Sarda sarda

Sarda sarda or Atlantic Bonito, Order Perciformes, Family Scombridae or mackeral family which besides mackeral and bonito, include tuna.   Sometimes referred to as little tunny, funny fish.  They make great great sport on light tackle and the flyrod plus they are good eating.

Bass push herring on the beach - pic by Capt. Phil Cronin

Captain John gets footage of Coop in the carnage- pic by Capt. Phil Cronin

The quest to catch them can cause people to burn gas like it was 5o cents a gallon, drool in anticipation, become all thumbs when managing a flyline, and drive their boat like a maniac to get a cast off.  A popular neanderthal technice is the run and gun which makes you very unpopular with the group that has been waiting paitiently for fish to break.  While experienced bonito chasers have there preffered arsenal of flies and lures here are a few starters for those that want to give this a shot.  The bonito bunny is an old standard, along with bay anchovie patterns.  For the spinnng tackle crowd, deadly dicks (green) and swedish pimples are popular.  Often early fish are caught trolling fast track rebels.  While inshore they seem to be quite fickle and challenging to catch, I have heard of them being caught in deeper waters with wire rigs and even tube and worm.  At the moment I have not heard of any fish on the mainland side, but reports around the islands are increasing.

Elizabeth Islands

Joe Leclair reports:

The End of July and not fly fishing for Striped Bass, Bluefish, and Bluefin Tuna 🙂 has been pretty good. In fact the biggest surprise was the amount of hungry Stripers feeding on the surface again. It was just like it was back in June and we were in the same places. I have to say this year has not been like any other year in recent history that I can remember. I watched a 400 lb. Bluefin tuna chase bait 6 or 7 feet above the surface of the water just before sunset the other evening. It was an awesome spectacle of nature. We boated a 160 lb. Bluefin Tuna on the VS250b and the new Van Staal 7 foot spinning/ jigging rod in under 40 minutes. If you are interested in learning more about catching Bluefin on light tackle stop in and talk to Charlie at CMS enterprises in New Bedford. They have some awesome custom rods as well as all the tackle for this very popular new fishery.

I have also done some fishing for Fluke and Black Sea Bass with families on vacation with young children. One family went home with Striped Bass, Black Bass, Fluke, and Scup for dinner for 12 people. I heard the next day that the feast was excellent.

Captain Joe LeClair
North Eastern Anglers


Capt Lynne reports:

Can’t say it was me but I do know that Steve Moore caught a couple on Tuesday here on the Bonito Bar. He told me himself, his daughter Marissa caught one that was 7.5lbs. I have no reason to doubt him as he was so excited about it. Capt. Jeff tried yesterday and thought they had a couple of hits on Bones but none to the boat. He also reports that the Bar is loaded with Blues so make sure you have some shock tippets and mono leaders enough to keep the Blue’s from biting through. South Shore is still fishing really strong for Big Blues. Great Point has some Bass in the Rip still and Blues from the shore.


Capt. Lynne Heyer
Cross Rip Outfitters,Ltd.
24 Easy Street
Nantucket, MA 02554

Martha’s Vineyard

Capt. Phil Cronin reports:

Martha’s Vineyard Fishing Report … July 31, 2009

Lots of Bass; Blues Return; Bonito Slow but Sure…

Bass push herring on the beach

Bass push herring on the beach

Who ever thought that the bass fishing would remain this good at the end of July? If you want bass on the fly rod then now’s a great opportunity as acres of bass continue to drive juvenile herring up onto Up-island beaches. Last Tuesday evening I was absolutely amazed at the carnage going on at a favorite up-island spot. For a solid two hours I was surrounded by bass at my feet as I threw a white snake fly into the boiling frenzy. Fish after fish grabbed the fly and many were keeper size with my largest about 34 inches long and fat as can be. The sight of these fish crashing on herring and large sand eels with thousands of terns and gulls diving in the water was indescribable. I would have gladly surrendered my fly rod for a camera if I had only brought one. It was with a doubt, the best shore fishing I had experienced for more than a decade. ”Amazing “ is the only way to describe it and except for my buddy who was out among the carnage in his kayak, no one else was on the stretch of beach it was occurring. The next night several of my friends went to the location only to find the fish out of range. They all wished they had been in boats. The reason I was fishing the shore instead of from my boat was because my car was in the shop for a couple of days and since I trailer my boat I was shore bound and charterless. On Thursday evening I returned to the spot with my family in tow and everyone caught fish including my grandson Sterling. He lives in Florida and this was his first striped bass. Fortunately, I brought my camera this time to get some snaps.

John Schillinger gets footage of the carnage

John Schillinger gets footage of the carnage

This week was family time as my house filled with the kids and their families. On Friday I’m taking the guys out for bonito on the boat. Wish us well.

Speaking of carnage, the annual Martha’s Vineyard Monster Shark Tournament was this past weekend and the only carnage was caused by the gale force winds and 10 foot seas. One boat sank with the crew all rescued by another boat and several contestants reported damage and close calls as respect for the sea was put aside in hopes of tournament glory. The second day of the tourney was much calmer and some nice sharks were brought to the scales as well as many released to fight another day. Shark fishing is not my thing but it does create a lot of excitement on the island.

Bluefish News…

Bruiser blues are starting to return to island waters after a lull period. Five to nine pound blues are once again populating many of the shoals around Nantucket Sound and out back behind Chappy. It’s a welcome event as they are fun to wrestle on light tackle and fly rod and make an easy target when other species are hard to find.

Bonito News…

More landings have been reported with one boat landing three on Wednesday. It may be time to start targeting the bones.

Tight Lines and Singing Drags,

Captain Phil Cronin
Cell: 617-448-2030

Daughters Patricia and Lesley get in on the action

Daughters Patricia and Lesley get in on the action


Daughters Patricia and Lesley get in on the action

Grandson Sterling with a nice bass as son Jay helps out

Grandson Sterling with a nice bass as son Jay helps out

For more Vineyard reports read Capt. Brice’s vineyard report.

Captain W. Brice Contessa

Here at

South Side

Various shoals like Succonnesset are showing an abundance of bluefish, top water offerings seemed to be the preferred way to go.

North Side

All I got is that there continues to be some bass activity on the flats.  Bluefish are making their presences know in Barnstable harbor.

Riptide’s Tuna report:

It’s been a busy weekend for us chasing and catching tuna on the north side of the Cape.   While the poor guys fishing the Monster Shark were getting battered and bruised by Mother Nature, we in the lee were getting battered and bruised by Charlie Tuna!  The fishing has been nothing short of spectacular.

Day 1 a tale of 2 boats

On day 1 we were running a buddy boat trip with Finchaser.  The crew on their boat was a solid as it comes.  Owner/Captain Dave Nilson, Mate Shaun Ruge, Mate BIG Mike Ciolek, 2nd Mate Jr/ Ciolek.  Dave needed to bloody the deck on the big Hydra Sport  for the first time with tuna blood.  You’d be hard pressed to line up a better crew to help you do it than the one he had.  With the recent gale forced blow scattering the fish they would need all the help they could muster.


I had a young eager crew from Boston/Florida/NY on Riptide.  We would be tag teaming the tuna with Finchaser for the best odds of getting both boats on fish.  Having been a later bite we met up later than usual while Finchaser went bait hunting.  This worked out for everyone as I was around to help a buddy with motor issues and Finchaser was able to find pogie love and with Ruge’s ever increasing castnet skills, fill the boat with a few livey’s left over for us.  (Sad part is we didn’t need them)

We met Finchaser in the bay for a bait transfer.  We loaded both livewells and headed off to search for charlie.  Finchaser decided to swim a few pogies in the bay while we beat the bushes at speed looking for surface fish.We ran long and hard looking for fish  but like the radio reports from all over things were thin. I decided to run WAAAAY long figuring if the fish had to be somewhere.  Meantime, Finchaser got bored swimming with the fishes and began to recon as well.  We set up a gameplan to cover the most water in the shortest amount of time.

Finchaser was the first to find life.  They had the bait, birds and whales, but no fish.  We headed their way and I opted to expand the search from where they were to see if they had just found the edge of the real action.  That was the best move of the day.  A few miles from Finchaser we found the motherload of fish.  I called them in and we all got down to some serious tuna taming!

The view from on the boat looked just as good as the guys drilled with their casts and started getting smashed by big angry tuna that would not go away and would not get off the surface!Fish came in and lures went back out.


After the first fish was iced and bled the lighter gear went away and it was all heavy drag from that point on!

Then the harnesses came out!  You know they are your friends when they choose to hold you in the boat rather than cast at the 200# tuna breaking off the bow!!!!!!!!

Back on the Finchaser the action was fast and furious.  Here is a 3 minute video of Riptide Charters Mate Shaun Ruge showing how to get it done on Finchaser’s first tuna.

Then they decided to get REALLY serious on the tuna and they paired up the Black Magic Harness and the Riptide BIG GUN to start putting some serious numbers on the board!

When it was getting near dark we all decided to leave the fish biting soe there would be some left for tomorrow.  So with HUGE smiles and bloody decks Finchaser and Riptide raced accross flat calm seas back towards the canal.  Finchaser with it’s first taste of tuna blood on the deck, and a pile of releases under it’s belt and  Riptide with a VERY happy and tired crew!

Day 2  It’s never as good the second time around.

Today was a first for me.  I had a group of guys on the boat and not all the players new each other.  I have never done “open boat” style fishing but when some of the original group had to pull out last minute things needed to be done to keep the trip alive so the bull pen was called in.

We headed out with high hopes after yesterdays bailfest.  I’ve done this enough to know its never as good the second day and you should always “have been here yesterday”.  Half way into the bay we were greeted with zero visablity fog and wind that was higher than they were calling for.  Not the best start for the trip.  We ran to the numbers from yesterday and the fog opened up just enough that we could see it was NOT yesterday.  The seas were tight and sloppy.  The radar was struggling to pick up the birds in the clutter so we slogged around until we spotted some life.  It didn’t take long for the guys to get casts into the fish , it took less time for the tuna to distroy the Ocean Lure Ballyhoo and begin tearing off line at a frantic pace.After a 30 minute battle the beast was bested.  The fish was a bit smaller than the ones we had been seeing @ only 63″, but it took line like the largest ones we’ve battled

We had one more hookup that was cut off by another fish.  After that a few random pods of fish gave us some half ass’d shots and a couple swings and misses all on the Ocean Lures Ballyhoo.  But nothign else stay’d button’d up.

The weather continued to deteriorate and warnings of thunder and lightning put a damper on what we had hoped would be a repete of the prior day.  With the wind increasing and the sloppy seas building we finally put the big Contender into the wind and pushed through the slop as we headed home.

Overall it was a very productive two days for the two boats.  A ton of fish were hooked a bunch were released and everyone got a chance to see these big fish put on a surface show none of us will soon forget!


Capt. Terry Nugent
Riptide Charters


bdowning and BobG report

Not a whole lot going on for me last night. The spot where I’d been getting ’em the last few outings dried up and they wouldn’t hit jigs on the bottom. A few were rolling on top, usually a sign they are on small bait, and I was able to take a couple of schoolies on rigged sluggos. Still no blues for me in the Canal since early June, not even cutoffs.

Later, moved a couple of 100 yds E, got some hits but no takes. But the fella next to me found the zone and did some damage

After a series of very pathetic outings, I managed s few decent fish last night as Bill mentioned. Way out, as far as I could cast, deep, and slow. One decent fish in the 40 plus inch range, and a couple other high keepers.
I’ve been all over creation the past few nights looking for fish in the canal, and the place is soooooo quiet, it’s almost spooky

Posted in Cape Cod and the Islands, Lead Article

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