Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Reports

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: October 6, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

According to Jack Collins at Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, it has been all bluefin south of the Vineyard as the cooler water has pushed the yellowfin out. Sizeable bluefin have been rumored to be within 10 miles of the Vineyard, but generally west of the northwest corner of the Dump and over at the Suffolk Wreck has been more consistent. Folks are catching fish chunking or jigging, with not much popping action to report. A few boats that get their gear at the shop were looking to take advantage of a weather window the last couple of days and make it out to the canyons, but Jack had no reports to offer.

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs did hear of a couple of bluefin caught on live bait south of Noman’s, including one 74-incher.

Out east, things have been pretty slow, said Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters; there has been some chatter about recreational fish off the Golf Balls, but Jake emphasized that while many folks think of this as a nearshore fishery due to the location of these radar structures, the reality is that many people say they caught fish there when in reality they were well outside the sight of land.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: September 29, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

The weather this week has hampered tuna fishing in Cape Cod Bay, with no word about any boats heading out because of the weather and the September quota having already been filled, according to Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards. The October commercial fishery opens up this Sunday and conditions should allow folks to get out; it will be interesting to see where they find fish after all this wind.

Despite some chatter about bluefin from Nauset up to the Golf Balls, the reality is that there are no credible reports of people even venturing out this week. 

Meanwhile, the last report Jack Collins had from south of the Vineyard was a decent yellowfin bite around Ryan’s Horn and Jenny’s Horn, which he said are about two to three miles from Tuna Ridge and the Suffolk Wreck; that news was from last week, he added. Fish were caught by boats chunking butterfish or sardines, while some boats managed fish on both topwater plugs and jigs.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: September 22, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs spoke to an angler who fished south of the Vineyard yesterday and they did really well on yellowfin, limiting out by mid-morning. He didn’t know exactly where he was, but he suspects somewhere between Tuna Ridge and the Suffolk wreck.

Capt. Eric Kulin of SnapShot Charters had great success slow jigging the Hogy Harness Jig out East of Chatham.

Over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket, across from McDonald’s, Jack Collins said he heard from a charterboat that got into a lot of recreational sized bluefin between Noman’s and the Suffolk on Wednesday; they were chunking, most likely butterfish or sardines. There was plenty of flotsam out there and they saw mahi on it, but the tuna bite was just too good. 

Meanwhile, Capt. John Galvin was over at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street and passed on what he had heard to Evan, including school tuna east of Chatham. From Tuna Ridge to the Dump, they have been catching recreational bluefin both jigging and trolling. 

And out at North Chatham Outfitters, Jake Mandirola hadn’t heard much on tuna this week, with no word on the Golf Balls and a few boats working out on Crab Ledge.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: September 15, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

It’s always best to start with a firsthand report and this one is courtesy of Amy Wrightson from the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville; she has really gotten into the offshore game thanks to the efforts of Ben Sussman. They were joined by Tony Mohammed from the shop on Saturday and Monday for a couple of trips to the Dump. On the weekend, they picked up two nice yellowfin in the 50 to 70-pound class on the troll, specifically rigged ballyhoo that were part of a spread that included spreader bars. Two days later, it was mahi time, with everybody in on the action; Ben was using a bucktail, Amy opted for a paddletail, and Tony Mo, as he’s known at the shop, was using a lure from the Yo-zuri Hardcore series and it accounted for the fish on the day, a mahi in the 30-pound class. They also fished chunk squid and even livelined chubs.

Chris Blake of UnreelSportfishing reports of a solid Mahi bite South of MV.

Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle heard that the Dump, from the northeast to the southeast corners, was pretty good over the weekend. There are lot of mahi around and some of his customers have been targeting them with the fly rod. Christian suspects that the white marlin in the area might be feeding on the smaller mahi. 

Out east, folks out of Chatham have been going out beyond the Regal Sword for shots at bluefin, but some boats are making the 75 or so mile run to the Dump in search of more consistent action. A few rumors have fish up around Nauset, but if they are there, people are generally keeping it really quiet.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: September 8, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

While Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you will find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, said the tuna bite at the canyons has been slow, the daytime and night fishing for swordfish was really good during the last moon cycle. At the Dump’s southwest and southeast corners, folks are catching bluefin using pretty much every method typically used for tuna. Around Tuna Ridge and the Claw, there is a mix of yellowfin and bluefin. Christian has heard of white marlin showing in areas like Gordon’s Gully, the Star, Inside Fingers, and Tyler’s, but for the most part, they have had lockjaw.

Capt. Cullen Lundholm of Cape Star Charters had a great trip targeting topwater Yellowfin Tuna.

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs didn’t have the final details yet, but one boat he spoke to had already caught four tuna out by the Dump. What is working one day doesn’t guarantee anything the next, with one boat one day taking fish on poppers, while the next it could be a jig bite or even a trolling scene.

It was another great offshore experience this week for Amy Wrightson with Ben Sussman, one of her staff at the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville; they fished the Dump along with Tony, another member of the shop crew and caught a lot of mahi, including some of the big bulls that Ben has been targeting around the high flyers. There was one change, however, in technique as the fish weren’t interested in rigged squid that they cast to the fish; instead, they used a variety of plugs, including poppers and gliders, along with jigs at times. Amy also found it interesting that after they caught some fish on one lure or type of lure, the fish would lose interest and Ben would change up what they were throwing or move to another area entirely. They also hooked up with some tuna on plugs, but weren’t able to get any to the boat.

When it comes to giant bluefin, Connor Swartz from Red Top in Buzzards Bay reported that the bay was pretty hot over the Labor Day weekend, especially Sunday and Monday. Some boats concentrated their efforts at Stellwagen, but those that ventured deeper into Cape Cod Bay around the Fingers and Fisherman’s Ledge were rewarded with fish up to the high 600-pound class – and that was the dressed weight. Fish were caught on both bluefish and pogies, with most folks tight-lipped about where they are netting them and then transporting them to the tuna grounds.

Finally, Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters said that there have tuna caught off Nauset, while there has been both a troll and jig bite up at Peaked Hill Bar in water ranging from 70 to 200-feet.

Capt. Dave’s Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report: September 1, 2023

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

It would only make sense if the sea state is a bit sketchy due to the influence of Franklin and the strong north winds from yesterday, but Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that folks are still finding big bluefin within sight of Noman’s. Now, the National Marine Fisheries Service has all kinds of tuna regulations for both recreational and commercial anglers; according to their website, the Angling fishery for giant bluefin (over 73-inches) is closed in all locations that the permit covers. Given that fact, why would a recreational angler even be fishing in an area where a large concentration of giants is known to be located. It’s the same situation for the Headboat/Charterboat categories; the over 73-inch category, which I believe is called the giant category is closed. 

Of course, one of the challenges faced by recreational and charter anglers is that whether they are jigging east of Chatham or south of the Vineyard, giants are often mixed in with smaller bluefin that, frankly, I assume they would rather catch since recreationals can keep two bluefin between 27 and 47-inches and one between 47 and 73-inches, while the Charter/Headboat regulations allow three in the smaller category and just the one in the middle. 

Christian went out this week and they caught some football tuna and plenty of mahi near the Dump, with a good number of boats trolling as opposed to jigging. All of his fish came on what he called “a Money Maker chain, which is a bird in front of a series of Ilander lures.” Other folks were trolling bars or skirted ballyhoo. They also hooked up with a wahoo.

Ben Sussman is hoping to get south this weekend and target the bull mahi he caught on his last trip; many folks cast lures for mahi, but he explained that they rigged whole squid, both fresh caught on site and frozen from the shop, and cast them with great results.

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs made a canyon trip last week, focusing their fishing around West Atlantis; he said they managed a bigeye, a few yellowfin, and a nighttime swordfish, but the overall word is the canyon fishing has been kind of off this year.

This weekend, there are two bluefin tournaments out of south shore ports and Connor Swartz at Red Top is confident they will be focusing most of their efforts at Stellwagen. That said, he believes a few boats will move deeper into Cape Cod Bay to avoid the fleet. He’s waiting for Sunday when the commercial quota for September is opened. 

Out east, there are some smaller fish east of the Regal Sword, while inshore there has been a push of giants moving up towards Stellwagen. The waters off of Nauset are also seeing some smaller, recreational size bluefin and hopefully that fishery will continue to build through the fall.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

You could tell that Matthew Resnick at Falmouth Bait & Tackle was excited to talk about the giant bluefin bite south of the Vineyard. From his perch at the shop, which you will find in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, he said that 700+-pound fish are being caught in 60-feet of water a mile or south beyond Noman’s, including Southwest Ledge. There are also plenty of mako’s in the same area.

As far as the jig bite goes, it’s been hit or miss around the Dump, with a few fish still around the northwest corner; the Claw has a ton of life, including lots of squid and mackerel. 

On previous trips south of the Vineyard, along with tuna, Ben Sussman has found plenty of small mahi, but on his trip this week, they got into some bulls in the 20+-pound range on spinning gear. 

Off of Chatham, a push of giants has moved onto Crab Ledge and are feeding on bluefish, as well as mackerel, squid, and sea herring. Out to the Regal Sword and beyond, if you drop a jig down, you might hook up with a school tuna or a giant. Some folks are saying that the bigger fish are moving up towards Stellwagen, which won’t be a problem for the jig-and-pop crew who are looking for truly manageable fish for the fall.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Congrats to Ben Sussman and Amy Wrightson on their first tuna this week; Ben, who has worked at Amy’s shop, the Sports Port in Hyannis, for a number of years, has been taking Amy and her son Tucker out this season in search of tuna. They had hooked up prior to this, but lost it close to the boat, but on Monday they managed to catch three fish, the largest of which they kept, a bluefin in the 120-pound range. They also caught plenty of mahi as well. 

The word is the jig bite has been exceptional anywhere from the Claw to Tuna Ridge and the Dump, but don’t tell that to Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs nor to two friends of Doug Asselin, who works at the shop. They put in a lot of miles without a single bite, most likely a result of this shifting wind that is vectoring out of one quadrant from the east. 

Prior to that, folks had been jigging up both yellowfin, up to 70-pounds said Jack Collins from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, and bluefin of various sizes.

Speaking of size when it comes to bluefin, the word from Julien Pepper who works at Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown is that a buddy of his landed a 114-inch giant this week. He said his friend is a MacGyver when it comes to rigging things up and he sure must be because he had to get that fish into a 23-foot SeaCraft.

Most folks looking for giants have been working the waters between Noman’s and the Claw, with smaller fish generally out towards the Dump and Tuna Ridge. 

Out east, there are giant bluefin near Crab Ledge, said Jake Mandirola at North Chatham Outfitters; those boats looking for smaller fish have been heading more down towards the BB Buoy. For the larger fish, live mackerel have been working the best, but some folks have been opting for bluefish.

Finally, not much to report from the canyons as the weather window to get there has been very short, making a run there for a short trip not worth the gas.


New Salty Cape T.V Episode!

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

My nephew Frank asked me today if the tuna bite is as good as everyone keeps saying; after the conversations I had with folks along with viewing the video from Capt. Mike’s trip with first mate Jack Pinard yesterday, I would say it’s better.

One things everyone keeps emphasizing is that the fish south of the Vineyard – which really encompasses a wide area – are really moving around and what’s hot one day often isn’t the next. Even the brand of tuna can change from day-to-day, mainly between bluefin and yellowfin. 

But no matter where you are – the Dump, Tuna Ridge, The Claw, the Lanes – the jig bite has been on big time. Most of these fish are feeding on shoals of sand eels, making the Hogy Sand Eel Jig a hot item. As you can see in the video, having an assortment of weights is critical to deal with the stage of the current and the depth of the water. As with bottom fishing, the more vertical you are, the better your chances of getting the best action and contact with your jig, which in turn leads to more hook-ups. 

A few marlin have muscled into the scene in these waters, but so far, I don’t think anyone has hooked up with one; trolling is the name of the game when targeting billfish, both with ballyhoo and an assortment of big, noisy lures that push a lot of water when trolled in the spread.

The bite out east of Chatham is still happening, Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters said, with an increase in smaller fish mixed in with the giants. The presence of this size tuna can also lead to surface feeds and Jake acknowledged that there has been some popping action, albeit with jigging still producing more eats. There is some scuttlebutt concerning tuna showing at Crab Ledge and up the backside, but Jake admitted that like the bass action up that way, the locals keep things close to the breast. 

Over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket across from McDonald’s, Jack Collins is absolutely convinced that we are going to see king mackerel – larger ones – caught this year in our waters. As he said, given that an 80+-pounder was caught recently in New Jersey, setting a new state record, it certainly isn’t out of the question. The catch came while the boat in question was slowly making its way back to Manasquan Inlet after blowing one engine; they opted to put a couple of trolling spoons out behind the boat and that’s all she wrote.


Cod Season is Now Open!

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

I like starting with what I am going to call the “Wrightson Wreport” from now on as Amy, owner of the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville, and her 13-year-old Tucker made another run to the Dump with Ben Sussman this week. Apparently, Tucker was pretty tired because when Amy gave him the word to get ready, he mumbled something about her going without him. That changed quickly, however, when he heard Amy getting her gear ready and soon he was bounding down the stairs. It was a frustrating day tuna wise for the crew as boats all around them were hooked up on what looked to be small yellowfin, but their jigs got no love.

Ever the type of person who can see the good in any situation, Amy added that they caught plenty of mahi on light tackle and she marveled at all the life offshore, something she said is a real blessing to share with Tucker right now while she and her husband feel fortunate that their other two boys love to be on the water as well so they can share their adventures as a family.

The one thing that I sense for sure about the offshore scene is that the action can really be hit-or-miss; there are definitely temperature breaks and bait concentrations that hold fish, but it’s not like there is the type of inshore structure that folks like myself can count on. One exception is clearly the presence of high fliers or the radar markers that offshore lobstermen use to mark their trawls; these are magnets for bait and mahi. Similarly, seaweed mats are good places to look for mahi hanging under them, while a floating log or piling or something that has fallen off another vessel and is still on top are other targets to check out – and avoid if you are running. 

Joe Barresi from Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket village part of town across from McDonald’s, said the fishing has been scattered this week; some folks said the Claw slowed down, while others found some football size yellowfin. It is definitely a jig bite, while at Tuna Ridge folks have been picking up some tuna trolling mainly “meat,” which is the terms used for rigged bait such as ballyhoo. It is probably most common to rig ballyhoo with a skirt, but some folks fish it “naked.”

They have been selling a lot of chumbuckets, Joe continued, a good sign that some good sharking is happening. For example, there have been reports of makos just behind Noman’s – remember that both longfin and shortfin cannot be harvested – while a 12-foot thresher was caught in the same area this week.

A number of wahoo have been caught recently out at the Shipping Lanes, including one in the 100-pound class; along with fishing for blue marlin, this is one offshore fishery where trolling a variety of lures designed for these species is the way to go. 

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs knows that a number of Vineyard boats are fishing around the Claw, finding yellowfin in the 40 to 50-pound class along with some small bluefin.

The giant bluefin bite around Stellwagen slowed through the earlier part of the week, most likely due to the impact of the super full moon, while Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters confirmed that while you will keep hearing “the Regal Sword” when people mention where the tuna are, the reality is that many boats are pushing 20 miles or so beyond this spot in search of bluefin. And there aren’t really many small ones in the mix; given the collection of 130’s I have been seeing on boats heading out of Chatham, these are big fish and they have been happily been chewing on big mackerel. One of these fish is occasionally brought to the boat by folks jigging spinning or conventional tackle, but this is a most often a four to six man operation on a charter, with a really big fish often convincing folks that one giant is enough.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Let’s make it official: Amy and Tucker Wrightson are Tuna Nuts. On Monday, they made another trip with Ben Sussman who works at Amy’s shops, the Sports Port in Hyannis and Osterville, and once again it was magic, Amy said. The caught a lot of mahi, saw whales and dolphins, a large shark on the surface, and a ton of bait and bird life. They also managed to drop a jig down to the tuna they saw up on the surface for a brief moment and hooked up with what Ben estimated was probably a 100+-pound bluefin. After a struggle in which they traded off the rod, they had the fish within about 20 feet of the boat when it came unbuttoned; obviously, they were disappointed, but the excitement in Amy’s voice was so cool because you can tell how much she and Tucker want to go back out. 

Amy said they were in the vicinity of the Dump on this trip and they heard that some boats caught recreational size bluefin and a few yellowfin, with the action definitely a jig bite. 

One of the challenges in this area – and even more so at Tuna Ridge – has been the number of boats; with calm seas for the most part, Doug Asselin from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs even boats smaller than 20-feet have been making the run offshore in hopes of striking tuna glory. That much pressure, however, can scatter the bait and the fish, making it tough to stay on a consistent bite.

Peter Sliwkowski from Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown said the boats that have made canyon trips recently have been doing OK, but not catching the numbers as happened during the recent Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic. The yellowfin tend to be on the small side and the bigeye bite has slowed, with both white and blue marlin showing as well.

Doug said that shop owner Steve Morris made an overnight trip to the canyons earlier this week and he was pumped about catching two swordfish in the 150+-pound range deep dropping at night. They caught a few yellowfin, but no other tuna; there are plenty of mahi on the high fliers.

The word from Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters is that folks are heading out beyond the Regal Sword to take advantage of an exceptional giant bluefin bite; I saw a number of boats leaving Stage Harbor in the fog last Saturday and they were loaded for bear with 130’s. Dropping live mackerel down deep has been very productive, but some boats have been targeting bluefish for bait. There was a report of a 400+-pound fish caught on spinning gear this week, but other than boats that have a good sized crew to pass the rod around, the average person looking for recreational fish has been disappointed. 

Finally, plenty of life at Stellwagen, with great humpback whale shows on tap to keep the boredom away as you wait for the rod to go off as a giant bluefin picks up your mackerel or bluefish. Most successful boats have been working their baits at different levels of the water column, including at least one on the surface under a kite.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Let’s start with the rundown from last week’s Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, courtesy of co-director Christian Giardini, owner of Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the village of Teaticket, across from McDonald’s, who has combined with the other co-director, Capt. Damon Sacco, to develop a great offshore tournament that is garnering a lot of attention. This year they had 60 boats from as far away as New Jersey, with a half million dollars in prize money handed out. The event has a 130-mile range from the Hooter buoy south of the Vineyard, with all of the boats heading to the canyons, and Christian is confident that the kind of action they enjoyed during the tournament will continue. The only species of tuna not weighed in were longfin albacore, but the largest bigeye was 245-pounds and yellowfin up to the 80 to 100-pound range were weighed in, although Christian said most of the yellowfin were between 40 and 60-pounds. Six wahoo were caught, with the top fish 86-pounds and the runner-up 75. 

Blue and white marlin were caught, along with a long billed spearfish that came with an interesting story. With so much money in tournaments such as the OBBC, it is has become a common requirement for boats to video catches so that fair play can be confirmed, as well as proper species identification. At first, the long billed spearfish was called a white marlin, which are worth 100 points, but the crew of the boat that caught it, the Polarizer, raised the question themselves about whether it was indeed a whitey. After consulting with a number of experts, it was properly identified, meaning those points were removed from their score, which ultimately led them to finish second. As a consolation prize, the Polarizer caught four species of billfish, including white and blue marlin and a swordfish, giving them a Super Grand Slam. 

With conservation clearly a focus, the tournament rules only allow two yellowfin per boat, with the crew having to decide beforehand which fish to weigh as opposed to offloading a limit and having them all weighed to determine which ones are largest. With swordfish, they have to be at least 60-inches to be weighed in; you still get release points for smaller ones, but this rule helps promote the release of pups. 

The week before the tournament, Capt. Ron Crisp and Steve Good caught and properly identified a sailfish, so Christian is anticipating a rule change so that all billfish will count since so many more warm water species are being caught in our local and offshore waters.

I have never experienced bluewater fishing, but I have heard numerous times from folks who have and they just can’t say enough about the life out there. That was the case yesterday for Amy Wrightson and her older son, Tucker, who got to experience his first trip south of the Vineyard in the area of the Dump with Ben, one of the staff at the Sports Port, Amy’s bait and tackle shop. They caught a number of mahi casting Epoxy Jigs and other lures around the high flyers and saw three white marlin sunning on the surface, but despite their best efforts, the best they could do was get one to follow their lure. They heard over the radio that a number of boats managed yellowfin, but Charlie never came to play with their spread, but they saw large schools of dolphins and so much other sea life that both of them can’t wait to get back.

Multiple sources said that both bluefin and yellowfin continue to be caught at both the Dump and the Claw, with Christian emphasizing that the person who caught the bluefin is well-versed in species identification. 

Aiden Olsen at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs heard from a boat owner who got tuna at the Tuna Ridge, but the word is that most of the action south of the Vineyard has been either on the troll or vertical jigging, with very little in the way of casting.

That’s the same story at the Regal Sword, said Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters, but the challenge with jigging there is apparently the same as last year: you’re never going to know what size bluefin you are going to hook up with. 

For example, Jake said that Matt Cody, who also works at the shop, fished there yesterday and that caught mostly smaller fish livelining mackerel, while others were doing the same while trolling.

Tim Coggins at the Nantucket Tackle Center had the same news: there are quite a few recreational fish being caught while trolling.

Contrast that with Evan Eastman’s trip to the Sword earlier this week as he managed to get a day off from his shop, Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth. He was hoping for a recreational fish, but the boat he was on only managed to hook up with four giants on “light” tackle, which consisted of 20000 size Stellas and Shimano rods. They fought one fish for three hours before it corkscrewed and broke off; within the first 15 minutes, they had it to the boat, but as is so often the case with undergunned tackle, the fish sometimes doesn’t even know it’s hooked and after a short time where it almost seems to be sorting out what is happening and then gets its wits about it and turns on the afterburners. Evan estimated that got it up and close to the boat about 15 times before it sounded and the fight went straight up-and-down, giving them little chance of lifting it before it broke off. They were fishing the Hogy Sand Eel Jig in the 8.5-ounce size, but given they were fishing in 200 to 250-feet of water, he suspects that the 12-ounce version might have been a more efficient choice to get down to the level of the fish.

Last Thursday, Evan spoke to a customer who managed to catch small bluefin at the Dump, both trolling squid bars and vertical jigging; some of them also trolled up some yellowfin. On Friday, another boat reported jigging up a dozen recreational sized bluefin at Tuna Ridge.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Starting out east, Jake Mandirola from North Chatham Outfitters said that pretty much everyone has been fishing the Regal Sword, but even there the fishing has been kind of inconsistent. There is a mix of sizes as there was last year, with most folks at the moment opting for trolling bars if they are looking for recreational fish, with jig-and-pop shots more limited at the moment. 

Connor Swartz went out to the Sword on Monday after his friends has a good day there on Sunday, but it was dead for him. They cruised the contour lines, but couldn’t locate any fish. Once the tide switched, they hooked up with what Connor estimated was the largest porbeagle he has caught – a good 10 to 12-feet – which he was glad to release without incident. 

Earlier this week, Connor also went up to Wood End in search of football sized bluefin, but he got covered up by big bluefish that destroyed his rigs, so he headed up to Stellwagen, hoping to locate a giant – which they did fishing mackerel, but it eventually broke off, making for a tough tuna week for him. 

Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth said that last Friday, some friends he knows were catching bluefin at the Dump, but the last couple of days they have been managing mainly smaller yellowfin. One of the issues with small bluefin and yellowfin is that unless you are really experienced, it is possible to confuse them; assuming that the bluefin did split, Evan suspects they were looking for colder water. A couple of his staff also managed a couple of giants dropping mackerel down to where they marked these big fish.

Christian Giardini, owner of Falmouth Bait & Tackle, which you can find in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s, was on the Vineyard this week, running his Oak Bluffs Blue Water Classic, according to Joe Barresi. I have nothing to report on this event at the moment, but Joe did hear of yellowfin around the middle of the Dump. Joe added that there are also some makos around, but based on a conversation I had with Christian a couple of weeks ago, I went to the National Marine Fisheries Service permit website and confirmed that you cannot retain either longfin or shortfin mako’s; there is a long list of prohibited sharks and apparently if you are doing to get a permit you have to be able to pass a test to make sure you can identify shark species. Too bad they don’t do that with tuna. 

Finally, out on Nantucket, which is kind of strategically located in terms of running to the canyons, east of Chatham, and even south of the Vineyard, Sam Brandt at the Nantucket Tackle Center said there are larger bluefin and bigeye at the canyons, along with some marlin.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

The fog east of Chatham has certainly made casting for bluefin a challenge, but Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs told me the boat he was on last weekend dealt with the challenge by going right to their numbers and trolling bars – specifically side trackers – at the Regal Sword. They went five for five, with three of the fish coming on green, one on a brown squid coloration, and the final fish on a black bar. They did see some really small fish that looked to be about the same size as a large albie, but it was really foggy and they couldn’t tell what the tuna were slurping on. Steve also spoke to an angler who limited out on bluefin around the northeast corner of the Dump and then headed out beyond the shipping lanes, where they picked up what this person identified as small yellowfin.

A good number of boats left Falmouth Harbor this morning in hopes of finding the large numbers of schoolie bluefin south of the Vineyard; some folks have had casting shots at these fish, but overall it has been a trolling fishery.

According to Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of town across from McDonald’s, the canyons have been red hot, with a number of boats headed out toward Veetch’s this weekend, where there have been bigeye and yellowfin caught, as well as a number of marlin hooked and landed. Unlike bluefin or yellowfin, which are commonly caught trolling with bars and skirted ballyhoo, bigeye are targeted with lures such as Joe Shute’s or a skirted ballyhoo behind a small bird. Marlin fishing is pretty much a big trolling plug game, as opposed to swordfish which is primarily a deep drop game with bait such as squid and an assortment of light sticks.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs was headed east today, but he spoke to two guys who found bluefin south of the Vineyard, specifically the northwest corner of the Dump and spreader bars. Capt. Mike has tuna fever and advised that the fish have been reported from Coxes to the Claw, the Inside Fingers, and other sections of the Dump. Along with Jack Pinard, the good captain was headed thereabouts to video – hopefully – tuna crashing a wide variety of Hogy Spreader Bars. 

For his part, Steve was hoping to throw plugs at some of the smaller – 50 to 60-inch – bluefin that have been reported around Crab Ledge and the Regal Sword, with the latter generally a bit more consistent. That said, it appears that the tuna haven’t really settled in to any kind of pattern, like they did last season when there were so many fish at the Sword that you couldn’t keep them off the Hogy Sand Eel Jigs. 

Connor Swartz and his friend have been chasing tuna for at least a couple of week. The action up around Stellwagen, which is a giant bluefin fishery, has been sporadic; they have generally been jigging up whatever groundfish or mackerel they can find and then floating them under a balloon; he prefers the latter for bait at the moment, but the challenge has been finding them. Out east, they have been concentrating mainly on recreational fish between 40 and 60-inches, although there are a couple of schools of fish in the 70 to 80-inch class as well. On one day, he was getting to cast at a push when three fish in the 400+-pound class came out of the water and he wanted nothing to do with them. Connor has been fishing mainly two ounce sand eel plastics on jigheads, white or brownish hues for the most part, and he said based on how you rig your plastics, they really do hold up. On one trip, he caught two tuna and a couple dozen stripers and the lure is crimped onto the leader and ready to go.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

In the Field Report from Jack Pinard of Hogy Lures:

We got off to a bit of a late start the other morning due to some last minute prep for our first offshore trip of the year. We departed Falmouth Harbor around 5:15 and made our way east in anticipation of cashing in on some early season bluefin. Whenever people hear that we are headed East of Chatham from Falmouth, they always say how miserable it must be. Yes, it’s no run to MiddleGround, but in the proper vessel, like Capt. Mikes 28’ Contender, we are able to cruise at  a comfortable speed and enjoy the scenes of the South Side of Cape Cod.

We arrived at our destination out east a little later than we would have liked but still found some life to be had. Scattered piles of shearwaters sitting on the surface were a tell tale sign that there was definitely bait and fish here not long ago. As we steamed a bit further east we came upon a small pile of crashing fish. One cast with a Hogy Tuna Grade Epoxy Jig and Capt. Mike was on to a nice mid 50” fish. TIP: This is why being rigged and ready to go is so important when tuna fishing. If we hadn’t had our Epoxy Jigs ready to go, then we would have most likely missed our opportunity.

Once we gathered our bearings after fighting and landing that fish, we idled around looking for more life. Under a pile of sitting birds, Capt. Mike noticed on his Side Scanning sonar a pile of fish off the port side. One “blind” cast resulted in another hook up on a mid 50” fish. With one fish already on ice, we quickly made the call that we were going to do our best to release this fish. I’m not sure people realize just how much meat you can pull off a “small” bluefin.

Once we got the fish boat-side, Capt. Mike leadered the fish and used his trusty Hogy De-hooker to safely release the fish.Both fish came on the The Hogy Tuna Grade Epoxy Jig  which was a perfect imitation of the sandeels these fish were feeding on.

The birds and life dissipated as the day rolled on and we were having trouble locating more fish. We made the call  head to the barn as per usual, the weatherman struck out on his forecasted weather. Instead of seas 1-2ft and winds up to 5 Mph, we found ourselves offshore in less favorable conditions. After a bit of a bumpy ride home, we got back to the dock with a successful early season bluefin tuna trip in the can.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs enjoyed his first trip to the canyons last week aboard one of his customer’s boats that he typically fishes with and they had a very good trip, with a number of 30 to 50-pound yellowfin and a few small bluefin trolling skirted ballyhoo. No doubt, when you are out in that big, open water, you do your best to use temperature charts and other data, as well as any scuttlebutt you can pick up from other boats that are or have been in the area, but ultimately trolling a well thought out pattern is the way to locate fish. That said, Steve was quick to point out that when the owner or one of his guests hooks up on the troll, Steve is at the bow tossing a surface plug in hopes of watching a tuna – or even a big mahi – rocket out of the water with the lure in its jaw. Big surface stickbaits are an excellent choice for this kind of work, along with a variety of tuna rigged poppers, and Steve added that using a glide or slide bait like the Hogy Slider that works just below the surface can produce some solid hookups. I don’t know anything about tuna fishing, but I would suspect that the glide/slide plug would help maintain a solid connection to the plug if the water is a bit rougher, similar to the way a subsurface wooden swimmer such as a troller or Donny style might be more effective in white water than a traditional Danny.

Steve added that he spoke to one angler who recently made a trip south of the Claw and had a couple of bites, but no hook-ups. There was a ton of life out there, so things are shaping up south of the island.

Out east of Chatham, there has been no word of tuna yet, advised Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth across from McDonald’s, but a local boat made a recent trip to the canyons and had a mixed bag of yellowfin, bigeye, and even a wahoo, which he acknowledged was pretty early for that species in our waters. A few swordfish have also been caught, but so far the bluefin have been concentrated down off Long Island, with boats out of Montauk getting into them on bars and ballyhoo. 


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Fran Keough from North Chatham Outfitters made a 100-mile loop recently east of Chatham through the Regal Sword, Crab Ledge, and other well-known tuna haunts and he found lots of what he called “dead zones” or areas with really cold water and no bait. In fact, he said it was a really distinct change as they came back inshore and found lots of bait around as if a switch had been turned. I really don’t focus much – meaning at all – on tuna, but from what Fran advised, he looks more to the end of June/early July for things to get rolling on bluefin. At the moment, he has heard of some tuna being caught down around the Dump where there is a wedge of warmer water. 

Then again, fish swim, noted Christian Giardini, and he has heard of a few bluefin being caught, although he hasn’t had a chance to talk with any of those folks. What he did admit is that they were apparently caught over the weekend and not many folks would have ventured out in that slop. There are also some rumors that a few boats are planning on a canyon trip this weekend, but you know what they say about mighty little eating coming from a rumor fish.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

While North Chatham Outfitter’s Jake Mandirola said that some boats have been out looking for tuna east of Chatham and the lower backside, there have been no reports other than that there is a ton of bait out there. Sounds like when they show, they are going to stick around. 

Relevant Links

Meanwhile, Christian Giardini from Falmouth Bait & Tackle spoke of one boat that made a trip already to the canyons and caught a recreational size bluefin and a nice swordfish.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

When it comes to bluefin, the waters around the Regal Sword continue to produce good numbers of fish, with the jig bite very popular. Caroline Scotti at North Chatham Outfitters also said that a number of fish continue to be caught on bars as well. Stellwagen is mainly a recreational and charter boat fishery at the moment, with the commercial sector closed at the moment. Livelining mackerel and local groundfish is typically the choice of folks looking to sell fish, but squid bars work on giants as well as the smaller classes of fish. 

Finally, not much news this week on the canyons, admitted Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle; he did know of few boats that were considering heading that way, but hadn’t heard from any just yet. There is also the possibility that the heavy sea conditions might have resulted in a change of plans. The one bit of news that Christian said continues to be true is that boats were still enjoying a good yellowfin bite down around the Tuna Ridge.


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

What is going to happen to the Regal Sword madness after the wind dies is anyone’s guess, but it remained on fire right through mid-week, according to Capt. Caroline Scotti at North Chatham Outfitters and the charterboat Li’ Jaz. She went 10 for 12 on an earlier trip this week using the 8-ounce Hogy Sand Eel JigSteve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard said he heard from a couple of boats who ran into a good yellowfin bite at the Dump on their return from disappointing trips to the canyons. 

And Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle doesn’t believe this weekend will spell the end of the offshore scene around the canyons, but it will take some time for things to settle down. He has heard of a good tuna bite down around Coxes and says the key will be determining where the water temperature breaks have moved. 


Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

When Tim Coggins at the Nantucket Tackle Center told me that boats signed up for this weekend’s tournaments were most likely headed east, I assume that meant the Regal Sword. As Scott Butcher from North Chatham Outfitters said, this area is still holding incredible numbers of both recreational size bluefin and giants. If you are vertical jigging, you never know if you are going to hook with a 50-inch fish or a 100+-incher and the same is true if you are trolling bars, since giants are hitting them as well. Of course, if you want to make it stupidly easy, drop a mackerel – if you can find them – down and just hold on.

terry mahi
Capt. Terry Nugent of Riptide Charters with a stud Mahi on the Hogy Protail.

What got me a little pumped is that Scott said that increasing numbers of recreational size fish are moving back in around Crab Ledge and in towards Nauset; many folks are trolling them up, but there has been some casting action if you get there early in the morning. Some bluefin in the 30 to 40-inch range have been caught and those are the size fish I am interested in with my 14-weight; anything much larger and I know better. Of course, you can make the run well east of Peaked Hill and find castable tuna; hopes are that they will soon move in closer, shortening trips to get to where they have been most commonly found in about 150-feet of water. 

Connor Swartz at Red Top in Buzzards Bay could only say that the giants have moved into Cape Cod Bay since the guys who come into the shop are commercials and they are pretty tight lipped about where they are fishing. What Connor could tell me is that they are fishing bait and that at least two fish over 110-inches have been caught. 

The one challenge of offshore fishing is that you check the temperature charts and take your best shot; as Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said, sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. In his case, he went out last weekend with shop owner Christian Giardini to the waters around East and West Atlantis; while they didn’t find the tuna they were looking for, trolling up only one small yellowfin, they did find a floating telephone pole that was holding big numbers of 20+-pound mahi, making for some great casting action.

Rory said the yellowfin were at the shipping lanes, from all reports, while Ken Swartz went out to the Claw and they found yellowfin and longfin albacore – and, yes, Ken sent me a photo since I have not heard of any longfin at all this season


Filmed Last Week!

In this video, Capt Mike is joined by Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore Charters as they target deepwater bluefin tuna on Hogy Charter Grade Poppers.

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

I should keep this written somewhere and just paste it in until it stops being true: the Regal Sword continues to produce tuna. Matt Cody at North Chatham Outfitters said that the topwater popper bite has slowed, with a return to jigging on the menu. The Hogy Sand Eel Jig continues to prove its worth big time and Matt said they have been flying out of the shop. Heavily weighted soft plastic jigs, whether they are paddletail or eel style, are an excellent lure due to their versatility; for example, some folks troll the Hogy Harness Jig, while others deep jig it and it also can be used as a casting lure; the same holds true for the Hogy Pro Tail Paddle. Matt said that he only hooked two giants on his last trip to the Sword before he finally managed to connect with the recreational size fish he was looking for. When I asked Matt about castable size fish for flyrod folks, he said his buddies were casting topwater plugs for bass up off of Nauset this week and hooked a 45-inch bluefin and he added that it’s about time the tuna start moving in closer to shore, including – hopefully – an increased number of smaller fish.

bluefin tuna
Capt. Mike with a topwater bluefin tuna on the 7″ Hogy Charter Grade Popper.

Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle said that despite a clear edge to the east where you would expect to find tuna, the bite out around the canyons was more to the west of the temperature break. Folks who moved away from where the fish “should be” found good numbers of yellowfin on the troll with both bars and rigged/naked ballyhoo. Some folks from the Cape he knows checked out the scene around Coxes and off Montauk where there was a massive tuna bite reported, but when they saw boats casting into and even jigging around the whales in the area, since the tuna were mixed right in with the cetaceans, they opted to head elsewhere since that game wasn’t for them.

Steve Morris from Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs went to the canyons earlier this week and he was on one of the boats who went east when the fish were more to the west; they did manage one yellowfin, but as he said, “the fish won that day.” Steve did add that there are still good numbers of blue and white marlin out east, along with some bigeye, wahoo, and mahi. As far as the tuna bite south of the Vineyard, it really has died off, although Steve believes that while some people found fish inside, it really never shaped up to be a banner year. 

And up around Stellwagen, squid bars in pink, green, and black continue to produce some giant bluefin, noted Ian Field at Blackbeard’s in Eastham and Harwich, while recreational fish that are targeted on casting gear have been challenging to find in close to the backside, with folks having to run well east to locate even small numbers of castable tuna. 


Latest Video

In our latest video, Capt. Mike Hogan heads offshore targeting bluefin tuna on spinning gear using a combination of the Hogy Harness Jigs and Hogy Charter Grade Sliders.

Cape Cod Bay Offshore Fishing Report

Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait & Tackle offered up a roundup of the action during last week’s (July 12 to 16) Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic Tournament, noting that “the canyons have been on fire; there were a lot of yellowfin caught during the tournament and some fairly big bigeye in the 200-pound range. There were some marlin releases and at least one swordfish. What was really cool were two huge wahoo, one 87-pounds that typically would be the largest of the tournament, but it was topped by a 103-pounder. It’s hard to say any lure was best as fish were caught on a mix of everything, including bars; skirted and naked ballyhoo; trolling lures; and one boat even rigged up a dredge with ballyhoo. On the way back in from Welker and Hydrographer, where most boats fished, some stopped out east of Chatham and picked up their bluefin release points.”

SOme larger class bluefin can be found in the mix. Here is Justin Armstrong with one that fell for a Hogy Slider.

In the old days, Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs was known as a big striper angler, but since he has been bitten by the bluewater scene, he saves up his time for boat trips downtown and last weekend he had a great day, picking up a number of yellowfin up to 60-pounds casting plugs from the bow when fish were raised on trolled lures. As he explained, “I have been doing this for a while and it works great. I use a custom, seven-foot rod that I made out of a Calstar blank with a 14000 Shimano Twin Power and 65-pound Power Pro Max Quattro braid to an 80-pound fluorocarbon leader.” While a lot of time has been spent on creating the thinnest, smoothest knot for casting with braid and a longer, wind on leader, Steve doesn’t like the feel and sound of the knot going through the guides, so he opts for a 235-pound Spro swivel to connect line and leader and has had no problems. Steve had heard of rumors of fish south of the Vineyard and there is 70-degree water around Tuna Ridge, so it could break wide open as the scene out east did a couple of weeks ago. 

Speaking of east, Matt Cody from North Chatham Outfitters said a lot of the inshore tuna have moved farther out; Crab Ledge has slowed and there is more jigging going on than popping, with butterfly and other metal style jigs working better than soft plastics in the deeper water. He added that if you want to catch-and-release giant bluefin, this is the time to do it down around the Regal Sword; all you need to do is put a mackerel down deep. Frankly, I can’t imagine how high the mortality rate is for released giants is. Evan Eastman from Eastman’s in Falmouth advised that any topwater action at Crab Ledge and closer to shore from Chatham to Provincetown has been an early morning activity recently, with jigging producing most consistently. A couple of kids on his staff have been commercially fishing bluefin and they had reports of fish in the 95 to 105-inch range from the Sword; mackerel and whiting are both effective baits, with small bluefish tough to come by. To give you an idea of how big these fish are, they had an 80-class reel spooled the other day. 

There are still good numbers of bluefin in the 50 to 60-inch class from Race Point to Peaked Hill and the Golf Balls, although I spoke to Ken Swartz who fished on a casting charter and that put over 100-miles on the boat according to the captain; they didn’t find fish until early afternoon and had one hook up on a plug, but there were good numbers of fish around the plenty of life. 


Capt. Mike Hogan and Capt. Rob Lowell of Cape Cod Offshore shows us in-depth techniques for targeting spring haddock on Stellwagen Bank. Capt. Mike shows us how to use the “Twitch Jigging” technique perfect for targeting dense schools of haddock and cod.

Rod: Capt. Mike’s Hogy Hybrid Trolling Rod
Reel: Avet LX 6
Line: 60lb Power Pro Braid
Lure: Hogy 6.5oz Sand Eel Jig
Teaser: Hogy 3/0 Jig Biki Crystal Flash Teasers