Wednesday, January 9, 2008

Bluefin Bite Slows Down

Well- after a wonderful few days- the bite totally shut off in the waters offshore of Cape Lookout. A large number of boats plied the waters off Cape Lookout- trolling everything from Ballyhoo to mackerel in conditions that looked ideal in spots- plenty of shad, diving gannets, spotted dolphin, whales, you name it we saw it- only one thing was missing- the bluefin tuna. The TAG team riding aboard Dale Britt's Charter boat Sensation- had a wonderful nature tour and we even caught and released an enormous Cobia - but other than this we hooked nada. This season there seems to have been a pattern- of cold fronts coming through- and a significant bite, that shuts off a few days after the pass of the front. Its so calm here now that the clarity in the water is most likely an issue- as you can see the lines and the terminal tackle with ease- stealthy fishing is a must with these grand predators who have warm eyes- and super vision. I believe there is much we still don't understand about bluefin in these waters. Some significant weather is coming in- so we'll most likely be off the water for a few days. We're collecting samples at all the bluefin landings point where the community has been super helpful enabling the TAG team to get samples for genetics and otoliths (earbones). Its quite a site to see Dr. Andre Boustany to remove these tiny earbones that literally have the natal signal of where the fish were born (Gulf of Mexico or Med) locked up in the bone. We hope to get out again and continue the electronic tagging shortly but after five days on the water its great to get a break. I am posting a few photos of mate Dave and angler Mike cranking on a large 90 inch fish several days ago on our tagging vessel Sensation that we released- and shots of two bluefin that Dr. Pat Halpin of Duke, Dr. Andre Boustany (at the head irrigation) and Barb (in blue) released with both archival and satellite tags being implanted (externally and internally). Andre made a super save on a hook that had lodged all the way in the stomach- and he easily removed it but did receive a significant abrasion. The fish swam away strongly. The weather is almost summer like here today- and I think we'll need another cold front to get the fish actively biting again. Barb

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