigeye tuna. His team finished the tournament in the money after a two-day fishing spree.

DeBlasio reports, “We were fishing in Hydrographers Canyon, 135 miles from Block Island,” DeBlasio reports. In the depths, DeBlasio found cobalt blue water and tons of yellowfin tuna. “We interrupted our one bite of bigeye tuna,” he laments.

DeBlasio is focusing on two areas in the summer. “Either we fish offshore at night, or we do a mid-shore day trip,” he says. Offshore trips focus on trolling, chunking or vertical jigging for yellowfin tuna. Blue Runner’s extended sea voyages add dolphin trophy and vertical jigging for the big tile to the menu.

Mid-shore voyages are restricted to areas within 30 miles of shore in 20-30 fathoms. He says: “To find tuna, we start our search on known humps and humps, then look for dolphins, whales and birds.” Marine life on the surface indicates sand eels and squid below.

Blue Runner’s sea voyages span 50-60 miles to distant canyons and the edge of the continental shelf. Before the long-distance trip, DeBlasio studies satellite images of temperature and water conditions. “I look for chlorophyll readings to indicate where blue and green water meet,” he explains.

This summer, DeBlasio says fish are more likely to be on the green side of color change in mixed blue-green water. “That’s where the bait hangs.”

To fish for yellowfin, DeBlasio starts the day trolling. He shoots an array of 12 to 15 rods rigged with six to eight spreader bars mixed with squid strings and ballyhoo or Ron-Z lures with skirts.

This year, DeBlasio fished out an adjustable Dial Tracker spreader bar from Sterling Tackle. The Dial Tracker features an angled keel under the lead bird that pushes the helm, like a planing board, further away from the boat. The new Tracker bar has an adjustable keel to control how far the bar swims sideways. “When it’s choppy, I can adjust the keel so the helm swims just behind the boat,” he adds. This year, the hot colors are zucchini green and purple.

If DeBlasio tags the tuna with his sonar but can’t bite on the trolling spread, he’ll switch to vertical jigging. He uses a 100-120 gram jig on an Okuma Tesoro 12 reel and a Jigging World Ghost Hunter rod. “I like a long, skinny jig in pink or green to mimic sand eels,” he suggests.

Over the next few weeks, DeBlasio expects midshore fishing to improve. “I see more tuna in the 30 fathom range,” he says. The captain expects a good tuna bite from late summer to early fall as the fish come closer to shore. DeBlasio notes, “There’s a lot of blue water to the east, which is a good sign for fishing in August and September.”

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