Everyone’s got the tuna bug. 

The guys at First Light Anglers in Rowley report on the 25th:

Got into our first legitimate school tuna feed yesterday afternoon and evening. My buddy hooked two on a popper and pulled the hook on both. Another friend hooked one on a MegaBait jig only to lose it after 20 minutes. I saw fish in the 30-80lb class and two schools that were in the 100+ class. All the fish were out on Jeffries. As the day got later the fish got a bit more spooky and tough to get on, but still great to see them around. Time to get out there!! Capt. Derek

On the Merrimack, stripers with a side of blues are the order of the day. Capt. Charlie Crue reports:

07_21_05Parvins_Keeper_300.jpgMerrimack River Report #10 July 28, 2005

I took out two dedicated fly fishermen last Thursday morning. The weather was great but bright sky prevailed. I didn’t have high expectations. The tide was approaching low as we began our trip. I took them down the river near the sandbar at the buoy #11 for some early tries but it was dead so we moved down to the jetties. There was not much going on even for the dozen or so bait fishing guys in the area. I moved the boat outside the jetties and saw some swirls at the surface so we drifted in the area. The swirls were from bluefish which my clients managed to hook up with and in spite of relatively light tippets they brought them to the boat they also managed to get a few stripers. The size of the blues and stripers was varied. The largest blue about 7 pounds and the largest striper about 23 inches long. As the tide rose, there was a decline in action at the river mouth, so we moved up onto Joppa Flats. Out on Joppa we found stripers, my clients could not get action on flies, but a nice keeper hit a big sluggo on the spinning gear. Overall it was a good morning considering the bright sky and near full moon the night before.

Sunday morning the fishing action was light but steady. We found stripers scattered across from the toothpick and down towards the jetties. They were hitting white soft body jig head lures.

07_21_05Parvins_Bluefish300.jpgAfter a couple days off I guided for a couple of fly fishermen from Vermont. The weather was clear and it was very warm at 6 AM and became down right hot as the morning progressed.  Stripers were hard to find. We tried Joppa early without any luck. Next we tried the Salisbury side of the river without success. We moved to the sandbar near buoy #11 where they managed to catch three or four schoolies that hit my McVay Special fly. We tried between the jetties with no success before deciding to call it a morning. It was just one of those tough fishing days. Fortunately we don’t get many like it. They plan to come back and try again when the fishing gets back to more normal.

Thursday I hosted three nice guys for some fly and spin fishing. The morning began well after a change to cooler weather that moved in after some heavy thunder storms on Wednesday evening. We started on Joppa where Scot got a big striper to hit one of my McVay Special Flies. Unfortunately the striper, that I saw near the boat once, broke off  the 18# leader. The fish looked to be about 30-inches long. After that the action was nil so I took them to some other spots, none of which produced action until we worked the drift near buoy #11. In that area they all caught fish including twinkie and large schoolies plus some snapper bluefish.

Soundking had this report from his trip this week with RT Moderator Shaun Ruge:

As many have hypothesized on RT (piscatorial envy), I am indeed a liar…this title is completely erroneous and false. We got into fish pretty thick today. I met Shaun Ruge at 0900 in Beverly for a tuna adventure. We tried to get the live stuff, but after spending far too long trying for 2 pogies and seeing no oceanics, we decided to get into some toonskis with what we had.

Got reports of a few fish around, but nothing really intense from FireFly. After cruising a decent way up the prominent cape ann curve we ran into some draggers working in an area where fish were previously reported. Shaun pointed out about 40 birds sitting on the water, so we slowed to idle and chilled for a little bit. After about five minutes, I saw the water start to barely break, then it went off. About 60 fish were on top and actively feeding: a few small fish in the 20 lb class, but for the most part 60-120 category. After about 6 good shots into them each, they went down. We worked this pod without success for about an hour or so as they went up and down. These first few feeds we got on were simply awe inspiring. The majesty and power of these fish cannot be articulated, so I will not try. But until you see 60 pound tuna coming completely out of the water so close you could touch them, you cannot understand what it’s like. Amazing.

The wind kicked up a little bit and we decided to move. After moving off about a mile we got a good upwind position on a school of feeding fish, and on his first cast into the school, Shaun came tight. 100 yards melted then I saw the rod pointing straight and the line limp. Shaun looked like someone told him there is no santa clause. The fish busted the 30 lb flouro. I have to give it to the angler, he took it remarkably well seeing how he has tried to hook one of these things for the past few years (except for beating my t-top’s canvas like it was his red-headed step child).

After speaking with a few guys in the area, we all decided on parting ways and taking different directions. I decided to move southeast, and after a few minutes of running a swore I could see some birds waaay out on the horizon. I put the hammer down, and sure enough after 2 miles, there was a dozen birds working. The birds relaxed and sat on the water as we approached, but as we got into casting range and let momentum carry us into the fringe of the birds, we saw one slash. Then two, then all over the place. Shaun made one cast into this immense school, took one turn on his reel….."I’m tight, dude!" , "sh*t! I dropped it…NO, HES STILL ON"…the fish took the metal so fast as it ran at him, Shaun didn’t get really tight to the fish until it was on the other side of the boat. The fish never really ran well, a few good 50 yard surges here and there, and then sounded. We talked about how we hoped it was above 27 inches. Well, we soon realized this was not a small fish. It sounded hard, going almost to the bottom. And stayed there, for a while. He was really putting the bricks to this fish too, never resting. I chilled, arranged gear, danced with the gaff for about 40 minutes or so. We saw color three times, each time seeing the fish peel out 50 yards straight down as soon as it’s head got down. Finally, on the fourth pass we got a good look at the fish, 100 lbs, easy. The fish took a few spirals about ten feet down and we were beating it…slowly, but surely. "Ok dude, walk the fish around the boat one last time and I’m going to gaff it" I said. We prepared to take the fish on starboard as it circled from port around the bow. As soon as Shaun got to the bow his rod tip popped up with the line slack again. Long silence. Long silence. "Did that just really happen"…I was stuttering like a (edit) in a spelling bee. Loosing a fish that big after you fight it that long takes a toll on you. I felt terrible, and I can only imagine how Shaun must have felt. He fought that fish for 50 minutes to an hour only to have it bust the PP three feet under the surface. We needed a morale boost, and after running circles around where these good pods had been and seeing nothing we were down in the dumps.

I check my VM and Saltyric had steamed away from us and was in fish. I made a call to him and we headed that way. Not too much from what we were seeing. We were ready to call it. Until I thought I saw birds again a mile or so away. We pulled up and sure enough, five gulls sitting on the water. We eased up, I was skeptical as there didn’t seem to be too much bait around. One boil..OK theyre here. Chill for a little bit, then we see gannet’s dive bombing a hunder yards away. Interesting. We ran over and got upwind of a nice school of fish and let them come to us. First cast with my popper, two fish miss it. Second cast, two pops and a nice tuna porpoised on it and I was tight and off to the races. Ten minutes later, Shaun sunk the gaff into a 40 lber. Good way to end the day and we ran into port with the country music country blaring and happy faces all around.

All around, solid day on the water. Bait was spike mackerel, contrary to popular belief. I thought they were herring at first, but after opening the fish up, we found a dozen or so spike macks in it. Temps were between 60 and 64. Fish were scattered along a prominent countour along a 30 mile stretch of water. Fish at one location wanted the metal, fish at the other wanted the popper. Small gear was the trick. Nothing over three inches got hit.

Hope you enjoy that Toro, Shaun. Be sure to give some to Sam  . Next time, your getting one on the fly gear.


Mark N. Cahill has been writing and editing for since 1995. He started fishing in the mid-1960's and caught his first striper off World's End in Hingham in 1966. From there on in it was an obsession. He loves fishing for tuna, and fly fishing for striped bass. In a pinch, anything with fins will do...

Posted in Boston and Eastern Massachusetts, North Shore

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