These young girls love to fish. Chloe, (almost 9) and Amelia, (almost 6) are the first ones in the fighting chair. They had such a memorable time last year that they both wrote about it as a part of their back to school assignment. Amelia even went as far as including her first charter aboard the Nauset as one of the 6 most memorable events of her life! Wow, did that ever put the pressure on us to catch Stripers. Last year Matt and Eva brought their family to the Cape later in August. By then the Bluefish have arrived in force. It’s nearly impossible to catch Striped Bass at that time. We only caught Blues and one short Striper. This year they are back to their typical July vacation, which is a part of Eva’s Bithday present. Maybe her birthday wish was for her girls to catch a boatload of Stripers, because we had great action from the jump. Soon the girls ran out of steam and Amelia fell asleep in her mom’s arms. But not before the gang had a spectacular morning, catching Stripers off Race Point , Provincetown.
If you were sleeping in one of the cabins next to the Pamet Harbor parking lot, you would have thought there was a party outside your window this morning. Joe and I were slowly waking up at 5:50AM waiting in the truck with the Nauset in tow, for our 6:00AM charter to arrive. And boy did they arrive. Well, at least Christa did! She was like a jolt of caffeine. Just what we needed to get the boat launched and ready to go. Full of life and enthusiasm, I quickly discovered that they drove from Dennis, a 45 minute trip. The ride must have charged her batteries. Her good natured kidding and inquisitiveness got Joe and I into the fishing flow. Christa’s kids Justin and Emily, Emily’s boyfriend Mikey, Justin’s bud Jack and Christa’s partner Todd stepped aboard the Nauset and we set out in dense fog. We were 20 minutes into our 25 minute ride to the fishing grounds when it dawned on me, Todd is as quiet as Christa is outgoing. Opposites really do attract. They reminded me of my mother and father-in-law, happily married for over 60 years! They have a long way to go. The fishing was slow and steady. The company and kidding amongst the bunch made the trip a happy one, until the primal scream at the end as I was swinging our final fish into the fish box. Our trip ended as it had started, with a jolt! After a while, my heart stopped racing, we stored the gear, cleaned the fish and made our way peacefully home. Great trip! Hope to see you next year.
Every year Brian and Molly need to see the ocean. They are from opposite coasts originally, Brian from the East, Molly from the West. They ended up meeting almost exactly in the middle, Wyoming. At a wilderness lodge catering to fresh water fisherman who loved the great outdoors and catching 6 pound cutthroat trout. They live in paradise, close to Yellowstone and the National Forest. But each year the salt calls to them. This year, for the first time in three years, they flew East to be with Kim and Mike, Brian’s parents. Brian almost grew up on the Cape, with relatives who had a home on the lower cape. So, they booked a charter to be out on the water. A place that they both miss, and have cherished childhood memories. The afternoon charter is a harder time to catch fish. Brian knows this from his own guiding days of years past. We caught enough and tried even harder. While waiting, we witnessed some spectacular whale shows close to the boat. Finally the day was drawing to a close. We were making our last desperate pass with a deep diver when suddenly line started to peel from Mikes line. The big Striper immediately wrapped itself around a lobster buoy. That’s the end of that, I thought to myself. But the fish Gods were with us. We guessed right which way it circled the buoy and it was brought to gaff, saving the day. Way to go Dad!
Thaddeus is a die hard fisherman. I knew this immediately after he showed me a photo on his phone of him holding a monster carp that he had caught from the Charles river….AT NIGHT. The fish is illuminated by the flash but the background is black. Not many night carp fisherman around, I can assure you! That’s the definition of someone who lives to fish. Thad and his father and brothers chartered the Nauset this morning. We started off where we left off at Wood End Light. Word must have traveled, because there were a lot more boats fishing. That increased boat pressure turned off the fishing from what it had been. We caught a couple Stripers, including a double header by Jonah before moving around the Cape to the Great Backside. First Jeremiah caught a 39″ Striper. Later his dad, JT caught a 37″ Bass. In between, the fish Gods smiled down on Thad. The line peeled out from a strong willed fish. And after a long and well played fight a 41″ Striper was brought aboard. A personal best by a wide margin for Thad. It might hold up for a very long time. That size fish is becoming very rare nowadays. But, the best part of the story is what happened next. Most of Thads fish are returned to fight another day. The sporting term is “Catch and Release.” So, after a short photo and video session, (which I’m sure is by now blasted over social media) the mighty fish, that gave up an epic battle, was returned to the water to fight again. A true act of sportsmanship, letting go of the largest Striped Bass you may ever catch! An epic morning with a great bunch of guys! Hope to see you again next year….
Brie is new to fishing. Which is surprising for a women in her 30’s whose parents have a house in Wellfleet. Peter on the other hand comes from a long line of fishermen. In fact, his dad was on a commercial Tuna boat in the 90’s and has harpooned a Giant Tuna on his resume. No small feat on a moving boat, with a moving target. So, we can thank Peter for introducing Brie to the fishing game. And boy is she hooked. If she had a Golden’s tail, it would have never stopped wagging. From the moment she took the rod until the time the trip was over, she was full of life and excited to be out on the water, fishing. The enthusiasm was infectious. Soon Peter, Joe and I all felt the happy fishing vibe. It was a great sunny summer day to be on the water. They each caught their largest Stripers ever, among others. The epic bite that started Friday, continues off Herring Cove and Wood End Light, Provincetown. I’m glad we got to share it with new fisherman Brie and Peter.
All Charter Boat Captains have what’s called a “Six Pack” license. It allows for a maximum of 6 passengers per boat, no matter how big the boat is. Recently, its become much more common for large families to have reunions on the Outer Cape. We receive more calls than we ever did for two boat charters, where we can accommodate up to 12 people. It’s a nice change of pace for us and the good natured banter between the boats is fun. Captain Russ of Chas’n Tails in Provincetown is one of Joe’s best friends. Russ has a long time customer in Jonah from Santa Barbara. What was once a one boat charter has grown into a two. No problem! We picked up half of Jonah’s charter in Provincetown, and off we went. The gloomy weather gave way to sunshine. The fish Gods smiled on Jonah’s crew. We had non stop action at Wood End Light with Bass and Bluefish. The stormy morning kept most boats at the dock. We shared what turned out to be 4 hours of acres of fish with a handful of boats, a truly epic afternoon. One of the best trips ever!
It’s never about how many fish you catch. I think about that often enough as I see older folks in center console charter boats fly by us holding on for dear life. It’s the entire charter experience that is important. Sitting comfortably in cushioned deck chairs, using our private below deck bathroom when convenient, sitting inside our salon out of the wind, sun and spray. And finally, having a personable mate who assists you with every aspect of reeling in what may be the largest fish of your life. Our boat might not be the fastest, and other boats may win the prize for hauling in the most fish, but the Nauset is by far the most comfortable and personable charter boat in the fleet. The other day was a perfect example. Karl, Ray and Bob chartered the Nauset for the morning. It was already hot by 8, and there was no breeze. Ray stayed out of the sun and was cool inside the cabin. Karl’s creaky knees were happy with Karl firmly planted in a deck chair. What was supposed to be a 4 hour charter turned into 6. These older gentlemen were having a great time. The comfort of the Nauset was a big reason why. When choosing a fishing charter, try to look beyond the number of fish caught, (we all catch fish) or how fast the boat goes, and think about what experience best suits your unique family profile.
Alec is not as quite as his dad, Jim. But out of the two boys; Nick and Alec, he is definitely quieter. And for more than 4 hours Alec smiled patiently waiting his turn to catch a keeper Striped Bass. Today was “one of those days” where the fish were there, but finicky and not biting. Jim and Scott were repeat customers from last year. At that time, after fishing, we got some lobsters the hard way, having our lobster gear foul our engine in the process. So today we tried a little bit harder to make the fish Gods cooperate. All the while, Alec smiled and quietly waited his turn to catch a keeper. Nick caught a 31″ and then a 37.” In between Alec caught a couple of School Stripers that had to grow a bit. We switched spots to Herring Cove and Race Point Light, hoping that would change Alec’s luck. And finally we switched seats with Nick. So of course the seat Alec had been sitting in caught the third keeeper of the day! What impressed me most was the way Alec handled his bad luck…with a smile and aplomb. The mark of a gentleman. You’ll get them next year Alec!
When asked, Joe and I always advise clients that the morning is the best time to fish. I know that from my early days fishing the surf at Race Point. I would wake up at 3AM and off-road with my jeep to a place affectionately known as the Hump! False dawn to sunrise was the best. That was usually around 4:15 to 5:15. After that it would die out. My buddies and I would laugh at the guys who came over the dune at 7:00…it was already over. Joe has a similar story about setting out the net on his dragger. The fishing was great early, then die out. Lately, we’ve had a string of early risers. It’s easy to get Braeden out of bed. He looks forward to his Cape vacation, and specifically his fishing charter, all year long. This year he brought one of his best buds, Cam. They were already at the Pamet when Joe and I arrived with the Nauset. The weather was cloudy and threatening. Perfect Striper weather. We set out near Race Point and almost immediately were into fish. And so it went for the better part of 2 hours. But then just as suddenly, it stopped. The fish stopped biting. Today was a perfect example of how important is is to get out early. Happy fishing Braeden..see you next July buddy!
Ben, his son Tao, and Ben’s brother David have been Chartering the Nauset for the past 4 years. They usually rent a house in Truro for a week to reunite with family, especially their Dad, around the third week of July. That happens to be a very transitional fishing period. Stripers are moving south to Nauset after migrating to Race Point in the late Spring. And the Bluefish haven’t arrived yet from points South. It’s traditionally a tough fishing week or two. For the first two years of Ben Chartering the boat we caught almost nothing. But to their credit, they stayed with us and booked us again last year. And we did well, really well, off the cottages. This year they had to adjust their visit a week earlier. That one week makes all the difference in Striper fishing. The Stripers are still here. We caught some Mackerel and live lined them early. But the fish were finicky and wouldn’t bite. We switched it up and started to troll and Whammo! David caught a 36″ Then Tao caught a monster Bluefish and finally Ben caught another nice Striper. We always clean the fish on the way in. Today was no different. I had just finished cleaning the fish and was washing down the deck when Joe tapped me on the shoulder. He pointed to the sonar, BASS were on the screen. Most other charter Captains would have just packed it in. In fact, at that point we had been out over 5 hours for a 4 hour charter. But, loyalty means a lot to us, and Ben and David have been super star’s in that regard. So, as a thank you for staying with us through two lean years, we dropped some live Mackerel over the side. David’s bait got hit first, but it didn’t hold. Then Tao’s line started to run. And after an exhausting battle, in which all three contributed, a 41″ Striper was landed. Way to go Tao!! Thanks for your loyalty guys! See you next year…