Tuna Fishing Massachusetts: Charters and DIY Options

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Situated along the stunning coastline of the Atlantic Ocean, Massachusetts offers a large number of opportunities for both seasoned anglers and eager beginners to enjoy the adrenaline-pumping pursuit of catching the massive Giant Bluefin Tuna.

Whether you prefer the comfort and expertise of a charter service or would rather have the freedom of a do-it-yourself expedition, the state’s waters are teeming with bluefin, yellowfin, and other tuna species.

Giant Bluefin Tuna in Massachusetts

Bluefin tuna
Massachusetts’s distinctive geography and rich food sources make it a prime spot for bluefin tuna fishing.

Massachusetts is a prime destination for bluefin tuna fishing due to its unique geographical features and abundant food sources that attract these impressive fish. 

The state’s coastline provides an ideal habitat for bluefin tuna since it has a mix of warm and cold waters that create a nutrient-rich environment for the tuna’s preferred prey, such as mackerel, herring, and squid.

The migration patterns of bluefin tuna also contribute to their presence in Massachusetts. These migratory fish traverse thousands of miles annually, following their prey and seeking optimal water temperatures. 

During the summer and fall, Massachusetts becomes a hotspot as the bluefin tuna move into the area to feed and fatten up for the winter months. 

Giant Bluefin Tuna can reach massive sizes, with some individuals weighing over 1,000 pounds and measuring more than 10 feet in length. It’s not uncommon to encounter bluefin tuna weighing several hundred pounds off the state’s coast.

Their impressive size, along with their incredible strength and fighting ability, makes them a sought-after challenge for any anglers seeking a thrilling and unforgettable fishing experience.

Massachusetts Bluefin Tuna Fishing Charters

Bluefin tuna
Tuna fishing charters offer comfortable offshore trips for successful tuna fishing.

What to Expect on a Charter

Tuna fishing charters are led by experienced and knowledgeable captains and crew who have years of experience in locating and catching tuna. They are familiar with the local waters and migration patterns and know all of the best fishing spots.

The charter boats are typically well-equipped with state-of-the-art fishing electronics and safety equipment. These vessels are designed for offshore fishing trips lasting several hours and can offer stability and comfort during the journey.

Recommended Charters: Five Top Operators

Sebastian MacMillian of FishLinked ChartersWareham, MAFishLinked Charters8+ hours on the sea, all gear and tackle are provided
John Demarco of Tuna Tail ChartersGloucester, MATuna Tail ChartersCustom-built 35’ fishing boat, family-friendly charter
Don Viprino of Osprey SportfishingOrleans, MAOsprey SportfishingFish 40 miles out from shore, all gear and tackle provided
Kristian Zoeller of 30 Fathom ChartersNewburyport, MA30 Fathom ChartersFamily-friendly charter, you keep your catch
Erik Christiansen of Great Marsh OutfittersRockport, MAGreat Marsh Outfitters All gear and bait are provided, free tuna catch cleaning

DIY Bluefin Tuna Fishing in MA

If you’d rather skip the charter and go tuna fishing on your own boat and with your own gear, there are a few things you should know beforehand. 

First, take some time to learn about the local regulations and fishing seasons for tuna in Massachusetts. Make sure you have the right fishing licenses and permits before you set sail

Research tuna fishing hotspots, migration patterns, and the best times to target them in the area. Understanding the sea conditions, weather, and water temperatures is vital for a successful trip.

Invest in quality tuna fishing gear, such as heavy-duty rods, reels, and lines that can handle the strength of these massive fish. Choose the right lures, baits, and tackle that resemble the tuna’s favorite prey. 

Bluefin tuna are not shy about going after large artificial lures, squid-like soft baits, or live bait like mackerel or herring. 

Don’t forget the safety equipment. Life jackets, flares, and communication devices should be on board for everyone’s safety.

Chart your course and decide on the fishing spots you want to explore. Look for areas with an abundance of baitfish, deep drop-offs, and temperature breaks in the water since these are likely to attract tuna.

Tuna fishing success often depends on the time of year and specific tidal and lunar patterns. Focus your efforts during the peak tuna fishing seasons in Massachusetts, which are usually during the summer and fall months.

When it comes to techniques, there are a few tried-and-true methods you can try out. Trolling is the method I see used most often. You’ll have lures or bait pulled behind your boat at varying speeds, which allows you to cover miles of distance to chase or locate your next trophy tuna.

Another popular technique is chunking, where you cut up baitfish to create a scent trail that attracts tuna close to the boat. Chunking is also effective when targeting sharks, so you may hook a shark while going for a tuna. 

Jigging can also be effective when tuna are located below the surface. I love jigging for tuna and will use heavy metal jigs and a strong vertical motion to entice a strike.

Tuna fishing can require a bit of waiting and watching for signs of tuna activity, such as bird diving or surface disturbances. Remember that catching tuna can be physically demanding and potentially hazardous, especially if you manage to hook an exceptionally large fish.

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Jeff Knapp is an expert fisherman, guide and outdoor writer whose work is widely published across a range of sites including Tackle Village. Jeff is based in Pennsylvania and loves exploring the waterways of that state in pursuit of smallmouth bass, largemouth, panfish and trout.
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