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.
Aidan 7 and Cam 4 arrived late last night to the family retreat in Wellfleet. Most youngsters would have taken a day or two to acclimate themselves before heading out on a fishing trip with Mom and Dad. Not these two! They are fishermen to the bone. Last time in Disney the family chartered a guide to fish the ponds on the Disney property. When asked later what there favorite part of the Disney experience was, they unequivocally said fishing. How cool is that! So, after catching our limit of Stripers on the troll out back in the fog, the boys were ready for pulling some lobster traps. Joe and I have lobster traps kinda on the way back from fishing. Unlike other charters that either don’t offer Lobstering, or charge extra, we gladly pull some traps at no extra charge. We enjoy the experience of seeing children banding the lobsters and see the excitement when they see the egg carrying females and measuring for legal length. The two boys loved it. They were mesmerized. The Lobstering capped a fitting end to a nice charter with a great group of people.
Bill has the inglorious distinction of being our only guest to lose a fishing rod when fighting a fish. TWICE! He and his Dean of Columbia law school wife Ellen, come each year from New York to escape the heat of the city and unwind after a Spring semester of law school. Bill’s been a regular for 5 or 6 years and we always have a great time. On one of the first trips we tied into a school of large fish. Bill was catching one after another and he failed to mention that his arm was weakening from the strain. He lost the rod when fighting his 4th or 5th fish. Last year, he was live lining Mackerel to hungry bass and over it went with a nice bass leading the way. An expensive experience! So this year, I kept reminding Bill to focus on the grip. And again reminded him of the lunge that the Striper takes when it senses the boat. Thankfully, Bill played his part expertly and he landed one of this years trophy Stripers. A remarkable fish. Congratulations Bill. See you next year.
Jeff and his son Zach along with Jeff’s former editor at the Globe, Andrew, fished aboard the Nauset this morning. Young Zach had previously gone out on a party boat with his dad and was disappointed with the results. They both wanted Zach to tie into a big Striper. I usually try to keep conversation flowing with some stories from previous charters. However, today I was keeping my mouth shut for most of the morning. I could barely get a word in edgewise, with two journalists aboard. Now THEY can tell stories!!We had a great day live lining Mackerel for some nice size Striped Bass at the tip of the Cape. Zach caught a 36″ Striper that made his father proud. Enjoy the fish. See you next July!
When the college buddies arrived at the RV rental place in North Jersey on Wednesday, they had every intention to drive down to the Outer Banks. It was Mike’s Bachelor Party. But the weather looked lousy so they did a U -turn out of the parking lot and ended up at a Wellfleet campground. Day 1 beach. Day 2 fishing charter aboard the Nauset. When all six hopped on the boat Joe and I caught each other’s eye. Where’s the beer? In the rush to get going, they forgot. After some intense ribbing from Joe and I they settled into a fun trip. Lots of laughs and fresh Striped Bass for dinner. And as a reward for being such good sports, Captain Joe invited the gang over for a well deserved beer on his deck out back. Good luck Mike! Congrats…