SHARKS- Sharking provides the most consistent action when fishing offshore. More often than not, most customers have an opportunity to fight at least one shark- giving people the opportunity to see them up close. Though most customers tend to prefer tuna fishing, sharking provides a nice backup plan or alternative to tuna.
Blue Sharks- There are many different types of sharks swimming around to be caught, but the most abundant is the Blue Shark. The Blue Shark is purely a game fish and is not edible, but it can make for a heck of a fight. Weighing anywhere from 30 to 400 pounds, they can be quite a handful for experienced anglers and novices alike. On a few occasions aboard the Mataura, one big blue shark has exhausted all six anglers aboard.
Mako Sharks- Makos, though less abundant, are one of the most sought-after game fish in the world. If one of these jumps on your line, get ready for a thrill. They are extremely fast and acrobatic, capable of jumping up to 20 feet into the air. Some have been known to jump right into boats, so you have to be extremely cautious while fighting them. Once you see one up close, you will never forget it- the big, black eye, long sharp teeth, and stocky, strong torpedo-like body will haunt you.
Other less common possibilities include Brown, Thresher, Tiger, Hammerhead, and even White sharks.
TUNA- Tuna fishing, when good, can be the experience of a lifetime. Tuna can provide the most exciting fishing in the Northeast. They are fast, powerful, and tireless swimmers, so they hit your line like a ton of bricks, and then have the fight and endurance to back it up. For this reason, they have come to be known by most experienced fishermen as being pound for pound the toughest fish in the ocean. There are four species of tuna available in our area- the Yellowfin, Bluefin, Albacore, and Bigeye.
Bluefin Tuna- Bluefin arrive in the waters south of Block and Long Islands around the end of June, and often don't leave until the end of October. They can inhabit both warm and cold water, but rarely will you find them in water over 70°F. These are truly remarkable fish- they grow extremely quickly and migrate all over the Atlantic Ocean. On the Mataura, we have caught them as small as 10 pounds and as large as 800 pounds, and on any given day one of these "Giant Tuna" (those over 81" or about 250 pounds, usually) can jump on one of your lures. However, the average size Bluefin caught aboard the Mataura is usually between 30 and 60 pounds. Catch regulations change on a daily basis and are set by the National Marine Fisheries Service. If you would like more information on the Bluefin regulations, you can call them at 888-872-8862 or look at their website.
Yellowfin Tuna- Yellowfin tend to inhabit slightly warmer water, so they generally don't arrive until July and they tend to head south in late September or early October. These are the most beautiful of the tunas, exuding an iridescent yellow glow underwater. Their most notable characteristic, however, is their extra long, bright-yellow rear dorsal and anal fins. They can get as big as 300 pounds, but the average in our area usually is around 30 to 40 pounds. If you get a chance to eat fresh Yellowfin, don't pass it up- it is one of the best eating fish in the ocean either raw or cooked. These fish are also regulated, and must be 27"(curved fork length) long to keep. Each angler is allowed to keep 3 fish above this size.
Albacore Tuna- Albacore also usually come in with warmer water in July and August. Trolling for albacore tuna can be a wild experience- they almost always jump on in multiples (more than one fish hitting at a time on different lures). In fact, we have had six rods get hit at once and landed them all. This is about as crazy as fishing gets- a real fire drill. Imagine all six customers trying to fight these powerful fish in the cockpit at once with them zigzagging back and forth and swimming at speeds up to 30mph! Albacore do not get quite as big as Yellowfin, maxing out at about 100 pounds and averaging about 30 pounds. They are, however, just as delicious as Yellowfin when eaten fresh. This species has no current regulations, but we recommend to anglers that they only keep what they need/want to eat.
Bigeye Tuna- Bigeye sort of look like a cross between a Bluefin and a Yellowfin. They have an almost golden glow underwater, a large eye (thus the name), and they can get up to about 400 pounds. Although these fish can be plentiful in summer months, they are generally only caught in the waters of the Canyon (the continental shelf). Also, because of the fatty quality of their meat, they have a different taste and are usually sold commercially rather than being kept for personal consumption. These fish, too, often hit in multiples. When you hook up to two or three Bigeye you will have your hands full- some people think these are the toughest fighters of all the tuna. These must be at least 27" to keep and there is currently no number limitation for anglers.
BONITO- Bonito are in the same family as Tuna, and resemble their shape and appearance despite generally being much smaller. They are quite common in both offshore and inshore waters toward the end of the summer and into the fall. Types include the Green Bonito, Atlantic Bonito, and False Albacore. Although they rarely get over 10 pounds, they provide a great fight on light tackle. There are no size or number limitations on Bonito of any kind.
EXOTIC FISH- depending on the weather and water movement, sometimes the offshore fishing waters get extremely warm. Normally, the waters outside of Long Island and Block Island usually peak at temperatures in the low 70s (Fahrenheit). However, when they get above this, different types of fish move into our area. 1999 saw large numbers of these fish- ranging from Mahi-Mahi to Wahoo to Marlin.
Marlin- when summer rolls around, White Marlin are fairly common to our area. Though a Marlin is never expected, it is not uncommon to have a Marlin hit a lure when trolling for Tuna. Blue Marlin, on the other hand, are rare. 1999, however, saw unprecedented numbers of Blue Marlin. In fact, several Noank boats hooked Blue Marlin and four actually landed them. Marlin are considered the ultimate game fish throughout the world. They are distinguishable by their long, pointy bill and slender body. Once hooked, they are known for their incredible acrobatics and speed. They can spool an entire reel of line in a matter of seconds, and dance across the water on their tail. They are truly amazing and beautiful fish, and generally are caught and released purely for the sport.
Mahi-Mahi- Mahi-Mahi are always a possibility when trolling for tuna. Generally their numbers grow as the water gets warmer in the summer months, but we have had them jump on our lines with the water temperature in the high 60s. Often you will find these fish hanging out under floating clumps of seaweed, cardboard, or balloons on sunny days because they like the shade. They are brilliantly colored, beautiful fish, with flat sleek bodies and square heads. When you hook them, they glow bright yellow, blue and green often jump clear out of the water. Furthermore, many consider them the best-eating fish in the ocean.
Wahoo- these fish are extremely fast and difficult to catch. Resembling barracuda, they are long and thin with razor-sharp teeth, so it is nearly impossible to hook them without losing your lure. If hooked, however, they provide a great acrobatic fight and a tasty meal…