Red-Hot Tuna & Striper Bite Off Cape Cod
June 12, 2010
An epic bite of striped bass and bluefin tuna off Cape Cod that started over 2 weeks ago is still going on, according to local sources. The action is taking place very close to shore, and is concentrated mostly off the Outer Cape and Provincetown. It’s not the easiest spot to access for off-Cape boaters, but the folks who can get there are reporting acres of striped bass up to 40 pounds and tuna up to 300 pounds feeding among massive schools of sand eels, mackerel and herring. Best off all, these fish are taking plugs and flies fished on the surface.
“The tuna fishing [off the Cape] has been nothing short of world class,” says Captain Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters. “We’re catching tuna over 200 pounds on topwater lures with shocking regularity. It’s the best surface action for large pelagics I’ve ever seen.”
“We’re talking about 20- and 30-pound stripers and 200-pound tuna in 50 feet of water.”
Nugent, who is fishing Shimano 20000 spinning reels and heavy-duty Calstar rods, warns anglers that they need to gear up properly if they want to have a chance at landing one of these 200-pound-plus fish on spin gear and lures. Another method that seems to be working well is fishing live mackerel or pogies (menhaden) on heavier 50-pound-class conventional stand-up gear.
Adding to the excitement are huge stripers, which can sometimes be a “nuisance” for anglers looking for tuna. “The bass are mixed right in” with the bluefins, Nugent reports. “We’re talking about 20- and 30-pound stripers and 200-pound tuna in 50 feet of water.”
In response to the increased catch of tuna off the Cape, combined with a strong fishery that took place earlier in the year off North Carolina, the National Marine Fisheries Service has reduced the private-vessel bag limit to 1 school or large school tuna (length 27 to less than 59 inches) per vessel per day/trip and for charter vessels to 1 school bluefin (measuring 27 to less than 47 inches) and 1 large school bluefin (47 to less than 59 inches) per vessel per day/trip, for the remainder of the 2010 fishing year. All other tuna must be released.