Are you a single or couple looking to be part of a VIP ground fishing charter trip out of Gloucester? We are booking now. Each trip will have five to six fun fish anglers to share costs, laughs and fill your freezers! We have dates starting in late April through June that we are booking right now. We will also be booking ground and combo trips for July and August. If you are a Tuna angler then get on our list for VIP Tuna charter dates from late July through November. If you are interested please call or email us. We want you on our VIP Ground Fishing Charter list so each time we have a VIP trip coming up we will see if you can join us! Learn more….
I am a Bluefin Tuna Captain. It’s 4 am and my bedside alarm jolts me awake.
I half roll out of bed, silence it, then lie back down to start thinking about the day ahead. Getting dressed, I fire up the laptop to check the online marine weather. No major changes from yesterday and no precipitation. It’s shaping up to be a classic, early September day on the water. Another day of Bluefin tuna fishing and I can’t wait to get to the boat!
The day started promising enough. A non-charter day; no clients, no pressure, no problem. We left the dock early, pitch black, not hint of a rising sun, the marina is dead quiet.With no other engines fired up to go out, my mate and I silently left the boat slip. The plan for the day….1)motor out to an area where we’ve been able to jig up bait all season, 2) check out some spots on the way to the fishing grounds that we like and 3) if there is sign of life we’ll throw down anchor and set up for a day.
We plan to be set up for the next two tide switches, with one every 12 hours. We know we will have plenty of time to set the anchor, drift to the depth we want, start chumming, (or not), then fish the way we know how for the rest of the day. No matter what the apprehension or doubts in your mind you just need to pick your spot, work it, work it, work it some more, and then work it until a fish eats your bait.
Waiting for the bite can be the most difficult and mind racking part of the day.
Always, as a bluefin tuna captain, all decisions on the boat are yours. Dropping the anchor and setting up on “numbers”, for me is the most mentally nerve racking part of the day. Occasionally those days occur when the fish were here yesterday, so every bone of your angler body knows, that they’ll be here again today! Those days rarely happen consecutively in this fishery but when they do you feel like a superhero. Motoring towards our destination we spot cormorants and kittiwakes diving into the water ocean’s surface. Suddenly ripples and swirls pepper the ocean’s surface. As I throttle back on the engines the water takes on a glassy sheen with only the boat’s wake disrupting the stillness emanating from the bow. The faint glow on the horizon is a welcoming thought of the rising sun to follow, but for now, blackness and stillness is the friend of a fisherman. Our anchoring spot for today is approx. 20 miles from the marina so we have a good 1 ½ hour of travel time until dropping anchor. The ride out is no time to sleep however . . . there is always the chance of seeing “signs of life” as we motor out. Anything, birds, bait, whale, ripples, fish crashing, other boats stopped to jig up fish. It’s all a possibility. Keep your eyes open, scan the horizon, stay sharp. The “real fish” ie tuna, can be closer to shore than you think!
While traveling we are constantly looking at it to see any sign of life under the boat in addition to reading the bottom contours of the seafloor describing where to lay anchor. As captain I am up in the wheelhouse with eyes open, one hand on the wheel, one hand on the coffee cup. The mate is on the back deck, eyes open, scanning the horizon, readying the rods, reels, lines, hooks, gaffs, tail lines, harpoons and other misc gear.
Approaching our chosen area, we are not only looking for a good spot to anchor, but also scanning horizon for other boats. While picking an optimal spot to drop the anchor, I’m paying attention to the wind, the swells, the tide movement, the depth and what’s going on with any nearby boats. And this is all before we have even started fishing….
As the vessel rolls out of the dock, there is more time to talk. We often reflect on the events from the day before, about the days past, the one that got away, the one that was caught.
On a charter day, the experience is very much the same – aside from the awkwardness of meeting 6 people for the first time, and knowing that you will be responsible for them for the next 10-12 hours. On charter days, your Captain’s hat must now replace the casual and fun guy. Gone away is the familiarity and comradely learned and earned on those first 90 min. The jokes, ribbing, tales, knowledge, and stories exchanged are replaced with your responsible persona as you know it is time to step up. Who knows, maybe the short stocky guy with glasses that you previously observed in the group, turns out to be a world class fly fishing guide who has caught more species on more continents than you!
A charter day or a commercial fishing day always wraps up the same. The day starts to wind down. It’s time to go back to the dock. On the ride back to the dock, some of the anglers are talking, some are worshiping the sun, and one is sleeping. I get back to the dock and tie up the boat. There are fish to be cleaned. I say goodbye to today’s charter party, it’s all over for them but not for me. I clean the boat, wash all the rods we used today, and re-rig all lines that need it. When I am finished, I run up to the tackle shop to puck up bait for tomorrow. I bring the bait back to the freezer by the boat. Finally, there is a chance to sit down on the dock. Looking over the boat I think to myself,
There’s nothing like being a Bluefin Tuna Captain, I can’t wait ‘til tomorrow.