Somewhere around the third week of August there is a change in the air. The crickets start finding their way inside our homes and the unique honk of fleeing geese fills the early morning skies. Family vacationers start packing up to make it home for the start of football and other fall sport practices. The Cape migration has begun. Almost in direct proportion to the exodus of people is the arrival of Tuna and other fall Sportfish. The fish heavily feed in the fall as they prepare for their own departure in October and November. The fishing now is as good as it gets. The Provincetown and Truro charter fleet has within its easy reach Bluefin Tuna, Striped Bass and Bluefish. Yesterday Capt Joe located some hungry bluefish which brought smiles to a very happy crew.
Maybe pound for pound there is a more vicious fish in the Gulf of Maine waters, but I certainly haven’t run across it. Bluefish are always angry! They bite though leaders, they cut through our rubber tube tails with their razor teeth, and leave dozens of gouge marks on any plug we use to catch them. The hardest part of my job, for which I give a silent prayer, is the landing and dehooking part. I grab the short leader attached to the fish with a gloved hand and in one motion swing the bluefish out of the water and into the slender fish box on the stern. It doesn’t always work as planned, leading to frantic moments with a snapping 12 lb bluefish on the deck. Thankfully, those moments are rare and in any event it keeps everyone on their toes, literally. Yesterday, I must have repeated that process a hundred times, seemingly. We started trolling and catching right outside the mouth of the Pamet river, and it never let up for 4 straight hours! Now that’s a great day of fishing!
Some people just can’t get enough. We certainly see our share during the charter season. Like the two gals from Florida who took a short vacation to P-town and booked a trip. They almost live on a boat in Florida! Jonathan fits the mold too. He’s a bartender by trade and fish by soul. He has a 27 ft Cobia and lobster traps of his own, but when he visits his dad here in Truro for a couple of days he gets itchy to be on the water. My kinda man! So he and his dad took a full day and off we went to Nauset to catch Stripers. They weren’t disappointed. Green tail A-17’s did the trick. Along the way we saw whales and the beautiful “backside,” from Race Point until Nauset inlet. A long but beautiful day on the water. Jonathan couldn’t have been happier!
The trip sure didn’t start out that way. As we were backing the trailer down to launch the Nauset at the harbor, Joe received a phone call. It was Dan, who had chartered the boat for the afternoon trip, “What is the name of your boat, my kids are already down there looking for you?” Ummm, we have a problem. We are the only ones at the harbor at the moment, and we certainly don’t see kids of any age, “looking” for a boat. After a bit of phone tag it was determined that our party of 6 were in Wellfleet harbor, not Truro! No problem, it gave us time to tidy up the boat. Finally, they arrived, and after loading 17 coolers (kidding, barely) we set sail. And what an interesting experience it was. Dan, brought along his ex-wife, Rachel, along with their 3 adult children, Cait, Caroline, and Dan and Dans new girlfriend, Maura. They brought a great attitude and a happy vibe. Some charters just want to fish, others want a whale watch, still others like a harbor and beach cruise, Dans group wanted a little of everything. And that’s just what they got. We caught blues, we drifted with the engine off amongst spouting whales, and took a harbor cruise of P-town. A superlative way to spend an afternoon!
It’s no secret that for the last couple of weeks we’ve been traveling around the tip of the cape, past our three lighthouses; Long Point, Wood End, and finally Race Point, to find bluefish. And it’s an even further ride to Nauset inlet to catch Stripers. But fishing is a lot like the local weather forecasts, a crap shoot. I felt right at home with today’s bunch of New Jersey brethren, the two father John’s and sons Owen, James, Gabe and for good luck, recovering (from a severe knee injury) Charles. The weather report was all wrong and with a stiff North West wind we headed to the Cottages, primarily to escape the wind and hopefully find a school or two of Bluefish. Surprise! Instead, we ran into a nice slug of “just under” Stripers. We had a blast! Later, with the help of a timely radio call pinpointing a school of Bluefish, Joe steamed the Nauset over to a spot a mile outside of the Pamet Harbor, where we had some nice Bluefish action. Before long the trip was over and it was time to head to the barn. Stripers in the bay? What! Bluefish 5 minutes from the harbor? Crazy! And once again the famous fishing adage that Capt Joe loves to quote, becomes the moral of today’s story. You never know what you’ll catch when you go fishing. Great day with a couple of really nice families, who love to vacation in Truro as much as I do.
One of my favorite Summer Olympic events, when I watched as a kid on my parents black and white TV, was platform diving. It had everything an adolescent boy could ever hope for in an Olympic event; skin tight bathing suits, (on the girls, wise acre) controversy, (on the part of the judges ) and the outside chance of seeing a belly flop from 33ft. The dive names and the hushed tones from the announcers added to the heightened drama. Which brings me to this afternoons charter, comprised of Roy, his two sons Joey and Alex and quiet Catherine, Joey’s girlfriend. We rounded the tip of the cape and headed to the bluefish grounds. Along the way, Roy told me that his son Alex was the fisherman in the family. He loved it actually. I kinda got the feeling that the entire charter was penciled in for his benefit. So of course we went through the first hour without him even getting a sniff of a fish. Everybody else had gotten at least one. We changed rods, seats, gear, everything, and he could not hook up. Another hour went by. Finally we decided to focus entirely on Alex, fishing mostly one rod so he could get a fish. And then the bluefish olympics started. Alex would hook up, but the fish would dig deep into its repertoire of “dives” to free itself. A Wally Gainer out 200 ft ~ gone! A somersault and reverse tuck ~ gone! A reverse twist in the pike position ~ free! The five of us started to act like judges, watching the fight unfold trying to figure out how this one would free itself. We lost rigs, we lost hooks, we even had one free itself by smashing against the boat. Finally, after 7 swings and misses, the fish Gods smiled on our weary angler and a gold medal was awarded to our best competitor, Alex!
Lisa, and her two sons had the time of their lives on the Nauset this morning. We first harvested a bunch of mackerel from the Provincetown Harbor, ostensibly for use as lobster bait, before turning our sites on acres and acres of bluefish off of Race Point, Provincetown. Then, the competition started between the two young men: How many, how long, longest fight, and on it went. It was your typical sibling rivalry, fishing style! And it reminded me of our gym class with our cherished special needs kids at school. The students, like Ben and Matt, are surprisingly, super competitive. They might not know the rules of the game, but they constantly ask who’s winning! It’s adorable, really. One of my coworkers had a simple solution. One that precluded the nursing of broken egos for the remainder of the school day. Each day, near the end of class, a couple of minutes before it was time to line up and leave, he would announce, “Ok, it’s all tied up!” That was the cue for the game to end moments later, so that we assured neither winner, or loser. Brilliant! So, after 4 hours of catching and releasing countless bluefish, take a guess what the final was? You guessed it, a tie! It was a great day with an enthusiastic, well mannered and slightly competitive pair of brothers and their fun loving mom.
August is not the month to catch Stripers. June has the distinction on the outer cape as the most prolific Striper month in Truro and Provincetown. This is nothing new. Many old school Striper books written by the famous authors, Frank Daignault among them, wrote about chasing the Stripers South in July to Nauset inlet, Orleans. The challenge for us, should we choose to chase them, is the exhaustive boat ride from the Pamet to get there. It’s much longer than a 4 hour charter would allow. Roosevelt and his wife Elaine and their son Drew and friend Colin wanted a shot at some big fish, if not tuna, then Stripers. No problem! We put together a custom charter. Not your usual 4 hours, but 6. Not just fishing, but one of the most spectacular whale shows I’ve ever witnessed. We went around the tip of the Cape and hugged the coast, availing ourselves of some awe inspiring scenery as we made our way all the way down the backside of the Cape. A long day for sure. But if you’re after Stripers and desire a whale watch and a nice relaxing boat ride, consider a custom charter. So, if a slightly out of the ordinary, longer than advertised, unique fishing/boating adventure, tickles your fancy, please give us a call!
I could see Sandy’s ears perk up when I mentioned I was the detention teacher at Lenape High school for 9 years. Sandy, the spry 73 year old patriarch of the clan that we took out fishin this morning, suddenly became interested in the conversation. “You would’ve had me in there every day,” he said, while laughing heartily “In fact, I was one of only 5 people in the history of Nichols College in Webster, Ma. to ever be kicked out of that college. I was expelled 6 weeks into my Sophomore year and fought to get my tuition back.” What happened next could only happen in this country. His father, not mincing words, told him that life is cruel. Now that he failed at the college game he had to work hard for a living. Not just any hard. His dad told him he had to work harder and longer than anybody that was employed with him at whatever job he had. That’s how he would have to make a living if he didn’t get a college degree. His dad was hoping that he would be scared straight in a grueling job and return to college. So, his dad found him a dirty, lousy job at a discount tire place. And he worked harder and longer and better than any other employee, just like his father said to do. But a strange thing happened. Instead of quitting and slinking back to the womb of college, as others had hoped, he BOUGHT the place. Sparta Discount Tire! And for good measure, opened a couple more over the 40 some odd years he owned and managed the business. Wow, suddenly the great whale show and all the fish we caught took a back seat to a story of a man whose success was based on hard work, determination and perseverance. The cornerstone of how this country became great. Only in America!
On the surface Chris seems like a nice guy. He has a positive attitude and an affable personality. His brother Ralph and Chris’s two kids, Michelle and Bill are also easy going and good to be around. Yet, for all the happy vibe that the Nauset experienced on the way to the fishing grounds; fabulous whale show, the ease by which we were able to secure bait, a foreboding darkness lurked just under the surface of happyville. You see, Chris is a Problem Angler. Capt Joe describes such a person as one who has the potential to jinx an entire fishing trip, single handedly. In fact, Chris successfully managed to pull that off last year. When, we had a rare fish skunk with Chris and Ralph on the Nauset. Thankfully, last year the lobster Gods, (who obviously were asleep at the time) saved the day with a sack of lobsters. So, as the hours ticked by, with Chris still entrenched in the fighting chair, we had zip, zero, nada, in the fish box. In a desperate attempt to save what was left of the charter, Chris was deposed, and in his place we asked (closer to pleaded with) Michelle to take his seat. It didn’t take long for Lady Luck to work her charm and after a couple of frantic hours we left the fishing grounds with the fish still biting. The jinx was finally broken and sore arms and broad smiles ruled the day. We’re sure it was a 58th birthday celebration that Chris will never forget. All the best Chris, from Capt. Joe and Bob!