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Author Topic: How To Chunk For Tuna  (Read 15371 times)
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Hotrod
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« on: September 26, 2008, 07:49:18 AM »

How to chunk

By Ken Hager  ( Brickken)

First off you need to get the baits down deeper to where the fish are.  Without lines set to the proper depths you are wasting your time on beginning the chunk. Looking at the fishfinder are you marking any fish down deep? Do you have the fishfinder set to show the depths of the targets? If not get out your manual if you don’t know how to turn that feature on and turn on target depths.  If you are marking fish at a particular depth you want to get some lines down to that depth with 1 just above it and another just below it to give yourself a good spread of baits.

We typically on the overnight fish 5-6 lines at a maximum. One line we set up for swords and send down deep (like 150-200 feet). To determine how deep to send the swordfish line you need to find the thermocline on your fish finder and then send the bait a good 25-50 feet below that level.

For tuna, we will send 1 line down 50 feet, one at 60; 1 at 70 feet and one tight to the boat at perhaps 30 feet (and about 25 feet away from the boat). As you throw the chunks and they drift down towards your lines and create the slick; they intermingle with the baited hooks. The idea is to have the tuna come along and enjoy the feast eventually to find your line.
How the heck do you get the lines down that deep you may wonder?  For the swords it depends on the current. Last trip we used a 3lb weight. Other times we have used a 24 oz and as much as 4 lbs... you don't want to reeling that in too often. For the tuna, again depending on current up to 20 Oz's... most times we'll start with 8 and progress upwards if we see the need. We'll pull the line by 1 foot increments and see how fast it's dropping... typically we try and get it to go down at no more than a 30 degree angle from the boat. Once we get it to the proper depth we'll take a glow stick and stick it into a balloon then attach to the line with a rubber band. Then we'll pull more line to get it various distances from the boat. The glow stick will help you keep track of the balloons/lines to make sure they aren't crossing. It's the only reason we use them, others from what I hear don't use balloons at all, I like to keep a close eye on them though...

When you chunk, you cut up butterfish and throw 3-4 pieces in the water. As soon as the chunks disappear from view in the spreader lights you throw in 3-4 more pieces. You want to make sure you disperse the chunks so that they drift down toward your lines.  Disperse the occasional anchovy (sardine) into the mix to give them an alternative choice.

The most important thing you can do is to post a person on the fishfinder at all times to mark the depth of the fish. If you see large red and yellow marks at 85 feet and have no lines at that depth; your odds are greatly decreased. You need to adjust your lines as you mark the fish. Many times just the adjustment of the lines can be enough to draw the attention of the tuna towards the bait. When you see the marks get your baits moving, but slowly.


Tuna have incredible eyesight. If you see their presence but can't get a bite you need to make an adjustment to your leader strength. Many times you may start with 80lb test, and then find you need to drop it to 60, 50 or sometimes even 40 lb test to entice the bite and make the lines invisible. If you think the tuna may be ”line shy" you can use a tuna trap and bring the leader strength down to 40 or 30 lb test. A tuna trap is a hook "hidden" inside a butterfish with the lightest of leader protruding. 
Normally this would snap due to the weakness of the line. However the trap releases a cable typically 110-130 lb wire strand that isn't "triggered" until the tuna swallows the butterfish. The leader pulls on the trap (basically a lightweight rubber band around the hook and cable hidden in the butterfish). These are available from fisherman’s supply or direct from the manufacturer on line.


Coming Next… How to determine “Hot Spots”
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Luna Sea 5
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« Reply #1 on: September 26, 2008, 10:01:27 AM »

very nice read... is this chunking at drift or anchor?
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« Reply #2 on: September 26, 2008, 10:02:11 AM »

 thumbs up
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« Reply #3 on: September 26, 2008, 10:25:15 AM »

How Much Bait do you normally bring for a trip?
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IrishAyes
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« Reply #4 on: September 26, 2008, 10:26:07 AM »

How Much Bait do you normally bring for a trip?

Always bring more than what you need.  Grin
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« Reply #5 on: September 26, 2008, 10:27:54 AM »

OK..  How much bait would you need for a trip? thumbs up

And don't say..  a lot.
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 10:30:05 AM by Hotrod » Logged



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« Reply #6 on: September 26, 2008, 11:00:56 AM »

you could never have enough bait.  If your chunking heavy, and you need line bait, you need quite a few flats of butterfish.

When your chunking for bluefish, you have chum grinded up in advance, so you only need what your going to fish with.
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« Reply #7 on: September 26, 2008, 11:33:07 AM »

"you need quite a few flats of butterfish"

So when someone goes to purchase their Bait.  They tell them they want "quite a few flats"  I can only assume the guy on the other side of the counter would reply with.. How many is quite a few flats Grin
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« Reply #8 on: September 26, 2008, 11:34:08 AM »

give me what you have would be my answer.
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« Reply #9 on: September 26, 2008, 11:24:53 PM »

very nice read... is this chunking at drift or anchor?

Sorry busy couple of days at work, didn't even realize this went up yet. You can use this method for either drifting or while tied to an, er, anchor thumbs up. We've done it both ways depending on the drift and action.

Sometimes you set up and chunk and although all the indications were it "should" produce it doesn't. Usually if we don't get any action by 3 AM we pull the cord and drift.

If we pull the cord we might run at idle and try to mark some fish and either reset or just drift.
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Ken

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« Reply #10 on: September 26, 2008, 11:30:49 PM »

"you need quite a few flats of butterfish"

So when someone goes to purchase their Bait.  They tell them they want "quite a few flats"  I can only assume the guy on the other side of the counter would reply with.. How many is quite a few flats Grin
We'll usually go out with 5 flats of butterfish, one sardine and depending on what we are hearing a bucket of chum.
This is the chunking portion of my off shore checklist:

If Chunking
Night Glow Sticks -8-10         
Net – thin mesh for squid      
Squidder’s            
Butterfish Flats 5                   
Chum 1-2 buckets         
Sardines                               
1 bucket for defrosting bait      
1 bucket for live squid         
Small drift sea anchor         
Ladle or scoop            
« Last Edit: September 26, 2008, 11:47:37 PM by brickken » Logged

Ken

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« Reply #11 on: September 27, 2008, 12:16:42 AM »

very nice article.
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« Reply #12 on: September 28, 2008, 10:46:13 PM »

I use owner gorilla bait hooks.
5/0 is as large as I go.I use 5/0 for live squid.
fluro is a must these days,although I use to think that it didn't matter fishing at night,but it does.
I use yozuri fluro it is much better than seaguar and IMO works better.
For dead bait I will drop down to a 2/0 for butter fish and 1/0 for sardines, easier to hide the hook.
Don't let the small size fool you that you can't catch big fish.The pic of me standing next to Ed Palmer, who by the way is 6'8" tall lol,is a 250 lb BFT caught on a jig pole using a chunk of butterfish with a 2/0 gorilla hook.
To find the right depth, I use to pull the line out by hand, my arms stretch out to 6'
what a pain that was,now I use a line counter bought from Cabellas for $10. works great and will work up to 130 lb test.

when chunking on the hook,don't be afraid to move your bait up or down, I watched a guy hook up with the only fish on an entire PB by doing this,lesson learned that night=very your depth.

weight is also very important,which is discussed here,it does make a difference.
on heavy tides. I have fished with 3 20 oz weight's on my line and caught fish when every body else was using 16 to 20 oz;s,they scoped so far away from the boat that they were letting out 300 to 400 feet of line and not getting down any further that 50'.   
A fast drifting boat can have the same problem don't be afraid to go heavy, it gets you down to were the fish are,and this is very important, it also keeps you closer to the boat and away from people who are using lighter weights=less tangles.

if you have any questions or anything you think I would like to know,please post.
Tight Lines

Loneshark.

ps. does anybody know whats up with the Voyager web site? its not listed in the LDAP anymore.
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Bucktail
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« Reply #13 on: September 28, 2008, 10:57:05 PM »

Thanks for the tips Loneshark.  Nice post! thumbs up
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Hotrod
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« Reply #14 on: September 28, 2008, 11:10:24 PM »

Great topic Guys!..  Thanks Lone Shark thumbs up
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