Cape Cod Bluefin

Light-tackle jigging for bluefin tuna off Cape Cod, Massachusetts

September 25, 2012
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Welcome to the winding roads and beautiful sand dunes of Cape Cod, Massachusetts. This is a place of much… Mike Mazur
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…natural beauty and American tradition. It’s also a place I hadn’t visited since I was 8 years old. But I made the trip recently, staying at… Mike Mazur
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…the quaint, beachside Top Mast Resort in North Truro, way out towards the tip of the Cape. I would be fishing this week with… Mike Mazur
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…this man, Capt. Bobby Rice, owner of Reel Deal Charters. Our target today: bluefin tuna. We set out that morning… Mike Mazur
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…along with some friends, Craig Cantelmo (left) of Van Staal Reels and Peter Jenkins, owner of The Saltwater Edge, a beautiful tackle shop near Newport, Rhode Island. Mike Mazur
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We all enjoyed a gorgeous Cape Cod sunrise while motoring out of Little Pleasant Bay in Orleans, Massachusetts. Also enjoying the rising sun were… Mike Mazur
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…these guys, Ron Poirier (right), owner of RonZ Manufacturing and Chris Littau of Fin-Nor and Quantum. Ron was giving Chris an early-morning education on rigging his custom soft baits for bluefin. And we had the right tackle for fishing Ron’s jigs, too, including…. Mike Mazur
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….a prototype Quantum Cabo 80 (available in late 2012), rigged, ready and glistening in the morning glow. But that was just the beginning, as several… Mike Mazur
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…beefy Van Staal reels, like this VSB250S, rested in the gunnels. Mike Mazur
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Yep, we had no shortage of tackle, all of which… Mike Mazur
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…would be perfect for sending out Ron’s tuna-busting jigs. But before we reached the fish, we were met in the pass by… Mike Mazur
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…dozens upon dozens of these guys, grey seals. These critters may look cute, but… Mike Mazur
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…they have become somewhat of a nuisance for anglers in recent years, as their numbers have multiplied. They are notorious for stealing striped bass off lines – and, by the way, they are the primary reason so many great white sharks have been swimming in these waters. But soon, we were out of the pass and running hard, and about 20 miles out, Capt. Bobby began…. Mike Mazur
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…scanning the horizon for signs of life. Mike Mazur
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This was a good sign, a pair of sperm whales. Mike Mazur
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As the whales dove down, we ran over to their vicinity, while Ron… Mike Mazur
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…began getting some of his baits ready. Mike Mazur
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Then out went the jigs. We weren’t seeing tons of jumping fish, but the occasional marked-fish on the sounder, along with the bait and other sea life, gave us hope for some bluefin hookups. Mike Mazur
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Bobby rears back with one of the Van Staals, and… Mike Mazur
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….let’s it fly. We cast and retrieved the jigs relatively high in the water column, and also… Mike Mazur
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…dropped jigs down a couple hundred feet, then worked them back up to the surface with small, twitchy actions. Mike Mazur
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And, whamo! Chris is tight! Mike Mazur
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After a good battle, this fish still had lots of power at the boat. Yes, there is a tuna underneath all that commotion! And in she… Mike Mazur
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….comes! A very fine bluefin tuna, caught the right way – on light, sporting tackle. Mike Mazur
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Chris poses with his fish with Bobby before the just-undersize tuna is turned loose. Mike Mazur
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The day was heating up, and this was another good sign. Birds spell fish wherever you are, and this boat was working a sizable flock. Mike Mazur
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And another visitor came in to play! Recognize this guy? It’s a mola mola, a crazy-looking fish that was more than happy to swim alongside our boat. He wasn’t the only visitor, though… Mike Mazur
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…all day, we were surrounded by porpoises, who happily played off the boat’s bow, and provided us with some awesome…. Mike Mazur
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…Kodak moments. Mike Mazur
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Ron was so happy, he ate a banana onboard without fear of recrimination! But soon, the goofing around was over, as Bobby… Mike Mazur
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….latched into a nice fish. This was a bigger tuna that we decided would… Mike Mazur
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…come home for dinner. Mike Mazur
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Bobby holds up his catch, a very fine Cape Cod bluefin. It was by no means a giant, but still a nice fight on the tackle we were using. The tuna also attracted the attention of a… Mike Mazur
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…good-size blue shark that circled the boat for several minutes. We figured we’d have some fun, so… Mike Mazur
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…we tossed in a line and Mr. Blue Shark cooperated. Mike Mazur
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Peter had the grueling pleasure of catching the toothy critter – and a backache! Mike Mazur
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Some more surprises – we found tons of these strange jellies floating near the surface on the tuna grounds. We never were sure what they were, but we think they were some type of comb jellies. Whatever they were, they didn’t bother the tuna… Mike Mazur
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…which continued to snap throughout the day. Even your humble correspondent managed to… Mike Mazur
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…catch a nice one. Mike Mazur
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Chris had the hot hand and was fast into another hard-pulling bluefin. These fish can really dig, even when they are relatively small. Mike Mazur
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Craig hoists the little tuna for a quick snapshot, then gave the fish to Bobby, who…. Mike Mazur
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….showed us how to properly release a small, bullet-shaped bluefin tuna. Mike Mazur
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Down it goes… Mike Mazur
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…toward the water, where it will be met with a reinvigorating splash and the freedom to grow into a giant one day. Mike Mazur

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