Scottish Crew Scores Big!

Congratulations to Angus Campbell and crew of the Orca III, whom which landed a 515lb Giant Bluefin Tuna off Scottish coast! This catch proves the viability to target Bluefin Tuna out of Scotland. The fish was to be released, but due to the circumstances where the fish was hooked death was inevitable. The fish will be eaten by some very happy people!

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How to Make a Fishing Hook in 10 Easy Steps

Fishing equipment has definitely improved since the time of using making rods out of saplings, but that doesn’t mean that some good, handcrafted gear can’t still get the job done. Hooks are fairly simple to make, and require no more tools than you probably have lying around your house. So the next time you’re banging around in the garage, try making a few hooks to throw in your tackle box. Regardless of if you keep them for spares, or start incorporating them into you everyday fishing routine, these basic hooks are cost-effective and enjoyable to make.

You’ll need:

  • safety glasses
  • steel wire
  • 2 pairs of pliers, preferably needle-nose
  • hammer
  • file


  • small torch
  • lighter
  • water


  1. Glasses on, just in case.
  2. Using your needle-nose pliers, cut a few inches of wire free from its coil. (It is easier to start with more than you need since you will be manipulating the wire into a different shape with your pliers, and will have an opportunity to cut off the excess father along in the process.)
  3. Use the pliers to cut a sharp point at one end of the wire. If you would like to create a hook with a barb, cut a 45 degree angle about one inch down on the wire before creating the sharp point that will become the tip of the hook.
  4. Holding the wire still with one set of pliers, use the other to begin shaping the hook’s U-shape.
  5. Once your hook has formed its basic shape, you can now begin creating the eye of the hook. Using one of the needle-noses, simple grab the wire firmly in the place in which you want the eye to be, and twist the wire around the pliers once, creating a circle.
  6. Use pliers to press the eye firmly shut.
  7. There will be an excess of wire once the eye is created. Cut off the excess, preferably where it meets the shaft of the hook, and once again use your pliers to create a firm closing.
  8. Now for the fine-tuning: place your newly formed hook onto a hard surface, and gently pound it flat with your hammer. This will create a sound hook that is properly aligned, sturdy, and easy to work with. You may also want to file the tip and/or barb at this time, too.
  9. At this point, you have a fully functional hook. However, if you want to firm things up a bit, light your torch and using pliers to hold the hook at the eye, place the point into the torch’s fire. Repeat with the eye of the hook.
  10. Toss the hook into the water to cool and firm it…then get fishing!

Needless to say it’s definitely worth it to just buy your hooks, but knowing how to make your own might come in handy!

Bluefin Tuna off Scotland

Bluefin Tuna off the Scottish coast? It may come to a surprise to most that these magnificent creatures are making their way into the highland waters, but it is true.

Angus Campbell, of Kilda Cruises located in Scotland on the Isle of Harris contacted us here at Fisherman’s Outfitter inquiring about the gear required to target Bluefins. Angus runs ecological  charters to St. Kilda and other islands of the Hebrides of Scotland and recently noticed the Bluefins occasionally feeding on his tours.

Johnny White, owner of Fisherman’s Outfitter spent the first two weeks of September off St. Kilda showing the crew how to use the gear. Due to rough conditions that are normal this time of year, the window to fish was a short 2 days. After surveying the areas around the Island they located an area that held lots of bait, birds and hopefully Tuna. The short amount of time did not produce a Bluefin, but did provide confidence that these waters held them!

Fisherman’s Outfitter was also featured in a European Newspaper and website, which article can be viewed below.

Atlantic bluefins chase mackerel off coast of Kilda. For a few years now there have been reports of large fish around shoals of mackerel off the coast of the Outer Hebrides. Kilda Cruises and other boat operators in the Western isles have spotted bluefin tuna on their trips to St Kilda. A few years ago the Hebridean Whale and Dolphin Trust also reported a bluefin tuna being found washed up on a beach on the Isle of Mull.

Angus Campbell, the owner of Kilda Cruises, also runs Atlantic Marine Services (AMS). AMS provides specialist support for organisations doing marine surveys west of the Hebrides. Angus is currently investigating the viability of fishing for bluefin tuna. Specialist fishing gear was ordered from the USA and John White of Fisherman’s Outfitter, in Massachusetts, USA, came to teach the ins and outs of how to catch these massive creatures.

What is so special about the Atlantic bluefin tuna? The answer is their size, speed and that they tend not to enter Scottish waters. The average length is two metres and average weight is 250kg.

Their torpedo-shaped, streamlined bodies can travel up to 43 miles an hour. Bluefin tunas are warm-blooded, a rare trait among fish. Because of this they are able to adjust their body temperature, keeping it higher than the surrounding water, which is why they are so well adapted to cooler ocean waters.

Bluefin tuna have been seen and caught off the Irish coast for decades but it would appear that they are gradually moving north as herring stocks recover. Although Bluefin tuna have been overfished during the last 20 years, some recent studies show an encouraging rebirth of the North Atlantic population thanks to some great conservation efforts in the western Atlantic.

A Unique Perspective: Kayak Fishing

Enjoying fishing from a kayak is a unique experience, and, like fishing from a boat or on shore, has a unique set of requirements and safety guidelines. Preparedness is key for kayak fishing, perhaps even more so than boat or land fishing, because of its limited mobility and slower pace. To ensure you have all your bases covered, do your research on what kind of “essentials” you’ll need to kayak fish in your area safely and successfully. Here is a cheat sheet to get you started. Beyond the basics – kayak (not to mention understanding how to use a kayak), paddle, rod, reel, tackle, and bait – you may also need:

Rod and Paddle Leashes

You do NOT want to be stranded without a paddle when kayak fishing! Keeping your rod and paddle tethered to your kayak will allow you to fish free of worry.


A small utility knife is great to have in an emergency situation (if your kayak tips and you are snagged on something) and for more everyday uses like cutting bait, line, etc.

VHF Radio

Great to have one that will last even when submerged in water … just in case.

PFD and Whistle

A personal flotation device and whistle are both required by the Coast Guard as safety precautions when operating a kayak.

First Aid Kit

Including bandages, disinfectant and tweezers – it’s always a smart thing to have. Some fishing kayak enthusiasts opt to put a mirror in their first aid kit as well.


Kayaks can move around a great deal in rocky waters, so it’s good to have a small anchor to keep in the same spot once you’ve found a good one. A lighter folding anchor will allow for easy storage and the ability to stay put.

Dry Bag/Box

For keeping valuables, snacks – you name it. It’s nice to have a few things safeguarded against the water.

Boat Light

Required for night fishing. This small LED light sits on top of a long rod, making you easily detectable by other vessels.

There are also a few “luxury” items that may prove helpful in your kayaking, like a GPS or compass for navigation, a fish finder (it is a lot more time consuming to hunt for fish in a kayak than a fishing boat), and a live tank well. A comfortable seat is also suggested, since you want to make sure you stay comfortable for a full day of fishing!

Photo credit: FreeWine / Foter / CC BY

Fall Fishing: Changing Up Your Fishing Spot for the Change in Season

September could quite possibly be the best time for fishing in Massachusetts. So many of the more annoying aspects of preparation and safety are gone. No longer are you forced to trudge through marinas full of summer explorers, or slather on tons of sunblock, wear that dorky hat, or come home exhausted from the sun. September’s fishing is much more low-key; with the lower temperature, you also get less foot traffic on the docks, marinas, and beaches. There’s less sun damage, and more time to contemplate just how much you love to fish.

After the first cold front hits New England, when the temperature first starts to change, the way we fish will need to change, too. Or more specifically, where we fish. Although fish like bass aren’t quite ready for their southern migration, after that first cold front they are on the move nonetheless. With the change in weather comes a change in the water’s plant life and habitats, and the fish are affected by this. A grouping of rocks may no longer offer the shelter it once did. The re-bloom of phytoplankton causes the fish to shift around, looking for snacks. As we do when the seasons change, the fish begin to sense the approaching cold (winter is coming) and their needs become different than when the temperatures were high.

So how do we adapt to this shift and find the fish? First off, know that the shift is actually good news for us. As the temperature drops, the fish start to sense their need to fill their bellies before the cold season, and they become more aggressive. So, if you happen to find a large grouping of fish together … chances are you are heading home with some of the greedier ones. But what if you can’t find them where you once could? A great tip for fall fishing is to go to your usual spots, and then move over a little bit. Chances are the fish haven’t traveled too far away from their summer hangouts yet, and as always you’ll be able to spot schoolies before you find the big guys. You may also want to try coming inland more, since the fish will be as well, to adjust to the drop in the water temperature.

Fall fishing is relaxing and bountiful if you know how to change with the temperature. Just be sure to change up your location, and keep your eyes peeled for signs of life in new places.

A Fool-Proof Recipe for Baked Striper

If you’re a fisherman who isn’t savvy in the kitchen … don’t stress. There are so many easy ways to prepare fish (as well as some great side dishes) that require little prep, tools, or serious culinary know-how. They may not be the most “professional” way to cook a meal, but it will be no-fuss and be tasty regardless! So next time you bring home a striper, try this out.

Although it requires only the most basic ingredients, this simple dinner is a delicious way to impress anyone you have over for a meal.


You will need…

  • Knife (for filleting fish)
  • Roll of Tin Foil
  • Large Sauce Pan
  • Potato Masher
  • Mixing Bowl
  • Peeler (optional)



  • Fish and Asparagus:
  • 2 Filets of Freshly Caught Fish
  • Asparagus
  • 6 Potatoes
  • 1 Lemon
  • Olive Oil
  • Parsley
  • Garlic
  • Salt to taste (“to taste” means your preference on amount, but start small)
  • Pepper to taste

*NOTE: For all ingredients, just remember: 1 tablespoon. This recipe is very hard to do wrong, so simply follow the directions using 1 tablespoon as a jumping off point, except where it indicates “to taste.” Not a huge fan of garlic? Put less on there. Want to use butter instead of oil? Go for it! Using 1 tablespoon is a great place to start out, and from there you can modify based on your own likes and dislikes.


For potatoes:

  • Splash(es) of Milk
  • 2+ Tablespoons Butter
  • Dash(es) of Salt


How to:

*Preheat oven to 350, at which both the asparagus and fish can cook comfortably.

For Asparagus: Cut just the very bottom tips of asparagus off, wash thoroughly, and let dry. In a mixing bowl, drizzle asparagus with olive oil, just enough so that each asparagus is very lightly covered. Crack fresh salt and pepper over them. Put 1 tablespoon garlic in with asparagus and toss until ingredients evenly coat asparagus. Place asparagus on tin foil and wrap them up completely. Bake for about 10-15 minutes, or until asparagus is tender.

For Fish: Place filets onto a large piece of tin foil. Drizzle olive oil over filets, about 1 tablespoon each. Squeeze 1 lemon wedge onto each filet. Sprinkle with parsley and garlic. Wrap completely in foil and bake until flakey, about 15 minutes.

For Potatoes: Place potatoes (either peeled or unpeeled) into a pot. Be aware that if you choose not to peel your potatoes before cooking, the cook time may be longer, and will result in more “rustic” mashed potatoes. Add water to the pot so that the potatoes have about an inch or two of water over them. Boil on stovetop. You will know when potatoes are done because you will be able to stick a fork in their center with little resistance. Drain water. Mash potatoes, and add a large splash of milk, 2 tablespoons butter, and salt to taste. Simply taste as you mash, slowly adding more butter, salt, and milk until you feel you have the perfect combination.

Protecting Your Digits: Wearing Gloves While Fishing

Blue Fever Release fishing glove is a great kind of fishing glove to get.

So much of your game as a fisherman depends on your ability to work with your hands. They help you reel in that big fish, remove hooks, get fish out of the water, and set your bait properly. All the while they endure the hardships of weather, climate, and environment. Being “handy” can make or break you when fishing, which is why some choose to use gloves as a way to reinforce the performance and safety of their digits while fishing. There are many types of gloves out there: some for harsh weather like wind and rain, some for leadering, and others meant mainly to grip slippery fish. For nearly every problem you may have with your hands while fishing, there is a product out there for you. Rather than globbing your hands with sunscreen and making them slippery, or risking a slice to the hand when setting up your leader, try some gloves. You may be surprised with the increased precision and protection they offer you.

Wind Blockers

Although some argue these are meant mainly for fly fishing, in the winter months these useful gloves can really help protect your hands from the elements, regardless of your location.

Sun Protection

Usually lycra and lightweight, sun protection gloves are often fingerless and easily dry off after becoming wet. Try and find some with an extended cuff to protect yourself beyond your wrist.

Release Gloves

Another popular type Bluefever offers, they have a grooved palm section and cover the fingertips, which is especially helpful for leadering fish.

Leader Wiring Gloves

Mainly for leaders used with larger trophy fish like sharks. Handling your leader incorrectly can really cut you up, so having gloves on hand is a great way to be able to handle your leader worry-free.


Usually a more lightweight glove, many different types of gloves listed here are fingerless. Fingerless gloves offer your hand protection and added resistance, while not hindering your dexterity at all. Bluefever makes a great one, the “short pump glove,” which is a great option for the everyday struggles of fishing.

Utility gloves

This category is more of an umbrella term for any old glove you like to use when fishing. It could be anything from a fleece-lined rubber glove (great for colder months), a leather glove, or even fingerless gloves you may use for construction work that you just happen to throw in your toolbox. Ultimately, a glove doesn’t necessarily have to be specially designed just for fishing, as long as it does the job.

Try out a few different types of gloves and see how they add to your overall fishing experience.

Secret to Success: Keeping Your Fishing Rod Clean

There is no disputing that fishing can be a dirty business. Between fish smells, the sun, and the dirt … things can get pretty messy. However, just because you may be looking (and smelling) less than fresh doesn’t mean that your equipment needs to. Having a clean fishing rod is vital to your success as a fisherman. Imagine if a dirty handle or debris-filled guide caused you to lose a fish, or – worse yet – the whole rod!

Most likely a cleaning system will develop over time, but if you haven’t started one yet, here are a few tips to get you going. Many of these products you will already have in your house, but you can also create a tackle box for cleaning supplies to keep handy on your boat, or even in the back of your car for easy equipment cleaning on the go.

Although rod handles come in a variety of textures and materials, cork handles are especially difficult when it comes to keeping clean because of their porous nature. Some anglers recommend rubbing alcohol for cleaning the cork handle, as well as other parts of the rod.

Although it can be a great disinfectant/odor neutralizer, rubbing alcohol can also be very drying, and no one wants their handle falling apart while fishing. A less harsh alternative would be an all-natural citrus-scented cleaner. The natural ingredients will effectively clean, while the citrus will cut through any fish juice odor that may be lingering.

To clean, spray the handle down and let the liquid sit for a moment. An old towel will serve nicely as a cleaning instrument. Use the towel to firmly rub down the cork area, removing all residue. Repeat if desired. Be sure to steer away from things like sandpaper and steel wool, which can wear down your rod and damage it over time.

For the rest of the rod, Pledge works wonders. Simply spray down the rest of the rod and clean with your towel. For the guides, cleaning with a Q-tip and WD-40 will make sure that the residue and rust stays out. An easy way to check the soundness of your guide is to run a cotton ball, or even women’s nylons, through them. If anything snags, it’s time to replace them.

Finally, like all equipment that sees water and wear, rods need to be replaced. Use your rods well, clean them often, and retire them when it’s time.

Fishing During Bug Season: How to Keep the Pests Away

If you have been fishing in Massachusetts in mid-July through early August … well, you know how it goes. No matter where you go, what part of the beach or boat you fish from, there they are: buzzing around you, landing on you, and pretty much making your fishing trip a lot less enjoyable. When you start coming home with welts and itchy spots, that’s when you know: it’s bug season. More specifically, greenhead season. Although fairly different creatures, both mosquitoes and greenheads can really upset your fishing flow. Unfortunately, because it was so rainy in the late spring and early summer this year, they are both coming out strong.

Just what exactly makes greenheads so awful? Greenheads are a type of horsefly named for their bright green eyes. They breed in salt marshes, making parts of Massachusetts overrun with these vicious biters. It is not necessarily the bite itself that humans have such an adverse reaction to, but the saliva in the bite. Although they have a short lifespan, one female greenhead can lay up to 6,000 eggs!

Although not as painful as the greenhead, mosquitoes can be just as annoying, and pose a unique threat to fishermen because of the potential they have to carry disease. West Nile virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis are two mosquito-borne illness found in Massachusetts, although neither are very prevalent. (Less than 1 in 100 people who are infected with West Nile develop serious illness beyond flu-like symptoms of body aches and fever.) Although it is rare to encounter illness from mosquitoes in this part of the country, it is most certainly something worth being on the lookout for.

There are few simple steps you can take when planning a day (or night) of fishing to safeguard yourself, such as:

  • Protecting your skin by wearing long sleeves and pants whenever possible.
  • Wearing a hat to better shield your head and face (also helps with sunburn).
  • Spraying yourself down with a bug spray containing DEET. DEET can be harmful to humans over time, so use with caution, or try a natural bug spray.
  • Using a mosquito-repelling LED lantern to help keep the bugs out of the fishing area all together.

Following these simple steps will help to protect you against both greenheads and mosquitoes, and ensure that the only souvenir you take away from your time on the water is a big old fish.

Fishing by Moonlight: Tips on Staying Safe and Enjoying the Night

Night fishing, with its calm environment and peaceful setting, gives fishermen a unique perspective of Massachusetts’ world-famous waters. Whereas during the day you may encounter distractions on the high seas, at night, chances are that your experience will be a lot more tranquil, and perhaps a lot more successful.

However, night fishing is vastly different than day fishing, and not just because of the visibility. Night fishing requires different preparation, different tackle, and different methodology. So if you’re thinking of taking the boat for a spin after the sun sets, there are some important things to keep in mind.

It is crucial to prepare yourself, your boat, and your tackle box before casting off for some night fishing. Regardless of the time of day, safe fishermen should always have life preservers, flares, and other safety gear aboard, but these precautions are even more important at night. (A flashlight couldn’t hurt, either.) Beyond the basic safety gear, it is also important to eliminate anything that may cause accidental harm to you or your passengers when vision is obstructed. Make sure that the deck of your boat is clutter-free, and that there is nothing on it that will cause you to trip or injure yourself during your fishing excursion.

Scouting a location, or knowing where exactly you want to fish, is critcial for night fishing. During the daytime, it is easier to see movement of the fish, to track a jump or ripple in the water. However, at night, scouting by sight is next to impossible. Try going out during the day to find some hotspots, or go to your favorite tried-and-true places to cast off at night.

Nighttime may not be the best time to try out new hot spots or take a chance on a more risky environmental location near rocks or other landscape that could cause your boat harm. Since it will be hard to see at night, and therefore challenging to bait your hook, prepare your tackle box in a way in which your essential items are easily accessible. As to what kind of tackle to use…there are many schools of thought. Some recommend using a black lure. Although it seems a bit counterintuitive, the fish can actually see the silhouette of dark colors more easily in the water at night because it is lit by the sky, so your darker lure may yield the best results.

Most of all, remember to enjoy the quiet and serenity fishing at night offers. Who knows? If you are at one with nature, maybe the fish will come to you.