Capt. Mike Hogan shows us how to find and catch scattered bluefin tuna east of Chatham using the Hogy Harness Jig and the Charter Grade Slider for exciting Jig & Pop action!
When fish are scattered over a wide area and there are signs of life, like whales and groups of birds, I'll use my walk and gun recon pattern to cover ground by cruising at 8-10 knots in a outward spiral pattern. While covering ground, have each of your crew scan a different direction on the horizion and pay close attention to your bottom machine for bait schools or tuna marks.
"Kerplunking" The Tuna Harness Jig:
One technique that seems work very well once surface activity has settled down is to cast the Tuna Harness Jig into the area of a subsided feed. I'll make a long cast into a fishy area and allow the Harness Jig to "kerplunk" down into the mid water column. I've found that a majority of the bites occur when the jig is falling, so play very close attention for any slight ticks of your line as the jig drops. These subtle bites feel more like a scup bite vs an aggressive tuna strike. On a light bite, quickly engage the reel and pickup any slack before setting the hook. If a bite doesn't occur on the drop, I'll go into my normal slow twitch jigging method, working the bait along the strike zone with a series of short rod tip pops and pauses.
"Burning" The Charter Grade Slider:
The 6oz Charter Grade Slider is my go-to when fish are still actively feeding on the surface. I've found the heavier 6oz plug the best choice for long distance casting and keeping the bait several feet below the surface to keep distance away from pesky birds. Simply cast out the plug, allow it to sink for several seconds and begin a rapid steady retrieve for 15-20 feet, then a long pause, followed by rapid retrieve speed. This technique will get bit when fish are working on the surface!