Stepping into the shoes of a tuna fisherman for a weekend of hardcore fishing in Cape Cod Bay!
One day I got a call from Garth, a good friend with a unique proposition. It went something like this.
Have you ever seen the show “Wicked Tuna”?
– No, why?
Do you wanna go tuna fishing?
– Yeah, that sounds great!
We’ll be spending 72 hours on the boat, without going back to land.
– Ok, cool.
But it’s a small boat so you might have to sleep outside.
– That’s fine.
And by sleep I mean ‘keep a lookout for container ships’, because we’ll be anchored in the shipping lanes and might get run over at night.
Oh yeah and there’s no toilet on the boat. You have to use a bucket.
I’ve never fished for tuna nor squatted over a bucket on a boat, so how could I refuse such an enticing offer?
Soon enough, we were taking a six hour drive up to Provincetown, Massachusetts. The marina is located in the far northern tip of the Cape Cod peninsula.
We met up with our host, Jeffery, who was busy prepping for the trip. As we brought the supplies to the marina we bumped into our final member. Avid fisherman, Scott had just gotten off the plane from Florida and caught the fast ferry from Boston to the harbor.
With the crew assembled, we loaded the boat with supplies of food, gear, and clothing.
Our adventure would take place on Jeffery’s lobster-fishing boat, “Crash”. Being a passionate fisherman, he customized and outfitted his boat for tuna fishing. Filling up on gas, we left the harbor towards the sea and our dreams of 1,000 pound tunas…
Unfortunately the closest we ever got to a tuna was seeing one’s tail tied up along a boat in the distance. But that doesn’t mean it wasn’t an experience of a lifetime!
Meals – Our meals and snacks were something to look forward to and change the pace when we were not fishing. Cooking linguisa, lobster, and pizza on a gas stove with views and sounds of the sea was surprisingly fun.
Bait Fishing – We spent the majority of our time bait fishing and I can say we were quite successful at getting lots of different kinds of bait fish. We caught whiting, mackerel, hake, bluefish, dogfish, skate, and some other species.
Blue Sharks – The most fun and annoying game was the blue shark. They were annoying, because we were hoping to get tuna, but fun because they fought really hard and seeing them come up to the boat was really exciting. We caught around five and they were all quite large.
I was even talking about taking a dip, before one surfaced right at our boat.
Fishermen Radio Chatter – Listening to the fishermen talk about catching tuna and never catching any. Then when someone did catch something, they made sure to tell everyone, but then become very secretive with their location.
Weather – Besides our first rough night, the weather was perfect and the seas were calm. Sunrises and sunsets over a 360 degree view of the sea were amazing.
Kite Fishing – Jeffrey showed us how to rig a kite up so that the live bait dangles and looks like its jumping out of the water. Creative fishing method, but unfortunately we didn’t catch anything on it.
Whales, Seals, and Seagulls – Having so much wildlife around us even in the middle of the sea was a real pleasure.
One morning we had finback whales surfaces just a few feet from the boat and we even saw one’s huge silhouette go right UNDER the boat.
The seals were annoying and kept stealing our bait, but I can’t deny that the young ones were cute.
The seagulls were just plain annoying and extremely bold. They would try to eat the bait as we were putting our lines in the water.
Sleeping – Our sleeping arrangement was not really a highlight, but definitely worth mentioning. There were two spots in the cabin that one could keep warm from the engine, stay protected from the elements, stretch out and have a great night’s sleep.
Then there were the other two sleeping areas. One was the engine cover under the covered portion of the boat and the other was just the engine cover. You couldn’t stretch out and you were exposed to the rain. Then again, I guess the guys on that ‘bed’ weren’t suppose to sleep anyway. They were on watch duty.
Sunrises/Sunsets – No description needed.
Hanging Out – The best part of every fishing trip is just the time you spend among friends hanging out over a beer and talking about how huge the next fish is going to be.
The trip, though we failed at catching a tuna, was a great success. We had an amazing time, caught some bluedogs and ate like kings! Big thanks to Jeffrey for being an incredible host and Garth for the hardcore dedication to the experience!