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Offshore Tactics

Old 04-04-2006, 09:50 AM
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Default Offshore Tactics

I have a question for the experts out there. When you are looking for Tuna/Wahoo in the spring do you guy's like temp breaks or structure better. I know in a perfect world the temp break is over the structure but for me it does not happen that way very often.
The reason for the question is that on this past Sunday we hit a hard temp. break in 150 feet of water 68 to 72 but were still 12 miles inshore of the target structure we wanted to fish.
So do you guys miss the early bite at the 190 to 300 ft break and stop inshore at the temp break or run on and wonder forever if you should have stopped?
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:22 AM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

temp breaks are easy to see. Birds working. Bait on sounder.
upwellings
underwater topo can help, but sometimes the upwelling can be farther away.
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Old 04-04-2006, 11:29 AM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

If there is a hard temp break stop and try it.. We try not to run over fish to find fish!!! There have been many times that you will find fish well inside of where you are headed if the temp is right. We fish out of Southport and there is all kind of structure between 90' and 300ft if the temp is right hit some of the closer numbers. Mark
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Old 04-04-2006, 01:31 PM
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Default RE: Offshore Tactics

I'm still new at this but I can provide my observations from 6 days at Hatteras last week. We were able to fish 3 of the six days, not too bad. We only got skunked one day. Ended up catching 11 YFT and 7 Skipjacks. Most of the tuna were small schoolies but we had 3 in the 35-40 lb. range What we noticed were:

1. The tuna were in 66-70 degree water and we only caught fish where birds were working bait being pushed up by the tuna.

2. We never saw this in water over 70 degrees.

3. Structure did not appear to be a factor but we were close to rocks each time.

4. The fish and birds were very close to the green water.

5. Some days the tuna were north of Hatteras and other days they were south. Never did hear much being caught near the Rock Pile. We did catch two there.

6. I could never figure out why some days north was good and other days south was good. I printed out the temp. charts from those days and cannot see anything significantly different. Makes me wonder if it isn't chlorophil or something.

7. The one day we got skunked we were fishing north and we trolled south. All this fish that day were caught further north.

Other things that surprised me:

1. Guys fishing the stream in umbearable conditions for me even though I was totally amazed at how the Sailfish performed.

2. I was the only boat filing a float plan at Teachs. They acted like it was unheard of.

3. Any kind of north wind over 10MPH at Hatteras sucks.

Hope this helps,
Alan
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Old 04-04-2006, 03:28 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

Thanks guys for the comments,keep them coming. Mark I know you know the area, we left out of CB headed for the Same Ole and north and ran across the break I spoke of. After some discussion we went on to the break at the SO and worked north never seeing any birds or bait but managing a decent wahoo bite with a yellowfin and blackfin mixed in.
I agree about stopping at a temp break it just seemed we were to far inshore but now I will never know.
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:26 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

Look for life at the break it can be whales, turtles, porpoise, or birds bait etc. If birds are working it's a no-brainer but if not but you see other forms of life either on top or on the machine that is a place to spend some time 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water and everything needs something to eat Temperature breaks are structure just like it is for you and I 90* in the sun or 75* in the shade which do you want to be in same for the finny friends
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:37 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

ubettcha13 - 4/4/2006 3:26 PM

Look for life at the break it can be whales, turtles, porpoise, or birds bait etc. If birds are working it's a no-brainer but if not but you see other forms of life either on top or on the machine that is a place to spend some time 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water and everything needs something to eat Temperature breaks are structure just like it is for you and I 90* in the sun or 75* in the shade which do you want to be in same for the finny friends
Thats interesting. I left a place last Friday with turtles and porpoises but no birds after one hour of trolling. Ended up at a place with nothing. Next time I will stick it out a little longer.

HH
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Old 04-04-2006, 04:40 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

offshore3144 - 4/4/2006 12:29 PM

If there is a hard temp break stop and try it.. We try not to run over fish to find fish!!! There have been many times that you will find fish well inside of where you are headed if the temp is right. We fish out of Southport and there is all kind of structure between 90' and 300ft if the temp is right hit some of the closer numbers. Mark


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Old 04-04-2006, 04:55 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

HeadHunt - 4/4/2006 5:37 PM

ubettcha13 - 4/4/2006 3:26 PM

Look for life at the break it can be whales, turtles, porpoise, or birds bait etc. If birds are working it's a no-brainer but if not but you see other forms of life either on top or on the machine that is a place to spend some time 90% of the fish are in 10% of the water and everything needs something to eat Temperature breaks are structure just like it is for you and I 90* in the sun or 75* in the shade which do you want to be in same for the finny friends
Thats interesting. I left a place last Friday with turtles and porpoises but no birds after one hour of trolling. Ended up at a place with nothing. Next time I will stick it out a little longer.

HH
Keep changing up tactics like jigging/chumming troll speeds Check your tide you could be at an area that has long periods of slack and once it gets rolling good again it can get red hot real fast
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Old 04-04-2006, 10:03 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

It really depends. Usually, I would take the temp break/rip over the good water. We have found good water in as little as 130' (about 7 or 8 miles inside of the ledge) in the first week in May and killed the tuna, dolphin, and wahoo there. Last spring was the exact opposite though - for about 2 weeks, the tuna were bunched up over structure in dirty green water, and the boats fishing the blue water/rips caught dolphin but no tuna.
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:46 AM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

I am not the best fish hunter. As with most things in my life I make up for lack of skills with effort.... That being said, here is my advice:

I try to hunt for bait. Find the bait and find the predators. Look for "life" and then work it.....

South of the Vineyard the structure breaks are not very defined until you hit the canyons...then they are dramatic. So I usually target temp breaks.....but I am always looking for "life" out there. Or things that hold life like flyers and weed lines (usually caused by temp breaks).

Good thread..... take my advice for what it is worth..... a guy with only a few offshore seasons under his belt.

Mike
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Old 04-05-2006, 08:55 AM
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Default RE: Offshore Tactics

Not a bluewater expert but I was instructed by some that are experts to find the bait fish and you will find the predators....period. They were correct. I have fished great looking rips, weedlines and structure that weren't marking bait and guess what...no hits. Every time we found bait on any one of these locations and bingo.....rods were singing. Birds are the best indicator of the presence of bait.....that doesn't mean birds have to be there...but if they are - go for it. If we run over a noticeable temp break when going offshore, we normally throttle back and look for bait....if none is there we push on and consider stopping at the rip on the way back in.
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Old 04-05-2006, 10:01 AM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

Deffintly hit the temperature breaks. Like the others said, if you see porpoises or whales, thats a good indication that there are fish in the area although they might not be visible.

One other thing is to keep an eye out for the Tuna birds. They are always lookin for the fish. If they are flyin through your spread, then get ready...
 
Old 04-05-2006, 11:23 AM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

This depends a lot on your area and as you build up local knowledge you will become more proficient over time. Each area is a little different and the same area often fishes a little differently as the season goes by. Information from other reliable fishermen can be your best guide if you can obtain it. If you know that fish are being caught inshore this will be a good indicator to drop lines when you see good signs inshore. Conversely if you know that if the fish are further offshore, you can act accordingly. Generally speaking, if you can find the right conditions ie. bait, temperature breaks, water colour etc.. even if it is in closer inshore or in shallower water than you expect, you can often be pleasantly surprised. But sometimes it can also be the case that for whatever reason the main body of fish is further offshore. If you don't have up to date info you just have to place your bets and live with the consequences. Even if you don't succeed it can be a guide what not to do in the future. Different species also behave a little differently. YFT and whites will come inshore if conditions are right. Blue marlin and BET are normally found offshore, but if you see good blue water and lots of blue marlin candy like peanut mahi, skipjack tuna etc.. even if it's inshore, hang on cos you might be surprised. The signs to look out for have already been covered, basically what you are looking for besides the temperature breaks and structure, which are your starting points, is life .. baitfish on the surface or on the screen, birds, other marine life etc... Bait is generally the most important piece in the puzzle, unless you have rock solid info on where gamefish are, and sometimes even if you do. The only other thing worth mentioning is sometimes the bite doesn't happen for a while, so if you see good signs, have patience and keep working the area as it normally pays off better than running off into the unknown. Don't leave a place where there are good signs unless you know you have somewhere better to go. Sometimes all it takes is for the sun to start going down, or for the tide change, etc.
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Old 04-07-2006, 03:09 PM
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Default Re: Offshore Tactics

Temperature charts in Florida are useless for the most part, only at certain times of the year will these be usable the cloud cover renders these useless at times. Altimetry is a better measurement it is unaffected by cloud cover. Altimetry deals with ocean upswellings the more negative the number the higher the upswellings. The upswellings come from the depths therefore bringing cooler water from the thermoclines and plankton to the surface. The plankton attracts the baitfish and the pelagics follow. I am subscribed to hiltons offshore which provides all that info www.hiltonsoffshore.com

I hope this helps you. In addition to the altimetry it also has chlorophyl, salinity, temperature, and it features a bathymetric chart of the area with lat long coordinate displays when you mouse over the area you are in interested in. The service is not cheap but as with anything that deals with big game fishing if it's worth a dam you will pay for it. I have had great success with it in the bahamas and locally. I purchased the east coast and the keys. Last year we had a great marlin outing fishing the mantinilla shoals the altimetry was the key to finding the fish.
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Old 04-08-2006, 11:03 AM
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Default RE: Offshore Tactics

Headhunt stated that on a recent trip to Hatteras , the only day he got skunked he was trolling from North to South. If given a choice , like most , I would troll North with the GS current for a more natural looking bait. How important is this factor. Looking for other points of view.
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Old 04-09-2006, 11:02 AM
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Default RE: Offshore Tactics

I agree with your presentation tactic. Trolling against the current also works too but usually you will have to use more speed depending on the current. I hate doing that with an outboard because of the extra noise it requires. Here is a couple of things that I do to improve my bait presentations. I like to troll towards the sun as much as possible. I like crossing currents at angles. I think the two biggest mistakes when trolling offshore is trolling to slow and trolling in a straight line. The stagering of the baits is crucial I like to do eratic movements where the baits move in the same fashion. An example of what I mean is when making a turn to port, the baits on the port side will tend to slow down and dive and the ones on starboard will tend to speed up and pop to the surface this movement mimics what the bait fish do making the baits more attractive to the species targeted. My miminium trolling speed is 6 knots and my average is 8, fastest is 12. Despite what I have read and have been told I do not subscribe to the 14 plus club even for wahoo. I also use daisy chains and bowling pin teasers all the time if I have a good crew on board I will break out the spreader bars, if not I don't.

With downriggers I use a topshot of the gerri brown 200 lb hollowcore line Luis at bmc recomended using this line it does get rid of that aweful noise the cables make the only problem is it must be put on as a topshot. The scotty electrics that I have must have cable on the spools also the auto stop will not work with the braid. I just keep an eye on the downrigger weight as it is coming up I wish the auto stop would work because it is very convenient but I rather stop it manualy than have the cable noise. On the downriggers I stager the baits by depth. I run one just above the thermocline and one just below it. On the downrigger baits I typically use the sea witches or an islander skirt because of their weight and the speeds I troll at I keep the drop back from the weight to the bait at a max of 10 feet. The longer the drop back the more speed you will need to keep the baits running directly behind the downrigger weight. I have seen many guys troll with downriggers with a drop back that is so long the bait is either running higher than the ball because of it being to light and the speed being to slow or the bait is so heavey that it runs deeper than the ball this too can be caused by too slow a speed and too much drop back. There is a happy medium with drop back and speed when trolling deep and when surface trolling the type of power you are using and speed will determine the drop back as well. Outboards always require longer drop backs on the surface baits.
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