Current Waters: These Are The Days

Capt. Carl Bois •

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Wow, what a week. We’re so happy for the weather we’ve had. It’s been a joy to be on the water this week. The fishing is amazing. These are the days that keep us coming back.

This week’s fish report: The striper fishing continues to hold very strong. The percentage of large fish continues to increase. Keep in mind the keeper slot is between 28” and 31”. We’re enjoying photos with the big ones we have to let go.

We’re seeing more and more bluefish but they’re not as aggressive as they are known for. They’re around but maybe they’re a little pickier than one would expect.

The bonito continue to be around with a few more caught this week. It’ll be interesting to see if they’re here for the season or if this is just a “fluke." Bonito are a fun fish to go for. You’ll find them following bait schools and feeding aggressively. The Atlantic bonito is a ram ventilator, meaning it cannot bite. They must eat their prey whole. That is why they eat mostly smaller fish like small mackerels, menhaden, and sand eel in our waters. When fishing for bonito, typically, fast-moving bait imitation works for them. Think about what they eat. They like sand eels and squid; fast-moving, mid-water column bait will usually do the trick.

I ran into Dan Holms (@acksurfcasting) and chatted about what we’ve been seeing recently. This is the gist of our conversation. According to Dan, things have been nice and consistent from the beach. So far, we’ve got a decent bass year with bigger fish coming in all over the place. We’ve been seeing stripers in the mid 30- inches to 40-inches along the south shore moving east. One thing that we both noted is the lack of stripers in the teens or 20-inchers. While that sounds great for this year with big fish all around, that’s concerning moving forward. Too many years of big fish could be worrisome for future summers.

The amount of mackerel sticking around this late in the season is interesting. People have been getting them in the harbor from the town pier. But they’re even catching them from the beach on the south shore this late in June. One thought Dan had about the bonito was that they are closely related to the mackerel and maybe they’re hanging out with them. We used to get one or two in June, but now they’re just around. People have been getting bonito at night from the beach even on sp minnows. The one caught deep in the harbor was caught on a sluggo. That’s wild.

Lastly, we talked about bluefish. Dan noticed schools of bluefish running through off the shore that were in the 30-inch range. All the bluefish caught were full of menhaden (baitfish). Maybe that’s why they weren’t biting from the boat. They’re full and content. If the baitfish are that plentiful, there is no need to chase a bait.

Our conversation rambled on long enough we had to cut it off to write the article. Check out @acksurfcasting for more beach info.

You may have heard about the orcas (killer whales) that were seen by a spotter plane recently. The aerial survey was conducted by NOAA Northeast Fisheries Science Center. They found a total of 161 whales of seven different species. It’s unusual but not unheard of to see orcas in our waters. Almost exactly a year ago four orcas were spotted south of the island. But to see a killer whale with a tuna in its mouth and captured on camera is even more impressive. They are following the food!

Other whales in that survey included sei whales, humpbacks, fin whales, minke, sperm, and right whales. When we were recently out fishing, we were treated to a humpback whale show. Always a bonus when tuna fishing.

View recent photos

For fishermen and anglers like me, the orcas are cool, but it’s what they’re eating that makes me wake up early in the morning. The orcas were feeding on bluefin tuna. These are the “rec fish” or recreational-sized tuna under 73 inches (by regulation). The ones above 73 inches are commercial fish that can only be harvested by licensed and permitted boats with proper safety equipment.

Tuna are a highly migratory species. Even if you’re going for rec fish, everyone and anyone who fishes for them is required to have a “highly migratory fish” permit. This is a federal permit that you get through NOAA. Make sure you get your permit and please report your fish. Catch reports are important to keep the fishery going.

This has been an exciting week for bluefin tuna and we’ve started the season strong. That first trip out is going to be tough to beat, but I look forward to making it happen. We kept one fish for some delicious table fare. My wife has a knack for tuna poke bowls.

We’ve got many months of tuna fishing ahead, but if you’re at all interested in checking this fishery out, now is a great time to go. Talk to your favorite charter and try to make it happen. If that’s not possible for you, there is plenty of action for other species right now. You can bend a rod along the shore where the fishing is good.

I hope you have a fishy Father’s Day!

Interested in seeing more of our catch and life on the water? Check out our social media for videos and content of recent trips including whales! @topspinfishing.

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