Giant Bluefin Tuna
Left the dock around 0415 with a nice flat calm ride to Stellwagen Bank in search of Bluefin Tuna. We arrived at our location a short hour later and started to search for bait just as the sun was coming up. Looking around different areas, all we could get were spiny dog fish on the sabiki rigs with a few whiting mixed in. A short while later, we were able to find a couple Mackerel. Since we now had some bait it was time to setup shop and start fishing.
With a mile or so ride to the location on the bank where I wanted to start, we then put the baits in the water. Within the first hour of drifting, the reel that was setup on the bow took off screaming. It was a fun 20 min fight to color when it was a giant 10’ blue shark. High fives all around for catching a nice shark but it was not what we were out for. It was time to move to a new spot since the tide has shifted and now we were off of the edge we wanted.
We picked up lines, ran 2 miles east, and started looking for more bait. With the 1 line in with a live mackerel, within 20 mins of drifting, the line started to run like crazy. Fish on!
This time it felt a lot bigger and acted more like a Tuna. 30 Minutes of a fight and we get the leader to the boat with color - but again, it was a huge 13’ blue shark. Now we really had to move since we were about of bait, and we continued to catch spiny dog fish instead of bait.
We decided to pick up and move back to the west about 3 miles. While steaming to the location we wanted, I noticed some half-beak bait jumping on the surface and a bunch of boats in the general area. We stopped and set up there with a dead bait and were able to jig up some mackerel as well as the dogfish still.
Drifting in this spot, we could tell 3-4 boats around us were getting fish as you could hear screaming, see people running, and hear the drags running. Getting disappointed that they were not far from us, we did not lose hope that the fish just missed our lines.
With time passing 2 of us looked up at the same point and noticed our balloon starting to bob a little, then ZZZZZZZZZZZZ the drag goes off. FISH ON!!
This time I was certain this was the species of Bluefin we were in search of. With full drag on the reel all the way up, this fish did not slow down. With a series of backing down, moving forward, and reeling like crazy, we finally get the fish to the leader - and it takes off again, this time with color spotted. It was a Bluefin.
After about an hour’s fight, the fish was doing spirals and we got a shot to take with the harpoon - a perfect throw and the dart was in. Once we got the fish bled out and on board, it measured out to be a nice 77” Bluefin Tuna.
Great job to the crew and beautiful day on the water! B
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