This is the one we were looking for...
By Captain Bob Lynch with Captain John Kusler
It was a good day of fishing for the two captains of the Fishing Vessel Chumlord. The fifth of September was one of those days when everything was going right for Captain John Kusler and me, Captain Bob Lynch. The seas were flat and the bait was fresh. When we arrived at the Bluefin Tuna grounds 20 miles east of Newburyport, Massachusetts there was even a place to throw the anchor.
As soon as the anchor went down two big finback whales surfaced next to the boat, that's always a good sign. It looked very fishy. Soon, clouds of bait were swimming under Chumlord our 23 foot Edgewater center console. The fish finder fish alarm was constant as the bait was marking from 60 feet to the bottom in waves. There were sand eels, mackerel, red fish, cod, haddock, herring and whiting to be had in the water column. With a hundred pounds of nice frozen herring for chum and all the live bait you could want, things were looking good.
These Tuna like to bite on the top and the bottom of the tides. We marked a couple of fish around 8 am at the top of the tide but didn't do anything with them. The next low tide was around 2 pm so we got ready for that action. Captain John Kusler rigged one of his special baits on the down line just for the tide.
It wasn't down 15 minutes when the reel began to play that special music! Were on!!! Were on!!! The mad dash to get the other lines in and get the boat started and off the anchor all went as rehearsed. The fish headed for the boat next to us of course but turned and headed to the middle of the small fleet of boats that now surrounded us. In addition to the boat obstacle course there was a bunch of gill net flags strategically placed in all directions. With the luck of the day this fish managed to navigate his way through the boats and flags towing us into the open ocean.
It was obvious that this was a big fish. He would have spooled us if we didn't chase him down. With the rod in the front rod holder in the bow we were able to keep about half the backing on the reel and giver him some direction. It was a good hour into the fight before we had mono back on the reel and we dared to let the drag back a bit in order to move the rod to the rod holder at the back corner of the boat where we have been more successful in landing fish.
His runs were consistent and getting shorter each time. A lot of reel cranking by John and boat maneuvering by me kept him tight and in check. About two hours into the fight he started making big circles of about 100 yards where the reel man John and the wheel man me need to keep pace with the movements to maintain a tight pressure and good direction on the line. At about two hours and fifteen minutes into the fight is the first time we see him. He's a monster! Here we go again! We have lost a few of these big fish over the past couple of years due to the light gear. Shy gear means more hookups but more dropped fish. This is a big fish indicated by a giant green-white shadow just below the surface. Definitely gets your heart racing. Everything needs to go right to land this one. The large circles begin to turn to smaller circles where a few cranks can be made for each circle. He is spending more time near the surface of the water on each decreasing circle. The last couple of circles are almost all on the surface and he is swimming on his side. This is the perfect setup. On the last circle John cranked hard as the fish approached the boat keeping him on the surface. I grabbed the harpoon and delivered a lethal blow to his side just behind is pectoral fin. This stopped him cold. Holding on to the rod line and the harpoon line we were able to gaff his tale and after three or four tries to get the loop on the tail rope big enough to fit over his massive tail, he was finally ours.
Now what? This was the biggest fish either one of us had ever caught. We attempted to lift him into the boat. We could only get his head out of the water before the hoist started to give up. There was a lot of fish still in the water so we needed to tow the fish to port. It took a little over three hours to make it to the dock to meet the fish broker and a large group of friends and family. It seemed like it took forever for the fish broker to do the paperwork required to process the fish. Finally he set the winch in motion down to hook the tail strap and began to lift the fish out of the water. It was well past sunset and the water was black. Everyone on the dock peered over the edge in anticipation as the fish began to rise up. This was the first time we got a full view of just how big he was. The winch’s sound was overwhelmed by gasps of disbelief from the crowd as the fish rose from the water and cleared the edge of the dock. Everyone was stunned, including us...It was a BIG fish! The truck even had trouble lifting the fish due to the weight and the length. The monster weighed in at 921 lbs. and was 115 inches long. Both of us have fished for a long time, we've had many successful trips with decent results, but this is the one we've been looking for. For a diehard fisherman, it just doesn't get better than this!
Chumlord Charters is a saltwater adventure company based out of Newburyport, MA. To book your next charter or more information about Chumlord charters visit: https://www.facebook.com/chumlordcharters