View Full Version : Bluefin!

02-20-2014, 12:21 AM

I have been meaning to post this and to thank the guys on this
forum for the solid advice. Special thanks to Niko, for quite a bit of
insight on targeting these fish.

I booked a charter in late August, joined up with my buddy Scott and
met up with Captain Domenic Petrarca from Coastal Charters

The only tuna I have caught prior to this trip were 30# albacore on a
1.5 day boat off southern California. I am as green as they get.
More of a surf fisherman than a boat. Scott too is mostly
a surf fisherman. So Dom had his work cut out for him, a pair of
green horns.

Got to the dock around 4am and motored out 34 miles off
Chatham, MA. Pretty exciting stuff as there were a number of boats
in convoy heading to the same area. (

As we motored out, I asked Dom to give us the tuna fishing for
dummies crash course to tuna success.

As we pull up to the spot, we immediately got word that there were
fish busting the surface and Dom put us to work with some
topwaters.....nothing....we may have been just a few moments late.

Dom fired up the search. (

We got into a pod of Minke whales and started metering fish.

We switched over to jigs, 11 oz Pt Judes. I have jigged for bass
before and really... I hate jigging, mostly because I am not very good
at it. Can't seem to get the feel for it, and to top it off we are in 250
feet of water and I am using a righty conventional. I fish lefty.

Second or third drop, Scott hooks up and gets tight to a fish. The
bluefin ends up winning the battle by taking the line across the
motor. It was a bummer but I saw it as a good sign for things to
come. We had hooked up early, and I was pretty stoked that Scott
was able to connect. Even though the fish wasn't landed I felt it was a solid icebreaker.

After a few drifts we start moving around a bit. We were trying to
train our eyes to see breaking fish. I created a couple false alarms
with what ended up being whale activity. Then I spotted a shape that
looked like a big duck with its head under water and its ass in the air.
I looked again and it never came to the surface. Hmmm..... big shark
fin. We thought it was a Great White but it was a 20' basker shark. (

We motored up next to it, and it turned and swam under our feet.
Whoa...pretty sick. In general it was astounding to see how much
life is cooking out there. We saw minke whales, humpbacks, blue
sharks, basker sharks, all kinds of different birds.

We started metering again and jigged...and jigged...and jigged some
more. We probably jigged for what seemed like a couple of hours,
and my string bean arms just couldn't handle it. I started alternating
drops. Rest during one and jig the following...while Dom and Scott
kept at it.

Dom noticed that I was getting fatigued and really struggling. I am
not sure which it was...probably a combination of pity and disgust,
but he decides to let me off the hook and sets me up with a spinning
outfit and a ron-z and tells me to take a couple casts off the bow. It
was initially sort of embarrassing as I kind of felt he just wanted to
get me out of the way. Hahaha....anything to get out of jigging in
250 feet of water. He definitely relocated me to a better briar patch.

So, I have thrown ron-zs before but not in waters that are 250 feet
deep. The lure can only be about 4oz, so with the current and drift it
definitely is not going to get to the bottom where all the sandeels
are. Really what are the odds of a fish being anywhere near my

I ask Dom how I should be fishing the soft plastic. He gives me a
couple simple instructions. Basically casting up drift a little and letting
it free fall until it swings down drift. Sort of like swinging a bucktail in

Dom shouts out fish metering at 40 feet! I take another
cast.....then... I see the line twitch on the drop. Just like how a
largemouth bass will twitch the line as it inhales a sinking jelly worm.
Slowly, the line starts to move making an accelerated v-wake as line
starts to swing to the fish. Dom, at this point is yelling at me that I
have a fish on. Yeah! I know! (

I flip the bail over on the Stella, and line is just screaming off. Dom
walks me through the fight.

That thing had so much power. Nothing compares. I got up and
down on the fish and started walking the fish to the back of the boat,
when I just got gassed out. I just couldn't crank the handle one
more time. I really thought I was going to loose grip on the rod and
send it overboard, so I handed it off to Scott, who finished the job.

the gaff...Dom estimated this fish to be in the 120 -150# class and
he heaves it over the rail. ( ( (

Once the cork was popped...Dom and Scott unleased their fury on
ten other fish to about 250#. I was physically done for the hands and arms were useless. I just served as
photographer and did my best to stay out of the way. ( ( ( ( (

Scott and Dom Tagged a few really nice ones. ( (

The sick thing is that Dom and Bobby Rice were the only boats visibly
taking fish, and there had to be over 30 boats circling around us. A
pretty definitive testimony to the skill of both captains.

02-20-2014, 12:22 AM
The highlight of the outing was to see Dom get spooled. He hooked
up with a monster....the 25# of drag and his thumb on the spool just
could not stop the train. ( (

Just such a treat to witness the presence of such a big fish.

Overall a fantastic trip. We all tapped out, left the fish biting and headed in early. (

here is Dom's account of the outing:

The day started after blasting down to the area I have been working at 31 knots, arriving

at 6:19am, and with the very first drop of the jig, Scott comes tight with the deep force

310gram jig, and just as quickly pops it off under the boat....but that was just the

beginning of what was to be an insane day on the tuna grounds aboard the Dusky. The fish

were marking well on the sounder up high in the water column today early on, and with the

3rd or 4th cast with the RonZ, Steve came tight on his very first bluefin. After a pretty

spirited fight, the fish came to gaff and graced the deck of the Dusky for the only kill

fish of the day, taping out at a nice 64" and around 150 pounds. It was really nice to

get the fish on board early, in fact my adrenaline level was so peaked that I pulled the

fish over the rail with out the usual tail rope and in-water bleeding...primal rage pent

up inside I guess! As we moved up the line to repeat the drift, the sonar was lit up, so

we began the drift which would be repeated 8 or 9 times throughout the day, each time

with success! The excitement level was high each pass with tuna streaking up and down

chasing both the natural bait as well as our jigs. Fish were obviously pretty active with

what was being seen on the sonar, and the amount of bumps, hits, and outright slams our

offerings got were staggering. Not including the 15 or so pick ups that didn't get solid

hook-ups, we had 10 instances where we were tight to bluefin, and 6 of them made it to

the boat. The fish got progressively larger as the morning wore on, and we were able to

put tags in 68", 70", and 75" fish, all with really healthy, clean releases. The mid

morning highlight was a hook-up to a REAL fish, something of a different stature and

character all-together. On the identical set-up with identical drag that bested the 75"

fish, we watched as a fish vaporized 600 yards of 100# braid under 25 pounds at strike in

the hands of yours truly....I went to full halfway through the run, and the fish actually

increased speed, my thumbs were useless as the rod tip was stuffed under water because

the fish ran straight under the boat and then charged the surface. Popped him off rather

quick, but to feel the power of such a large, angry animal was one of the best feelings I

have ever had on the end of the line. Both Scott and Steve will be feeling the after

effects of their trip for some time to come, I am certain. I feel like I was run over by

a truck myself.

An absolutely insane day, shared with two great guys, and our buddy boat for the day, the

Reel Deal with Capt. Bobby Rice and crew, who went 7 for 11 right next to us, also all on

the vertical game. The light tackle guys putting on a clinic amongst the troll fleet!

02-20-2014, 05:28 AM
most excellent post

02-20-2014, 07:20 AM
Well I know where my mind will be all day,,, :)
Thanks :drool:

02-20-2014, 08:03 AM
A Niko and Buzz dream for sure in Feb >><> ---

02-20-2014, 08:11 AM
2014 here we come but I much prefer trolling!

02-20-2014, 08:37 AM
Doesnt get better then that,, nice job on the pics.

02-20-2014, 08:47 AM
Great report.
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

02-20-2014, 09:19 AM
Fantastic report! Love the pictures sort of warms you up as all this snow is melting. Captain Dom. Gets it done! He's super animated and that energy gets you all pumped up!

Was out there a few times this year Buzz and I did'nt see/hear the trolling fleet do much.

Fly Rod
02-20-2014, 10:07 AM
Great fishing...Great report...Great excellent photos and a great Dusky boat...:)

02-20-2014, 03:03 PM
Good stuff. Been a few years since I heard a reel scream from a tuna, ..... There is no better sound. Hopefully the fish visit stellwagen in better numbers this year. Great post and pics!!
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

02-20-2014, 06:20 PM
nice report puppet. start working out for next season, lol. between that and the block island trip, you have some great highlights from last season

02-20-2014, 07:18 PM
Nice job Puppet! Those BFT get the blood flowing!
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02-20-2014, 07:26 PM
Thanks guys, glad you dig the report and the angling effort.

start working out for next season, lol. between that and the block island trip, you have some great highlights from last season

hahaha.....just trying to make the most of my time on this planet.
Trying to scoop up opportunities as they appear.

I can see why you guys would get hooked on fishing out there, its
like being in a different world. I just need to find the world with
the toy sized models.

02-20-2014, 08:17 PM
Pretty Awesome story!

02-20-2014, 08:56 PM
I just need to find the world with
the toy sized models.

yellowfin, to bad they wont swim closer to shore

02-24-2014, 07:32 PM
Nice job and great pics.
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02-24-2014, 08:03 PM
Great job/story/read, if you need a work out at 250' dont fish with freak anything less then 400 is for the weak lol....

Would love more stories like this felt like i was there!
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

02-25-2014, 09:38 AM
Great job/story/read, if you need a work out at 250' dont fish with freak anything less then 400 is for the weak lol....

Would love more stories like this felt like i was there!
Posted from my iPhone/Mobile device

Just the thought makes me want to barf.

What is he using... a 2 lb jig?

hahaha....I am glad I do not have to do that. On slow bites that
must be brutal. 8 hours of jigging in the abyss. After about 3 drops
I would be ready to go back to shore and catch searobins.

02-25-2014, 09:51 AM
Great report, Thank you for sharing, I'll be reading this about 30 times between now and June!

02-25-2014, 11:58 PM
thanks for sharing a remarkable trip Stephen, as much as I thought about it leading up to the day, I don't think I ever imagined it being anything like that...we were fortunate and blessed to enjoy a true trip of a lifetime

02-26-2014, 08:16 AM
thanks for sharing a remarkable trip Stephen, as much as I thought about it leading up to the day, I don't think I ever imagined it being anything like that...we were fortunate and blessed to enjoy a true trip of a lifetime

Right on Scott!

It really was one of those perfect days.

One thing that I would like to note is that Scott and I had totally
different experiences on this trip. My above report is only part of the story.

I found my limits, and as final and disappointing as that is...there is
something powerful in finding that truth. I have never been beaten
by a fish. No tackle failures or breakoffs... just a physical defeat. I
never thought it would happen, and was dumbfounded by how
easily and quickly these fish made mincemeat out of me.

Scott on the other hand seemed to get stronger as the trip went
on. If my memory is correct he fought almost every fish we hooked
up with that day and at least 80% of them... he fought solo.

Where I was less than one and done, Scott kept up stepping up for
more... and battled at least 9 fish, all much bigger than the one we
landed together. Some nearly twice the size. He absorbed Dom's
instruction like a sponge and it was amazing to see the
improvement in his technique within a couple hours. He is a hell of
an angler, and I am lucky to have shared that day with him.

We went into the charter knowing the possibility of it just being a
boat trip. We were really fortunate to have a practically wide open
bite of bluefin... more than we could handle. On the fourth "Last
drift" Dom says "There is something wrong with me guys, I cannot
stop fishing!" You know that it is a special day when the Captain of
the boat, who has probably seen it all, cannot walk away. Dom
eventually tapped out even though we continued to meter fish and
we headed in an hour early.

02-28-2014, 10:47 AM
great stuff!

03-01-2014, 01:49 PM
What a great story and remarkable trip. Congrats. makes all this snow just melt away

03-01-2014, 02:27 PM
Congrats. makes all this snow just melt

the 150 lbs of salt i just bought will be doing that...
8-10 inches more snow coming sunday->tuesday
and supposedly a bummer of an Ice-storm coming next friday

they're saying that the jet stream is all wavey like
and is responsible for this wacky weather...
flooding in ENGLAND 3 feet deep ----very unusual

03-04-2014, 08:13 AM
there's also the benefit of gorging on insanely tasty tuna day after day for an extended duration that he didn't mention...unbelievably good :)

04-04-2014, 04:23 PM
nice fish and boat