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Chasing Ghosts…

Popping tuna became the late-season craze in New Jersey about six years ago when a large concentration of bluefin tuna settled into the waters 3 to 15 miles offshore. They showed up somewhat unexpectedly at the end of November, when many offshore fishermen were wrapping it up for the season, leaving captains scrambling to get out to cast lures at them.

Fishermen armed themselves with specialized rods, high-end spinning reels, and realistic stickbaits, bringing West Coast and Cape Cod tactics to our local waters. Still, it was a frustrating fishery, to say the least. Many anglers reported spotting the fish briefly, only to have them totally disappear when their boats approached casting range—before long, disappointed captains began calling the pursuit, “chasing ghosts.”


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