64-Pound Cape Cod Striper Story and Photos

above: Jeff Fortin (left) and Brad Murphy lift the 64.4-pound striped bass taken in Buzzards Bay on Tuesday. Photo by Kevin Gould

The first wave of large stripers reached Cape Cod a little early this spring. Boat fishermen in Buzzards Bay have been pulling the occasional 30- to 40-pound fish out of large schools of 24 to 36 inch bass. When Captain Jeff Fortin, Captain Kevin Gould, and Brad Murphy hit the bay on May 16, they were hoping for their first 30-pounders of the season–none of them dreamed they’d be returning to the dock with a fish more than twice that size.

“All morning, we’d been in fish to about thirty-six inches,” said Captain Jeff Fortin, “but the bite slowed, so we made a move.”

“We saw some birds working over a rockpile, and motored that way,” said Captain Kevin Gould. “The first fish Jeff caught there was a twenty-five-incher.”

Fortin cast again, using a white-colored paddletail shad bait, letting it sink a little before beginning his retrieve.

“I hooked up and the fish took steady drag, like you’d expect from a tuna,” Fortin said.

“I’d say it took 100 yards on its first run,” Gould said. He asked Fortin if he should follow the fish, but Fortin declined, not fully knowing the size of the fish he was attached to.

“I figured it was a thirty- to forty-pounder running with the current, but I kept tightening and tightening my drag, and the fish wasn’t slowing,” Fortin said.

Fortin was fighting the fish on a size 5000 Shimano Saragosa spooled with 30-pound test braided line attached to a 25-pound-test leader with a uni-to-uni knot. With the real possibility of being spooled or having the fish break the leader, Gould maneuvered the boat as it ran underneath another boat.

“I felt the fish get on a rock momentarily, where it must have picked up a bunch of weeds,” Fortin said.

Weeds covered the bass when it first came into view next to the boat, making it difficult to determine its full size. It wasn’t until it hit the surface that Gould, Murphy, and Fortin got a good look at it.

The fish had five full-size pogies and a half-digested mackerel in its stomach. Photo: Jeff Fortin

“I told Kevin to get the net, and he told me, ‘That won’t fit in the net!’” Which meant Gould would have to land the fish by hand, while being careful not to part the 25-pound-test leader.

“The fish didn’t even seem to notice me when I first tried to grab its lip,” said Gould. “I finally had to jam my whole hand into its mouth to get a hold of it. When we got it into the boat, all we could do was stare at it.”

From hookup to landing, Fortin estimated the fight at about 13 minutes, an eternity for a fight with a striped bass.

After a couple photos, they tried to revive the massive bass, but the fish was spent and rolled over. Later that morning, it would weigh in at 64.6 pounds on the scales at Falmouth Bait and Tackle. Fortin, who has joined the Striper Cup almost every year, said it was the first fish he ever weighed in for the tournament.

The 52-inch bass had a 35-inch girth and five full-size pogies in its stomach, along with a half-digested mackerel.

Fortin credits Gould’s boat handling and fish-wrangling for giving him the best possible odds of landing the massive bass on light tackle.

After getting the 64-pounder, the crew made another drift through the sweet spot. “The fish we caught immediately after the big one,” Gould said, “measured about 13 inches.”

      • Chester Copperpot

        Ah yes, the internet tough guy, Monday morning arm chair quarterback. Did you not read the article? They tried to revive it but they couldn’t, here’s the quote so you don’t have to try and find it in the short article “After a couple photos, they tried to revive the massive bass, but the fish was spent and rolled over”

        Reply
      • Max Chronister

        Are you stupid?,They said they tried to revive it. do you really want a dead fish
        floating around in the water?

        Reply
        • Mindy

          Good for you guy!!
          Exactly- who wants a dead fish in the water? I sure know that I don’t!!

          Reply
    • Matthew Campbell

      I caught a 77 pound striper off dowse’s beach in Centerville in August of last year. Why am I not on this post. Do not brag this is a small island we live on and let’s keep the good stuff to ourselves.

      Reply
      • Mindy

        Wow! Looks like you just let the”catch of the day” out the bag, ehh?? Really?
        Stop being factious and grow up. Please!
        You’re acting like a school age child.., “why wasn’t I in the article?”

        Clearly because you weren’t there that day!

        LMAO

        Reply
  1. Budman

    Ladies and gentleman.
    Striper Cup over.
    Thank you for participating.
    See you next year.

    Reply
    • Joe

      I thought Striper cup was over when Peter Vican nailed a 77# then Myerson gets his 81# world record. You never know…..

      Reply
      • Chris

        They need to stop having the striper cup and let all of these big fish go so they can make more big fish.

        Reply
        • Joe

          Yes absolutely right on.
          Why can we have katch and release tournaments where only released fish would count. Is blows my mind that everybody calls themselves a ” good fisherman” and nobody cares about the reproduction of the fish. Not doing good job by keeping those big fish for bragging rights. It’s just plain stupid ! So fellow fisherman release more keep less ! Who can possibly​ consume 40+ pound fish. Most of is wasted and that’s​ just sad.

          Reply
        • Joe

          Dude sounds like your jealous and also like a person that never caught a fish .shit happens live with it . And this is from a man that is the first mate on the new moon in Miami for 22 years

          Reply
        • Bob Gudinas

          ABSOLUTELY ! I once let a 51 inch 50-60 pounder go while fishing Cape Cod Bay with my friend Jerry. He said, What the hell did you do that for?
          I just smiled, knowing.

          Reply
  2. SeaRobin Catcher

    Why would you kill something like that?
    Must be decades old, a cow breeder of big bass.
    Essence of stupidity

    Reply
    • Joe

      No one reads the story he put his fist in the mouth passed his stomach and thats what killed it trying to pick it up on the boat he tryed to put it back but it turned upright everyone knows what that means

      Reply
  3. Ed Hresko

    How could you keep this fish and post it here, obviously not real fisherman. They must need the brain food.

    Reply
  4. Robert Pazdan

    That’s why I don’t get in the striper cup or tournaments because you have to kill the big breeder fish . I’ll keep my smaller fish for dinner , thank you .

    Reply
    • Spencer

      Yeah so killing fish that never get a chance to spawn. Kevin releases a ton of fish every year, if he said it floated then it was def dead. Great catch by guys that put in the time and know what they are doing.

      Reply
  5. JB

    Wow. What type of white rubbe rshad lure did it take? Unreal a fish that size took a lure – amazing.

    Reply
  6. Jim Lahey

    To the above and future postings from Fish Huggers Anonymous:

    “After a couple photos, they tried to revive the massive bass, but the fish was spent and rolled over.”

    This is the reality of sport fishing. Despite anglers’ best efforts and intentions, we are still going to kill and injure fish (even if unintentionally so). It is going to happen. It’s a statistical given.

    Not to mention it sounded like these guys were geared up for smaller fish, as many people fishing our waters currently are. So reviving an unexpected monster like this after fighting it on schoolie tackle is easier said then done. They made a fantastic catch and tried their best for a release in a highly unexpected scenario it sounds.

    They should be me commended for their effort, and I think many of us who actually spend some time on the water know the heartache of a trophy intended for release going belly up (it happens, if you fish enough, it happens)

    An angling world with no dead fish ever is the delusion of the inexperienced.

    Again, good going guys, absolutely awesome fish

    Reply
    • Russ R

      Right on Jim. There are occasions when no matter what you do, you can’t revive them.
      Congrats on catching such a beautiful animal.

      Reply
      • Likeparty

        Yes, you do the best you can. Even the best of us kill the occasional fish…or the fish kills itself. At least we get to share in the result and be motivated. To a finer point…what is the ideal keeper/dinner size?
        Tough sledding on tackle choice…sounds like they were in schoolie/sportsman mode at 30#, etc. If you use anchor rope (80#+ line), you can horse them in quicker, release quicker but how much fun is that?
        We face this challenge in FL with black tips nailing tarpon being fought. Tough decision between having fun using your skills and horsing them in…

        Reply
    • bob aiello

      I absolutely agree with you. I fish for sport but I also eat my catch. Don’t always see eye to eye with catch and release fishermen. If it bothers you so much you shouldn’t be fishing. The act of hooking and fighting a fish stresses the fish and not all that are released live. I am sick of people trying to make you do things their way like it is the only way. Live and let live and let people enjoy the way they feel comfortable. Some of the best times come sitting around the table with family and friends and enjoying the days catch. Just don’t get greedy.

      Reply
    • NHFisherman

      Spot on. everyone should understand that when you hook, catch, and release fish they very well may still die from the encounter. I release almost everything I catch, but I realize not all of those fish will live to swim another day.

      Reply
    • John C

      Jim Lahey, you are absolutely correct! My family has and had been in the commercial and charter boat business since time immemorial. Back then we established our own Striper size limits of 23″ or bigger. The shorts were released and we only kept what we could eat or share with your surrounding neighbors, ( that’s how you consume 40 lbs of Striper without it going to waste). Apparently some of these PETA loving commentators never grew up on the Cape from the twenties until the late 70’s where it was common place to have families of 4- 7 or even 8 kids who worked on the boats with their fathers, uncles, or grandfathers. Just shut your pie holes and enjoy the stories of a fisherman who had a good day on the water. You don’t like what you see. Don’t comment and don’t read our stories.

      Reply
  7. John

    There is a catch release category for the striper cup too. So don’t blame the death on a tournament. The tournament does good things especially getting younger folks to fish. They learn to respect the resource that they will be stewards of in the future. I’ve released plenty of keeper/breeder bass but I may too harvest a fish of a lifetime. I won’t know till/if it happens. I believe these guys did not kill the fish inentionally and you know they won’t let it go to waste!

    Reply
  8. Robert

    Great catch, can’t wait to get into action this year
    Sounds like some r jealous or never caught big fish, exspecially stripers
    At this size they don’t do well after fight so tops off to u for trying to revive
    Good luck to all out on water

    Reply
  9. Rick

    I’ve learned that sometimes it takes literally 20 to 30 minutes for a fish to recover, I’ve had some cold hands. I feel it’s best to give the fish a real chance by putting in the time to push it back and forth in the water until the lactic acid starts to break down while still maintaing a flow of water over the gills and the fish has time to recover. I wasn’t there so I’m not going to Monday night quarter back but it’s still a loss, too bad.

    Reply
    • Joe

      Yes I released plenty of fish and it takes a lot of time for them to recover. One time I was trying to revive the 30+ pound bass after taking a photo fo ever.
      The fish finally started to move its gills and started kicking, so I held on for little while longer and released.
      To my surprise the fish swam for a bit and went belly up. I went to the helm to start the engines to go after the fish but as soon as I started the engines I saw a big splash and the fish went down. I think the vibration from the engined might spook the fish and she started kicking again.
      Anyway I think it’s a good story so I sheared.

      Reply
  10. G Flan

    My wife loves to fish but hates to hurt them. Success is measured in the deception. If you get them to strike your bait, you win. She has special lures with no hooks. If you don’t want to hurt them, don’t hook them.

    Reply
  11. Cwoodman67

    Great catch, great right up and the nay Sayers should just shut up and don’t post, idiots!

    Reply
  12. Jobo Jr

    Pathetic, why would you keep that fish, such a waste. Hope they never catch another one.

    Reply
  13. Jobo Jr

    I take it back, at least they tried to revive it. Hope they get another one.

    Reply
  14. Gene

    an 80 year old mans sperm isn’t as good as a 21 year old. Beyond the upper limits of established slot limits recognized this.

    Reply
    • Ricky R Muldoon

      It would be interesting to know where the break point is and if and Or how much of a difference it makes leading up to and beyond that break point.

      Reply
  15. Ed

    Great story fellas! Tight lines and have a great season!
    Hilarious – the net will not fit!!!

    Reply
  16. Russell Lamoreaux

    It seems to me that the less people know about any particular subject, the more damn sure they are about it. It’s too bad she died if the intention was to release her; but it’s really none of anyones business to complain if she was kept for food.

    Reply
  17. STEVE POLENSKI

    why dont we focus on these idiots that take more than the limit. Start giving them huge fines and take there boat.

    Reply
    • John C

      Steve, that does happen, but only gets reported by On The Water Magazine if they get wind of the apprehension and arrest of the perpetrators. We need more EPs’ to help the few that we have. Those that say we don’t need any more EPs’ have something to hide and they would be the first ones I would keep my eye on. The way we cured this in Plymouth is to Police your own and turn in those that take shorts or more than the legal possession limit. Those that say your RATS will be the first to complain there aren’t any Stripers lefty to catch, imagine that!

      Reply
  18. Tim

    That fish was never going back into the water. He stated he joins the striped cup every year. Throwing that back was like saying no thanks to the Cobia boat. How many of you would have released that fish if you were in the cup? Come on man

    Reply
  19. John

    You guys complaining about them killing this fish are the biggest bunch of hypocritical holier than thou losers. You’ve, NEVER killed a fish? They said they tried to revive it. Short of actually being God and breathing life back into a fish that exhausted beyond return, what more could they have done? Should they have thrown the carcass overboard and let the gulls Peck at it? How about avoid the situation entirely and just cut the line after the fight went more than 5 minutes? Is that what all you “experts” would’ve done? Jesus what a bunch of losers.

    Reply
  20. Mark

    It has been scientifically proven that the very large Female stripers are not as good reproducers as the females in the 30″-40″ range. Many of these very large females 45″ and up never even make the spawning run.

    Reply
    • rips

      Correct.. very big females make alot fo eggs but very few of those are good. its the 30-40″ fish we want to reproduce..

      Reply
  21. another Rob

    A 12 – pound female may produce about 850,000 eggs. A 55 – pound female about 4,200,000 eggs and a 64lb female would produce approximately4,530,500 eggs. Just sayin…

    Reply
    • John C

      That maybe so Rob, but how many of those eggs from a 55 lb and 64 lb Striper are viable and do you have a degree in Marine Biology? Some of us on this sight do, and love to listen the banter from the un-informed and un-educated in this subject.

      Reply
  22. Todd

    IMO he never had any intention of releasing that cow…

    ran into him at DJ’s couple weeks later when I first heard about the catch… first thing I asked was “why didn’t you release it ?”
    *crickets*
    if he tried to save it, it would be easy to say, you could tell by their bragging

    Reply
    • James weed

      Nice catch!! Minus the ten pounds of food that hawgler consumed its a 54 pounder lol!!!!

      Reply
  23. J.S

    This guy caught that fish on an artificial lure, on light tackle, with no gaff, took a picture, and then tried to revive it . . . and you guys are criticizing him. Come on man. People keep live lining with a treble hook and gut hook fish, “yoyo” with a spark plug in as pogies stomach, gaff 29 inchers, and on commercial days many shorts are not revived just get back in the water immediately. If you really believe in catch and release these are the last guys to criticize, you are not a true fishermen if you are attacking them; look at the floating fish off scortons in late June, Ptown in early July, or the West End a month ago – that is where most of the fish are dying. And all those dead fish were caught and released legally so even then you only have your morals to stand on; not the law. If you really feel this strongly about it don’t waste your time posting behind a computer write a letter to Mass Fish and Game or your local representative. These guys deserve a well done, not criticism.

    Reply
  24. Peter Howland

    This is for Tim. Read the literature for the striper Cup. You don’t even need to Check IN a fish to win the Cobia boat! You only have to have entered the tourney and attend the Party to put your golden ticket in the basket for a chance to be drawn as the boat winner. You also have to be there when your name is drawn to win it. Over the years that the tournament has been held, more winners have NOT checked in a fish than have. Don’t make statements without knowing the facts.

    Reply

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