The fishing in June here on Cape Cod is busting wide open. The waters are warming rapidly and there are huge amounts of baitfish and predatory species moving through the area. The Nantucket Sound spring squid and mackerel runs were a bust, yet the black bass fishing was phenomenal. there are large pogies in the sound estuaries to be caught and used for bait for big bass and bluefin tuna. There are some mackerel schools reported on the backside, but I think the herring midwater trawlers have done their damage. If you get a chance to sign on to a letter looking for increased observer coverage for these boats please do so.
Cape Cod Bay has had good bass action recently on Billingsgate Shoals, yet the entire Rock Harbor Charter Fleet was at the dock today ! There are a few scattered bluefish around but its been mostly bass so far. There were a few smaller tuna caught in the bay this last week as well. By smaller, I mean smaller than the 68" to 72" fish that are being caught off Chatham. These 45-60" fish are just what the doctor ordered for the health of our fishery, in that it is another different year class of fish to spread the harvest over a wide range of ages of our Atlantic Bluefin Tuna. Last year it seemed all we could catch was the 60 to 67" inch fish. I did hear that the boats on Stellwagon and in the Cape Cod Bay were working on the smaller tuna last fall, I just never saw many.
There is a nice school of bluefin tuna east of Chatham that are mixed in with stripers. Folks are catching bass on the squid bars while trolling for tuna. These are the 68 " size class of fish, so be careful if you think you are going to catch one on the spinning gear. A local Chatham lobster man told me he saw a school of smaller "jumpers" 8 miles southeast of the cut the other day. I hope the smaller ones do stick around. The tuna and the bass have been keyed in on a big bait supply that moves from day to day up and down the coastline according to the wind directions. Watch for the birds and you should do fine. I have not been to the rips as yet because the bass are 2 miles out side the harbor! I think soon I may take a look see at Bearse's and Handkerchief shoals.
I received a notice from the National Marine Fisheries Service a day or so ago regarding 3 changes to the rules regarding ABT. The first change reduces the angling category (recreational anglers in their own boats) daily bag limit from 2 per day to one per day, between 27" and 59". It also allows for the charter/headboat category to still take two fish, (like last year) but one must be from 27" to 47" and the other from 47" to 59". Lastly, this first change makes it illegal for either category to retain or keep any BFT from 59" to 73". The second change closes the "trophy" fishery south of Great Egg Inlet, NJ after 12/31/2010. The third change is a transfer of 1.7 MT of quota from the reserve to the northern angling category "trophy" quota. OK, so what does this mean ? I truthfully have mixed feelings because although I think it is good for the fish, I think it may be tough on the Chatham charterboats, if the fish are all like last year's fish. My own short term, self seeking motives aside, it allows the large mediums a chance to make it to giant sizes and perhaps more will spawn. We need all the help we can get with the oil disaster happening in the gulf of Mexico.
Thanks very much,
Bruce & "Marilyn S"