Northeast Offshore Fishing Report – August 25, 2023

Offshore Migration Map 

At some point back in July, we reported about how some captains were approaching burnout after so many consecutive tuna trips thanks to the glorious wind and water conditions (and pretty excellent fishing). We’re feeling the other side of that now as the late-summer storm season ramps up. Big winds and seas tightened up weather windows over the last week, and while boats got out to the grounds this Wednesday and Thursday, reports were mixed. If I had to sum up this week’s fishing in three words, they would be: Mahi Consolation Prize.

The last of the big money tournaments happened this week, the Mid-Atlantic. After the White Marlin Open failed to produce a qualifying white marlin (70 inches or 70 pounds), the Mid-Atlantic has quite a few (although the qualifying size is a bit smaller at 65 pounds). Top fish in the white marlin category is an impressive 87 pounds.
The blue marlin leading the tournament is also impressive, at 889 pounds, mahi to 45 pounds have hit the scales, and bigeye to 253. Seems like the biggest shake-up in the tournament happened on Thursday with a reshuffle of the tuna and billfish leaderboards.

Overall, the southern canyons have seen good billfishing and improving bigeye tuna fishing, after the tuna action had hit a bit of a slow spot.

It’s the New England canyons that drew the short straw this week. OTW’s Andy Nabreski fished overnight in Atlantis Canyon with Captain Larry Backman, and said the fleet was struggling to find fish. One bite on the deep-drop, heard on one yellowfin trolled up, and some ride-home mahi as a thanks-for-playing parting gift.

In planning, and eventually abandoning, an offshore trip this week, Anthony DeiCicchi had our eye on a dramatic temperature break south of Nantucket on the OTW Regulator’s Sirius XM Fish Mapping. It extended north of the canyons past the shipping lanes, east-southeast of the Dump. Falmouth fisherman Matt Fronius headed there on Thursday and found yellowfin and mahi along the break, he jumped a white marlin and had a wahoo shred a spreader bar, and confirmed the FOMO that Cheech and I had felt all day.

Further west, around the Dump, Tuna Ridge, Suffolk areas, where the light-tackle tuna bite of yellowfin and bluefin has been excellent since late June, boats jumped on the weather-window Wednesday and Thursday. Most boats scratched up a few yellowfin on jigs and poppers, including Shawn Barnham who jigged up some nice yellowfin on a birthday trip. BJ Silvia of Flippin’ Out Sportfishing trolled up a couple tuna on Wednesday, but said the highlight of the trip was finding a floating fish box that was loaded up with mahi. He and Captain Tristan Raynes of Ohana Charters caught a mess of mahi on light tackle from the structure.

Many boats came home with chicken mahi plucked off lobster pots and floating structure, and with the right light tackle, this can be a fun salve to soothe the tuna-skunk burn.

One major difference between this week’s report and last week’s was the influx of false albacore into those south of the Vineyard tuna grounds. Boats said they were practically a nusiance as they attacked jigs and trolling spreads. It sounded like the trip Chris Megan and I made a few years back when there was a carpet of albies you had to punch through to reach the tuna.

But don’t dismiss those offshore albies too quickly. One boat managed to hook a pending Rhode Island state record albie while tuna trolling last week. Read the full story here.

The giant tuna quota is closed until next week, so there wasn’t much to report on that end as captains wait for things to open back up. There was an 80-incher caught inshore in New Jersey on a live squid. Fishermen are still catching those inshore bluefin, with a number of recreational sized fish making it to the scales over the last week.


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The yellowfin bite on jigs and poppers 40 to 50 miles off New Jersey is excellent, with the crew at Fisherman’s Supply in Point Pleasant, NJ.

There’s a hurricane coming up the coast, so we’ll have to see what happens after it passes. September and October might just be the most productive offshore fishing months of the season, when the weather cooperates, so while surviving the next few lay days, get the gear ready, as the best is yet to come.


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