Little Tunney and Big Tunney ! [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Little Tunney and Big Tunney !

08-29-2000, 08:08 AM
I had a chance to fish with a buddy of mine yesterday who guides out of the Vineyard. He picked me up in Woods Hole around 6am and we decided to look for bass thinking this will get the morning cobwebs out before chasing the green footballs. We headed thru the backside of the passage and was met with a very large blitz of bass. They where just hammering the juvies from one end of the poit to the other. Several casts into the mix got us some bass in the mid to upper twenties. This went on for about 25 minutes. Then, as the bait finally made it's way out to deeper water, the mayhem stopped.......we circeled the boat out to deeper water and started to see some swirls. We thought they where bass, but the first shredded leader told us other wise. Out came the wire and we landed several very fat bluefish in the 7 to 8lb. range. Almost all of these fish just refused to give up. After the 5 fish, we decided to start looking for the tunoids. Well, the sun was just over the horizon at this point but the haze still made it somewhat overcast. The blues where continuing to hammer the bunker and then I saw them. Tuna shaped objects about 75 yards to our right. We moved the boat closer and saw them again...but these where much bigger than albacore or bonito...and they where much darker.....and they where making a ruckous in the rip with bait fish jumping for their life. After several casts and no takers, those fish disappered. From the vantage point we had, we thought they where either bigger skipjacks or small bluefins.
We then headed towards the backside of the Elizabeths and Buzzards Bay. We chased some very large schools of Albaore for the rest of the day as they munched their way thru the tide. The interesting things was that they would hit bunny flies pretty regularly in the morning even though they keyed into the small herring. Once the tide changed, those fish would not touch anything but the mushmouth fly (olive over white angel hair) or my juvie pattern that was tied to be about 2 1/2 inches long. We have even had a few blitzes that went on for about 90 seconds where we had a least 7 to 10 total casts into the blitz with no takers using silver side patterns and bunny flies. Once we switched to the juvie patterns, we would get several hits on one retrieve !

Unfortunately, we experienced some motor problems and had to call it a day. On the way back, we swung by the stone pier and actually had some shots at Bonito on the corner by the beach as they where ripping into bait. But thanks to a guy in a small dory (as he got 5 feet from the blitz, almost directly in between us and the fish), the fish made a hasty retreat for deeper water.

All and all a great day. For all of you guys going to BoneClave2000, do not forget your Juvie patterns !


08-29-2000, 08:42 AM
Great report John!

IMHO, it's a general misconception that tunoids, or any species for that matter, is only catchable using the patterns that have reputations for success. In fact, I've caught as many if not more tunoids using sand eel patterns as I have with silversides. I'm sure the mushmouth works... in fact I prescribe to realistics for tunoids (as well as stripers on the flats) and realistic means proportioned, semi-transcluscent and irridescent particularly in bluewater (I omit most of the flash on the flats, a strand or two or three only). With the 'right size' pogies all over the place it's easy to see why they are focused on them. They get pretty tuned into small squid as well, as you know.

My experiences indicate that the bunny is more founded on lore than anything else. Of course they catch fish like mad because of the action, all kinds of fish not just tunoids - but they aren't my first choice despite their reputation. I rarely fish them for tunoids.

Based on your comments, you had several hits but no hookups? Could this be due to the hook proportion to the dressing? Perhaps a small tube fly would help in that scenario.

I believe in four basic flies for tunoids:

1) silverside, like my "wasabi" fly (will be posted w/images)
2) sand eel, like a 2/3 size deep eel which as you know uses rainbow angel hair
3) juvie, (already posted in archive)
4) coho squid, which I developed out in Puget Sound for coho salmon and found it works wonders out here

The success of hairballs, deadly dicks and even popping plugs by conventional tackle guys should teach us a thing or two as well - conventional thinking can be limited.


08-29-2000, 08:53 AM

You are right on with the hook size.......I used a Tiemco 800 size 2 and I probably should have used a 4. It was frustrating, as I slowly stripped, to feel those solid "thunks" and no hook up on some of the casts. I did manage to bring some fish to the boat on the fly, but would have gotten about 10 fish to the boat if I used a smaller hook. I will be tying up some of these patterns on 4's tonite !


08-29-2000, 09:58 AM
The 800 is a very short shanked but stout and sturdy SWFF hook. I prefer the 811s (standard shank) and 911s (long shank) instead because the thinner wire is still high quality and much lighter to cast, easier penetration, and easier to sharpen after fishing with a high sandy dune behind you.

What's your take on the long shanks (911s)? I like them. Some feel the long shank causes LDR's but I haven't experienced this problem. I tie my favorites on both short (811s) and long (911s) hooks thru the season based on whether I want a longer 'torso' to the fly or not.

I experimented a lot out west and found that coho salmon get hooked significantly more often with the point back 1/2 the length of the fly, or more (tubes, tandems, etc).

Stripers will get hooked on a foot long with a 1/2 inch hook on the snout because they are so focused on hitting the head of the fly.

Anteriorly positioned hooks definitely catch more bluefish because they cut their prey by slashing it, especially true with poppers.

I'll bet bonito and albacore will hook better on long shank hooks, although I'd have to prove it out to say for sure. In any case, small tube flies might increase the hookup rates for tunoid strikes. This is an area I would like the luxury of testing, but to get large quanitities of data it takes a boat.

BTW - I wasn't suggesting a smaller hook size, I was commenting on the position of the point with respect to the length of the fly.

08-29-2000, 10:41 AM

Honestly, I have never had any issues hooking up with these speedsters, although my fly (juvie)is a much wider profile than the silversides/sandeels I have used in the past. I will definitly give the longer shank hooks a shot as I am trying to do more research later this week !

Take care,

08-29-2000, 10:48 AM
I am bonito green with envy! Thanks for your reports, just the thing to get us all in a frenzy about the tunoid season to come.