With the goal being a hook up on a Bluefin Tuna, we left Cohasset at 5am and arrived on Stellwagen Bank just after sunrise. When we hit the western edge of an area between Middle Bank and the South West corner, we decided to put out some squid bars and troll until we saw some activity. On our troll South, we started to mark schools of bait and noticed a few whales off in the distance. As we got closer the activity became more prevalent around the Southern edge of the bank.
Within minutes we were surrounded by Humpback Whales bubble feeding and a couple breaching. As we continued our troll we did our best to stay out of the fleet of boats (we counted 76 boats at 9am) but still in the whale and bait action. The life demonstrated by the whales and the marking of bait on our fish finder meant we were in a good place to find the tuna we desired. While we started to debate setting up a drift with live bait, or stick with our plan on the troll we were dodging Humpbacks coming up for air.
We decided to stick with our troll and make sure a spinning rod was ready up front in case of any quick blowup we saw on the surface. We didn’t see any other boats hooked up which made us feel better about our decision to keep trolling; we followed the whales north. At about 9:30am while everything was quiet except for a few whales coming up to the surface periodically, while looking off our bow all of the sudden I am locking eyes with a 400-500lb Bluefin flying out of the water chasing Mackerel. I quickly reached for our stickbait lure that was on the spinning rod we had set up on the bow, but by the time I was able to cast I knew the fish had moved on; of course I casted anyway. Waiting for a miracle to happen and the fish to turn on my lure on the surface, it never came. We trolled right by the hole it left in the water again with no luck and no further evidence of tuna being in the area.
That is how the game works out there sometimes, these fish can be there one second, and vanish the next. While we didn’t have any luck, we did get some awesome drone videos of Humpbacks feeding and resting on the surface. Every experience out on the Bank or offshore is exciting and we can’t wait to get back out there. Even though we came up empty handed we are working on mastering the next trip to get a bite. Constantly reading and watching to come up with the next best idea or spot we can find. There is always next time.