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. Conservation matters!
Most people use this time of year for reflection, and certainly Joe and I aren’t any different. Last season was by far our best in our 12 year run of Charter Fishing aboard the Nauset. Word spreads fast with the internet. Last June and early July saw the Pamet Harbor parking lot full most days with serious fisherman who know that Truro and Provincetown are the best launches for landing a trophy Striped Bass. That’s also the best time for casting plugs and plastic at first light. We were out most mornings at 4:30, watching the spectacular Truro sunrise, as we made way from the Pamet each morning. That frenetic pace didn’t slow down until mid July. In August, most summer vacationers arrive and we cater to families, either with a half day fishing charter or a combination fishing/whale watch or fishing/Lobstering charter. Kids love the Fishing/Lobstering trips because it splits up the day into more activities, (and you keep the lobsters). Parents and older guests like the whale Watch/Fishing Charters. On those trips, Captain Joe shuts off the Nauset’s engine and you can hear the whales breathe. It’s truly a memorable experience.
Joe and I would like to thank all of our regular returning anglers for your continued patronage. We look forward to seeing you each year and catching up with stories from the previous year. It warms our hearts to read the reviews that have been left on TripAdvisor and Google. Perhaps the secret of our success lies between the lines of those reviews…some of OUR best Summer memories are also those spent with you on the Nauset each year. We have as much fun as you do! Of course, our hope is that new potential guests that are perusing the internet looking for a fishing charter will give us a try. Check out my previous blog posts, read some testimonials or visit TripAdvisor to read what others have said about their experience. We’ve made booking a snap with our online reservation system and acceptance of credit cards. Finally, if you are inclined to comparison shop on other charter fishing websites, (like we have) you’ll quickly realize that our value proposition is second to none. I encourage you to send Joe an email with any questions or better yet, click a “Reserve” button and book an early date for the 2019 season. We hope to see you out on the water, making memories that we know will last a lifetime. Have a Happy New Year!
The last couple of days on the Nauset have felt different, less frantic, more tranquil. The crickets are louder and the sun is softer. It’s September, and the season is winding down. For many vacationers fall is the best time of year. The crowds are gone, the beaches and restaurants are wide open and the days are cooler, if not shorter. Nicholas and his wife Gisele and her friend Jennifer come to Wellfleet this time of year for some relaxation from their hectic life in Manhattan. Bluefish run with abandon chasing peanut bunker this time of year. We couldn’t keep them off our line off High Head in Truro. Finally, after more than a couple of hours of some great catching on spinning rods, our weary anglers cried uncle. We found out later, our fishing buddy Fred Olander and mate Paul, fishing a hundred yards away, had a close encounter with a White shark. It took their fish right at the boat. We all would have loved that excitement! After a brief try at tempting some Striped Bass, they opted for pulling some lobster traps. 6-7 lobsters later it was time to head back to the Pamet Harbor. A really nice conversational trio, who loved the experience of being out on the water on a spectacular Fall day. See you again next year!
What a fun crew Joe and I had the pleasure of taking out this morning. Steve had just recently bought his dream vacation home in Truro. His sister Sally and her husband Dave came for the long Labor Day weekend. And Steve’s daughter Anna was practicing her early morning school wake up drill. The four of them set out for a combination fishing and lobster charter. Sally started things off as we were leaving the harbor by exclaiming that her husband Dave has never caught a fish on a fishing charter! We all had a good laugh until we trolled for nearly an hour with nary a bite. His jinx was wearing on us. Finally, Steve broke the ice with a nice Bluefish on a spinning rod. He took his time and expertly landed his fish after a great battle. Soon after, Sally caught three Stripers on an umbrella rig. But the person of the hour was Dave, who broke the spell and caught a keeper Striper off Race Point. We rounded out the trip by hauling some lobster traps, with 6 or 7 take home lobsters. A great group to spend time with. See you again next year.
Through the power of the internet we were able to have a family easily book a combination Whale Watch and fishing trip from across the pond. Castricum Holland to be exact. Irma and Bart were planning a month long RV tour of the states with their son Bram and daughter Isa. When Irma asked her son Bram what he wanted for his early August birthday he without hesitation said a fishing trip. The rest of the family wanted a whale watch. And so the trip was booked. Whale watches are kinda like fishing trips in that you never know what’s in store. This bunch hit the jackpot! Lots of whales and boy did they show off. Joe shut the engine and you could listen to their breathing. Spectacular! We rounded out the trip with some Striped Bass fishing. Judging by the smiles, I’d say everyone was pleased.
Joe talks a lot about his time spent as a dragger Captain out of New Bedford. He spent the good part of his working life out at sea. Yet, in the 12 years that we’ve had the fishing charter business, I’ve never met someone he fished with, until today. Aka Pete and Joe go way back. A couple of marriages ago, back. They kinda grew up together fishing side by side, different boats, but towing the same stretch. Joe was the Captain on one boat, and Pete as mate on the other. Fast forward and Pete was looking for a charter for his family. They traveled up from down Cape and had a blast live lining Mackerel to hungry Stripers at the lighthouse off Race Point. Pete never left the chair next to Joe to fish. Too much catching up to do, I suppose. It didn’t matter. He and his wife Mer were content watching daughter Keveney and son in law Markus fish, and have fun. A great morning of fishing, and a couple of old hands catching up on long ago dreams.
The population of Striped Bass that has taken up residence off Provincetown since Spring have been munching on Mackerel. When the bait is easy to find, we live line them to waiting Stripers. Lately the problem has been the bait, not the willingness of the Stripers to bite. So there we were floating off Stellwagen Bank finding almost no Mackerel. We managed 5. Not enough. So we trolled and jigged wire line with limited success. All small fish. The time to catch was narrowing. We used our limited baits judiciously and struck gold. Everyone caught a keeper Striped Bass. Mike was happy that he would be grilling Striper on the grill for dinner. We headed back to the dock with a happy crew!
Have you ever found yourself copying an accent when you’re with a group from a different country or part of the country? It happened today with the Lynchburg crew. Mike had a family reunion of sorts at his place in Truro. He recently finished a two year tour with the Coast Guard and was happy to be back home. To celebrate he invited all his brothers and father up for a week. Their Virginia accent was infectious. By the end of the trip I had to force myself NOT to speak in that dreamy sing song that good ol’boys use. We had quite the day on the Great Backside with some nice Bass. See y’all next year!
Some people are keenly aware of what’s going on, they just choose to be quiet. For Mike, being quiet is easy when you have Mark to deal with. Mark is like a kid in a candy store when the Sandy clan from New Jersey takes their annual fishing trip aboard the Nauset. At least 20 people are back at the family home waiting for a nice Striped Bass dinner. Mark is the master of ceremony, constantly moving around the cockpit, chatting up the boys, reminiscing about prior charters we’ve had together, and cracking jokes. He’s the glue that keeps everything together and fun. But today was Mikes day to shine. We were about to call it a day, when the line peeled off the rod. I knew it was a big fish and was hoping it would stay hooked. I didn’t take any chances and called for the net. 10 minutes later the pool winner was caught. Mike didn’t say much, he didn’t have to, his smile said it all.
Fishermen by nature are a superstitious lot. Joe and I are certainly no different. No banana on board, no talking about how’s the fishing’s been, and never guarantee fish. We’ve been burned in the past. This morning’s 6:00AM charter started out like most this week, in the fog. We’ve been having good luck fishing from Race Point all the way past the old Coast Guard Station , usually early, before the sun becomes intense. But, today started off slow, too slow. Something just seemed wrong. Sure enough, Charles gave us a hint of the trouble. He told us that he hasn’t caught a fish since he was 12. When he was fishing off a pier on Long Island, he remembers catching a blowfish. Later, his grandmother lovingly turned that one fish into a meal. Now, most people in their 40’s don’t even know what a blowfish is. So you can imagine the look I gave him. He hadn’t caught a fish in over 40 years!! No wonder the fish weren’t biting. It was the curse of the blowfish. Charles was the jinx. We all had a good laugh. Finally, we made peace with the fish gods and the floodgates opened. We ended the trip with a load of Stripers, and even Charles managed one small fish, breaking the spell of the long ago blowfish. His grandmother would approve.