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40 Years Of Tuna Fishing Tradition

Dan Kenny

Member of My Fishing Cape Cod since 2017

After watching Ryan's video of his first giant of the season, I left a comment about how seeing the unloading station at the very end of Barnstable Harbor brings back a ton of great memories for me.

When I was younger, I spent 7 seasons as a charter boat mate on the Malsie B., whose slip was only about 20 feet from where Ryan offloaded his tuna. 

It's so awesome to see the exact same spot where so many legendary pioneers of the giant bluefin tuna fishery have offloaded their catch over the years!

More...

Here's one of the many giants my father offloaded at Barnstable decades ago...

And here's Ryan offloading at the same exact spot!

Below are some pictures of my "old man" back in the late 70's and early 80's offloading his own catches of giant bluefin tuna at Barnstable Harbor. 

Giant Tuna Fishing In The 1970's and 1980's

This was probably my favorite picture so we had it re-rendered and blown up of my
dad (left) and his mate Chris VanDuzer (right) with a 1050lber taking up the entire cockpit of his 38’ Young Brothers custom caught live-lining a nearly 10 pound
bluefish.

Check out that reel!

My Dad with my Mom, wearing matching "Canadian tuxedos" 😂after unloading an 812 pounder.

The same winch in the same spot seen in Ryan's 780lb tuna video and 558lb tuna video. Yielding the same results from bystanders!

Here's then...

And now!

The man that taught my dad everything is still at it today - Billy “The Greek” Chaprales, current captain of the EZ-Duz-It out of the Sandwich Marina.

This was back when you had to really punch the dart in to make sure it held before electrically charged harpoons.

Here's Billy with one of the hundreds of perfect sticks throughout his career.

My dad told me stories about Billy, and about the unbelievable throws he saw Billy nail. Stories of him nailing tuna swimming 15-20 feet underwater - and still punching the dart a foot into the fish!

Here is an 850lb and 980lb double!

I can’t believe seeing the Anne B. in the background (the sister ship to the vessel
I worked on) was around back then and continues to fish to this day!

My dad (on the right) with his mate after rod and reeling in a 600 pounder.

So cool how even today these fish are marveled at by anyone passing by!

This was then...

And here's now...

In the same exact spot!

The old "Jaws chair" special!

Trying to pull a dinosaur through a trap door!

Success!

Thank you Ryan for bringing back some amazing memories for my family and I with your recent tuna video. While my Dad is no longer with us, he would have undoubtedly loved your video and it would fired him up with the “back in my day” stories! 

I’ve already sent the video over to my Mom to show her that there are still great people continuing the traditions that my Dad and the small fleet of Barnstable Harbor bluefin tuna fisherman carried out four decades ago!

Best of luck to everyone here on My Fishing Cape Cod throughout the rest of your season. Stay safe, and I’ll be looking forward to seeing you all put some more meat on the deck my friends!

Best,

Dan

What do you think?

Let me know by commenting below.

When Dan was younger, he spent 7 seasons as a charter boat mate on the Malsie B. out of Barnstable Harbor. Dan’s father fished commercially out of Barnstable Harbor for giant bluefin tuna in the 1970’s and 1980’s. Dan and his family have a special appreciation for the Cape’s giant bluefin tuna fishery.

  1. Great story, enjoyed the pictures. Evident you enjoyed fishing with your Dad … very special.

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  2. Great story. Not many have had such a thrill to fish so many tuna. That’s passion!

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  3. Thank you Dan. Ryan and I love fishing together. My brother and I spent many hours on the bay chasing the big boys. He landed an 878 pounder on a hand line in1974.Love the pictures. Thank you again, Jake Collins Ryan’s Dad

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  4. Ava and I ran into Billy Chaprales in Sandwich Marina as he was on his way out to fish for lobsters in Cape Cod bay. He couldn’t have been nicer to Ava.

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  5. I have great pictures from the late 60’s and 70’s if you would like to see them…I would be happy to share.

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    1. That’d be great Don! I’d love to see them!

      Would you like to send them to my email? ryan@myfishingcapecod.com

      Reply
  6. This one sure brings back many memories for me too. The fishery was far different than the one we have today as there were so many very big fish around. Many times you did not have to go far off the beach to find them. We fished mainly off the North Shore in a Holland Slippery 38. She was lean in the beam with a low sheer, fast for her day and probably the quietest tuna boat I have ever been on. A very nice blog and thank you much.

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  7. WOW! Fantastic pictures and memories! Thanks for sharing it with us! So cool!

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  8. Great story, great photos.

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  9. This is sooooo COOOL!
    Like watching a Discovery special on a place that we all love so much!
    Thank you Dan!!!

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  10. Great shots. thanks for sharing, Dan.

    Reply

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