A Fisherman’s Guide to the 5 Most Common Whales On The Cape Cod

Have you ever wondered what kinds of whales you might see near Cape Cod? We are very fortunate to see these majestic creatures on many of our fishing charter trips.  Here we will explore the five most common species of whales spotted around Cape Cod over the course of the fishing season and offer some tips on how to best appreciate these majestic creatures. So, if you’re a whale lover looking to explore the depths of Cape Cod, grab your binoculars and let’s get started!

Introduction to Common Whales Around Cape Cod:

1. Humpback Whale

2. Fin Whale

3. Minke Whale

4. Right Whale

5. Pilot Whale

Cape Cod is one of the best places in the world to go whale watching. Every year, thousands of people come to the Cape to see these amazing creatures in their natural habitat.

There are a few different species of whales that you might see when you’re out on the water. The most common ones are humpback whales, fin whales, and minke whales. These are all filter-feeding animals, which means that they strain small organisms out of the water to eat.

Humpback Whale

Humpback whales are probably the most well-known and the most popular type of whale we see on our fishing trips. They’re known for their long pectoral fins, which can be up to 15 feet long! They’re also very acrobatic, and often breach (jump) out of the water. They will slap their tails and even sometimes wave at us with a fin.  Humpbacks are usually between 40 and 50 feet long.

Humpback whales are perhaps the most iconic of all whale species. They are easily recognizable by their large size and their characteristic hump. Humpback whales can grow to be up to 60 feet long and weigh up to 40 tons. They are mostly black or dark gray in color, with white patches on their underside.

During the breeding season, male humpbacks compete for females by producing complex singing displays. These displays may play a role in mate selection and help to determine dominance hierarchy among males. Females give birth to a single calf every two to three years. After a gestation period of about 11 months, calves are born weighing up to 2,000 pounds!

Fin Whale

Fin whales are the second largest type of whale, after blue whales. They can grow to be up to 85 feet long! Fin whales have a distinctive appearance, with a tall dorsal fin and a sleek body. They are easily identifiable by their long, thin body and asymmetrical coloring. The right side of their body is dark gray or black, while the left side is light gray or white. They’re also very fast swimmers – they’ve been recorded swimming at speeds up to 35 miles per hour! When we see them, they are normally not around for very long.

Fin whales are known for their “vacuum-like” feeding habits, as they can consume up to 3,000 pounds of food per day. Fin whales are often seen around Cape Cod during the summer months, as they migrate north from their breeding grounds in the Caribbean. They typically travel in small groups or alone and can be spotted surface-feeding on schools of fish.

Minke Whale

Minke whales are the smallest type of whale that you’re likely to see around Cape Cod. They average about 25 feet in length but can reach up to 35 feet long. Minke whales get their name from their narrow snout, which looks a bit like a duck’s bill. They tend to be solo when we see them.

Minke whales are the most common whale around Cape Cod. They are easily identified by their sleek black or dark gray bodies and white patches on their flippers. Minke whales are curious and often approach boats, making them a favorite among whale watchers. These gentle giants are filter feeders and eat small fish, krill, and other crustaceans.

Right Whale

The right whale is a large baleen whale that can grow to be up to 60 feet long. They are the slowest swimming of all the whale species, and they are often seen feeding on zooplankton near the surface of the water. Right whales are endangered, and there are estimated to be only about 500 of them left in the world. They are often spotted off the coast of Cape Cod, and they are a favorite of whale watchers from shore.  They travel to the area in the winter months with their calves.

Pilot Whale

Pilot whales are another one of the more common types of whales spotted around Cape Cod. They are easily recognizable by their long, slender bodies and dark gray or black coloration. Males can grow to be up to 20 feet long, while females only reach about 16 feet in length. These whales are often seen swimming in large groups, and they are known to be very social creatures. They are also one of the deepest diving mammals, capable of reaching depths of over 3,000 feet!


Part of the reason the fishing around Cape Cod is so spectacular is all the bait that comes to the area every year.  As you’ve seen from this article, whales are here for the same reason.  It is always spectacular to see these creatures on our trips.  We respect them and give them lots of space to protect them and ourselves. 

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