The Best of Both Worlds

Cape Cod Striper and Tuna Fishing

By Capt. Bobby Rice, Reel Deal Fishing Charters
Bobby - Landing-tuna
Bobby barehanding a tuna into reach.

Cruising slowly through the fog off the tip of Cape Cod in June, instinct tells me to stop and listen, which wisely confirms close by top water splashes! One dense patch away looms striped bass busting in a blitz like we dream about as our plugs anxiously fly into the bent rod zone soon followed by strike after strike and a chorus of peeling drags. Another early morning begins in the best way possible!

Light tackle striped bass fishing in Cape Cod waters yields high excitement and activity whether you are fortunate enough to experience one of the legendary whitewater surface shows off Race Point in June or if your catch comes from the depths on a hot summer day vertically jigging. Either way an excellent battle awaits!

When the striped bass show at the surface, which is more likely in the earlier morning hours during late spring into the first month of summer, the Gibbs pencil poppers or needlefish in olive, yellow or purple/black depending on the surrounding baitfish provide exceptional options for luring in a big fish. This tackle paired with a Van Staal VM or VSB150 on a medium action rod offers great fight. Hanta rods in particular market a notable hybrid model for this type of action, which I look forward to using this season.

As the temperatures rise and the fish dive to the deeper cooler waters the time arrives for switching gear over to vertical jigging. The same rod and reel combinations stay close at hand but now rigged with Daddy Mac jigs favoring the Elite series or Ronz lures in silver, black or green choosing a weight based on the current and depth.

The weeks of memorable striped bass fishing euphorically unfold while summer brightly progresses with the Reel Deal fleet staying in close communication, as the striped bass will travel, therefore having multiple boats and eyes on various areas keeps us dialed in for highly increasing success ratios. Life is good, lines are tight and then..bluefin tuna season begins!

The calendar flips to August and the itch grows as tuna fishing shimmers in the back of my mind pretty much all year, but it currently dominates my thoughts as the peak of the season comes into view.  I love striped bass fishing, but fighting a bluefin tuna on spinning gear holds a favored status for sure and amazingly Cape Cod provides epic activity for both fisheries.

This clever and elusive apex predator demands a higher level of preparedness and agility (and strength!)  from the enthusiastic angler yet the reward of landing one of these renowned fish is well worth the extra effort.  Maximize your odds of hooking a tuna by being ready for live bait fishing, as well as vertically jigging and casting. The prevailing fish behavior and bait presence guides your decision on gear and technique choice.

Bobby - Doubled-up-stripers-late-spring
When things happen, they can happen fast. Bobby is seen here grabbing two rods that went off at the same time. A little help here?

Mackerel often exists as an optimal live bait option should you choose to set up a drift factoring in any marks on the sonar or previous days activity when determining depth of deployment. Once the baits are out, the opportunity to simultaneously jig with Ronzs or metals arises augmenting the chances of a favorable outcome. The Van Staal VSB reels stay on the scene although now at the 250 model generally coupled with a VS 325-gram rod.

Should the whitewater blitz erupt yet again, but this time with much larger fins and tails may the casting fun commence! Typically leaning towards a longer rod with various size and pattern lures from Siren or Strategic Angler.  If the fish continuously appear finicky or spooked try the smaller lures to better mimic the bait for which they are targeting.

And when that glorious moment transpires of being hooked into a tuna, brace yourself for a potentially long yet magnificent battle which likely relays through multiple anglers. Remembering to hand over the rod when a break is needed to keep fresh arms on what undoubtedly is a very strong fish. Days like this make dreams of a lifetime and enjoy every moment!

Cape Cod truly earns its reputation as the ideal fisherman’s paradise bestowing such extraordinary conditions for multiple species. I give immense thanks for everyday that I spend on these waters and appreciably look forward to sharing this remarkable experience with all!

Bobby - Gibbs-lures-striped-bass