The Killin’ It Good charter captains and mate are experts at finding a wide variety of fish in the Cape Cod region. Here’s some information about the primary fish species we’ll help you target and catch:
Striped bass (Stripers)
June 1 through September 30
Atlantic striped bass (also known as rockfish) are primarily found along the Atlantic coast of North America, with a range that runs all the way from the St. Lawrence River in Canada to St. John’s River in Florida. They’re highly popular for sport fishing, due in part to their size and to their delicious, mild flavor.
Named for the dark stripes that run from the gills to the tails, striped bass spend the majority of their lives in coastal estuaries or the ocean. They generally grow up to 59 inches in length and reach a weight of 55 – 77 pounds.
Once heavily overfished, stripers are now at sustainable population levels and are a long-lived fish species – in fact, they can live roughly 30 years (but only if they aren’t caught by the Killin’ It Good crew or passengers)!
We use various methods to catch these wonderful fish, from drifting live mackerel or pogies to vertical jigging diamond jigs east of Chatham or drifting live eels at nighttime along the Cape Cod Bay. All of these methods give you the feel of the hookup and the power of these wonderful fish.
Striped bass must be at least 28 inches long to keep. There is a 1 fish per person limit.
June 1 through September 30
Bluefish are found around the world in temperate and subtropical waters (except the northern Pacific Ocean). A migratory species, they’re found off the coast of Florida in winter and move north in spring. By June, they’re found off the coast here in Cape Cod.
Adult bluefish usually range in size from 30 – 45 inches and can weigh up to 40 pounds. They’re strong, aggressive and fast swimmers, making them a lot of fun to reel in. In fact, the excitement involved in angling these fighters makes them the second most-harvested species in the region (after striped bass).
In terms of eating, large bluefish have a medium-dense, darker meat with a rich, pronounced flavor. Smaller bluefish tend to have a milder flavor.
We catch these fish all the time using various method such as vertical jigging diamond jigs, trolling tube and worms or on the top water action casting wood plugs on spinning gear. All these techniques show the unbelievable power of these smaller fish and bring true excitement for our charter groups.
For bluefish, there is no minimum length. There is a 10 fish per person limit.
June 1 through December 31
Atlantic bluefin tuna (also known as northern bluefin tuna or giant bluefin tuna) feature dark blue upper bodies with gray below. They are distinguished from other tuna by their relatively short pectoral fins.
Recreationally, the bluefin is one of the most important species sought by sport fishermen along the Atlantic coast. Adults usually range from 6.5 – 8 feet in length, and with some bluefins weighing over 990 lb., these tunas have the size, speed, and power to make for a sport fishing experience you’ll never forget!
Highly prized as a food fish, bluefin tuna make for great eating. However, due to overfishing in recent years, limits on these fish are strict, which is why we can only keep 3 “small” or 1 large tuna per trip.
Whether you want to use spinning gear or 130 alutecnos reels to fight the mammoth fish for the rod holder, we can accommodate you. There’s nothing more unbelievable than catching these fish in any location. In the early months, we use spreader bars and swimming ballyhoo to target these monsters, while in the later months in Cape Cod Bay, using live bait is the way to go.
- For bluefin tuna measuring 27 – 47 inches, there is a 3 fish per boat limit.
- For tuna measuring 47 – 73 inches, there is a 1 fish per boat limit.
- Any tuna measuring more than 73 inches (those fish with a fork length greater than 73 inches) belongs to the boat. If a fish measuring more than 73 inches is caught by a member of your charter group, we will reimburse you for 25% of your total charter cost.
- Note: Rules for bluefin tuna are always changing. Please refer to the following for updated rules and regulations: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/compliance/regulations/index.html
Mako & Thresher Sharks
June 15 through October 15
The word “mako” comes from the Maori language, and means either “shark” or “a shark tooth”. It’s also known as the blue pointer (due to its metallic blue coloring) or bonito shark and is found in warm and warm-temperate waters around the world. It’s the fastest of all sharks and feeds on other fast-moving fishes such as swordfish, tuna and other sharks, as well as bluefish.
An average adult mako measures about 10 feet in length and weighs 132 – 298 pounds. Due to its size, power, speed and outstanding flavor, it’s considered to be one of the top sport fishes in the world.
Thresher sharks are found in all temperate and tropical oceans worldwide and like makos, they’re prized among sport fisherman. They’re named for their thresher-like tails (or caudal fins), which can be as long as their bodies. Threshers are sometimes seen in shallow water, but they generally prefer the open ocean, which is where we usually hunt for them.
Threshers have short heads and fairly small mouths. In size, they can reach 20 feet in length and weigh over 1,000 lbs. The coloring ranges from brownish, bluish or purplish gray on the upper body to lighter shades below. Like makos, thresher sharks are excellent eating fish.
To catch these fish, we use our stand up collection using lighter tackle gear, which will give the angler a serious battle between fish and man. Whether we are out east of Chatham in the deep water or off the southwest corner, we always enjoy our shark fishing charters.
- We don’t keep blue sharks as they aren’t good for eating.
- Mako/thresher sharks need to be at least 54 inches in fork length. There is 1 fish allowed per trip. For more information, visit: http://www.nmfs.noaa.gov/sfa/hms/compliance/guides/documents/rec_sharks.pdf
The Atlantic cod, which gave Cape Cod its name, is a fish of outstanding flavor and has been an important source of food and cod liver oil for centuries. Unfortunately, due to increased demand for cod in recent decades, its numbers are down significantly, which is why we have strict limits for keepers.
On average, Atlantic cod can reach 51 inches in length, 55 – 77 pounds in weight (though it’s possible for the fish to weigh over 220 pounds) and live for up to 25 years. They’re slow swimmers that travel in schools along the coast and in open waters, where they hunt for eels, mackerels, haddock, mollusks, squid and crabs.
The deep water jigging used for catching this fish isn’t the most exciting experience, but it does give you a delicious meal to take home. If you’re more interested in great dining results than high action, this might be the right fishing choice for you.
The haddock is a member of the cod family and is found on both sides of the North Atlantic Ocean. Like Atlantic cod, it’s a delicious fish for eating – and like cod, it’s been in high demand and overfished in recent decades, but conservation efforts and strict fishing regulations have helped numbers rebound over the past couple of years.
The haddock is similar in appearance to cod, with a purple-grey head and back, silver-grey sides and white belly. They’re easily recognized by a black splotch (known as the “Devil’s thumbprint”) above the pectoral fin. A cold-water, bottom-dwelling fish, haddock can reach 1 – 3 feet in length and 2 – 7 pounds in weight, living up to 10 years.
The bottom jigging we use for catching haddock is an easier type of fishing, producing a good meal on the table. Like cod, this type of fishing is perfect for people who just want a relaxing day of fishing with tasty results.
Squid are most abundant in the Nantucket Sound region in May and June, when they come to spawn. We find and catch a variety of squid in the area, such as the Point Judith squid, Woods Hole squid, Falmouth squid and Nantucket squid.
We fish for squid along the south side of the Cape before the season starts for stripers and bluefish.
Vertical jigging for squid is just an all-out fun time. Using really light tackle, we anchor up in the hot spots, jigging the day away.
Although not as well known outside our region as tuna or cod, scup are easy and fun to catch. They’re found from Massachusetts to North Carolina; we typically hunt for them along the south side of Cape Cod.
Scup are spiny with a silvery, light blue speckled body and 12 – 15 light horizontal stripes. The heads are marked with dark patches. Scup can grow as large as 18 inches in length and weigh up to 4 pounds, but they usually average about 1 – 2 pounds in weight. Like cod and haddock, they’ve been overfished in the past, so we follow careful restrictions and limits.
Although much smaller than some of the other fish we catch, they’re excellent eating (just watch out for bones)!