Mon., April 23, 2018
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What a Trip

Party Boat Tuna Fishing

For an article about preparing
for a party boat tuna trip, click here.

Photo courtesy Gambler,
Point Pleasant Beach

It’s party boat tuna time.

The head boats are now steaming 100 miles offshore on 24-hour, overnight trips to the blue, Gulf Stream waters along the Continental Shelf.

Tuna, swordfish, mahi mahi and other big game ride the waters off New Jersey in summer and fall.

At first in summer the
tuna only bite during the daytime.

But by the end of August, they start to feed both day and night, for whatever reasons.

The opportunity to fish 24 hours makes the long trips worthwhile for
the boats.

Trips will certainly run through October, sometimes into November, depending on water temps that can be different from year to year.

If you’ve never gone, the trips are marathons of back-breaking fights with big game in a Twilight Zone of man against sea.

Schools of squid and mackerel, flying fish, breaching whales, 10-foot sharks. A 100-foot boat that suddenly feels like a speck in the universe,
a long ways from home.

Every outing is a trip of a lifetime.

You’ve gotta love it.

If you want to go, be sure to reserve quickly, because the trips do fill. A parade of fall storms, winds and rough seas will soon usher in winter, and the window of opportunity is short.

Here’s a rundown of the vessels making the trips.

59 Inlet Drive
Point Pleasant Beach
Capt. Bob Bogan

Visit Web Site

Tuna Schedule

With the widest beam in its
class and four 750-horsepower engines, the Gambler is an especially stable boat in rough seas, and has lots of deck space and plenty of speed for a fast trip offshore, Capt. Bob Bogan says. The vessel was built with tuna fishing in mind. The Bogan name should need no introduction to Jersey anglers, and Bob is one of the family’s historical line of captains, tackle-shop owners and fishing-industry members. He's among the family's younger generation of captains but is already one of the state's veterans, boasting a lifetime on the water.

Golden Eagle
Belmar Marine Basin
Route 35
Office: 732-681-6144
Dock: 732-681-6137
Capt. Greg Merkert

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Tuna Schedule

“Not bigger … not faster … just better!” is the Golden Eagle’s motto. The crew believes that team work and coordination put more fish in the boat. Canyon trips carry two or three more mates than most vessels to ensure that every angler can be coached through the fighting and landing of the fish, the crew says. The crew also makes it a point to give a demonstration on each trip on how to duck and maneuver along the rail during the big-game fight. Such service and preparation is aimed at providing the best experience and successful catching.

Bogan’s Basin
800 Ashley Avenue
Capt. Howard Bogan

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Tuna Schedule

The Jamaica is certainly one of the most experienced offshore vessels sailing from Jersey, with more than 30 years under its belt. The captain and crew have made a career of offshore fishing from the Garden State. Capt. Howard Bogan has become the patriarch among captains of the Bogans, the most well-known fishing family in New Jersey. The crew says the 125-foot vessel is not only the most experienced, but is also the largest, fastest party boat in the state, with the roomiest deck space in the offshore fleet.

Sea Devil
405 Channel Drive
Point Pleasant Beach
Capt. Bob Pennington

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Tuna Schedule

Capt. Bob Pennington is not just a pioneer
of modern-day party boat tuna fishing from Jersey, he’s the pioneer.

In 1973 he became the first captain to start running these trips, fishing on the original Sea Devil.

Capt. Bob Pennington

He took his best and hardiest anglers offshore with none of today’s amenities. They cooked on a coal, pot-bellied stove. Neither fresh water nor bunks were aboard.

But they bailed tuna on virgin waters, moving from school to school, similar to bluefishing! Check out the fascinating history on the boat’s web site.

Docked at Fisherman’s Supply
69 Channel Drive
Point Pleasant Beach
Capt. Jeff  Gutman

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Tuna Schedule

The Voyager is the newest member of the offshore fleet, but has fast become a veteran, developing a large, well-known following, perhaps evidence of the professionalism and success of its trips. The boat runs an aggressive schedule of different types of offshore trips, including tuna trips, tuna/tilefish trips and more. The owner also owns Fisherman’s Supply, a tackle shop and supplier known among offshore anglers throughout the world, and the vessel is docked at the shop.