As you may have heard there are some nice sized bluefin tuna being taken these days. These fish are ranging from 50 to 72 inches, with a decent average of 60 inches. Several commercial sized (> 73") fish have been taken on trolled gear as well, one only 6 miles from Chatham that measured 101 inches ! Andy Baler of Nantucket Fish Co., bought one the day before yesterday at 75 inches, weighing around 200 pounds that was shipped to Japan, due to its medium fat content. It seems that there is the usual morning bite, slacking off around 8:30 or 9 am, followed by another productive period on the mid day slack. Being there at first light is critical for a decent bite. It seems the fish are also on the Stellwagon Bank area as well as our Crab Ledge and BC areas. I have had several reports from folks fishig there that have done well.
The bass fishing has picked up considerably in the last few days at the rips of Monomoy. There are squid in the area and as the bass chase them up onto the shoals the big gulls can be seen flying over the rips looking to grab a squid or two as they come to the surface. The fish are moving with the bait though, so be willing to look around a lot. One day they may be on the Handkerchief Shoals and rips, the next on Stonehorse and the same day on a different tide over on Bearse's. Water temperatures have been good at 57 to 63 degrees, depending upon tide direction, and the blues aren't in with the bass, unless the rip right at the Point of Monomoy close to the beach has birds working on it. It seems you can always pick up some small blues there.
There are also good catches of bass reported off Martha's Vinyard and the back side of Nantucket, if you want to make the run. Its a long way from the east side of Chatham for me though. At the end of last week, the Environmental Police were checking boats for safety violations on the backside of Nantucket, and I heard that they wrote a few tickets for using live bait that wasn't large enough over by Martha's Vineyard.
There will be an increased enforcement effort of recreational striped bass fishing in the EEZ (outside of 3 miles) by the Mass Environmental Police this year due to increased lobbying from RFA, Stripers Forever and CCA. Even though this striper fishery has been declared recovered for over 10 years, and these fishing grounds have been used by local boats forever, the political process seems to favor the loudest, best funded groups, regardless of how right or wrong the managment statistics show the status of the fishery to be. Its ironic that millions of dollars are being spent on enforcement of a non-issue, due to politics, yet there seems to be a incredible lack of interest by the same recreational fishing lobby, in pushing for federal funding of an observer program on huge mid water trawlers and draggers operating 10 miles away !
Good fishing to you,
Bruce & "Marilyn S"