Ian and Dan have been vacationing on Cape Cod since they were little. Coming up each year around the middle of June with their parents. They come from a small rural town in northwest Connecticut and are both avid skiers. Surprisingly, this was their first fishing charter trip. But, you’d never know it by the way they expertly fought their first Large Striped Bass. We certainly hope the fishing fever latches on and we see them again next year! Hope to see you out there. Tight lines!
All posts by Robert Gabriel
For Don, it’s been well over 10 years since both of his daughters have visited the family Cape house in Wellfleet together. That house has been in the family since ’74, a two acre parcel that overlooks Wellfleet Harbor. While underway outside the Pamet Harbor, Don regaled us with surf casting stories of a bygone era. The large Stripers were in the surf, off the great backside beaches, and they were easy to catch. His daughters, Erin and Megan, were kids back then. Too young to really appreciate the life of a Cape surfcaster, as their father was. As we settled into our trolling routine, the rod almost doubled over. Erin fought gallantly a trophy Striper, that ended up to be the pool winner. Later, she and Megan doubled up on large Striped Bass. It was one of those epic days of fishing. A day that certainly made their father proud. A rare fishing trip for a father and his daughters, making family fishing memories that will be retold for a long time.
Lynne spent many a summer with her folks in various cottages scattered amongst the quaint streets of picturesque Wellfleet. It was here that the allure of the Cape and its charm took a strong hold of her soul. It hasn’t mattered much that she and her husband Mark live in Michigan. She is still drawn to the Cape and the fishing. Each year for the past three they’ve flown in from the farm they run for a fast and furious fishing trip aboard the Nauset. The farm needs constant attention and they can’t vacation for more than three days! This year, they came all right, but tagging along were their polite and mannerly grandkids, Ayla, and Lane. I’m sure Lynne’s hoping to imprint the same memory triggers that she felt throughout the years summering with her parents. After spending some time Mackerel fishing for live bait, we headed over to the South of Billingsgate, where we’ve had most of our luck this year. They had a blast live lining Mackerel until the very last bait Lane used was taken by a hungry keeper Striped Bass. Another great day of fishing, catching up with friends and introducing Ayla and Lane to the splendor of Cape Cod.
It’s the early part of the season and the Nauset and it’s crew aren’t the well oiled machine that we are come July. A couple of days ago we forgot the net, then the snips to bleed out the fish. After a few weeks things get pretty much ironed out. But, we aren’t there just quite yet. Joe was up at the Harbormaster shed meeting our customers while I was getting the boat ready at the dock. He thought he was meeting Mary, a huge Trump fan and her husband and kids. Instead he was met by 5 adults. There was no Mary, no kids and no Trumper’s. Oh well, at least we got the time and date right!! After a good laugh we headed South and had our best day yet. My blog post about conservation must be having a positive effect. Our charter kept two fish, not the limit of five. And best of all they let the largest of the bunch go, a 42″ and 43″ Striped Bass. They had a fun day on the water and we did too. Tight Lines. Hope to see you out there…
Our friends from across the pond came back for another chance to catch some larger Stripers. We were able to catch some Mackerel for live lining and set off South, to Billingsgate Shoal, where most of the early fish have settled. We first trolled to get the lay of the land and see where the schools were, and then drifted over the schools with the live Mack’s. We ended up with 4 nice keepers, two of which were commercial size fish. Hope to see you out there! Tight lines…
Charles Cartwright is the kind of friend we all wish we had. When he opens his home to guests, he really opens his home to entertain his company. In this case, the beneficiaries, are friends from across the pond, Bob and Stephen Papendorf and Leslie Borough. The gang went out for the first of two trips aboard the Nauset this morning. The fish gods obliged this happy crew with plenty of action. After a quick move to Provincetown, in search of larger fish, they finally caught the largest fish of season, a 34″ Striped Bass. A perfect way to end a glorious Cape Cod Summer adventure. Let’s hope for an even larger one Friday!
The summer migration of Striped Bass is largely dependent on water temperature. This Spring saw an extension of our cold New England weather right through May. The water temperature also lagged other years. So, the Stripers stayed south (where the water is warmer) a little longer than usual. The last week or so brought the air and water temps up to speed and the fishing has heated right along with them.
Mike and Gregg Schiffenhaus (whose family owns the Hopper House) booked a charter with a couple of buddies. The fishing and the weather was spectacular. We’re still finding the best fishing to be south of the Pamet Harbor, along Billingsgate Shoals off Wellfleet. We caught the largest fish of the year on this trip, so it’s starting to heat up. Tight lines!
Johann,Rose Marie,Gerlinde,Nate and Martin capped off a beautiful Cape Cod vacation with a fishing trip aboard the Nauset. The largest slug of fish are currently taking up residence off Billingsgate Shoals in Wellfleet. They had a great time taking in a perfect Cape Cod day with plenty of fish and weather to match. Hope to see you again next year!
We’ve had our share of washout weekends on Memorial Day. But, this weekend proved the weather gods wrong, thankfully. Yinkai, Max and the girls traveled up from New York City to experience the Cape and some of our spectacular Striped Bass fishing. They weren’t disappointed! The fish have arrived from the Hudson and Chesapeake rivers where they spawn. The waters around the Cape are still relatively cold. The early fish tend to seek the warmer water off Billingsgate Shoals and Barnstable Harbor. The crew from New York had a grand time catching and mostly releasing over 30 fish. With sore arms and achy muscles they’ll have an experience to retell until next year.
The recently released federal assessment of the Striped Bass population paints a grim picture of our current situation. Striped Bass numbers are down. Captain Joe and I have seen this trend first hand over the last four or five years. The charter boat fleet out of Truro, Provincetown, Wellfleet and Rock Harbor have all caught their fair share. We notice the drop off with recreational boaters and shore fisherman who occasionally try their luck. More often than not, they have a hard time finding fish. The federal assessment was a forgone conclusion for most of us who are on the water daily. We saw it on the water and in the fish market, where the price of Striped Bass averaged $23 a pound last summer. The state of Massachusetts ultimately left alone the regulations for this upcoming year. However, we all sense that next year will mark a change. In acknowledgement of that change the state has issued a new vanity license plate, promoting Striper conservation. It’s a small first step to the ultimate goal of designating the Striped Bass a Sport Fish and eliminating the commercial harvest.
Captain Joe and I have always practiced conservation aboard the Nauset. Regular customers always hear Joe’s reminder that each fish provides on average 4-5 lbs of fillets. That’s the size of a roast. And that’s one fish! A six person charter conceivably can and sometimes do, walk off the dock with 25-30 lbs of fillets. In the excitement of the day, it’s easy to get “lost” in the moment and take as many as the law allows. Our motto has always been, ” take only what you know you’ll use” let’s throw back safely the rest so that they can provide the same thrill for other anglers.
In my mind, the ultimate height of conservation is returning to the water a once in a lifetime trophy fish. There is, however, some deep seated instinct to harvest the largest. We’ve all felt it. Poignantly, in years past most trophy Striped Bass ended up mounted on a Den wall. That view has changed. Each year, we see more and more conservation minded anglers, return the large breeders back to fight another day. We were recently reminded of this when our good friend Peder from New Jersey sent us a photo from an early Spring Striper trip last week. The fish weighed 54lbs and fought gallantly. It was certainly a once in a lifetime catch. Peder, always the consummate sportsman, allowed for only a few photos because he didn’t want to stress the fish. He then gently revived it by pushing her back and forth alongside the boat forcing water over the gills before setting her free. Bravo! Let’s all be a little bit more mindful as we head into what we hope will be our best fishing season ever. We hope to see you soon!