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Fishing For Tuna 100 Miles Off Cape Cod, Massachusetts

Ryan Collins

It still boggles my mind that it's now possible to do a day trip to the Northeast Canyons, which are located about 100 miles south/southeast of Cape Cod & the Islands.

As long as the wind is calm a trip to the canyons takes about 3.5 hours. For a day trip, this means leaving the dock very early, while it's still dark.

For this trip, we departed the dock last week on July 17th at the odd hour of 2:45am. I would be fishing this canyon which is located about 100 miles offshore.

Onboard for this trip were MFCC members Ted and Kurt Saraceno, along with their friend Rob (who's also a member of MFCC). Thank you again fellas for inviting me along on this trip!

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The Run To The Canyons

There was a chop on the water as we made our way across Nantucket Sound, south through Muskeget Channel, and into the waters located west of the famed and dangerous Nantucket Shoals.

I have always been fascinated by this area, because of its constantly shifting sands, changing depths and dangerous shoals. What a nightmare this area must of been for sailors back in the day.

Detail from NOAA nautical chart 12300 showing the Nantucket Shoals in relation to Nantucket Island.

We cruised through the deep water located west of the shoals, and I noticed the water temperature was a chilly 56 degrees. For comparison, elsewhere on Cape right now the water temperature is in the 70s. 

The cold water is most likely due strong currents and upwelling, which brings cold water from the deep, up towards the surface. This cold water can help create dense fog, and in fact on the way home through this area, we battled our way through a 50 mile fog bank.

The voyage to the canyons took just over 3 hours, but time flies when you are traveling on the water. You just never know what you may see! 

On the way out we saw fishing trawlers, dolphins and a large tanker.


Setting The Spread

We arrived at this offshore canyon at around 6am.

There was a fresh breeze blowing out of the southwest at about 20 knots and seas were choppy but still very fish-able. 

We all worked together to set what I believe was a 9 rod spread. We ran 3 lines off the port outrigger and another 3 lines off the starboard.

Then we set an additional 3 "flat" lines which were fish closer to the stern. 

We staggered the lures and bars at different distances away from the boat. We used a variety of different baits which I have included photos and links to below.

Please click here to view more of the top offshore lures and spreader bars from TheMightyFish.com

Life was abound. Right off the bat we began to see flying fish, and there were plenty of shearwaters cruising about.

The most impressive sight were dolphins crashing and playing about on the surface.


Topwater Yellowfin Tuna

We trolled at around 6mph for over an hour without any bites, yet we knew a "wolf pack" of tuna could explode on the spread at any moment. After all, the bite usually happens when you least expect it.

However on this trip, the first bite was very expected, basically anticipated, by everyone onboard. The reason being was that a pod of small whales (or very large dolphins) appeared just off the stern.

Tuna will often travel and feed alongside whales and dolphins, so we all held our breath, hoping that would be the case. Sure enough, about 30 seconds later a big tuna came hurdling to the surface and exploded on the green Chatter Bait spreader bar!

My heart was racing as I hustled to clear lines as quickly as possible.

Kurt jumped on the first rod which was getting dumped by a nice tuna, and Rob jumped on the second rod, which had also gotten smashed by a big fish.

I hope you have enjoyed this report so far!

To continue reading, please login or start a membership to get access to the full report. 

Also included in the full report, is a new 19 minute video which recaps this entire trip. In addition, you'll learn more about the specific canyon we were fishing. 

Please login or start a membership to get access ✌🏻

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Looks like an awesome trip – really nice for the captain to have the triples for that type of excursion. I’m always curious how far guys head out with just single screws. I’m having a new yamaha 250 put on my striper over the next week and would love to make some runs off shore at some point. I’m thinking this season i’ll keep it within range of the islands (from Block to Nantucket) and then next year plan something further out. TH

    Reply
    1. Hey TH 👋

      Yes it is nice having multiple engines when heading that far offshore, as it definitely provides a little more peace of mind.

      Keep us posted with how you do in the area between the Block and Nantucket. 👍

      Are you guys still getting some big stripers at Block Island?

      Reply
  2. Great lesson and video.

    Reply
    1. Glad you enjoyed it 👍

      Reply
  3. I liked your new technique of narrating from the video insert box. Made it much more interesting.

    Reply
    1. Roger that!

      Thanks for the feedback Dex, and glad you found the new format interesting. 👍🏻

      Reply

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