Bubba Life



Here be dragons. Bluefin tuna spanning gargantuan weights averaging 50 to 350 pounds and more invade the Northeast waters from New Jersey through New England during the summer months. Question is - How do you beat such a beast?

“We start by using the best intel available and cover ground rapidly to find the fish,” states Capt. Jack Sprengel of East Coast Charters in Warwick, RI. ”We search for bait concentrations, diving birds, feeding marine mammals, temp breaks, water color changes or surface slicks – they are all telltale signs tuna are around.”

Once bluefin tuna are located, Sprengel imparts a two-part strategy: “My team and I go into a mode known as “Jig and Casting”.” Making ready with large heavy-duty stick bait plugs, poppers, and vertical metal jigs, Sprengel will scan the life watching for surface activity from feeding tuna while keeping a sharp eye focused on the sonar for any marks indicating fish feeding below. If tuna are surface feeding, the poppers and stick baits get deployed, if marking down deeper, flashy metal jigs will get tight with tuna.

If tuna aren’t readily visualized, it’s time to troll. Sprengel sets seven troll lines out to incite a bite starting with four side tracker spreader bars rigged with rubber squids. “In addition to the 4 tracker bars we will also often deploy a deep-diver lipped lure that will get down 30- 50 feet below the spread and can often trigger a bite from less brazen, deeper holding fish,” adds Sprengel. “The last two of the seven rods are rigged with ballyhoo baits fixed with weighted Joe Shute skirts. The ballyhoo is fished Shotgun style, way back down the middle.”

Hooking a bluefin is one thing, battling it is next, but the end game on bluefin is crucial, where a fine line exists between sweet success or abject failure. “ Gaffing is a critical part of the process,” says Sprengel. “ There should be a minimum of two gaffs ready for landing legal fish. The gaff should have enough length to give the gaff man plenty of real-estate to hold on to while still being able to extend beyond the fish. In a single motion, the gaff is swung back towards the vessel burying it securely into the gill plate or head. The hook of the gaff should be anywhere from 3.5-6” depending on the size of the fish.” The Bubba 7-foot, 4-inch gap Carbon Fiber Gaff fits the bill perfectly.

An additional crew member can now bring a second gaff over and better secure the fish, being careful to avoid sinking it into any of the valuable loin sections located along the fish’s body. Head and gill shots are always the best bets to protect valuable meat.

With tuna, the excitement is in the fight, but the reward comes with the sushi and steaks. The Bubba Multi-Flex Interchangeable set has all the tools for the task of carving up a tuna; from the 9-inch Serrated Blade to remove the gills plates, the 8-inch Ultra-Flex to loin out the meat, then the real prize, using the 7-inch Tapered Flex to cut out the belly meat for the freshest sashimi on the planet. Go put some tuna on the grill this summer. Don’t say we didn’t tell you how.
― The BUBBA™ Team