NJ Tuna Fishing
Captain Bob Pennington pioneered party boat offshore NJ tuna fishing in 1972. (View the history of Offshore Fishing for Tuna) What you read here, describes what happens aboard the Sea Devil on an offshore canyon NJ tuna trip.
NJ Offshore Tuna fishing
(A 23-hour day aboard the Sea Devil, tuna fishing)
The Sea Devil sails for tuna fish, not only for the thrill and excitement of the catch, but for the adventure of sailing from ninety to one hundred ten miles offshore! When that big tuna fish is hooked, it fights like few other species of fish. The challenge and excitement of getting that fish on the boat, once it is hooked, is an experience that one does not want to miss.
NJ Tuna fishing is more exciting than New Jersey blue fishing because while blue fish may weigh up to fifteen pounds, the tuna will weigh from twenty-five pounds to over one hundred pounds! Most of the fish we catch weigh from fifty to eighty-five pounds. On occasion we have seen anglers land swordfish that weigh from sixty pounds, up to two hundred fifty pounds! Often times we catch mahi-mahi that weigh up to twenty pounds.
A typical offshore excursion aboard the Sea Devil begins before we leave the dock, after you have put your belongings on the boat and Captain Bob calls all passengers onto the dock so he can review procedures with you and also to explain how fishing has been on the most recent trips.(View Offshore Fishing procedures).
Once Bob is finished reviewing procedures, he will call you out, in the order in which we received payment from you, to board the boat and pick out your bunk. At that time Cindy collects for any rental rods fees that have not been paid. By 5 p.m. the Sea Devil sets sail.
Let the crew be aware if it is your first time sailing offshore. Even if you fished for tuna in the past, the crew will check the drag on all lines. (A drag too tight may snap and you lose the fish.) A crew member will explain and demonstrate for each new angler, how to use the rod to successfully catch tuna. Listen carefully and ask him to repeat anything you are not sure of. Follow his instructions and when you hook into that big tuna and you will be ensured more success in getting that fish on the boat. (Learn how to catch a Tuna Fish) One does not have to be strong to catch a tuna; It is all in the technique.
Once all rods have been examined, many anglers will use this time traveling to the canyon, to eat and get some sleep. It could be up to six hours before the boat will reach it’s destination at the Hudson Canyon, or further south. A good sleep should leave you refreshed and alert. Once the anchor is set fishing begins! This could be as early as 11:30 p.m. Once the anchor is set it is time to wake up and begin to fish! For best success you will fish right through the evening and through daybreak.
On a clear night, some passengers forgo their bunk below and bring the sleeping bag to the upper deck to sleep under the stars! It is amazing how many more stars can be seen sailing offshore with no man made lights or buildings to block the vision. The Milky Way and many constellations are easily seen.
On the best of days, tuna and swordfish or mahi-mahi is caught almost immediately and a steady pick continues through the night until day break. On these great days, some anglers may land three yellow fin tuna by 2 a.m. and stop to rest. The tuna fish may entertain you by jumping and doing vertical dives five to six feet off the water! One customer described such a trip as "like something out of National Geographic." Others declared it was worth making the trip simply to see this show and catching the fish was secondary. Sometimes large schools of porpoises will swim alongside the boat. At other times, we may spot smaller schools of porpoises playing, jumping and diving in the distance, when we are anchored up.
Once your fish is on the boat, it is tagged, bled and kept below deck in an iced fish hold. This frees up space on the deck for more comfortable fishing. The boat has been known to leave early on some of these fantastic days of tuna fishing, simply because we had caught the legal limit. We will take a leisurely ride back to dock and weather permitting, many anglers will choose to rest on the upper deck and soak in some rays for the six hour ride home.
On the not so nice days, the weather may be overcast or a bit breezy. On these trips we suggest you rest up on the ride out to reserve energy for the fishing that will soon begin. If it is cloudy or raining, the cabin is a comfortable place for eating and to rest if you do not like the motion in the bunk room.
When we arrive and set the anchor we begin to fish. Since it is fishing we promise and not catching, we see some great days and other not so great days. We can promise that our professional crew will always work with you to hook up with and land those tuna fish, swordfish, mahi-mahi and many other fish we sometimes find. Our goal is to make this a safe and memorable trip for all.