Jigging tuna off the back of draggers?

Discussion in 'North East Reports and Discussion' started by DR. SMASHER, Mar 28, 2012.


    So I know that jigging tuna from behind a dragger can be a very successful method. I'm just still trying to figure it out though. Should I just set in a 1/4 mile off the stern and start jigging, should I set in close and wait for the net to pass by then drop fast and start, or should just troll back and forth over the net? Or do i have to wait for them to start pulling the net in then start jigging? There are so many draggers out by the tuna grounds sometimes and I know there are opportunities to be had. I'm just trying to figure them out with out having to waist tons of money on fuel.
  2. Northeastfshman Advertiser

    Ok to start...

    This applies to fishing draggers not scallop boats and I am outlining how I fished BFT in the Northest if you are reffering to fishing in the South behind the shrimpers that may be very different.

    I would start the day with a simple dip net trailing the draggers and start picking up as many floaters as possible. I usually wanted to have 2 full totes to even consider start fishing. You don't need to be close to do this you'll see a line of floaters behind the dragger. The easiest way to do this is simple stick your net in the water as someone drives the boat down the line of floaters... your boats wake will push them into your net vs. trying to net idvidual ones.

    Option 1 using the dragger as chum
    Once you have you're floater you want to get a close to the dragger as possible, while feeling comfortable. Sometimes you can reach them on the radio, (usually Ch. 11), and ask if yuo can slide in behind them. Cut behind them and start and simple start a drift. Watch the chum line behind the boat to see if you can spot any fish blowing up behind them. Also when you run up on them look at your meter see if you mark the fish. While drifiting start jigging. I've still never found anything that works as well as a hammered diamond jig. Also I would flat line some of the floaters you've scopped up and maybe drop one deeper.

    Option 2 Watch and Set Up your Own slick
    Dragger often traveres and area back and forth with several boats hitting the same spot. You'll often find an exact area where several draggers criss cross on their sets. If you see that then run up after one of hte draggers makes his pass and start a drift. The difference is this time you are going to pretend you are a dragger. Start you're own chum line using the disgards you've picked up hopefully pulling the fish off the dragger's chum and onto yours. Continue to drift and keep the line constant. A good tip I've learned over the years is if you chum isn't floating put a piece of a lobter float in the chums mouth, (usally whiting or ling), to keep them up top.

    Option 3 Bring them to you
    Watch and observe the lines the draggers are running. Find an area just outside of where you are seeing them run there sets and anchor just outside of that. Start a chum line using the floaters...put out baits on ballons at various depths and start jiggin. IF YUO DO THIS HAVE YOUR ANCHOR ON A BALL! I can't tell you how many times i've seen a dragger run over someones achor and start to tow them. That gets scary quick! You have to be ready to ditch your anchor ASAP because a dragger isn't going to stop their tow because you are in there way.

  3. jarhead

    Northeastfisherman, is on the money, always try to reach on the radio, they don't like gear caught in their net.

    You will find most Comm. Capts. are great and will allow you to work his slick etc.

    Keep an eye on your FF for marks and jig away.

    Catch em up..

    So for jigging, we have used diamond jigs for years and caught some major tuna on them, we should set up just outside the draggers net like to the right or left of it and let it pass by while jigging? You recommending anchoring up to do this.

    Jarhead have you ever just slipped in behind one and waited to see their net go by on the fish finder and then dropped right after?

    Thanks guys.
  5. Northeastfshman Advertiser

    You can use regular diamond jigs but I don't know one person who tuna fishes who won't tell you that the hammered version like a DB 6 or DB 8 will outfish everything else.

    Since you are from Jersey I am assuming you'll be looking around the Atlantic Princess or Mud Whole.

    As mentioned try channel 11 and ask for a call back from the dragger you are near. They will often tell you if they've seen fish behind the boat.

    You won't notice them culling as much as you think... They pull the net quickly, drop the load on the deck redeploy the net and then while running their next tow they will be culling the catch and shoveling the bi catch out the scuppers. Since it's a continues system the boat never stops to the pull the net they just keep moving even while hauling so basically the fish are always following the boat. I would suggest running up the slick. it's not like Scallopers where the disgards are thrown out the back and you have to be right on the back of the boat to catch fish. There is a huge line of floaters you can drift through so being right up against the back is not necessary most days. I really do prefer pulling them off the draggers and getting them behind my boat with a slick as mentioned and if you anchor be ready to throw that anchor ASAP! I'm not joking about that I've seen boats picked up and towed and if you are in a 23' cc that can get scary quick!

    I do need to buy some new jigs so I will try some hammered.

    We have caught shit tons of blues at the mud hole and prefer the chicken canyon.

    How far off the stern is safe it enough to start dropping lines and not hook the draggers net? I have come across the line of floaters many times but they can go for long distances from the draggers. If I see a big long line of floaters a long distance from the draggers is it safe to assume that there are notuna following, or could it just be that there is too many floaters to tuna?
  7. jarhead

    Smasher, never seen the net on the screen, you don't want to be that close where you can be at risk with the boat.

    Many times I've set up or trolled around the boat when they are culling their catch, have caught a few, but jigging has been by far my go to method.

    hammered diamond jigs, gold and silver, butterfly style jigs ect.
    Caught a small hammerhead with a spro bucktail one year.

    You never know what's under the boat

    Yah the danger close is what I obviously want to avoid. Thats what I mostly trying to figure out, is the distance that is safe to set up.
  9. occams razor

    I do this a great deal myself in R.I. Follow what these guys say about your anchor. I fish alone alot so I just omit it altogether because of the danger
    and not haveing another person to dump the ball.

    One other thing you must be aware of is the strikes are mindblowning hard and fast . Make sure you have you drag loose enough to handle a violent strike. I know first hand ......I was eating a sandwich and jigging with my strong arm and while I was taking a bite and upswing I nearly had the rod torn out of my hand ! I thought "now that was stupid ....to myself .
    Ended up being a pup Mako that pulled the hook at the side of the boat .
    Thank god because I was cought so off guard Iwas not ready for anything.
    So just food for thought keep the jig out of the water unless you are ready !
    It happens at lighting speed ! Always be ready !

    Okay, So I'm still trying to figure out where to set up in relation to the dragger? Way off the stern, and if so how far? Or do I set up advance of the dragger but just outside of its drag line and anchor up?

    There are just so many options of how to go about it. Due to financial constraints getting out is getting harder to do so I just don't want to waste a day, trying an incorrect method, when my father and I will have fewer days this year. I'd rather use tried and proven methods to figure presence of fish and move on if none are.

    We know how to jig and jig tuna very well. So its really the boat placement is the help we need.

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