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Boat size and Tuna???

2676 Views 14 Replies 9 Participants Last post by  doca3
My friend just sold his Penn Yan and purchased a
Grady White Escape 209

We have been tuna fishing on charters. I was wondering, how far out do you have to go for School Tuna?
Is this boat going to be too small? Anyone recommend any areas?
I guess you can tell that this is a small boat and going out 40 + miles is out of the question

Of course, you have to pick you days, but how far out can you go with 17 to 21 foot boats?

Feel free to elaborate about Tuna and boat sizes
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I have a 21 foot boat and sail out of Jones Inlet. On nice days, I have fished as far as the MUD HOLE off NEW JERSEY, 17 fathoms, 3 Sisters Wreck, Cholera Banks. All these areas are known to hold Tuna in August-NOV. All accessible in 1 hour or less in CALM SEAS.
It's really about picking your days, and watching the forecast as your out there. I'm just learning about tuna fishing myself but we have caught small tuna 20-25 miles out of FI Inlet.I have also heard of nice size bfin being inshore (though we only had 1 small one this year)On a nice day you can do that on an 18-21 ft. boat. I would just watch weather and not be afraid to head back if it gets a little nasty.
When conditions are right, usually around mid to late July, I've caught small bluefins as close as the N.A. bouy, 10 miles out of Fire Island Inlet. Just make sure that you watch the weather, and sea conditions.
I have an 18' Grady and have been out there on the bigwater numerous times. As in the other responses weather is the key. I have been out as far as 40 miles southeast of Block Island and 30 miles south of Montauk. Likewise it is important to know your fuel consumption. Last year we caught 3 bluefin and two makos. Good luck , Outlaw
It is all about the weather conditions, if you see whitecaps out there from the wind, don't go out it will only get worse. If winds are below 10mph you will typically be okay. I fish the area around Block Island with a 19' center console, the trip is about 20 miles each way.

The other suggestion I can give you, is base your trip on how the water looks outside the harbor, there have been many days where the weather was predicted to be rough and it turned out nice.
Guys you are asking the wrong questions here. What you should be asking yourself is ...

1- how much fuel do I hold
2- how much fuel do I burn per hour at cruise
3- how much fuel do I have left to use after I
save 1/3 for SAFETY margin.
4- Do I have the proper SAFETY equipment to be
that far .
5- Do I have a means of navigation and
comunication on board ( not your cell phone)

Saftey is priority 1 no matter how big of a boat you have the smaller the boat the more safe you need to be.If you do plan a trip in a small boat you may want to consider pairing up with a friend on another boat who will be fishing the same area an checking in with each other periodically.I would also recomend getting unlimited towing insurance in the event you break down they will come get you out to 25 miles.The major concern is wind and weather one thing is for sure and that is you can count on NOAA being wrong more times than right.When they give a wind and wave report I usually add half of what they say to the number
(IE: waves 3 ft wind 10 knots translates to waves 4.5 feet wind 15 knots)
Most years bluefin tuna of good size 50 -100 lbs. are very close to the beach on the 4th of july on there way up north and are within reach of most boats.Yellowfin tuna of similar size are found much further off the beach however they can be caught inside of 50 miles but are barely keepers if you find them.Keep in mind that you must have an atlantic tunas permit to catch and keep tuna here no matter how big the boat .Yellow fin is 27 curved fork length to keep and same for bluefin but watch the regs for bluefin the change frequently for retention limits and closer's.
In closing Can small boats make the run ?Sure they can . It is up to the captian to make sure it is done safely though.Good luck Capt Dean on the Quick Release.
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Good luck ! Capt. Dean on the Quick Release
all i can say is there is no substitute for footage !!! the weather can change quick 50+ miles offshore at the shelf and there is nothing like a 50 mile ride home in 8-10's been there a few times and we watched the weather but the forcast was WAY off.
Another option may be to trailer the boat to Mass. Many tuna (bluefin) are caught on and around
Stellwagon. This is only 12 miles out of Scituate.Fished there last year for cod , saw plenty of whales , porpoise etc and the tuna fleet was there as well. The fishing is within sight of Race pt / Provincetown. Most are anchored and fishing bait but there are those fishing for schoolies and trolling. Outlaw
Very intersting post for sure. I would like to know what a typical tackle setup would be for these 40-100lb tunas? Do you usually troll for these guys, chunk bait, or maybe live bait.

I have never targeted these fish but I wouldn't mind giving it a try. I fish in RI waters....around Block Island
QuickRelease had a very good response. I would suggest makeing shorter trips to begin with. I fish out of Jones, and Cholera is only an 8 mile ride. Try that first, and troll for a while, keep and eye on your fuel, and you can judge the distance from there. As far as rigs are concerned,keep in mind that most of the fish you get in the 6-20 mile range off of the south shore of Long Island will be fairly small. Therefore, to troll for small tuna, mahi-mahi, shipjacks, ect.. use a very simple rig (at least that is what I have seen and heard). I use jap fethers on a regular conventional setup with mono line. (I have a Penn 310GTi, and a Newell 338). Try trolling at around 4-6 knots (vary speed until you catch a fish or two). Last year we found some Mahi about 5 miles south of JI, and we did pretty well with both tins and popers! What a blast!
Oh, by the way, if you run south and hit the blue water, start trolling, even if you are only 4-5 miles out.

Good Luck and Tight Lines

This message was edited by bassman909 on 2-28-02 @ 4:07 PM
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Last year we managed to boat three small blufin within sight of Block Island to the east in the mudhole. We also caught numerous bonita as well.
We are fortunate to have a few 30# class trolling outfits along with a couple of 50#'s. All you really need for these bluefin are rods that most would use for stripers. With outriggers I am able to troll seven rods in an 18cc. Use any of the small tuna lures. We did our best on small jet heads and cedar plugs. 5-7 knots or so. Remember not to kill the engine if you hook up.....wait for more strikes. Last make sure you get a recreational tuna permit. Outlaw
Very interesting post guys! Thanks!

I am waiting for my 17 foot CC Proline. Following my buddy out if we "pick our days"
and staying within 10 miles we should be ok. The buddy system makes a lot of sense.

How far out is the "mud hole"? Reachable safely with a 17 CC?

quick release: Special thanks for the very complete and well thought out reply.
Thanks for the info. Would you happen to have GPS nav numbers for the area off of BI that you hooked into fish at? I would only be trolling 2-rods as my boat is only a 19cc without downriggers. Would a Penn 320GTI loaded up with some 40lb mono be okay?
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