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.
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!
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.