Yellowfin tuna may be just a memory for bluewater fishermen along much of the south Atlantic coast, but if you’re heading out of Oregon inlet in a big offshore boat, they’re very much a part of the fishing scene, especially in June.
“June is the time to go; it’s a good time for tuna,” said David Swain, who runs the High Return charterboat out of Oregon Inlet Fishing Center. “June is a great time for tuna, one of the best of the year.
“We’ll still have some big gaffer dolphin, and you might catch a wahoo or two ever day, and you might see a billfish, but it’s mostly tuna.”
Swain (252-473- 6268) said that the past two Junes, he’s had streaks of 22 consecutive days catching a limit of tuna — three per day per person — and being back at the dock early.
“We will see some bigeyes (tuna) in June, but you can’t count on them; they’re just hit-or-miss,” he said. “But we catch a lot of yellowfins.”
Most boats leaving Oregon Inlet for tuna head southeast to a spot known far and wide as “The Point.” It is a steep drop-off reminiscent of a box canyon, where the bottom slopes away from 50 to 400 fathoms in the space of a mile, and parts range from 34 to 42 miles from the sea buoy at 35.32.57N/74.50.67W to 35.33.00N/74.84.0W.
“We’ll fish anywhere from the Point to about 15 miles to the north,” said Swain, who runs a spread of up to a dozen baits for the tuna, wahoo and billfish that may show up behind the transom of his 57-foot Buddy Cannaday-built sportfisher.
Swain likes a large-medium ballyhoo fished behind lures and sea witches. He likes lures with white heads and stripes of purple, red or green down the sides, and he’s partial to lures in purple.
“A large-medium ballyhoo is just a little bit bigger than a medium, but I think you get better action, more flipping back there, out of the bait,” said Swain, who will run lures intended for blue marlin off flat lines in front of teaser lines closer to the transom, with the rest of his lures fanned out behind outrigger poles.