Dispatches from the Deep with Captain Ralph Wicked Tuna Star Offers Monthly Tips

By Captain Ralph Wilkins

First off, I would like to welcome the readers of Coastal Angler to my new monthly column, and would also like to thank Coastal Angler Magazine and its staff for giving me the opportunity to share my fishing knowledge and experiences with its readers. I would like to try to bring some of the latest fishing reports from ports up and down the east coast since many of our readers are avid fishermen and when the weather turns to crap here in New England, they don’t just stop fishing. Many travel to where the fish are. So being in the commercial fishing business for many years, I have many sources for good reports and would love to share these reports with our readers. I will also be accepting fishing reports via email from our readers each month so we can keep everyone well informed on how to keep a rod bent through the upcoming winter months.

It seems that some of us have put our tuna boats away too early. A vicious bluefin tuna bite has developed in the Hudson Canyon off the coast of Long Island. While the weather permits the boats to get offshore, the government offices and NMFS have increased the daily retention of Giant Bluefin 73 inches or bigger from 3 BFT a day to 5 BF tuna a day.

So for the anglers that can get there, it will be worth it if you can get your limit. It’s 70 miles offshore at best, so weather is critical. For the guys going, it’s time to catch ’em up and turn around a very slow 2013 GBFT season here in New England. To the guys who hauled their boats out already to go Whitetail hunting, like myself, well I guess next year we need to consider waiting a bit longer if we want toget in on the Hudson bite.

Fishing the canyons in December is no bargain though, with winds 20-25 knots and seas 5-9 feet on a good day this time of year. Bad days can be deadly! I remember many years ago a trip home from Hudson in my old boat. It was 18 hours at the wheel and ended up with the boat out of fuel 11 miles to go in 10 ft. seas, waiting 4 hours on anchor for a tow home from the Coast Guard. Believe me it wasn’t fun!

So I hope the fleet gets them good and all the boats make it home safely. Lastly, I would like to wish all a Happy New Year and many bent rods for all of our readers in 2014!

Ralph Wilkins is a contributing editor for Coastal Angler Magazine. Wilkins is captain of the Odysea and popular cast member of National Geographic Channel’s hit television show Wicked Tuna. Email Captain Ralph at ralphjwilkins@gmail.com. Visit his website at odyseatuna.com

RALPH at the Helm


Captain Ralph aboard the F/V Odysea