The Fish and the Grounds
Striped Bass & Bluefish
With outer Cape Cod’s
Nauset & Coast Guard beaches to the north, and
Monomoy Island & Nantucket Shoals to the south,
we have great fishing in any direction. During the
summer and fall the waters east and south of Chatham
teem with abundant supplies of bait and game fishes.
If equipped with polarized sunglasses, one can usually
observe the fish on the bottom as the boat drifts over
the more shallow rips. At times, large schools of Striped
Bass, Bluefish and small Bluefin Tuna will come to
the surface and can be caught by casting to them. This
can be very exciting for customers (and to the Captain)
with birds wheeling and diving into the feeding fish.
Our season starts in early June with the
early fish being located in the rips near Nantucket.
In addition, a tremendous migration of striped bass
occurs onto the west side of Monomoy and the shoals
or "flats" there. I have seen schools of
stripers so thick one could literally walk on them.
By the first of July, the water temps on the east side
of Monomoy Island and Chatham have warmed enough for
of sand eels to attract the bass around the point,
providing some unbelievable top water fly fishing action.
Bluefish are also very
prevalent in Nantucket Sound in the early season and
as the waters warm they come around the tip of Monomoy
and can be caught with the light tackle off the east
side of Chatham as well. By late August and September,
the blues can be so thick on the inshore spots that
my customers will say "enough!" and direct
me to go find some cooler waters and some
stripers. Some days it can be hard to find the cooler
water in which to catch only stripers, but Captain
Bruce has the experience to put you on the fish.
Bluefin Tuna Fishing
type of charter is a more costly rate due to the distance
traveled, and specialized gear required, yet could
be combined with a bass fishing trip. There are two
types of tuna charters, targeting the school and medium sized
fish or going after the "giant" or trophy sized bluefin.
Although there is always the chance of hooking a giant,
they usually are taken using different methods and
at different locations from the smaller sized fish.
Therefore, there are two different rates for the Bluefin
Tuna Trips. School Tuna trips start at $1150 for 8 hours
and Giant Bluefin Tuna are 12 hours or more and start
at $1500 and can go up to $3000 depending upon size
of party, method of fishing, and distance to go to
The best fishing is usually at the times of slack water (the period of low water movement when the tide
changes direction) and at dawn and dusk, so to make sure we have the travel time to get to the spot before dawn, departures in the
very early morning are common. We can troll, chum, jig, or use live bait for Bluefin tuna that are prevalent in our waters from June through
November. Trolling is with daisy chains, birds and Chatham squid rigs, a number of vinyl squids rigged in a pattern to instigate a strike.
Chumming is with cut bait, such as herring, cod
entrails, mackerel or bluefish. Many blue and other large sharks will come to the chum line. Live bait with a live bluefish, whiting or
pogy is by far the most exciting way to catch a giant Bluefin. These charters are usually an additional cost over a regular Bluefin charter
price rate depending upon how hard it is to get the bait. Whenever possible I try to get the bait the afternoon or evening before the trip.
Capeshores Charters provides
four custom 8 foot bent butt 130 lb class tuna rods
equipped with 80 and 130 lb Penn International 2 speed
reels for the Giant tuna, in addition to the 50 pound
class stand up gear for the lighter size class fish.
The giants are fought from fixed rod holders mounted
on rails. There is no fighting chair or post. We go
after these larger prized Bluefin Tuna as serious
business. My boat is small and these fish are big and
powerful. The 50 pound class gear is used with safety
harnesses and fighting belts for your safety. The daily
bag limits and other regulations on these pelagic fishes
are complicated and vary widely during the season depending
on the sizes of the fish and the amount of quota harvested.
Please take the time to research these regulations
prior to your trip. The web address for these regulations
Sales of Giant Tuna
Anglers target these giant tuna for the challenge and the thrill of the long battle. A 300 to 1200
pound giant bluefin tuna is a very valuable fish if properly taken care of and delivered quickly. Capeshores
Charters boats were commercial fishing boats before they took parties out and we still carry a federal Atlantic tunas permits to sell
any legal giant tuna we catch on the appropriate "commercial" days. Some prospective customers ask if they can sell the fish or receive
a share from the sale of a fish, to offset the cost of the charter. Capeshores Charters policy is to not give shares or proceeds of
the sale of Giant Bluefin Tuna to the charter. Some boats will offer a free fishing trip; some will offer a discounted trip or another
gimmick to entice the individual to book the $2000 charter. Then as they waste the day trolling in an area void of fish, the customer
realizes that there really isn't going to be a "payday". If you wish to catch a giant, I can take you where they are, at the time they are
in the area, show you how I would do it, hook you on to one, and even let you reel it in, but I will be selling the fish when we get to dock.
The recreational limit
on a "GIANT" bluefin tuna in the "trophy" class is
ONE PER YEAR PER BOAT. Once one is taken on a "recreational" or "angling
category" permit, you can't fish for them for the rest
of the year. That's why we sell them! If you want
to take one home to eat, then we will go after the
size fish that is appropriate. It doesn't make much
sense to cut up a 7-10 foot long fish that's worth $1500
to $5000 to go pass out to the neighborhood. If you
are out to make money from the fish, go buy a boat
and the mooring and the permits, acquire the knowledge
required etc. - and then you can go get them for yourself!
But, just don't follow me to the offshore fishing grounds!
There are days on which there are no sales of tuna allowed where we can and do fish recreationally, retaining
the limit of the appropriate recreational size classes, and releasing the giants as NMFS regulation allows only one fish retained per year in
the trophy size classes.
Whale Watching - Cod etc.
Cape Cod is known for and named after the steadfast cod.
Over the years overfishing and habitat loss has decreased the cod numbers considerably, and
once the commercial gillnetters have their nets on the bottom, its pretty hard to fish most
of the spots with GOOD results.
Capeshores Charters offers very limited Cod fishing trips to the areas to the east and southeast of Chatham, MA.
These areas have local names such as "The Mussels", "The Peaks", "Crab Ledge", "The Figs", "The Shells",
"Bill and Sills" and "The Channel" etc. These areas are further offshore and are a more costly fishing
charter than the inshore fishing charters. Cod trips are 8 to 10 hours long and start at $850. We can however try
for cod at the end of a tuna charter and many folks do opt for this type of a combination trip.
We do have a fantastic whale show during the summer months and whale watching has been a recent addition to my
fishing charters. The whale watch trips are generally of lesser duration and costs that the fishing charters.
Please email the captain for the latest info and rates.
Captain Bruce has a recreational lobster license that allows him to fish up to 10 lobster pots offshore in the
deeper waters where the commercial lobstermen fish. We have a hydraulic hauler and if the fishing is a little
slow we can always go haul the traps for fun ! I cannot give the charter any of the lobsters because that would
constitute a commercial use of a family permit, which is unlawful. But, we can put your kids in my foul weather
gear and play "Deadliest Catch" and run a string of pots. Hooking the buoy, emptying and rebaiting the trap,
tossing back starfish, crabs, and other surprises can make a slow fishing day more memorable