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Inches from Giant Tuna

If you are planning on going tuna fishing this week, but don't want to spend the gas or time getting to P-town or Stellwagen Bank, considering heading out on Cape Cod Bay.

Over the past few days a friend of mine, my father and now myself have found tuna of all sizes just a few miles off the Bay's north facing beaches.  My father actually waved down a stick boat to bring the captain's attention to the giants that were pushing water all around him.  My friend, Todd (who's becoming more addicted to tuna fishing as the days go by) watched in awe as dozens of bluefins-footballs to 400 pounders-surfaced all around him Sunday morning.

With the all these reports of tuna so close to home Mazzola and I decided we had to give the Bay a shot.  We told ourselves it would be stupid for us not to go-further rationalizing our obsession with catching one of these huge fish.

I broke the news to a disappointed girlfriend, as Mazzola called out of work. A couple hours later at 11pm we were on the water in search of tuna bait.  I'm pleased to report that there are still plenty of pogies around the South Shore.  After a few hours we had 20 live baits and plenty of dead pogies to use as chum.

Giant Tuna

I know that if we keep trying, it'll be only a matter of time until we get another big bluefin like this one boatside. Photo courtesy of T.R. Schilb.

The weather was perfect Tuesday morning with a beautiful sunrise and flat calm seas.  For the moment visibility was at least 20 miles.  After a short run from the east end of the Cape Cod Canal we arrived at the spot where we hooked up with a giant last year in the Bay.

Wasting no time we set a pogie off the stern under a balloon.  I figured we'd drift around a bit and if we didn't see any signs of life, move on to greener pastures before anchoring up and starting to chum.  Fortunately it wasn't long until Mazzola spotted the best sign of life their is-big tuna crashing on the surface!

Off the stern a large bluefin propelled himself out of the water, crashing down into the flat calm bay with tremendous force.

"Time to start chumming!" I yelled, "the fish are here!"

We anchored up and began chumming heavy in hopes of gaining the attention of whatever fish were in the area.  A few minutes into chumming I noticed a pod of tuna pushing water off the starboard side of the Miss Loretta.  The fish were swimming directly at our balloon baits.

Then,  just a matter of yards behind our farthest bait, another big tuna surfaced.  The footprint this fish left on the surface was huge!

Off the bow another small school of tuna began pushing water, heading directly at us.  We were surrounded and figured that one of the reels would start screaming at any instant.  The anticipation was at an all time high as we waited in absolute silence for a take.

Then a balloon popped as our port side rod began to bend under the strain of a heavy fish!  In record time I started the engine, cleared the lines, and disconnected us from the ball (aka the large orange float we had attached to our anchor line).

Unfortunately it was not long until we realized, again, that we had not hooked one of the many tuna around our boat, but had instead tied into another blue shark.

By the time we cut free of the shark, returned to the ball and resumed chumming, the bluefins had vanished.  It was a steady diet of large blue sharks for the remainder of the morning, until the fog rolled in-reducing our visibility to around 200 feet for the rest of the trip.

Giant Tuna

Tuesday morning was clear and calm on Cape Cod Bay-until the fog rolled in.

Final tally was 5 sharks hooked, all within a handful of miles from the coastline.  Prior to this season I had never hooked into a blue shark inside Cape Cod Bay, and had no idea they came in this close to shore.  No need to worry of course, we are still miles from the beach, however I'm amazed at how many of these things are out there.

I like to think that if that first blue shark did not show up, we would have been able to entice a bite from one of the tuna we had swimming in our chum slick.  Of course, who knows what would have happened.

The good news is that we are getting closer to hooking a giant.  At one point yesterday morning we had big tuna within inches of our baits.  Okay, maybe not inches, but a few feet at the absolute most!

The best part of yesterday is that this all happened close to home, and we were the only boat for miles.

Giant tuna

The first few blue sharks we caught this year were a lot of fun. However, they are now turning into a big nuisance-destroying our gear and hurting our chances for a nice tuna.

Unfortunately the dense fog forced yet another striped bass trip postponement last night.  The fog has really thrown a cog in the wheel as far as striped bass trips are concerned.  Hopefully the weather will work out in our favor for this weekend's trips.

I have high hopes for some big bass and even BIGGER tuna this October.  As with anything, you never know unless you go.  You just have to get out there and give it a shot.

As always comments are welcomed and encouraged. Tight lines and take care!




  1. I’ll keep you posted. Hopefully getting out on the water for tuna again this week or next week-weather depending of course. There were a few slobs taken last week, including one boat that landed two fish in one trip-including an 800 pounder. I’m very jealous!

  2. I’ve never tried it, but can’t see why it woudn’t work!

  3. Keep at it Ryan! Next time you get covered up by blue dogs, could you try slow trolling some of the pogies?

    1. Hey Brian. Thanks for the encouragement!

      Slow trolling pogies is a great idea that did not even cross my mind as we were getting chomped up by sharks. I will give that a go the next time we run into a pack of blue dawgs.

      Have you had success on tuna slow trolling pogies?

      Thanks for the tip!



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