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The bite continues...

Published September 3rd, 2012 by Heather Harrison

Cape Cod, MA continues to prove itself as a world class bluefin tuna fishery, with August 2012 finishing up just as it started, red hot. Other than a brief period of  4 days of summer doldrums which was brought on by a very strong high pressure system bringing hot, windless days and flat-calm, gin clear, stagnant water it has been lights out fishing the entire month. The sunrises alone were worth the effort of getting up early, and the only real shows during the hot bright days from the marine mammals and the birds were in the first few hours before the sun and heat got cranking.

Most trips saw several chances to cast at busting fish on the surface, followed by good opportunities to work an area with blind casts or jigs and score unseen or deep water fish.  Crews that were willing to cast their offerings or drop jigs to the bottom, working them up and down off the bottom and back to the boat, constantly had a strong chance at coming tight to a bluefin on all of the trips. The weather was amazingly calm and comfortable to both transit as well as fish, with only 2 days of strong winds during the entire stretch. We got out even on those days, and had 2 of the better trips of the month. It is often said that the more uncomfortable you are, the better the fishing will be for tuna, and these days lived up to the adage. The heavy water often charges the fish up, and there are less boats to create disturbances. Because my Dusky 256 drifts stern-to under most conditions with the Suzukis positioned on centerline, my anglers are quite comfortable in sloppy, confused seas that we get with heavy NW or SW winds, both favorable for the bite in the areas I fish predominantly off the tip of Cape Cod, MA.

My crews were able to get out 29 of 31 days in the month, averaging better than 2 fish landed per trip, and making an absolute zombie out of yours truly. Because it is such a short season up here in New England, the summer months often force schedules that would impress an Alaskan king-crabber, starting at 3am and ending sometime around 5 or 6 pm after the boat is cleaned and readied to do it all over again daily! I am hoping that mother nature continues to be kind with favorable seas and good fishing, finishing up strong with a good fall after a tough start with a great middle season thus far.

The weather starts to play a hand in the schedule we can keep up, and the inevitable turn towards more unstable conditions will come soon enough as September rolls around. The cool nights and warm days, coupled with the spectrum of light turning towards the fall reds and yellows, should trigger the yearly anticipated "fall run", when many of the resident fish will start to feed heavily to put on reserve fat for their annual migration out of our waters to parts unknown.....

To book  a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/


Hot August, Hot Tuna!!

Published August 19th, 2012 by Heather Harrison

The bite has really kicked into overdrive this month, and shows zero signs of stopping. My Dusky 256 Fisherman’s Cuddy and the twin ‘Zukes have put over 750 hours on these fish already this season, and they seem hungry for more each morning performing flawlessly each and every time I leave the dock on the hunt. There have been no shortage of good times and lots of hot action for the elusive bluefin. Each and every trip that has left the dock this month has seen multiple hookups, all with the insanely light gear we use in the “run and gun” tuna game. Spinning reels and small overhead(conventional) jigging reels have been getting artificial lures in front of herds of turned-on tuna feeding on the abundant natural bait we have been blessed with all season. The success rates for laned fish vary with luck, natural obstacles, other boats, and skill all having a play in the outcomes. Despite the hurdles, we have had fish on the deck early, and often these days here at Coastal Charters Sportfishing.

In the hunt at daybreak for bluefin tuna.

Dusky 256 with twin Suzuki outboards, headed home comfortably after a successful day of tuna fishing in Cape Cod, MA

Tight to a bluefin tuna from the bow of Coastal Charters Sportfishing‘s Dusky 256. Custom bow rail keeps the anglers in the boat!

The fish have been bunched up in tight schools finally, and are once again starting to get aggressive as competition increases amongst the fish in each school. The light spectrums are starting to change to a bit of light orange and red, and the nights are starting to get cooler than the days, triggering the first signs of the great late summer and fall runs we look forward to here in Cape Cod. There have been so many opportunities, and tired anglers that don’t mind letting one or two schools go by without getting fired up and looking to come tight to a bluefin, that I have been able to capture some incredible still shots of feeding schools, as well as others just traveling under the surface sunning themselves and digesting in the mid day hours when the sun is high.

Bluefin tuna feeding on sand eels in a foaming frenzy!

“Running” bluefin tuna, a term locals use to describe common schooling behavior after feeding. The fish get up in tight schools and “run” down tide at the surface, sunning themselves.

A successful angler fooled this nice 120 pound bluefin tuna with a surface plug worked on light tackle spinning gear.

The sizes of the tuna has continued to impress, with many different year-class fishing showing up with the average being about 75-100 pounds, with some smaller and even a few over 150 pounds! Each trip has seen opportunity to land both slot sizes for the charter permits I carry aboard my Dusky. The amount of tasty loin provided from just 2 of these fish can afford many a fresh meal for family and friends, with plenty left over to freeze or smoke for future enjoyment. I have been fortunate enough to get a bit of loin or some belly meat for some delicious sashimi, nice to savor the fruits of your labor from time to time….enjoy life, get out and fish, eat, drink, and be happy!

A healthy 60 pound tuna that fell for an unweighted, soft-plastic, finesse bait worked on ultra light tackle.

A nice 130 pound bluefin caught aboard Coastal Charters Sportfishing.

Fresh garlic-chili paste, wasabi, red onion slivers, lime and 4 different cuts of bluefin sashimi, including the prized toro, from the belly loin. Don’t forget a bit of tasty spirits to accompany such a fine meal!

To book  a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/


Cape Cod light tackle bluefin on fire!

Published July 29th, 2012 by Heather Harrison

This month has been spectacular for my anglers, with fish being hooked and landed each and every trip, sometimes more than just a few. After a somewhat slow start, the bluefin have moved in and have really turned on to the offerings that have been dragged around or in front of them recently. Both topwater lures as well as subsurface and vertical jigsare getting piled on with regularity, and the sizes of the fish have varied from 50-200 pounds, with the majority being nice 75-125 pound models, perfect for the gear we employ to have several chances per day, and the fish do not beat up the anglers so badly that they feel as if they were run over by a small car the day after! The weather has been fantastic, and the sunrises still painting the sky with amazing colors, and the whale show isn’t half bad either.

The trip that stands out as the star of the show was just this past Saturday, as 3 of my anglers got treated to the most incredible display of tuna feeding with reckless abandon. The morning started out with the first fish before sunrise, the limit of 2 tuna on the deck by 5:30am, and then a barrage of blow ups, missed hits, and near misses that left incredible holes in the ocean or amazing white-water being thrown from the violent hits by the lurking and angry tuna. Just about everything that hit the water got some attention, and 16 more bluefin we’re hooked and brought boat side before noon, when the anglers cried for mercy and we left the grounds early with tuna still biting.

Angler Mike Leonard getting nasty on a Cape Cod Bluefin

Cape Cod bluefin on the line!

This would be considered the trip of a lifetime for just about anyone that has ever picked up a fishing pole and wet a line. I don’t get impressed all that often, but this day was in my top 5 of all time for pure, raw nature at it’s finest.  We were able to place some archival research tags in many of the releases, a great way to help the scientists who are studying this amazing animal better understand their biology and life cycles.

Bluefin tuna being swum before release

Much is still unknown about the mighty bluefin, so hopefully these fish will be caught again in the future and provide a glimpse into where they roam and how long they live. I have been at it just about everyday this month, the schedule would even make some commercial crabmen weary! August is just about upon us, and with the number of fish around, it should be another spectacular month for anyone fortunate enough to hop onboard!

To book  a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/


Cape Cod insanity

Published July 4th, 2012 by Heather Harrison

The bite continues for my anglers, with my Danish crew taking another fish the last day of their trip, with another Cape Cod bluefin of considerable heft for the gear employed. The anglers and the gear have come a long way in a short time with skill and solid equipment to tangle with these ultimate game fish.

What a trip these guys had, coming a long way with great expense and effort, to be rewarded with amazing fishing in Nat-Geo status wide open feeds, and incredible scenery. The whale shows have been nothing short of amazing, as have the sunrises the past week with the weather finally turning for the better. This is the stuff fishing dreams are made of, and why I love this fishery so much.

My german clients this week arrived to wonderful weather, and all though the full moon has gotten these fish sulky with heavy tides, and feeding all night on the abundant squid, sand eels, and herring, we still managed to have a great trip with multiple hookups on bluefin, including one they landed which taped out at 79" and around 250 pounds! Some of the strikes they got on surface retrieved lures were some of the most incredibly violent takes I have ever witnessed...pure adrenaline overload. When we weren't hunting tuna, the striped bass and bluefish continued to provide incredible light gear action, with a fish a cast wherever we encountered them, all on jigs and topwater plugs.

The full moon should finish up in a couple of days, and the fish that are already here should be joined by some new arrivals. The bait is staggering still, and the conditions seem prime for a good couple of weeks if the weather continues to hold.

To book  a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/


Starting to heat up!!

Published June 27th, 2012 by Heather Harrison

The weather has been the big factor through the month of June, seeing only a handful of fishable days prior to last week. The only fish we managed to land in the 5 trips out was one of those "fish of a lifetime" stories, especially with the light tackle we employ aboard my boat. One of my clients cast a RonZ lure out(weighted head with a soft rubber tail) and got connected to an absolute freight train of a bluefin. 3.5 hours later, after the rod made it's way through all the anglers, and the captain, we managed to get the fish into the boat, and back at the dock after gutting and bleeding, the fish weighed in at a whopping 393 pounds. Figure this fish weighed in at 415-425 pounds or so on the line, one of the largest tuna ever caught freestyle with no plate or harness and a long spinning rod/reel set-up.

What made this catch so spectacular besides the 7,6" rod, Shimano Stella Spinning reel and 100 pound leader, was the fact that 2 of the 3 anglers aboard had never landed a tuna....to say it is all downhill for these 2 newly addicted tuna nuts is an understatement!

The majority of the month was spent shuffling trips around my future open dates, from all the weather cancellations. This has been the worst June I can remember in  along time, with more winter-like patterns out of the East and North east, bringing cold temps, heavy winds and swells, as well as lots of fog. However last week, mother nature decided to give us a break and after a week long blow, the systems finally released their easterly flow and we had several days in a row of calm seas and light winds...perfect tuna weather.


The crew of Coastal Charters Sportfishing in the life off Chatham, MA

The life awaiting us on the grounds when we arrived was nothing short of staggering, with more whales and dolphin than Ive ever seen gathered in one spot. We knew we were in the right area, and it didn't take long for Chuck to appear within casting range of my crew, and after just  a few casts, we were tight to an angry bluefin on a light spinning set up.

My crew for the day had flown all the way from Denmark, and they were instantly rewarded for their efforts! I consider myself to be very lucky to have this fishery in my backyard and be able to access it from my Dusky outboard powered center console, and that this fishery has gotten the attention of international anglers. It truly is a world class fishery not only for the bluefin tuna that I target, but it has some of the finest bottom fishing for a myriad of tasty species all great fun on light gear, but is also the home of the storied striped bass fishery of the Cape Cod and surrounding areas of New England. My clients were able to hook and land several trophy striped bass on the same grounds, in addition to getting into some serious mayhem with more of the highly sought and often elusive bluefin. The "Viking Power" crew of Jakob and Nikolaj had a blast on day two getting to fight 5 BIG bluefin, 3 of which made it to the boat. One fish broke the rod and snapped the line, and the other fish went running and had another fish get tangled in the line, they were so thick!

2 big bluefin on the decks of Coastal Charters Sportfishing caught by Nikolaj Bielecki and Jakob Lindberg of Denmark

The feeds that my anglers hooked up in were foaming, raging predatory carnage, the stuff anglers dreams are made of....if this style of fishing doesn't get your blood boiling, it may be time to take up golf ! The bite is on, now we just need mother nature to play nice for a while.  Stay tuned for more light tackle bluefin madness, it is shaping up to be one of those nutty seasons!

To book  a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/

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