Martha’s Vineyard local Ben was fishing off of a Menemsha beach on Sunday afternoon when he hooked into an abnormally large northern puffer, estimated at about 16″ long. While there is no size record kept for northern puffer in the state of Massachusetts, a NOAA study by Block & Schneider from 1982 puts the extreme upper length of the species at about 12″. Northern puffers are most commonly caught in the Chesapeake Bay area, with Cape Cod being the northernmost known habitable waters for the species.
The catch is also indicative of the warming waters in Nantucket Sound, which has brought southern species such as cobia into the area this time of year each of the last few seasons.
If you’d like to target puffers yourself, they are caught with similar techniques as the other common bottom fish around Cape Cod, with cut bait such as a pogies, clams, crabs and sea worms your best bet.