Bluefin mania: Fish come on strong nearshore

Steven Kennedy photo Offloading a giant bluefin from the 35' Lily in Gloucester in 2011.

Steven Kennedy photo
Offloading a giant bluefin from the 35′ Lily in Gloucester in 2011.

HARWICH, MA – Even before the June 1 start of the 2013 bluefin tuna season, fishermen, including a whole pack of newcomers, were raring to go, fired up by reports of fish sighted from Maine to Massachusetts.

Sure enough, the season started off with a bang.  The fish were close to shore, just a few miles off Chatham, in Cape Cod Bay, and on the southwest corner of Stellwagen.

“It’s a parking lot full of trailer-able boats out there,” said spotter pilot and bluefin fisherman Ralph Pratt on June 9.  “There’s a lot of new effort.  A lot of the fish are over 73″.  We’re seeing a lot of keeper fish.”

Dealers handled scores of them in the first two weeks of the season.  While no one was exactly complaining about the surge in business, they did have some real concerns about how the early days were playing out.

“The quality is terrible.  They’re lean, muscle-bound,” remarked Bob Kliss of Lynn, MA-based North Atlantic Traders Inc.  “These fish have been…


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