News from the Tuna Front, Report

Nothing gold can stay, folks.

The early parts of July saw some of the best recreational tuna fishing in years in the waters off Race Point, out to the Bank, and down the Backside. Acres of 45″ – 60″ slashed through schools of sand eels for two weeks straight. We had some serious “foamers” as the West Coast types like to say.

Knowing deep down that this type of fishing doesn’t come around every day, we squeezed every last ounce out of it. Half day charters turned into tuna trips. All were successful. When we couldn’t find the fish on top, we put out two Hogy Sand Eel bars and got tight close to instantly. It was real insanity.

Toward the middle of the month, reports dwindled. We had a two-boat bachelor party trip that we ran with Capt. Dave and Teddy. Toward the Southeast corner, we found miles of whales, mackerel and shearwaters feeding on the sand eels. The tuna were missing. We pushed deeper out into the corner of the shipping lanes, then south. We got real lucky and had a feed pop up 30-feet from the boat. I tossed a Hogy Pro Tail and came tight after a few cranks.

This was the last I saw of those fish. Reports were split as to their next whereabouts. There was a great bite out at the Sword for both giants and rec fish following their disappearance from the backside and Bank. This would be our next stop.

We found a weather window and made the run out East. The seas were lifeless until we reached the lanes. Just short of the wreck, we found a dozen humpbacks bubble feeding. We tried casting and jigging but couldn’t find the tuna. We put the spread out and trolled for a few hours with nothing to show for it. Up closer to the wreck, guys fishing bait seemed to be tight every drop on commercial-sized fish. The jig seemed to produce well if you found a pile of them hanging on the bottom.

Chris G and the Fish Monster found a pile and dropped a Nomad Streaker on it. Tight. A three hour battle ensued, with the 7-year old Fish Monster driving the boat. They finally got the fish boat side and released. “First and last time I’ll play that game,” was Chris’s response. Somebody get that guy some Bengay a couple cold ones.

We cruised home on calm seas disappointed. I later found out that almost everyone trolling or casting came home empty. Were the rec fish gone? Did the new moon give them lockjaw. Who knows.

Reports from South of Marthas Vineyard have been inconsistent. A few weeks ago, rumors of a yellowfin bite at the dump and west piqued my interest. There were a few days of lights out yellowfin fishing with the occasional bluefin mixed in, but it seems to have fizzled out. Super warm water temps pushing way into inshore waters is going to make for a very interesting August and September down there.

The rest of the season is a question mark for the rec-sized bluefin and other pelagic bite around the Cape. What’s your prediction?

Billy Mitchell

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