An apex predator of the North Atlantic, Bluefin Tuna grow to over ten feet in length and can weigh up to 1,400 pounds. Tuna are the ultimate angling challenge; streamlined and powerful, they swim at speeds over 40 miles per hour. Blistering runs and prolonged bulldogging sessions are typical of a battle with a Bluefin Tuna. Though not truly “warm-blooded”, a physiological trait called thermoregulation enables the tuna’s body temperature to run several degrees higher than the surrounding seawater temperature. This biological advantage has allowed the species to forage farther into the cold, nutrient rich waters of the North Atlantic. When these cold waters upwell and come in contact with sunlight off the New England coastline it results in huge plankton blooms. The plankton in turn support an incredible biomass of bait fish that have allowed the Bluefin to become one of the largest predators on the planet. Check out our Bluefin Tuna Trips and Rates.
Bluefin Tuna arrive in Cape Cod waters early in June after a long migration from their winter breeding grounds in the Gulf of Mexico and the Mediterranean Sea. While here, the tuna’s only objective is to eat! They do so voraciously, feeding on schools of bait from the surface all the way to the ocean floor. In the late fall, after fattening up for months, they depart our waters to head south again. Bluefin Tuna can be found in most of the waters surrounding the Cape at different times of the year. From Cape Cod Bay north to Stellwagon Bank, and east and south to Nantucket and beyond.
The Dragonfly is trailer-launched daily. This gives us the unique ability to begin our trip as close to the fish as possible, thereby limiting our travel time and maximizing our fishing time. The launches we use most frequently for Bluefin fishing trips are River Road in Orleans and Sesuit Harbor in Dennis. I am in close contact with a number of the best fishing guides on the Cape, and we communicate daily to make sure that we put our clients on the best fishing possible. We generally decide which harbor we will depart from based on the latest information in the late afternoon of the day before our trip.
Most of the fish we target on the Dragonfly are “school size” fish in the 75-250 pound range, but much larger fish frequently mix in with these schools. I carry only the best Bluefin fishing gear on the Dragonfly because these incredibly strong fish will destroy anything less! We employ heavy Van Staal spinning gear for casting. When conditions are favorable we can “run and gun”, utilizing Dragonfly’s speed and maneuverability to chase fast moving schools of tuna crashing bait on the surface. Nothing can compare to the sight of a Bluefin opening up a 10 foot hole in the water as it inhales your lure! Fish that are feeding deeper in the water column are spotted on the sonar, and then targeted with vertical jigging techniques. Trolling can also be an extremely effective method for catching Bluefin. We use custom bent-butt stand-up rods coupled with 2-speed 70Wide reels. Generally our trolling “spread” will include a combination of large squid spreader bars (each one comprised of 10-15 6″-12″ soft plastic squid) and skirted ballyhoo. Fighting belts and harnesses are used to give anglers added leverage. When pursuing the giants, (500 lbs. plus) we drift live baits (usually mackerel or bluefish up to 10 pounds) on 130 pound class rods with two speed reels.
Regular sightings of Humpback Whales, Minke Whales, Atlantic White-Sided Dolphins and occasionally the rare North Atlantic Right Whale are an added bonus on these trips. Check out our Bluefin Tuna Trips and Rates.
Come join me on the Dragonfly this season for one of the biggest and most exciting challenges the world of angling has to offer. I look forward to having you aboard!