Aside from inclement weather, catching, transporting and storing fresh live bait was the most challenging giant tuna hurdle for us last season. I’m happy to say that so far this fall, the news on the live bait front is much more encouraging.
This past weekend Mazzola and I brought the Miss Loretta down Cape to Lewis Bay, outside the Hyannis Marina. Mazzola had made a bait run in Lewis earlier in the week, and found some perfect size bluefish chomping down on 4 inch baby pogies. Our hopes were set high for a productive bait trip.
I have to say, the public boat ramp at Lewis Bay is gorgeous. It’s a paved ramp, with a brand spanking new dock and plenty of room to maneuver a truck and trailer. On top of that, there was no fee. I’m guessing free access was a post-Labor Day miracle, and isn’t the norm at Lewis Bay. Either way, I’ll take it!
After some searching around we found the bluefish stacked up in 7-18 feet of water. The packs of snapper and rat blues moved around quite a bit, but there were so many of them, that when we lost them, it didn’t take long for us to zone back in. Best action occurred once the tide started rolling in. The action died pretty quickly as soon as the tide began to slow, around 11am.
We dealt with a lot of snapper bluefish that were just too small to use as giant tuna bait. However, for every 10 snappers we caught, we landed one 12 inch plus bluefish-perfect for fishing under the kite. It seemed that whenever we found a school of baby pogies, there were bigger blues in the 12-18 inch range underneath them.
The small snappers were, for the most part, found closer to shore. Kite size bluefish were found just a tad deeper, in 12-18 feet of water.
Hot lure for the snapper bluefish was a gold 1 inch Kastmaster. The thing casts like a missile on 6 pound line, and works extremely well. Hot lure for the 12-20 inch bluefish was a 3 inch floating, blue colored Yo-Zuri Crystal Minnow.
I’m really hoping that this area will become infiltrated with juvenile bluefish over the next few weeks. It’d be great to have a reliable source of live bait. Even if we have to travel a bit to get there.
As far as traveling goes, we’ve upgraded and purchased a battery powered aerator. We kept the blues (about 20 of them) in the 55 gallon makeshift live-well with the aerator running without any problems. It’s good to know that we can now transport live bait across land quite easily, without having to worry about fish dying due to lack of oxygen.
The bait cage is working out quite well too. The only problem is that the severe temperature change from where we caught the bluefish (maybe around 70 degree water) to the bait cage (located in 60 degree water) is killing the younger, smaller snapper bluefish. Fortunately the bigger, 12 inch plus blues seem to be able to handle the temperature change better, and are still swimming around happily in the cage.
So in conclusion, so far so good on the bait front. We have a fair amount of bluefish swimming around in the bait pen just waiting to be fed to a giant tuna. Now all we need is good weather (0-10mph winds) and some time in our schedules to get out there in search of a giant.
Tight lines and take care,