East Coasters love to troll for Yellowfin. It’s an exciting game, venturing miles offshore in search of these great fish. By far, most spreads are designed to incorporate artificials, the reels left at the Strike position. As many as 7 lures are used– 1 flat-lined long, 2 flat-lined short, and 2 clipped to each outrigger. The whole idea is to get the tuna’s attention by trying to create an artificial school of baitfish.
Fishing is relatively offshore– from Jersey to Maryland, far out to the Canyons; and in Southern New England, outside of Block Island. Water depths are rarely less than 20 fathoms and may exceed 50 fathoms, and the schools of Yellowfin may be accompanied by Bluefin or Albacore.
Lures are often towed on the back side of a wave, usually the 3rd, 5th and 7th wave emanating from the boat’s wake. Often, it’s blind trolling. When a fish hits, the skipper keeps the boat in gear and to speed, hoping that additional tuna will grab the other offerings.
When Yellowfin schools are seen at the surface, the captain tries to intersect the edge of the school, preferably the leading edge, to load up as many baits as possible. Once the melee starts, the anglers are doing the Cockpit Shuffle! It’s exciting stuff and memorable.