It has been a rocky start for the fishing off Chatham so far this season, It seems both the striped bass and bluefin tuna have been slow to arrive to our waters in the usual manner. That may be all about to change, as of this last week, the bass fishing and the tuna fishing has been red hot. Yesterday’s fishing for stripers was what it usually is at this time of year on the rips. Big stripers were busting on the surface while chasing squid out of the water and the gulls were wheeling and diving to get their share. We were able to catch them with casted and trolled vinyl squid imitations and never had to break out the bait. Yesterday, a 13 year old named Sammy, almost got the rod yanked out of his hand when a 41.5 “ striper in the 25 pound class smacked his trolled pink squid. Previously, Sam had only experienced pickerel, sunfish and bass in his Vermont ponds. I got a feeling that like me at that age, my first striped bass experiences ruined my freshwater fishing. I’ll bet he and his Dad will be back next year !
Monday’s trip was booked by a energetic, firecracker of a person that apparently is only 5 foot tall. Diann booked a a couple trips for her husband and sons and we have emailed and texted and called each other at least a dozen times now in working out the details of the trips. Take a hint girls, this woman was all about putting her men on the fish ! As it was a little choppy on Monday, she and hubby decided to back out at last minute and just the boys went fishing. We had 7 different bluefin bites that day, without landing a fish ! These fish were all over 65 inches and half were of the 80 inch sizes and when a fish of 250-300 pounds “bites” your rig on the surface you know it. The spectacular smash of the fish hitting and crack of the outrigger clip as it releases is well worth the price of admission. We broke a 10/0 stainless forged hook on the first one we had on, then we lost another to a broken stinger leader and the third one just came unhooked on the first run. In addition we had 4 other explosions on the rigs that never resulted in a hookup. This group was scheduled to go out this morning to again challenge these tuna that bested us on Monday, but we have rescheduled todays trip to tomorrow morning instead, due to the weather forecast. We will be there ready to do battle again. If you do go after these great fishes, be prepared. Have at least two large gaffs, a harpoon and a basket, (or two) a way to get your fish in the boat, ice and fish bag, proper permits, a helper, some gloves, and a cool head. Most fish are lost by human error and poor planning.
Many other local bluefin were caught after the full moon last Saturday in our area, and hopefully more will continue to move into our area. It seems to have been a change for the better. There are great numbers of small bluefin reported in the eddies of the gulf stream south of Nantucket and Martha’s Vineyard as well, boding well for upcoming sustainability of bluefin tuna. Its important to make sure you offer comments to this fishery management when the opportunities do come up. ICCAT and NOAA/NMFS needs to hear from domestic tuna fishermen that we want to protect US quota from over exploitation in other countries across the ocean.
Good luck and good fishing,
Capt. Bruce & Marilyn S