Early November Top Water Bluefin Tuna on Hogy Pro Tails
The November sun beat down on the flat calm ocean water surrounding Cape Cod as Capt. Mike Hogan, Capt. John Burns and the Salty Cape Crew left Sandwich Marina aboard the Relentless to chase reports of aggressive schools of Bluefin tuna feeding on small butterfish. Conditions like these provide great opportunity to catch 100lb.+ fish on top water spinning gear.
“The plan for today is we’re going to go to the east side of the Outer Cape,” said Capt. John Burns. “We’re going to poke around Peaked Hill, move down to the Golf Balls and keep going south until we see some fish.”
A few days prior, Capt. John fished the same area and was met with impressive signs of life, such as whales bubble feeding, dolphins swimming and birds diving on bait. Upon arriving today, they were met with the same signs. Although they didn’t see any actively feeding or swimming tuna, these signs are all great indicators that tuna will likely arrive in the area shortly.
The greasy calm conditions are indicative of a few crucial steps the crew needs to take in order to successfully catch these fish; fluorocarbon leaders, ultra-perfect lure presentation, leading the fish properly and matching the hatch perfectly.
To do so, Capt. Mike has selected the 5oz Hogy Pro Tail Paddle in the bone coloration in hopes of imitating small butterfish and mackerel in the area.
“This lure has just about everything you could need,” said Capt. Mike. “It’s got the over-sized eye, the small profile that has enough casting weight to throw the Stella 20000 class reel and they can be fished with any retrieve speed.”
But today, Capt. Mike will be fishing them slowly and deliberately to entice any these milling tuna that are going to be very spooky due to the greasy calm conditions of the day.
Despite having the four ounces of weight inside the nose, the paddle serves as a parachute and it’s going to raise the bait to the surface. With a slow retrieve, this will keep the bait four to five feet under the water.
Step 1: Cast out and keep the rod at a 45-degree angle for about the first half of the cast. As the angle gets steeper as the lure approaches the boat, slowly drop the tip. This will keep the lure at the constant four to five feet below the surface.
Step 2: If you see something that seems interesting or worth investigating, begin reeling as fast as possible with short stalls in between, letting it sink. The bait is going to quiver as it descends down. Count to two or three and reel it back up. As you get closer to the boat, the stall should be shorter and shorter. If the fish is going to hit it, it’s going to hit it on the stall.
Not having much luck in this initial location, the crew decides to pack up and move on, spotting rolling fish in the distance. Casting quickly on these top water fish, Mike lets his lure sink slightly before regaining the line and beginning his slow retrieve sequence, implementing quick reels and short pauses as he notices some follows. Setting the hook, the drag screams and Capt. Mike relishes in the ride.
“The Pro Tail Paddles have been super lures for us this season,” said Capt. John. “They basically manufacture fish so we’re psyched to be hooked up here in November.”
Rod: 7′ Shimano Terez
Reel: Stella 20000
Line: 100lb hollow core
Leader: 80lb fluorocarbon