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Cape Cod Bay Giants and Lessons Learned

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It seems like the tuna bite is starting to turn on in the waters around Cape Cod.

From what I'm hearing the bite off Chatham is nothing short of stellar, and quite possibly the best it has been in  years.  This news is not all that surprising to folks who have been following the "fish news" of 2011.  Back in July and August an enormous biomass of striped bass set up shop off Chatham-gorging themselves on the plentiful foot long sand eels that inhabit the area.  It looks like the tuna have caught on and picked up right where the bass left off.

Giant Tuna

A Penn 130 set to strike in anticipation of a giant bite.

And then we have Cape Cod Bay.  Captain Damon Sacco phrased it best in his latest On the Water Magazine article titled "Bay of Pigs."  If you haven't yet read his article, I suggest swinging into your local bait and tackle shop and picking up the October edition of OTW.  It's a good read for sure.

There are some absolute behemoth tuna swimming around in the deep water off Provincetown-just a few miles from the beach.

You probably won't see these fish busting on the surface, but I assure you they are there.  This past weekend I had the most enormous sonar marks I have ever registered on my fish finder.  These were big, dense orange arches that filled the top half of my screen.  Even though we did not hook up, it's good to know that we were in the right spot.  For a few minutes yesterday afternoon we had multiple giant tuna 40-60 feet directly below our boots.

And just how giant are these giant tuna?  Word on the radio yesterday had one fish pushing 1,100 pounds.

Aside from that big boy, quite a few other boats hooked up with an array of fish ranging from footballs to true giants.  Not hooking up when you know giants are in the area is always a tough pill to swallow.  This is especially true when you are marking tuna on the sonar, and when boats around you are hooking up.  However I am sure there are another 100 or more "tuna hopefuls" lamenting in the same fashion as I at this very moment.  As usual, most boats did not see any action yesterday.

However the "sharpies," the guys with years and years of tuna fishing experience, all too often seem to be the ones getting a bend in their rods.  You may be fishing in the same area with the same bait, however they generate bites and you don't.

Of course this makes perfect sense.  It's how it should be.  Consistently catching giants is not something that is picked up easily, unless one of the high liners takes you under his wing.  For the rest of us, trial and error, a lot of research and hopefully some friendly help along the way is the only method to figuring this out.

Giant Tuna

The full moon shining over Cape Cod Bay during our jaunt back to port.

It took a while for us to find success catching school tuna on spinning gear.  Then we were lucky enough to bag a giant on a kite.  Now we need to figure out this chum bite.  It may take a few years, but I know we will do it!

For now I will remain happy knowing that we have so far learned how to jig up whiting and hake to use as live bait.  We now have 600 feet of anchor line, so we can successfully anchor up in close to 200 feet of water.  I found a place in New Bedford where we can buy herring to use as chum.  We're hitting the right spots and marking giant tuna on the sonar.  Most importantly, we are ( knock on wood) getting nice weather windows that allow us to get out on the water.

Baby steps!

Good luck tuna wishing,



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