Bluefin Tuna Trips
Nothing beats kicking the offshore season off early, especially when you're returning back to port from the faraway frontier with a tasty fish tale...while other guys are rinsing off their bass gear. Who needs to wait until mid July anymore to catch tuna? The answer is nobody. Just like in the late 90's, vast bodies of schooling bluefin tuna were in town early, invading the waters east of Chatham and on Stellwagon Bank. I found it hard to believe when I first heard the rumors flying around that there were big fish spotted by lobstermen in Cape Cod Bay in late May year after year. Then I heard more rumors, from friends of mine, that guys were catching fish. I received most of the calls while I was fastened to the helm...conducting bass charters. That was 2007. In 2008, we were right there to cash in on some fantastic early season fishing! We did it again in years to follow! It doesn't take long for us to start the scramble, for the cab of my truck to be full of bass rods, and my cockpit smothered in squid rigs and live bait leaders. I planned ahead this year as my mates and I loaded up the freezer with fresh caught and hydro-gutted mackerel. I always start the season by getting some fresh macks. I always spend a day preparing these tasty critters. It was well worth it! I also loaded up on a fresh load of ballyhoo. We only use the finest stuff available. If you're interested in learning more about how to catch, prepare, store, and rig your own bait, all of those tactics will be featured in the upcoming Castafari seminar series in 2017 which will be held April 1st and 2nd at the Newton Marriott.
The bluefin tuna fishery is a lot of fun for two reasons. You usually return home with enough tuna to feed your neighborhood. The second is that the fishing begins in June! When things kick off out there, the early fish are hungry and not very skittish. After all, they've been on the move, working their way north, on their annual migration, and when they finally take up residence for the summer in the great south channel, they get right down to business eating almost everything that swims and fits between their jaws. The waters north of the canyons, and even outside of the shelf are usually littered with bluefin tuna as well in the early season. June and October are my favorite times to fish for Bluefin tuna. The fall is undoubtedly the best time to chase Bluefin. From mid September through November is prime time. We've even caught Bluefin in December!
Squid rigs always seem to work in the early time of year, simply because squid is the primary course on the bluefin's menu during their northerly trek through offshore waters. We step things up a notch on the Castafari though, using a variety of natural swimming baits as stingers. All of our tricks will be featured in the Big Game Seminar! Once the fish arrive east of Chatham, Stellwagon, and south of the Vineyard, they begin to prey on herring, sand eels, and mackerel along with the local whale population, but squid are still on the bluefin's mind...believe me. We like to mix it up a bit and troll natural swimming baits as well as bars, depending on the light and sea conditions, but regardless of what mother nature has in store. This passed season, there were big fish, 70 inch plus, showing up around Provincetown and Stellwagon Bank. Their migration seems to be along the continental shelf until they hit Hydrographer Canyon where they then turn north into the Great South Channel... Then they wind up on the bank. The fish remain there throughout the season, but the most productive times to fish are in June, October, and November.
We've experienced some fantastic action in 2016. The September and October fishing has been nothing short of spectacular! The trolling action with swimming ballyhoo and mackerel was the key to our success east of Chatham which is heating up here in October. Slow trolling mackerel up on Stellwagon Bank has been very productive as well. This works well when there are dogfish around.This kind of bait trolling is what we specialize in during the fall months. We caught tuna fish on all but 2 outings this year. Some of our most productive trips were canyon trips converted into bluefin trips as a result of rough weather in the middle of summer and early fall. One thing to remember is if the fish aren't around in good numbers, I will recommend we re-schedule the trip and give you the option to do so. We don't like to take people on boat rides. The early morning action is always incredible. We had a few slow trips too where we found the fish, but they wouldn't cooperate. But we always leave the dock looong before the sun rises. Why? Because it helps us catch fish! I will guarantee on all of our bluefin tuna outings, we will be setting out lines, before the sun is up. If you are planning to fish with us, keep in mind that I usually catch my own live bait and will guarantee that the live-well will be full if there is a live bait bite. This type of adventure would include an early departure at 3am so that we can be there before the sun crawls out of the horizon. The Castafari is usually the first to arrive and the last to leave. You can count on it.
Our bluefin trips produced fishing on the troll with fish from 50 to 800 pounds clobbering just about everything we towed behind the transom. On many days, the ocean's surface was teaming with schools of pushing and jumping tuna... Make sure to bring a video camera. If you want to see our action first hand..check out the Castafari Monster Club. Watch the latest "Stand-up tuna fishing video" . We also pounced on some incredible chunking action that took place in the fall. Some days we were close to home in cape cod bay, and on other days we were at Georges Bank! The fishing on the bank was outstanding this year, but we need the weather. We will be doing Georges Bank charters every fall when the fish show. Catching and boating 3 to 5 tuna is possible out there. If the bite is on, that place can be incredible...bent rods as far as the eye can see. These 2 to 3 day trips are for experienced sea goers only. If you've never fished offshore...probably not recommended. But if you have a hard core side that likes to chase fish....yes. If we catch and sell tuna, the charter keeps 30 percent of the proceeds of the fish to use against the cost of the trip. If we catch 2 or 3...same deal...even better!
The early season from late June right through mid July and the late season from late September through October is prime time for catching good size bluefin tuna. We are planning to fish offshore the entire month of June and into July for bluefin. If the weather keeps us from reaching the canyons, bluefin tuna outings can save the day as they are usually a mere 15 to 25 miles from shore all season long. So keep that in mind if you have a canyon trip booked with us. Looking forward to getting back at it sooner than later! Tight lines.