Trip #16  The Trifecta (6/23/01)

The winds would be strong from the south, with sloppy seas.  The word however was that the school bluefin bite was in full swing.  Mike, Andrew, and I knew that it would be wet ride to the fishing grounds, but we were all chomping at the bit.

I found whitecaps and breaking waves between the jetties, on the way out the inlet, the first time I had ever seen conditions like that here.  We tucked the bow down, and throttled up.  It was rough, but not too wet .... yet.  As we neared Monomoy Island, the radar showed a considerable shower cell ahead.  We hunkered down, rounded the tip of the Island, and headed east.  With the first signs of light showing, I throttled up some more, and really dowsed the crew.  We had come too far to miss first light, and the glow baits were already charged on the ride out.

After carefully checking each rig, to be sure it would hold up, we deployed the CMS 9 inch spreader bars, and fell into a trolling pattern with a medium size sportfishing boat off our starboard.  We were 5-8 minutes minutes into the troll when the first bluefin hit - if all days could start so quickly!  I battled and landed my first bluefin.   I was impressed, but not caught off guard, by the power of these fish.  I was equally impressed with the job Andy and Mike did, of landing it twenty minutes later.   The school bluefin measured 63 inches in length, and had a girth of 42 inches.    

It took about twenty minutes of trolling to find Mike's fish.  I think this fight re-energized Mike, as he had been quite cold and wet, since he forgot his foul weather gear.  Mike expertly fought the fish, and boated the largest fish of the day, at 65.5 inches.

It was still rough, and so foggy that the half dozen or so boats in the area were never visible again, but stood out clearly on the Furuno Radar.  We had to work an eternal 40 minutes for Andrew's hook up.  Andrew is a natural when it comes to bluefin fishing, as he has done it for a considerable time.  He whipped the 59 inch schoolie in no time, had him dressed and was ready for our fourth fish!  With me a bit queasy, we decided that it had been quite a morning, and decided to head home.  We were back at the dock around 9:30AM, none too soon for me, though it had been a truly magnificent day east of Chatham. 

Take a look in the Fishing Photos portion of this web page to see the bluefin caught that day.  The first six photos under the Bluefin Tuna section, were shot this eventful day of June 23, 2001.  All the fish were taken on Penn tunasticks with Shimano TLD-25s, fighting standup.