It is no secret that the striped bass and tuna fishing has been off so far this year. The million dollar question is why ? Where are they ? Why wont they bite ? We used to catch 20 - 30 a trip, now we only get 5 ? 3 ? 8 ? WHATS UP WITH THAT ???
I’ve been fishing all my life, but I don’t have the answer to that. What I do know, is that to catch what fish is there, when they are off the bite and finicky, one must “finesse” them. Lighter tackle and a fresher, more natural bait presentation is what is key. Methods that worked when the stripers were jumping out of the water in a feeding frenzy wont produce the same results when there are 20-50 boats per day pounding the surface of the water in search of a few fish.
When fishing the rips in the Monomoy area, I constantly see boats running over the rip right where the fish are and then spin around and drift through exactly where they just ran the boat ! I have to ask myself do these folks really think that a fish is going to stay there with a 25 foot boat and propellor spinning 5 feet away from them ? The same thing applies to the boats that troll into the current. When the fish are biting and actively feeding, this method works well, as long as the boat is in front of the rip and the baits are back along the edge where the fish are. But when fishing is poor, humans get impatient and more aggressive and put the boats right over the spot in the rip where the fish like to sit, and end up pushing the fish out of the rip and off the “bite”.
When I fish under these conditions, I NEVER run through the rip I intend to fish. I go around. DUH ! I fish around the boats, always looking to see where they are jammed up and I try to think if I was a fish, where would I get pushed to. I then set up there and make my drift through with fresh bait, usually squid, sand eels or sea worms. I use light 15 pound test and 3/4 or 1 ounce sliding sinkers, a 3 foot leader and a 5/0 stainless hook (not black). This lighter presentation is working for me. I am not setting the world on fire, but I am catching on average, at least a half dozen nice bass on every trip when the trollers are not doing anything. I am doing this with light 14 pound test tackle, not wire trolling set ups.
The Bluefin bite has been slow at the usual areas. Persistent boats have been getting a bite or two each day if they are the lucky ones. The fish are all nice sized 250-300 pounders of 70’-85” long. In the last two days however things have picked up. I know several boats have caught fish yesterday and the day before. Wednesday I asked my long time clients if they were willing to kick in an extra $200 to cover the fuel expense to make a long run to a spot twice as far as we usually go to. They said “lets do it” and we ended the day with 14 bluefin landed ! We had at least 3 doubles and one triple that day. The gamble paid off. I am out for Bluefin again on Monday and Thursday of this upcoming week. Lets hope the full moon on Sunday ushers in a new bunch of fish ! I have very limited openings for charters for the remainder of August. There are only 2 tuna days open and maybe 3 or 4 open half day slots for bass. Call my cell or email to make a reservation for the upcoming fall bluefin fishing.
Thank you and good fishing to you,
Capt. Bruce & Marilyn S