Offshore Updated Fishing Report

September 19, 2019 Weekly Rating: N/A

The word is that the tuna bite up around Stellwagen has slowed, but there are still some big bluefin east of Chatham.

Capt. Austin Proudfoot of North Chatham Outfitters reported that there are a good number of recreational (sub 73-inch) fish out around Crab Ledge and folks are both casting and jigging in hopes of hooking up a fish in the 200-pound category, which is more appropriate for spinning tackle.

That said, Austin emphasized that if someone want to significantly increase his or her odds of hooking up, then bait is the way to go.

As far as the canyons go, Rory Edwards said that a few guys made a last minute trip before things get extra gnarly with the seas kicking up as the remnants of Hurricane Humberto and perhaps even Jerry later on pass by.

September 5, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

What the remnants of Dorian will do is anyone’s guess, but I can offer the offshore waters forecast:

FRI NIGHT…E winds 20 to 30 kt, increasing to 45 to 60 kt. Seas 6 to 10 ft, building to 14 to 24 ft. Numerous showers and isolated tstms with vsby 1 nm or less. .SAT…N to NE winds 65 to 80 kt, becoming N to NW 30 to 40 kt. Seas 21 to 36 ft, subsiding to 14 to 28 ft.  .SAT NIGHT…NW winds 20 to 30 kt, becoming W to NW 10 to 20 kt. Seas 12 to 20 ft, subsiding to 7 to 12 ft.  .SUN…NW winds 10 to 20 kt. Seas subsiding to 5 to 9 ft.

Boats that had ventured out earlier this week found the same solid yellowfin action around Veatch, Hydrographer, and Oceanographer. The fish weren’t fussy and hit everything from skirted ballyhoo to bars and chains, especially those featuring green machines and more natural colored squids.

Some wahoo were caught, as well as plenty of mahi and small skipjack tuna were very active.

Capt. Austin Proudfoot from North Chatham Outfitters told me that bluefin in the 90+-inch class have moved into the waters 10 to 12-miles outside Chatham Inlet. Livelining mackerel has been the top producing technique, with a few boats using squid.

August 29, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

Both Kevin Downs at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Falmouth village of Teaticket and Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard had similar positive reports about fishing at the canyons.

Steve fished from Veatch to Hydrographer earlier this week and said that had a great bite on yellowfin in the 70-pound class; there are a lot of juvenile skipjack in the area that the larger tuna are feeding on. Capt. Joe Shute’s skirted heads combined with ballyhoo continue to catch plenty of fish, while Kevin said that green machine bars continue to fish well.

While not on his boat, Steve did hear of a couple of blue marlin hookups and a few swordfish were landed on the nighttime bite.

Kevin told me that they occasionally cast for skipjacks, which are quite often active on the surface; he has done well with the Charter Grade Sliders ripped right along on top.

The bluefin up around Stellwagen are making occasional forays into Cape Cod Bay to feed on schools of pogies, noted Capt. Austin Proudfoot at North Chatham Outfitters, and with the season scheduled to open again on Sunday, September 1, there should be good numbers of boats there and out east.

August 22, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5

When two people use some derivation of “killer” to describe the fishing around the canyons, you know it is good.

Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs returned yesterday from a trip out to Veatch and he said it “was a killer trip.” They caught around 40 nice yellowfin trolling Joe Shute skirts and ballyhoo; the captain running the boat prefers black-and-purple, so that’s what they used, but Steve said he is a big fan of blue-and-white. They also deployed some Joe Shute’s with glow heads later in the day and they worked as well.

Over at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in the Teaticket section of Falmouth, Kevin Downs had also just returned from a trip to Veatch and he too said “they killed it,” with big yellowfin in the 50 to 70-pound class, a hook up with an estimated 400 to 500-pound blue marlin, and plenty of mahi on the troll. They also tried some swordfishing at night, but came up empty while another boat in the area managed one. One of the coolest parts of the trip was watching all of the five and six-inch baby mahi that were attracted by the lights.

Out east, the bluefin bite is still going strong, said Capt. Austin Proudfoot at North Chatham Outfitters, but he and his crew had some fun with an estimated 400+-pound thresher shark that ate a live mackerel that was intended for a bluefin. Austin said he loves those big pelagic sharks with jump and really fight hard, as well as providing some variety when bait fishing for bluefin.

August 15, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

No word of anything exciting closer in to the Vineyard and Nantucket, other than some mahi and a few sharks at the Dump, means that the offshore score has to suffer.

That said, Rory Edwards at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket said that owner Christian Giardini went to the canyons on Monday and came back with yellowfin and sizeable mahi that were caught on the troll as opposed to casting to high flyers and other floating debris. Rory said that Christian typically fishes a mix of “meat” and lures in his spread, rigging his ballyhoo behind Joe Shute’s and Beamish lures, while he typically has a green machine bar somewhere in the mix.

For folks who don’t have outriggers on their boat and are therefore limited in terms of the spread they can set out, Rory told me that there are squid bars that now feature birds that either push the bar out to starboard or port, allowing for a wide spread. Sounds like a pretty cool idea.

Out east, there are plenty of giant bluefin, but with the market essentially closed, it is really pathetic when someone kills a fish and is paid at best around twenty cents a pound. Folks like Capt. Austin Proudfoot work long and hard on catch-and-release techniques for these big fish, with one significant element being swimming the fish alongside the boat to allow it get lactic acid out of its body and gain strength and equilibrium.

Bruce Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle told me that some bluefin have been moving deep in Cape Cod Bay to feed on bluefish that are chewing on mackerel. Overall, though, most of the fish have been on Stellwagen.

August 8, 2019 Weekly Rating: 5 out of 5

Despite the lack of small tuna south of the Vineyard, the action at the canyons and east/southeast of Chatham remains really good.

Capt. Austin Proudfoot managed to find a recreational size bluefin this week for some flyrodders who were visiting the area from out west and whose largest fish previously were trout. As he explained, with so many 80 to 90+-inch tuna in the waters out by the Regal Sword and the Figs, finding a smaller fish was quite an accomplishment.

Speaking of the Sword, Austin said he hooked up with four giants there while trolling pollock, which were the only baitfish they managed to jig up as mackerel, which has been what they typically use, were tough to find on that trip. Unfortunately, as is often the case when tangling with big tuna, none of those fish were brought to the boat.

The word from Christian Giardini at Falmouth Bait & Tackle in Teaticket is that there most recent trip to Veatch produced a white marlin doubleheader and a number of smaller yellowfin, while another boat that visited Atlantis found larger yellowfin and a swordfish. There are still some bigeye around as well.

Along with some larger mahi around the high flyers at the canyons, the word is that the Dump, which is more of a reasonable run for smaller boats, has its share of smaller mahi, again around the high flyers that mark the gear of offshore lobstermen.

According to Christian Giardini, having some “meat,” typically in the form of ballyhoo, is a must in any spread he sets out. They can be fished naked, but overall he prefers to fish them behind a skirt such as Joe Shute or chugger head such as a Beamish.


August 1, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4.5 out of 5

I am deducting a half point for the general lack of action south of the Vineyard, which has small(er) boat operators frowning since some made the investment in a boat based on the great fishing of a couple of seasons ago. But last year was a bust and so far things have been pretty grim this year.

That said, Jim Young at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle in Falmouth reported that some of the warm water that has helped fuel a great bite at the canyons has dispersed and started to move south of the Vineyard.

Some boats have reported finding white marlin and wahoo out by the Dump and Taylor Trudel told me that at least one Vineyard boat was out recently searching the high flyers for mahi.

Meanwhile, the tuna bite at Veatch, Hydrographer, and Oceanographer remains really good, with a mix of yellowfin and bigeye. The fish are hitting everything from ballyhoo, both skirted and naked, and bars. Mahi up to the 20-pound class are providing plenty of acrobatics and there are big blue marlin around as well.

Out east, the bluefin bite remains strong, with plenty of mackerel available for the livelining crew, while trollers are enjoying good fishing as well.

Up on Stellwagen, livelining mackerel, pogies, and bluefish has been most productive.

July 25, 2019 Weekly Rating: 4 out of 5

The only negative in the offshore tuna season has been the lack of fish south of the Vineyard. This is the second year that fish have not shown at spots like the Claw, the Dump, and the shipping lanes, all of which can be reached comfortably in a smaller (relatively!) boat as opposed to the canyons.

Speaking of the eastern canyons, last weeks Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic was a rousing success, with plenty of yellowfin in the 40 to 60-pound class and a number of bigeye, with the largest well over 200-pounds, as well as a couple of bluefin. Two blue marlin were brought to the boat and released, a small swordfish was weighed in, and mahi up to the high teens were caught. The weather turned out fine and the fish at Hydrographer, Oceanographer, and Veatch were hitting everything from ballyhoo, both naked and skirted, as well as bars and chains.

East of Chatham, the giant bluefin bite remains hot. Capt. Austin Proudfoot of North Chatham Outfitters hooked up a couple of times recently, but gear failure did them in; he said folks are fishing live bait such as mackerel, but they are also catching fish trolling ballyhoo and bars.

Bob Lewis fished this area last Friday in a charity tournament on an 81-foot Merritt and they caught three big fish, releasing two and keeping one for fresh tuna steaks, sashimi, and sushi. Bob is a dedicated flyrodder, so it certainly was different dealing with a 130-class outfit.

July 18, 2019 Weekly Rating: 3.5 out of 5

The yellowfin bite out at the canyons has been red hot recently.

The lack of tuna and billfish south of the Vineyard has definitely disappointed folks with smaller boats for the second year in a row. A.J. Coots from Red Top in Buzzards Bay fished from the Claw to the Dump earlier this week, and while they saw bait and life, they had no hook ups or signs of tuna.

On the other hand, Steve Morris at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs on the Vineyard told me that earlier in the day he had spoken to a boat via satellite phone that was fishing at Welker’s and he was doing really well on yellowfin.

Some bigeye and billfish continue to be caught around Hydrographer and I was hoping that the Oak Bluffs Bluewater Classic, which started on Wednesday and runs until Saturday, would provide more information on the offshore scene, but I have heard some reports that conditions weren’t look great downtown.

Capt. Austin Proudfoot from North Chatham Outfitters said that they have enjoyed some good giant bluefin fishing out east and southeast of Chatham. They have been using both live bait, specifically mackerel, as well as spreader bars. In fact, Austin told me that he had never caught a tuna on a pink bar, but that changed with what he thought was a recreational fish, but turned out to be a 91-inch commercial giant.

July 11, 2019 Weekly Rating: N/A

First off, the word concerning bluefin is most boats aren’t fishing for the giants around Stellwagen or out east of Chatham because there is no market for them, explained Kevin Downs at Falmouth Bait & Tackle.

Jim Young heard that a boat out of Hyannis picked up 26 yellowfin at Hydrographer, where the good water has been. This particular vessel is set up to green stick, allowing it to fish a large bird with a number of lines from the wash to way back.

The bigeye bite continues to be good at Hydro as well as down towards Block Canyon and Hudson Canyon, with some tuna reported closer in towards Montauk.

A blue marlin was hooked but dropped by a boat fishing the Falmouth Grand Prix out of Falmouth Harbor, with some white marlin caught and released and Capt. Larry Backman of Skipjack and his crew picked up a 100+-pound swordfish.

June 27, 2019 Weekly Rating: 2 out of 5

The last report that Jim Young at Eastman’s in Falmouth had concerned Capt. Larry Backman and Skipjack that made the trip towards to canyons and managed some small tuna and tilefish.

Ironically, Matt Malowski at Dick’s Bait & Tackle in Oak Bluffs said owner Steve Morris was off in that direction, again in search of the same species. Hopefully, I will be able to get in touch with Steve this evening to see how they did.

Matt added that someone Steve fishes with occasionly managed some small bluefish south of the Vineyard, but he couldn’t specific which area he fished.

Meanwhile, Matt Cody at North Chatham Outfitters told me that Capt. Austin Proudfoot wasn’t in the shop because he was out fishing for bluefin up around Stellwagen. Apparently, some fish have been caught up around the bank on both bars and ballyhoo.

June 14, 2019 Weekly Rating: 2 out of 5

Things are really only starting to get interesting offshore, although as long as a couple of weeks ago a boat out of Falmouth made the run to the canyons and found plenty of life.

This week, Capt. Mike ran south of the Vineyard to the Claw and Coxes, but came up empty on tuna. But one thing I have learned over the years is that Mike is a very resourceful angler and always has a Plan B up his sleeve if Charlie doesn’t show up. In this case, he was determined to catch at least one cod at Coxes, but did much better than that, as he and John Burns loaded up on 8 to 10-pound cod once they located a productive piece of structure.

Capt. Mike Hogan with a nice sized cod caught offshore this past week on the Hogy Sand Eel Jig.

There are tuna out east of Chatham, in the vicinity of the Figs, Capt. Austin Proudfoot at North Chatham Outfitters believes. These are big fish, well into the giant category, and folks are either trolling ballyhoo or livelining mackerel.