Tuna Time: 2020 Bluefin Review (and a canyon report)

Them boys from FV Slayride, Carson and Jordan, had a wild year out on the tuna grounds. We’ll be doing a podcast to talk about tuna tips in the next few weeks. These guys are the newest members of Team Seven Stripes, let us know if you want to be part of the team. Here’s their write-up from the 2020 tuna season.

Our bluefin tuna season started relatively early as we began searching around Cape Cod in early June. We made a handful of trips that were unsuccessful. Our first two fish came on the fourth of July. We found the life early and stuck with the whales all morning when we finally got a bite around 10 AM. After about 45 minutes we had a 100” class bluefin swimming alongside the boat. With commercial season being closed we cleanly released the tuna. We put our baits right back down and were tight within 15 minutes again. This one was a bit of a longer fight. After around an hour we had another 100”+ fish boat side. It felt great to get the first and second tunas of the season checked off the list early.

After a couple great trips in July, we decided to push the limits of our 21’ boat and go see what the Regal Sword had to offer. We launched in Chatham around 4 AM and were underway with a fleet of buddy boats. The fog was thick around the cut all the way to crab ledge. We were second guessing making the trip to the Sword, but ultimately decided to keep going. Upon arrival, every boat we saw were hooked up. We put baits down and immediately went tight on a nice 68” bluefin which we decided to harvest.

 This was our most successful season, catching over 15 recreational fish and many fish well over the 100″ mark. Every year we learn a bit about tuna fishing and this year we got our tuna game on point. Here’s what we learned:

  • Constantly check your leaders for damage. A damaged leader means a break off every time
  • Clean your leaders with rubbing alcohol and stretch your new leaders to remove any kinks
  • Check your bait and leader every 30 minutes to ensure bait is still swimming and leader is clean
  • Make sure your bait is swimming perfectly. Always bridle baits with either a small rubber band or a needle and floss. A well-bridled bait swims more naturally and ensures a better hookup ratio
  • You don’t need a $100,000 boat to catch tuna. Pick your days and get setup with the write equipment and knowledge, and you can catch bluefin tuna
Photo by Alex Ridgeway

To the Edge

In late September, we set out for the Canyons with Edged Up Fishing. The trip to East Atlantis Canyon was approximately 140 miles. We left around 4pm and made it to our spot in three hours, running the last hour in the dark (which can be very risky). We hit a few waves well over 4-feet, launching the 32st contender airborn, launching me out of my bean bag.

As we got to the canyon, prepared to deep drop for sword fish. There were a couple boats around also deep dropping but we hadn’t hear of any bites. In five minutes, we were tight. A 74 inch sword appeared below the boat, glowing bright blue and purple. This was one of the coolest things I’ve seen. Moments after we landed that fish we went tight on another sword in the mid-60s.

Having no more luck with the swords, we prepared spreader bars for the morning. Sleeping out on the canyon, being so far from land and in over 2,000-feet of water, is definitely a unique experience. The next morning, we landed three yellow fin tuna over 50-inches.

Billy Mitchell

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