UPDATED ON March 27 2024

Anchor/Ball Setup For Giant Tuna Fishing

by Ryan Collins

Tuna fishing off Cape Cod has been nothing short of remarkable, and many anglers here on My Fishing Cape Cod have caught giant tunas of over 700 pounds in the past few years.

In certain areas around the Cape, one of the best ways to target these massive fish is by anchoring up, and using what is referred to as a "ball."

Several years ago My Fishing Cape Cod member Joe Strumski started this topic in our forum about anchor/ball setups for giant tuna fishing. 

The following information was shared by members of My Fishing Cape Cod in response to Joe's question.

I'd also be interested in hearing about other ways to anchor up, so if you have any tips then please let me know by leaving a comment at the end of this post. 

Anchor Setup

Several of our members recommend using 600 feet of 3/8 nylon rope. It should be nylon because of its ability to stretch. Avoid polypropylene rope for the main line to the anchor, because polypropylene floats.

Separate out one 300 foot and two 150 foot sections of rope to make anchoring in different depths easier.

You can go with any variation of the setup, but 300 feet is a good starting point, to avoid having a big mess of line under the ball all coiled up.

Splice and eye one end of the line, and use a Stainless Steal Thimble to protect against chaffing.

Then use Stainless-Steel Quick Links to connect the sections of line together

Leave the section together while setting the anchor. This avoids trying to connect sections with all the pressure on the anchor line. Cleat off the line to the bow, wait a few min to make sure you are not dragging the anchor.

Then remove the excess sections. With the anchor still tied off I connect the ball and a tag line using the Anchor Retrieving System.

A lot of giant tuna anglers' tag lines are made up of 100' of floating polypropylene line. They use polypropylene line, because the tag line needs to float.

Some may say 100 feet of tag line is overkill, but some crafty anglers like to use 100 feet so they can fine tune exactly where they are fishing. This  is important if giant tunas are running along the edge of a bank or piece of structure. It's also not a bad idea to be a good distance away from the anchor if you hook up.

The next step is to cleat off the poly line, motor up a bit to reduce pressure off anchor line, and then release the main line. You can toss the remaining tag line over and then wait until you come tight on the ball. Now you are ready to fish.

Said Another Way...

Lets say I just dropped the anchor in 100ft of water. With the currents we have here on Cape Cod, I would need to let out about 300ft of main anchor line, in order for the anchor to catch and hold in 100ft of water.

At this point, now that I have 300ft of anchor line out, I would cleat the line off the bow of the boat. I would wait for the boat to settle and for the anchor to really dig in. Hopefully at this point the anchor is holding fast to the bottom, and the boat is now stationary.

Now I would motor up-current, in order to take some pressure off the main anchor line. 

After motoring up-current a bit (and now that there is some slack in the main anchor line, and make sure you keep it away from your engine, of course) I would remove the anchor line from the bow cleat and attach the main anchor line to the ball.

I would then make sure my poly line is attached to the ball as well, and cleat off the bitter end of the poly line to the bow of the boat.

I would then toss the ball and the poly line overboard, and allow the boat to drift. Since we're using 100ft of poly line, the boat will take a minute to drift 100ft away from the ball, and come tight again to the anchor. 

You can use a quick release clip to attach the tag line to the bow of the boat, but you have to be careful not to trip it by accident.

Several members of My Fishing Cape Cod recommend using a quick release device, because the amount of pressure on the anchor line can be crazy, which makes the quick release one of the safest ways to get off the ball.

And in case you are wondering about the anchor, most anglers use this this design of anchor.

As always please let me know what you think by commenting below. 

If you are a commercial giant tuna fisherman, I would be very interested in hearing your opinions and advice.

Tight lines and take care! 🎣


Additional Resources

About the author 

Ryan Collins

I'm fortunate to have grown up on the beach, and I've been fishing since kindergarten. I have great family, friends and fishing experiences to be thankful for. Just being out there is enough-catching fish is just a bonus!

  • I am wondering if, instead of cutting your line up, you could use longline tuna fishing snap clips to connect your ball to the main rode. Like these. They are stated to have 600lb test. Your thoughts?

  • Thanks for this, Ryan! I’m stuck on this part though:

    “I would remove the anchor line from the bow cleat and attach the main anchor line to the ball. I would then make sure my poly line is attached to the ball as well”

    How exactly do you attach the main anchor line (and the tag line) to the ball so that it’s all strong enough to hold? I’m guessing not just using the plastic eye of the ball. Maybe a shackle in between? I have the anchor ring for retrieval, and I’d like to do what you’re doing by having a quick release with floating line.

    Also, when you do quick release that tag line, is it ok to have that 100′ floating around near the ball? Would worry about other boats running it over, but maybe that’s not an issue.

    Thanks again!

  • freshing fresh water, thinking of a ball anchor to get the anchor father away from the boat in 40 ft of water. Fishing floats on humps with live bait. Trying to make it easier for clients. but not get tangled in anchor ropes.

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