Perhaps you are becoming bored with striped bass and bluefish charters, or just always wanted to try for a bigger, harder fighting fish, and a bigger challenge. The famed Atlantic Bluefin Tuna, are very abundant in the waters east of Chatham, Massachusetts during the months of June through November. These fantastic fighting speedsters are great eating and will give you a battle guaranteed to test your skills as an angler. We once called them “footballs” due to their shape and relatively small < 36” size. These smaller “football” tuna have since grown up. Last year, the size range was 58 to 68 inches, with a welcome mix of smaller, less than 42” fish towards the end of the year. Our average bluefin we caught last year was around 65”, and weighs close to 170 pounds !
We generally troll with a varying spread of squid bars, splash bars, daisy chains and single hook baits, for the school sized bluefin tuna. Our troll gear consists of Shimano short bent-butt stand-up rods, upon which are mounted Shimano’s Tiagra 50 wide reels, spooled with Spectra braid and 80 or 100 pound test monofilament topshots. Trolling allows us to keep a good number of colors and patterns fishing in the spread as we cover a good sized area. Although the 50 pound class gear is lighter than most charter boats targeting bluefin, when spooled with the new braided lines, are quite capable of landing 200 to 400 pound tuna fish. Some of my customers have requested even lighter tackle for catching bluefin, so I bought a half dozen of the new Shimano “Trevala” series rods and matched “Torsa” and “Saragosa” reels in both casting and spinning versions. In the Chatham area, the prevalence of spiny dogfish in the bait heavy fishing areas, makes chum and bait fishing near impossible. Farther to the Southeast, near the Regal Sword wreck and the “BB” buoy, currents run strong, holding the dogfish somewhat at bay, and we can try some chumming, with varied results. On some days we can try jigging with Shimano’s Butterfly Jigs, as a way of using this lighter tackle rather than the trolling gear.
The ultimate challenge for the sportsman, that has already “been there and got the T shirt”, is the Giant Bluefin Tuna. These fish range from 300 to over 1000 pounds. Battles can range from less than an hour to over 10-12 hours, with a fish on the line. In my 2008 season I landed one fish over 1000 pounds, weighing in at 1082. (Land time 1.6 hours) Last year, I had a similar sized fish on the line for 3.75 hours, before losing the fish to a broken leader. Each fish has its own different personality and fights different than another. Some are more “obstinate” and take longer than others. Many fish were caught in the 600 to 900 pound sizes last fall. The best months for landing a giant tuna are October and November. A few fish are caught in September on live bluefish as well. Generally we are chumming the giant tuna up to the boats, with herring baits suspended and sinking in the water column. Live Bluefish are another very productive method. The Giant Bluefin Tuna charters are all day affairs, from dawn to dark, and are considerably more expensive than a school tuna trip, due to the incredible amount of preparation and gear required. Sometimes, we will get bluefish bait the day before, keeping them alive in a special custom bait tank. Since regulations only allow ONE “Giant” Tuna per boat per year, charter-boats sell the fish when they get to the dock. Otherwise that boat would not be able to fish again for a “giant” until the next year. (Charter vessels have a special permit that allows them to be either “recreational” or “commercial” as long as they don’t try to do both) The current regulations for ABT are two recreational sized fish per boat per day. These regulations change frequently throughout the season, depending upon harvest data as it is received by fishery managers. One of these small medium bluefin tuna will supply over 100 pounds of prime tuna steaks.
Break out the Wasabi and Shoyu !! Perhaps pan seared in white sesame seeds ?
If you have any questions about our WORLD CLASS BLUEFIN TUNA FISHING, give me a call or send an email to be at firstname.lastname@example.org, and I try to answer any questions you may have.
Thanks very much,
Capt. Bruce & “Marilyn S”