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86in Bluefin Tuna | July 22 Report

Ryan Collins

Yesterday morning I met captain Cullen of Cape Star Charters, and MFCC members Darren Jacobs, Steve Gopoyan and Mike Hawthorne for a morning of tuna fishing off Cape Cod.

Originally for this group trip we were supposed to be going for stripers, but with the bite for big bass being on the slow side, Cullen recommended we switch tactics and try for tuna instead.

Everyone onboard was excited about the chance to hopefully not just hook into a tuna, but to also play witness to the amazing marine life which is abundant right now off the Cape. What ensued was one of the most memorable group fishing trips of the year.

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The Start Of The Trip

We enjoyed a beautiful cruise out to the grounds (I will share with you a video later this week which captures the whole experience). 

By the time we reached the "bait grounds" the wind was freshening up out of the southwest, but fortunately conditions would remain fishable for the entire morning. 

It took us a little while to find the bait, but after maybe 45 minutes we had caught about 18 of the largest baits I had seen all year long.

With enough bait in the well we continued our journey east where we hoped to encounter feeding birds, whales, porpoise and of course, tuna!


A Vibrant Marine Ecosystem

We searched around for several miles, visually looking for birds, whales, or any other signs of life.

At around 7:30am we saw several large tunas chasing bait on the surface, and a few minutes later one of the boats fishing nearby hooked up.

A stick boat was also having success, harpooning several tuna just a short distance away.

We set our lines and waited in anticipation.

By midmorning all the life had become concentrated in one vast stretch of water, with whales feeding on the surface for almost as far as you could see.

The amount of life was epic, and I could not help but think about how well the humpback whales have rebounded in Cape Cod waters.

Keep in mind that 200 years ago, whalers from Nantucket and Cape Cod were forced to sail around the world in search of whales, because they had so severely depleted the local whale population.

Today it is wonderful to see how well the whales have recovered.


Schools Of "Resting" Tuna

When tuna fishing you are never guaranteed to catch a fish, however by noontime yesterday I think captain Cullen was surprised we had not yet hooked up.

It was around this time when I noticed a bright flash of color off the bow. I looked closely, and there in the waves was a gorgeous bluefin tuna, slowly swimming and "rolling" just beneath the surface.

Cullen explained that these fish were full and were now resting, having fed in the early morning. This might of explained why it was so difficult to convince them to bite. 

Everyone was excited, especially when we noticed a larger group of tuna acting in the same way, but swimming directly towards our baits!


Fish On!

Fortunately for us, at least one of the dozens of tunas that were surrounding the boat was still hungry.

Suddenly one of the rod tips dipped ever so slightly, as one of the tunas sucked down our baits and made a dash straight towards the boat. 

Captain Cullen reeled like a madman to take up the slack!

An instant later line began ripping from the 80 wide reel. We were hooked up!

We hustled to clear the other lines and move the hooked up rod to the bow of the boat. 

The rest of this report will contain the full story of the entire experience. I will also include more helpful information about the bait, technique and strategy. 

Please login or start a membership to get access to the full report. ✌🏻

Topics covered in the full report include

Tight lines! 🎣

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

  1. Hello Ryan: can you tell me if this was out of Chatum or somewhere on Stellwagen bank thank you

    Reply
    1. Hey Jerry 👋

      I have included some general location information in the above article, which can be viewed by logging-in with your username and password.

      Reply
  2. Ryan, the Cape is a big place especially when we are in Gloucester. Where were you

    We are in the Blue Finn Tuna Tournament this Friday, and Saturday it sure would be nice to come back with one of these

    Reply
    1. Hey Randy 👋

      I have included some general location information in the above article, which can be viewed by logging-in with your username and password.

      Gluck and have fun in the tournament!

      Reply
  3. Gotta say that the pictures and article was awesome. Loved the read. Keep up the great fishing and hope to do the same this weekend. Terri

    Reply
    1. Pumped you enjoyed the article. Thanks for reading and commenting! Gluck and have fun this weekend ✌🏻

      Reply
  4. LOVED the stories you shared. Can’t WAIT to catch a keeper and I am hoping its this weekend. Terri

    Reply
  5. That stick boat is out of stage harbor in Chatham. Most likely fishing —– considering that boat and the humpbacks. Lots of life out there and having big baits is always an advantage. Congrats on a nice tuna

    Reply
    1. Roger that Brian, thanks for the info 👍 Hope your summer season is going well!

      Reply
  6. This was a awesome trip with fantastic people. Capt Cullen worked hard to put us on a fish and was a great host with a beautiful boat. A trip I will remember for the rest of my life. Thanks Ryan for organizing this trip, you should be commended for what you do for the fishing community on and around Cape Cod.
    Tight Lines…

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the kind words Mike. It was definitely a day to remember and I’m happy you were onboard for this trip! 🎣

      Reply
  7. Hello Ryan, Cullen , Darren and Mike

    Thanks for THE BEST DAY on the water that I have ever had. I have many memorable trips but this one was without a doubt the best. Unbelievable is an understatement.
    The amount of marine life we encountered was NATGEO worthy. I felt privileged to be so close to so many beautiful marine mammals just doing what they do…When the bluefin hit, it was for me icing on the cake. While I have fished for schoolie bluefin before I have never been a part of a successful giant bluefin trip. Simply unbelievable, hats off to ( one shot ) Cullen, he’s as good as they get.
    Thanks again
    Steve G

    Reply
    1. Thanks for the nice comment Steve. It was great having you onboard for this trip. The amount of life was Nat Geo worthy – I’ll never forget it either!

      Reply

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