Another very successful year of giant bluefin tuna fishing has come to an end in North Lake, Prince Edward Island, Canada, with Tony’s Tuna Fishing. 2013 saw a lot of bluefin tuna in our waters once again, with the size ranging from 400 to 1200 pounds.
We started our bluefin season around the middle of July, and made five trips in July. Traditionally, the bluefin tuna arrive in our waters around the end of June and are here to their full capacity by the middle of July. Of the five trips made in July, we hooked four fish, all with the kite. These were great stats considering we only had one boat on the water, and it is tough to find the tuna with a single boat. Not a lot of fish were marked on the fish finder, but this is quite common in the early part of the season when the tuna are feeding on mackerel and are usually high in the water column.
August was a very successful month, with all seven of the boats in the TTF fleet in action. With the exception of a couple of 2-3 day periods after heavy winds which caused the water temperature to drop and affected the tuna feeding patterns, most days resulted in most or all of our boats getting hooked on at least one giant tuna. Having the seven boats all scouting different areas and working together to find the fish is a huge advantage. Like July, a lot of the giants in August were hooked with high baits or kite baits. The tuna were quite abundant in numbers , but we did not see a lot of large schools of bluefin tuna, because they were staying high in the water column chasing surface bait. The big advantage to fishing for bluefin in August is the weather, as the number of days with heavy wind and surf are low, compared to later on in the season. We were feeding tuna beside the boat on occasion, but most hook ups were when the lines were set away from the boat and we were drifting. In August, we fished out of North Lake and Souris, and there were giants on both fishing grounds throughout the month.
September was great as well, with the herring showing up and holding the tuna around. September came this year with more wind than normal, and the northeast wind that we experienced on a couple of occasions seemed to affect the water temperature for two to three days after. When the water temperature dropped, the tuna would move offshore, and it would take a couple of days for them to move back in and start feeding heavily again. This led to some days that the fishing was not up to the standard that we have come to expect, but there is little we can do with Mother Nature. We fed tuna off North Lake and on Fisherman's Bank, and hooked a lot of huge fish. Our seven boats were all permitted to kill one fish, and these fish ranged from 750 to 977 pounds. Although we did hook and release a number of granders, the market conditions did not justify hanging one of these at the time they were caught. Since all boats on Prince Edward Island are only permitted one kill tag per year (about 15% get a second kill tag in October through a lottery draw), we try to time the market to get maximum return on the fish.
We did not take charters very long in October, as the weather usually starts to turn at this time. I was fortunate enough to get a second kill tag in October, and weighed in a giant that was close to 950 pounds on October 3. It was the roundest fish most of us had seen in a while, just needed a little more length for the grander. The giants did stay in our waters until the end of October, and we saw more tuna in October, 2013 than we have in an October month in a long time. It certainly looks promising for 2014 for the giant bluefin in North Lake, Prince Edward Island, with the fleet of Tony’s Tuna Fishing!!!
Hope to see you here in 2014!
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