Thumb. Pinky. Tuna Tail. That’s how my daughter, Emilia, does it anyways.
And honestly, getting the tuna tails going around Mal de Mer has been just about as easy as that this season. But before we get there…
Okay, let’s get this out of there way. You may notice I haven’t posted, well, much of anything the past two months. I’ve been busy, man! Cut me some slack. New job, new baby, great fishing, too many charters. This is a recipe for no content from the content farm that is team #7Sfishing. But I’m not an excuse guy. You’ll start getting more content now that things are evening out and I’ve caught my fill of 40lb stripers and 50″ bluefin (ha, jk, that could never happen).
But then again, is anyone even reading this? Is this thing on? Am I just typing fishing nonsense into the void? Probably. Whatever.
Let’s get to the thing. I view July 15th as the exact midpoint of the season. So what better time than now to look back at the ridiculousness that was the first half and make a few predictions on what’s coming for the second half.
Early Season Migration
Bust. I’ll hit on this in a bit but there’s a serious lack of under slot and micro fish right now. Concerning? You betcha. We did get into a few early early blitzes down in Buzzards at the start of May and then up in Plymouth around the middle of the month, but they were short lived. I haven’t seen a striper blitz under birds in quite some time. Prediction for the second half? We get a couple of those bad boys.
Grocery Store Trips: Haddock and Sea Biscuits
Eh. We made a few way too early haddock trips in April and early May (one of which somebody forgot the clams (Jonny Mack)), and didn’t find much. Toward the middle of May, we found good limits of haddock on the humps off of the South Shore but the rest of the map seemed to be devoid of the little bottom suckers. The bite quickly fell off.
Seabass was good not great in Buzzards Bay. I mean, don’t get me wrong, we limited every time we went out, but the average size was way down and we had to work hard to find them. I think I found my new seabass killer lure in the Daiwa Rock Rover jig though, so that’s a plus.
The stripahs in the Cowyard
Late May and June started like it always does–fish blitzing in the South Shore bays. Only this year, it was on squid. Were you looking for the typical June new moon blitzes on tinker Macks off of Plymouth and Race Point? Yeah, me too. Only we didn’t fid any. Hey, where are the mackerel, by the way? Still waiting for those guys to show up. Should be any day now…
There’s a spot up in Plymouth called the Cowyard, but I’m not talking about that area in this context. Down in Buzzards Bay, there’s a shallow area that catches big bass on their northern migration every single May. And this year was no exception. We found ridiculously big bass grazing on top in this shallow area for a few weeks straight. The issue? They don’t like to eat. Like, you can drive over these things and they just meander past the boat. It’s the craziest thing. We did coax some big bass off the flats with live pogies and Docs and the occasional weightless soft plastic.
Off at Race Point, bass fishing has been loaded with slots and overs. We even found them raft feeding on tiny sand eels, which was cool visually but not fun to try and catch. The lack of inshore mackerel is creating problems there as well. And the lack of small fish? Don’t get me started. We’ve got more slots than you can shake a stick at.
The Great Cow and Pogy show of 2022
When the squid left, so did the stripers. And without mackerel, we were SOL on the inshore bite in the Bays of CCB. On one pretty terrible (to start anyway) charter trip, I was about to give up. We were cruising back from Race Point after successfully coaxing three sand eel-slurping stripers to eat when I got a text from a local charter guy (who’s name has been redacted): “Get to Plymouth now. Don’t tell anyone.” I don’t even think I responded and I don’t think the Yammys ever opened up like they did on that afternoon.
Well, the pogies had shown a few days earlier and the bass found them that morning. What we found when we pulled up to the school was a massacre. You couldn’t get a pogie back to the boat without it being inhaled by any overslot striper. We threw docs at them for fun and they got chased back by hordes of angry cows. We landed a couple of PBs for the boys up to 45-pounds and headed back to the mooring.
I listened to my intel guy. I didn’t tell anyone. But you bet your ass the next morning as the sun crept up I saw a whole fleet of boats sitting on that exact pogie school. And it’s remained ever since! Talk about combat fishing, mostly commercial (which I won’t be getting into right now. That’s an angry winter rambling topic). I actually can’t believe there are still fish on these schools. But right now, if you find a pogie school, you’re going to find bass on it.
Tuna Tail for the Tuna Boys
I was hoping for a repeat of 2021 South of the Vineyard madness. But by late June, word was: They aren’t here, man. Where were the school tuna!? Did I buy all of this tuna gear only to get ripped off by the disappearing act!?
Little did I know that we would find something much better and much closer to home. At the start of July, we got hush hush word of school tuna (bigger than what we found last year), slashing through sand eels around the Cape. Well, this was enough to finally buy some wind-on leaders and get the Saltigas lined up with hollowcore.
On the 4th of July, the boys set out to make tuna dreams come true. I’ll be honest–I slept two hours the night before. I found myself on the boat at 3am in the pitch black cinching FG knots and tying and retying tuna lures. We were out on the grounds before the sun and promptly hooked up on an Epoxy Jig thrown into a mess of shearwaters and slashing fish. We had the fish at the boat, a beautiful 50″ tuna, and messed up the endgame. Big time. I won’t throw anyone under the bass but it was a tough gaff job. I take full responsibility.
No worries, we found more blitzing tuna of that size around acres of feeding humpbacks. Tyler from Michigan hooked up on a Hogy Pro Tail and we engaged in a 2-hour battle. This was the definition of a devil-fish–a 60″ psycho that would not give up. We finally got him to the boat and the gaffer did his job. Sushi time.
We found these same conditions for another week or two. I ran a half day charter in which we caught a couple 40″ stripers on the pogie schools and motored out to the backside where we promptly hooked up with two 49″ bluefin. I had to tell the guys that this wasn’t a typical half day trip.
Which bring us to today…The school tuna have disappeared from the Bank and Backside. Will they show again? Who knows. But that’s fishing. Nothing gold (or blue) can stay.
We’ve got a lot of good fishing ahead. If the fall run isn’t insane starting in early August I’ll eat my Seven Stripes hat. Seriously. It’s going to be good in Cape Cod Bay and the South Shore for big fish on small bait. Get your peanut bunker imitations ready.
The tuna thing is puzzling. I really hope we get another push of rec fish around the Bank and Backside, but they very well may take up residence East of Chatham for the rest of the summer and fall. Who knows with those guys.
What do you think? How has the first half of your 2022 been fishing wise?