Bluefin Tuna are the most important game fish in Cape Cod. People have been Tuna fishing Cape Cod for centuries and local guides bring generations of experience to every bluewater battle. What makes the Cape Cod Bluefin action special is that many of the best fishing grounds are just a couple of miles from shore. Huge Schools of 100-pound-plus Tuna chase Herring and Squid into the sheltered waters of the cape every summer. This gives you four water-boiling months of big Bluefin action in what is already one of the most popular vacation spots in the Northeast. You may have just found your next summer break.
The Bluefin Tuna season kicks off in late June with the Hyannis Tuna Fest. This is one of the most important events of the summer, with over $100,000 in prizes and some serious competition. Don’t think it’s all over in July though! As the summer goes on and the waters get warmer, the fishing just gets better and better. Cape Cod Tuna fishing doesn’t peak until early fall, and you can still find big fish well into October.
Cape Cod’s most famous big game battlefield is Stellwagen Bank. Found just north of the cape, this is the traditional summer home of charter boats and huge fish. The area is an easy cruise from Provincetown and Truro and is well within reach of towns further up the cape. Stellwagen Bank is also just over an hour from Boston, which can make fishing pressure high in the busy summer season.
As summer draws on, the sheltered waters of the Massachusetts Bay start to get too warm for Bluefin. The fish head out east and south to more distant fishing grounds, which get seriously good as you go into fall. Spots like Crab Ledge and Regal Sword see some of the biggest action of the season in September, with huge pelagic Sharks joining in on the feeding frenzy.
The two main ways to target Bluefin are trolling and jigging. Most captains will use dressed baits on spreader bars to maximize your chances of finding fish, but trolling individual, live mackerel can also get you on great catches when the bite’s hot. If you don’t fancy trolling, or if the fish are too deep to notice, you can always crack out the jigs. Soft plastics like RonZ lures work like a charm on the surface, and all-metal jigs can be just as effective for vertical jigging. Either way, you’ll need a heavy braided leader and plenty of drag if you want a chance of bringing them in.
Need to Know
You will need to buy a Saltwater Fishing License before you can head out and bag one of these beasts. If you’re the impatient type, you can get yours sorted online ahead of time. Otherwise, you can head to one of the local approved vendors when you get to town. You can find all the info about Massachusetts fishing licenses here. As of January 2018, you can only keep one Bluefin per vessel, and It’s worth noting that fish measuring over 7 feet will be kept by the boat.