Tuesday, July 06, 2010

Cape May Fishing Report July 3, 2010.

Season 5 of fishing aboard “Offshore Bites” finally got started this weekend. My buddy Mark drove down from PA. We left the slip at around 10:30 PM Friday evening. I decided to leave Friday night so there would be no chance of missing the first light. We took it very slow through the inlet and then out to the open ocean. The moon was about ¾ full, but it hadn’t risen yet, so it was pretty dark out. Once we got past the inlet we pulled up my waypoint for the 19 Fathom Lump. It’s about a 38 mile South East run from the Cape May inlet to the 19 Fathom Lump. The seas were very calm, but we ran slowly at about 9-10 knots on the way down. I could have run faster but I knew we would be there in plenty of time for first light. We didn’t see another boat on the radar until we got close to the lump. Along the way I heard several dull thuds, but that was just Marks head hitting the poles for the Bimini top as he kept falling asleep. We arrived at the 19 Fathom lump around 3:30 AM. The water temperature was in the 72-73 degree range.

Once we got there I just let the engine idle and we turned on the spreader lights and got all the rods rigged up. We had Mark’s Penn International 70, and my 4 Shimano TLD 25’s. We used the 70 for the wwwwway back line, with a Blue and White Islander and Ballyhoo. We had some Ballyhoo on two of the other lines, and a Red White Cedar plug on the other line. We started trolling at about 4:30 AM. The sun rise was at about 5:30 AM. I realized the Sonar on my Garmin 3206 wasn’t working when we got there, it was reading about 30 ft when the depth was closer to 100 ft or more. I put a new transducer on this spring so I know that is not the issue with the unit.

After a few loops around the lump I headed East right into the rising sun, heading towards the tip of the Elephant Trunk. We were trolling at about 5.4 knots. About ½ to ¾ of the way to the Elephant Trunk, just before 7:00 AM, Mark yelled “Hey Chris”. Then he hit the clicker on his Penn 70, and the line was ripping off at a good clip. We had something big on the line. This was easily biggest fish that’s ever been on a line in my boat. I ran back and helped clear the other lines. Then I ran back to the helm. The fish was still ripping line off. I asked Mark if he needed me to back down on the fish, at first he said “No”, but quickly changed his answer to “Yes”. So I put the boat in reverse and started to back down, as Mark reeled like crazy gaining back line. To give you some perspective the Penn 70 had 80 lb test on it, and a line capacity of about 600 yards when full, and the drag was probably set to about 25 lbs. When I started backing down Mark guesses there was about a hundred yards of line left on the reel.

We got most of the line back by backing down on the fish. Then Mark was thinking we were snagged on the bottom, because he couldn’t move the fish. I had to maneuver the boat a few times because the fish was heading under it. Mark was basically just trying to hold on at this point. About 10 or 15 minutes into the fight the fish start to come up. I grabbed the gaff and was getting ready, and then Mark said he lost him, all I saw was the blue and white islander coming to the surface. Neither of us ever got to see the fish. We assume it was a big Bluefin Tuna. Needless to say we were both very disappointed, and Mark’s arms were shot.

I had marked the position on my chart plotter when we had first hooked up. We got the lines back in the water and I headed back towards that area but we didn’t have any luck. At this point a North West wind had started to pick up and the waves were getting bigger, so I started trolling towards a wreck called the Lori Down which was about 6 miles North West of our location heading back towards Cape May. The clicker on the short TLD 25 with the red and white cedar plug went off, it was my turn at the reel. I could tell right away that it was nothing big. We got that fish in close and I could see it was a little Bonita, but we lost that one at the boat too. I wasn’t too upset about that one.

We continued to troll towards the Lori Down and the seas continued to build, after a couple of miles I decided to call it a day because it was getting too rough and I knew it would take us a long time to make it back in. We put the Ison Glass back in and chugged home at about 10 knots for a long way, as we got closer to shore the seas began to clam down. By the time we were up to the Cape May reef we were able to run at over 20 knots.

I had been up since 5:00 AM Friday, and I assume Mark had been too, as we past the reef it was around 11:30 AM. If I wasn’t so tired I might have stopped at the reef and tried for some flounder.

We headed for the fuel dock when we got back to the Marina. The boat took 66.5 Gallons of fuel, and we had put 106 miles on the trip odometer, giving us a burn rate of 1.59 MPG. This is very close to what I had calculated on our last big trip. We put 15 hours on the hour meter this trip and it felt like it too.

We had the boat back in the slip by 12:30. We cleaned the rods and reels, but that was it. I told Mark I would clean the boat later. Everything was covered with salt from the pounding we took on the way in. Mark left to meet his wife and take a nap on the beach; I headed to Harbor View for some lunch. Then I headed back to the boat for a nap.

Next week we plan to fish in the Duke of Fluke tournament again, if the weather holds up.


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