September has arrived and made it halfway through the calendar page, and the bluefin tuna bite shows zero signs of slowing down; in fact it has gotten even better, if that is even possible. Every trip that has left the dock this month has scored at least one fish, with the best trip of the month(so far) seeing just one angler and the good captain get into 15 one-on-one battles with the mighty bluefin tuna, all on light tackle! The fish predominantly are 60-100 pound models, perfect size for the gear being employed aboard the Dusky here in southern New England. This class fish is still quite strong and difficult to fool, hook, and then subdue successfully, without being overly large and too difficult for one angler to handle. Often on the larger fish, especially with less-experienced crews, the angler is forced to pass off the rod to others for assistance; sometimes the rod goes around the entire crew several times before the fish is brought boat side for the capture or release. This size class of tuna is perfect for the average angler, and not so challenging that new anglers cannot handle them solo, greatly increasing the learning curve, as well as the natural sense of accomplishment one gets after a successful fight from start to finish unassisted.
The bite in August was predominantly subsurface, with little to no signs of tuna present anywhere near the surface. Dropping jigs to fish identified by marks on the fish finder, and blind casting in likely areas bluefin were enticed into striking our artificial offerings, and then would be hooked and fought unseen back to the boat. September has seen the arrival of halfbeaks, a relative of the ballyhoo, in huge numbers. These are a fast moving, large bait that bluefin are very fond of. The schools of ‘beaks will gather together in large shoals, and then find themselves herded and targetted by angry “wolf-packs” of bluefin tuna and other gamefish. When the bluefin are able to separate a few of these from the main school, they drive the fish up to the surface and explode on them in an all-out, incredible frenzy. The gannets and shearwaters will often gather in the air above where the bluefin are working, indicating where the feed is about to take place. I manuever the Dusky quickly to the area where the birds have gathered, and the anglers stand ready to cast into the melee when it begins. The first few halfbeaks will all of a sudden start porpoising across the surface, the birds wheel and dive towards the fray, and then the bluefin rocket out of the water in all directions, eating as many of the poor baits as they can before they escape back into the depths. If the bluefin pod is large enough, often there will be several fish to start that clear water by almost unbelievable heights and distances, often doing flips or cartwheels before crashing back into the water. These aerial displays are incredible to witness, and provide an indelible mental image for all who witness them. The top-water bite has kicked into full swing once again, providing yet another opportunity for my anglers to get tight to an apex predator via light tackle rod and reel. If the weather will remain stable with not too much wind, the 2012 autumn run for bluefin tuna here in Cape Cod and the surrounding waters will be one to remember for a long time. Stay tuned for more bluefin mayhem with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing from the bow of the Dusky 256….
To book a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/