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The ultimate in bluefin tuna tackle and rigs. Custom East of Chatham squid rigs, daisy chains, and lures set the new standard in quality and craftsmanship. designed and built by commercial bluefin tuna fisherman with one goal in mind...catch bluefin tuna! When you see the East of Chatham logo, you can be assured that the product is manufactured with the highest quality components available.
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The ultimate in bluefin tuna tackle and rigs. Custom East of Chatham squid rigs, daisy chains, and lures set the new standard in quality and craftsmanship. designed and built by commercial bluefin tuna fisherman with one goal in mind...catch bluefin tuna! When you see the East of Chatham logo, you can be assured that the product is manufactured with the highest quality components available.
 
The ultimate in bluefin tuna tackle and rigs. Custom East of Chatham squid rigs, daisy chains, and lures set the new standard in quality and craftsmanship. designed and built by commercial bluefin tuna fisherman with one goal in mind...catch bluefin tuna! When you see the East of Chatham logo, you can be assured that the product is manufactured with the highest quality components available.
 
 
The ultimate in bluefin tuna tackle and rigs. Custom East of Chatham squid rigs, daisy chains, and lures set the new standard in quality and craftsmanship. designed and built by commercial bluefin tuna fisherman with one goal in mind...catch bluefin tuna! When you see the East of Chatham logo, you can be assured that the product is manufactured with the highest quality components available.
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

 

 

The Hunt for a Hatteras Blue Marlin!

05/07/08
 
Story by David Dodsworth
 
This past week I spent four days chasing blue marlin off Hatteras, NC. I fished with two of the top Captains in the fleet, Capt. Dan Rooks on the Tuna Duck, and Captain Steve Coulter on the Sea Creature. The plan was a simple one, it would be all or nothing. Big baits targeting blue marlin in places that were favorable for marlin. I had no interest in catching anything but a blue marlin, and that was my mission. Good or bad!

The first day I fished was on Monday. The Tuna Duck left the inlet under favorable conditions, yet we knew that there was a chance of weather blowing in later in the day. We headed "straight out" because the weather would not permit us to go to the south like we wanted. We headed out across the "Rock Pile" and set out along the edge of the continental
shelf, specifically Hatteras Canyon, known locally as the "Old Hole". We fished the edge and had a triple of gaffer and bull dolphin attack the spread. This isn't what we were looking for, but it showed we were in an area holding fish. Hopefully we would find the fish that was eating the dolphin!

A day in the Gulf Stream!As predicted, the weather picked up as the day went on. In the early afternoon a line of squalls popped up and surrounded us. As you can tell by the pictures, it got pretty interesting for a while. Around 2:30 we headed back in out of the weather. The next day was supposed to be worse, so we decided that Wed. and Thursday would be the best days to go.

Wednesday brought clear skies and a slight breeze. The wind picked up as the day went on, but it was a great day. We headed east to the "Southeast Rocks" behind Diamond Shoals. We covered some pretty bottom and fished hard all day. The only action we had was a single oceanic bonito that hit a naked ballyhoo.

Thursday was a beautiful weather day. The winds would finally let us get south were we were trying to fish all week. We found a line of grass along the edge of the Gulf Stream and fished the outside edge all day. We caught probably a dozen gaffer and bull dolphin throughout the day. We fished in and around these grass patches all day. There was plenty of life around. Lots of flying fish and a ton of bait.

About mid day a nice blue marlin came up and attacked the port flat line, taking line before dropping it, moved to the starboard flat line, slashed that, then hit, in succession, the starboard short rigger, long rigger, shotgun and finally the port long rigger before disappearing deep. Six out of eight baits, and never ate one. It was a great show, and made the day. Unfortunately, that was to be my last day, and still no marlin. As we headed in I decided because there were fish around, and I was there, and the weather was supposed to be great, that I would try one more time. I asked Dan about Friday, but he had just received a call from the dock saying that a party had booked him for the following day. Being new customers, I couldn't expect him to switch them to another boat, so I pretty well decided that the trip was over. As I was talking to him on the dock he mentioned that he thought the Sea Creature was open. I had fished with Capt. Steve Coulter before and was very impressed at the time. I think that the Sea Creature was the only other boat I would have went on. Don't get me wrong, there are a lot of great Captains and great boats in Hatteras Harbor, but I wasn't up to finding someone new on short notice for my last day. I checked with the
office and the Sea Creature was indeed open. I call Steve up and asked him if he wanted to go marlin fishing the next day. I informed him that I had no interest in meat fish, and wanted to target marlin exclusively. He had no problem taking the challenge, and the deal was struck.

Friday proved to be the prettiest day of the week weather wise. We headed south and picked up a grass line along the edge of the current. We trolled the edge, seeing signs of life, but no visible fish. The radio was alive with news that the "Gambler" was tight to a blue marlin. After a successful release it was announced that the fish was about 500 lbs. It wasn't a half an hour later that the "Gambler" hooked up again. After a short fight, this
fish was jumped off.

All this action was going on just inshore of us, along the inside of the weed line. We were fishing in a three knot current in 73.5 degree water, while inside the weed line the current was 1 knot, with 75 degree water. Apparently an eddy had pushed in outside the "wreck" along the 125 fathom line and was holding some fish. We crossed the weed line and began trolling along the curve.

It wasn't long before a nice fish of about 500 lbs. took the port shotgun and made a run for it. I jumped down from the bridge and got in the chair while Chris (our mate) took the rod from Steve on the bridge and handed it to me. Once the rod but was in the gimble the fight was on. This fish took half a spool before slowing down. I was tight to the fish when he decided to cut across the stern, jumping back over the line. I reeled hard and came tight
again, but the fish made another run at the boat. I yelled to Steve to go ahead while I reeled for all I was worth. Again I came tight, briefly. The line suddenly went limp so I reeled in the parted mainline. The last 10 feet of the line was chaffed by the fish as he came back across the line. This is why we broke him off. it was too bad because that was a nice fish.

Feeling as if I had just had my chance, I climbed back up on the bridge and again started watching the baits. It wasn't long before I saw a brilliant flash of blue as a nice blue marlin rolled on the port flat line, slashing at it three times before dropping off. That was fish number two. It wasn't fifteen minutes later that Steve and I were talking when Chris hollered up that we were hooked up to a blue marlin. Apparently the fish had come up behind the bait and popped the pin. Still not hooked, Chris grabbed the rod and pointed the rod tip at the fish, dropping the bait back as he did. This time the fish took the bait and Chris came back hard into him. All this went on in a matter of seconds, with neither Steve nor I hearing the pin pop. I jumped off the bridge, grabbed the rod and got in the chair. This fish had taken a Hawaiian Eye on #14 wire, on a 50W, and was dumping the spool.

Once I settled in and was ready to reel, Steve backed down hard on the fish so I could get about half the line back on the spool. The water was flowing freely over the stern and me as the 58 footer charged the running fish. I finally gained over half the spool back and we started the battle of give and take. we couldn't tell where the fish was, and were waiting for it to jump. The fish stayed down, and Steve asked Chris if he was sure it was a marlin
and not a tuna. It sure acted like a big bluefin. The battle went on for an hour and a half. The fish was caught once, with the leader being firmly in Chris's hand. That didn't mean a thing to the fish, as he once again took line. At this point I had the fish twenty feet below the stern. He would swim back and forth across the stern, not taking line, but not letting me gain any either. At this point we began to suspect that the fish was either foul hooked or wrapped up somehow. he wouldn't jump, nor could I turn his head. I tightened the drag up as much as I dared, and put all I had into the rod. How that rod didn't break I will never know.

Eventually we had the leader in hand again, this time for good. We gentlyA nice 400 lb. blue marlin brought the fish along side and Chris grabbed his bill. I grabbed his side cutters and reached down to cut the wire below the lure. This was a nice fish, being broad in the shoulders and deep. the estimate weight was 400 lbs. As suspected, the fish was wrapped up. he was hooked solid, but
had somehow rolled into the wire. Had it been a mono leader, I am not sure we would have landed him. The fish was unharmed, and after a brief revival period, was turned loose to swim away. We trolled for another hour or so but the bite was over. The final score was two fish on, one lost, one landed, and a third seen in the spread. A great day on the water!

If you would like to get in on the great fishing to be had off Hatteras, check out Captain Steve Coulter and the Sea Creature at http://www.seacreature.net, or Captain Dan Rooks on the Tuna Duck at A perfect day off Hatteras!http://www.tunaduck.com. I guarantee that you won't be disappointed with either of these captains or boats!
 
 
 
 
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