How To: Bluefin Tuna Cape Cod

When scouting for Bluefin in the colder water south of Martha’s Vineyard in places such as the Owl, Inside Fingers and the Claw, I like to provide a huge target that says “Eat Here.” Fishing a spread of almost all spreader bars is pretty much the only way to accomplish this. Unlike the bars commonly used in Cape Cod Bay and off Chatham, I prefer small 6” and 9” squids with narrow profiles. I also like lightweight bars capable of trolling up to 7 or 8kts to cover ground.


Colors:  Bluefin tuna in this area are often keyed in on small baits such as sand eels, squid and butterfish to name a few. I like to start with 3 colors. Rainbow and Green are constants as they account for 80% of the fish. Then I introduce two other colors, usually Pink and white. If I catch a second fish on the same color, I swap out one bar to that color. I add a same color after every 2 fish.

Goose Trolling

Boat Speed: I tend to troll faster than average, sometimes 8kts, That’s why light weigh spreader bars are essential. They flex their way through fast boat speeds. I slow down on rough days and speed up on calm days. I let the spread dictate my speed. I’ll go by what looks best and try a variety of speeds until I crack the code.

Bar Size: I mix and match bar sizes. For me, the bigger the better. I want to simulate a massive bait ball.

Hootie Ballyhoo Rigged copy

WWB: Lastly, on the center rigger, I like a darker head on a ballyhoo behind a bird.

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