Filling Your Bucket
Tuna fishing kicks off in earnest in the summer—and can be pretty good then—but fall is the best season for big fish. In the Northeast from Maine to New Jersey, recreational boaters and offshore charters make 100-mile-and-more runs to target bluefin, yellowfin, and bigeyes, with giant bluefin garnering much of the attention as they begin to migrate south to winter spawning grounds. Giants from 200 to 1,500 pounds—think Wicked Tuna—are the Boone and Crockett whitetails of the offshore set. Know, too, that giant bluefin tuna numbers have been declining and their harvest is highly regulated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Further, if you're lucky enough to hook into a giant and get it into the boat, you should know going in that it's not likely that you'll get to eat it. Most charterboat skippers will sell the fish and, depending on your signed agreement, give you a percentage of the price he gets for it.