The bluefin tuna tagging season is off to a good start this year in New Jersey. The fish are almost all schoolies in the 15lb to 40lb range. The start of this season is different than the last couple as the fish seem to move every few days across a 60 mile square patch of water. And it's mostly all a troll fishery with most folks pulling spreader bars as the school bluefin seem to want the extra splash in the water. Some say squid instead of sand eels are the reason. Makes sense as the sand eels seem to be elsewhere, and as such the jig bite hasn't materialized yet like seasons past. If you fish chase bluefin tuna long enough there is only one common denominator and that is no one can forecast the bluefin migratory patterns exactly. It's great to see some new charter and private boats this year adopting tagging as part of their tuna game plan as well as veteran taggers from the last couple of years. Captain Rich Kosztsu from M R Charters tagged NJ's first bluefin and has tagged many since the beginning of June;
Capt. Jim Freda of Shore Catch Guide Service has been taking some fantastic shots of his clients tagging bluefin tuna. Jim reports that his clients love the tagging program so feedback like that makes all the hard work worth every minute! Thanks Capt. Jim for the feedback.
This shot is a great look at how the AFTCO Tailer can help anglers handle tuna carefully during tag and release.
Captain Craig Falicon from Rumson New Jersey had success on his Regulator recently taking some great photos and avideoon his bluefin tagging adventures. Way to go Craig! Thanks for submitting great footage to the site!
Capt. Tom O'Laughlin from Shore Catch Guide Service is one of the longest standing members of the Atlantic Tuna Project and continues to help with tuna conservation. Capt. Tom is an active tagger and recently hosted a graduate student Ben Marcek, from the Virginia Institute of Marine Science. Ben was on board to place satellite tags on school sized fish which will track the activity of the BFT for approx. 1 month after release. His masters thesis is about the mortality rate of these fish while being caught by trolling. Here are a few shots from Capt. Tom's recent tagging adventures on his simply amazing 39' Yellowfin....
Way to go guys! Getting the tag cards filled out and in the mail back to NOAA is critical! Thanks!
Atlantic Tuna Project members Walt, Geoff Taylor (right to left sitting), Christian Burns, John LoGioco (top) and Capt. Tom enjoyed a day offshore. Pictured here with Capt. Tom's triples - aka "the three sisters" aboard his 39' Yellowfin SaltyDogs.