200 to 400 fathoms is the realm of real CANYON COMMUTERS. From Veatch to Wilmington Canyon to the oil rigs off Texas and New Orleans, from San Diego to the tip of the Baha, and from St. Thomas to Barbados, these lures catch them all. This is where the big boys live. Fishing in 20-30 fathoms is great for the smaller boatman. 17-23 foot center consoles and runabouts are perfect for this type of sport fishing. Trolling for school Bluefin, Yellowfin and other pelagics can be done safely within sight of land. The main difference between this and deeper activities lies in lure size. Mahi, Albacore, Bonita also fall for these lure tricks.
300+ lb Bigeye 400+ lb Blue Marlin 100+ lb White Marlin
200+ lb Yellowfin 60+ lb Mahi Mahi 60+ lb Long Fin Albacore
50+ lb Wahoo. The list goes on and on.
Fish like this mean one thing only...STRUCTURE... STRUCTURE...STRUCTURE Canyon edges, pot high flyers, tide rips, bottom ridges and most of all wrecks. This is the domain of the BRUTES. You need knowledge and the best fishing gear to conquer this watery battle ground. This is where the 50 pound and bigger tackle reigns supreme.
Temperature charts narrow the area down to where the bait should be. Marine charts show you the highways and byways that the bait use and the predators follow. Match these and you have now put yourself where the action should be. Trolling speed must be correct for your boat and the lures you use. Lure placement and presentation finish up the equation.
To take these fish, you need lures that are proven the world over. They have to be rigged correctly and placed in the sweet spot of your trolling pattern. When I leave the dock, I am armed with only the best lures available. I have fished them all and I know these lures work. If I had only one set of lures to take, I would take only those listed here. Of all these listed, I depend most on my Bullet or Cedar Daisy Chain.
Place your Cedar Daisy Chain no more than 40 feet behind the transom on the middle part of your standing wave. They should have a twisting head shake. Tuna find these Cedars hard to resist. If you can see Tuna deep on your scope, keep trolling over them and watch them come up and up and finally crash your setup. It's heart stopping action to see huge eyeballs and and their sickle tails crashing thru your setup crunching on these lures. Add Bullets and Cedars to your spread and "YOU ARE THE MAN".
These lures are put together with only the finest double skirts, weighted forward to undulate and flash and shimmy to imitate predators chasing the main school of escaping bait (your hull and engines).
I use single hooks 8/0 or 9/0 placed in the back of the lure. I believe that two hook rigs tend to make the lures plane up towards the surface and lose effectiveness. I place these lures in the 2nd and 3rd and 4th standing wave. They must ride in the middle of each wave to be effective.
To pull in Yellowfin that your chine wake has brought to your spread, I put out the bullet shaped lures in the 3rd thru 6th wake. Each of these lures should be run so they run a few inches deep in the middle of the wave. Yellowfin just love to whack them there.
The last place for me is the shotgun position (way down the center), back about 90 feet or longer. I always put a big bird teaser and a lure (pick one of the above) on a 8 foot leader behind the bird. BULLETS Jet heads, G.M.s lures work here. I put the biggest hook I can fit into these lures, at least a 9/0. All hooks are the southern style hook. They rarely let you down.
Remember, your boat hull/engine draws the fish. You have to put your lures in where they look like hurt bait trying to get back to the school. They know that there is safety in numbers.
To capitalize on the behavior of these pelagics, you need to put out as many lures as possible back behind the boat. You can put a 3 T'ZER chain on each rod with a chase bait actively running behind the T'Zers.
I always have a least one Bullet and Cedar out at all times and I always use daisy chains on them. I have fished these all over and THEY WORK. For inshore trolling, blue/white is the color cedar daisy chain is THE COLOR combination to start with.
My Bullet provides a tight head shake, and the right sound. SOUND in the 500 kz range that attracts all Tunas. Why use anything else? I can't build a better lure and neither can you! Look at it this way. Calculate the cost of your boat, insurance, fuel, fishing equipment and not least, your limited time on the water. Buy the lure setups that works the best!
T'Zers: A 3 T'Zer rig attached to my Cedar or Bullet will catch anything on the inshore grounds. I had 100 + Bluefin on this setup just 5 miles off the beach in 20 fathoms of water !
Bullets and Cedars can be run alone. With or without T'Zers, they should be no further back from your transom than 35 to 30 feet. I have had Yellowfin climb all over these lures. Mahi even fight for this lure. I also had 2 White Marlin try and impale themselves on this rig (bill wrapped both(AARRGGHH) of them).
Albcore and Bonita like a little different presentation. I use a T'Zer setup (matching color) followed by my chase bait in white/pink or a green/orange or a blue/green over yellow combination. These should undulate over your standing wake. This rig will drive the Albacore or Bonita crazy. You will actually see more than one trying to eat the T'Zers and the chase bait. Take your camera along! All of the above chase baits should be in 4 1/2 inch size.
Birds are great attractors. You don't need big birds. What you should use is a 5 inch bird followed by a chase lure. I use the T'Zer set up followed by a Bullet or Cedar chase lure. REMEMBER, you are presenting a picture of a school of bait being hounded by predators. EASY PICKINGS to be had! The more commotion, the better. On bright sunny days put a bird chase bait combination way back 50 to 75 yards. Sometimes it really pays.
I also use Tuna clones to the (OUTSIDE), in any color running just next to my T'Zers or as a predator lure chasing the T'Zers.
Green Machines in both sizes will work for you. They are especially great by themselves or behind a bird teaser. These should be placed in the 4th thru 7th standing wake behind your boat. I put these on the O/Riggers. If you don't have any, then place the lures closer to the transom. DON'T run off a rod tip. CLIP THEM AS CLOSE TO THE WATER AS YOU CAN.
If you want to target Bluefin, use a Cedar Plug Daisy Chain. For the inshore grounds, I use three 4 1/2 inch Cedar Plug Daisy Chains are a killer combination. Yellowfin and Mahi will jump on this too. Place this just off the corners of your transom about 20-50 feet back.