June 11, 2010 8:30am we departed Taylor Marine in Green Harbor with all the usual Tuna trolling gear but still hoping to find some live mackerel before we made the trip across the bay to Stellwagen Bank. We stopped out front and tried jigging for few minutes but the mackerel schools are thinning out now and finding them quickly is becoming an issue. Because we were already short on time (wanting to fish the tide change on the bank), we pulled the plug and left without livies.
We arrived on the South West Corner (SWC) of Stellwagen Bank around 10:30am and set out our baits on the edge of the bank. We were trolling a four rod spread, two Penn International 80 reels on bent butt rods and two Shimano TLD50 II LRSA reels on standup rods. We kept the 80’s short running two deep divers (Yo-zuri mackerel) and left the 50’s long off of the outriggers, running a Carlson Slug-go Bar port side and a naked slug-go of a Carlson Bird starboard side.
The conditions were excellent for trolling but most boats were using live bait on balloons or kites. We would have done the same if we had the bait but you got to work with what you got so trolling was it for now. We passed over several nice marks down deep at different points and it didn’t seem we were going to be able to raise a fish but after doubling back over some impressive marks we hooked up. The Tuna hit the port side Carlson Slug-go Bar about 100 yards back.
Belt on, standup fighting with a 50 class rod and reel is how it’s going to be. At first it wasn’t clear we hooked a Tuna, I was able to reel in about 100 yards of line pretty easily but once the Tuna realized it was hooked it was off to the races in a big way. With the drag set at 24lbs, the line is screaming of the Shimano 50 series reel like it’s attached to the back of a truck. The rod is doubled over, the more I pull back the more the rod bends, all while the line is disappearing at an alarming rate. The initial run takes a 200 yard top shot of mono and at least 300 yards of the backing before it slows. This fish made me work for every inch of line. Every time I got back into the mono top shot this Bluefin Tuna would take every inch of line back. After the fish made it’s third big run I felt like I was losing the battle but after I put the harness portion of the fighting belt on (note to self…do this before you go 40 minutes attached to a Bluefin Tuna) I found new life. 25 minutes later (still battling for every crank) the fish was boat side and it was game over. With our first Bluefin Tuna for the 2010 season securely tail wrapped boat side I barely have enough energy to celebrate. It measured in at 67.3 inches and is a serious fatty weighing in at 200lbs.