Buddy Vanderhoop shares his secrets

Captain Buddy Vanderhoop with a bigeye tuna. —MV Times

What do you most enjoy catching, then eating, and why?

When it comes to fishing, I always look the most forward to my “Tuna Time.” I have been tuna fishing for about 40 years and it never gets old. It is so scenic, happens around the warmest, most beautiful time of the year, and is so challenging. I do tuna charters, but often I just go out “hunting” with great friends and have a great day out on the water. We go out as far as 60 miles one way to Stellwagen Bank for bluefin and further to the “canyons” for bigeye and yellowfin. And oh the things you see out there. We spot dolphins, whales, sea turtles, and rare birds on our excursions, which is always so exciting. One time I got into the middle of a pod of humpback whales that was so big that it took me about two hours to get out of it. It was truly epic.

Tuna are really one of nature’s most perfectly designed creatures. I admire their design. Everything about them is designed for maximum speed and ultimate hydrodynamics. And bigeye in particular have evolved for top efficiency when it comes to diving deep and powerful swimming. They are the king of the tuna family in terms of being the most powerful, and hardest fighters to catch. They have a higher fat content which allows them to dive to depths of 1,600 feet. And their blood has a high oxygen affinity. They have such big eyes, which allows them to see in very low-light conditions. They can swim over 60 mph. They are just amazing to witness, even better to try to catch if you are lucky enough.

My favorite food in the world is fresh tuna sashimi and sushi. Another great way to serve fresh tuna is to lightly singe it with toasted sesame seeds and of course wasabi and soy sauce.

There is nothing like coming back to the dock, tired but so happy after a great day of tuna fishing. When you show up with a boatload of tuna, you never knew you had so many friends. Yes, Tuna Time nourishes both the body and the soul.

Captain Buddy Vanderhoop is a Wampanoag Native American, born and raised in Aquinnah; his ancestry on this Island dates back 10,000 years. As a charter captain, he has helped notable Vineyarders and visitors — Olga Hirschorn, John Krasinski and Emily Blunt, Keith Richards, and Skip Gates (among others)— catch the fish of their dreams. He is the patriarch of the iconic Vanderhoop family who have run the famous Aquinnah Shop Restaurant up at the Aquinnah Cliffs for more than 70 years; he is deeply involved in marine conservation. tomahawkcharters.com