Monday, May 14, 2007

Cherry Popper Returneth

Monday, May 14

The call last night to Joel was not intended to be about getting together to fish. But within minutes our plan materialized and he was committed to meeting me at the boat at 5:00 a.m. This was good because Joel and I had not fished together yet this year (except for a January night in Fairhaven which was unsuccessful).

So this morning: an amazing crescent waxing moon was brilliantly cast across the eastern sky as I drove up the road towards the landing. No time for coffee…the DD showed no signs of life anyway. I was glad, actually. I promised myself not to return to that DD again after one of its regular workers proceeded to wipe the largest oozing booger out of her nose as she prepared my coffee – I fell ill a day later. As promised, Joel was waiting at the ramp and within a few minutes we were underway. He offered me coffee, but I declined. The tide was low but had turned an hour or so prior. We ran out to the mid-bay region and cut the engine to assess what was going on. We exchanged a couple of funny stories but our usual gut-busting laughing fits were not to be today – I don’t know why. The air was cold but the bay was flat calm and so, I felt, the conditions were perfect. And they were. In 30 seconds I spotted the fish out where the channels all meet in front of Bug Light. We were the first boat to arrive and within seconds Joel had his first bass of 2007 on. Then immediately I hooked up, and so this continued for about 15 minutes until more boats arrived, including a large lobster boat that uncharacteristically stopped to cast for bass.

The sun eventually rose up and more boats arrived, but the schools of fish were spread out along a half-mile stretch of water and there was ample room to pick and choose productive areas. I hooked a keeper on a surface plug (one of Joel’s homemade jumping minnows – the infamous “cherry popper” – produced in his basement in early 2006). This time the net was on board and Joel dutifully helped me land the fish. Within minutes he was onto his first keeper of the year and we reversed roles and I netted the thing.

It was nonstop action and fun. We each landed at least 25 fish, many good sized and good fighters. By 7:15 I said that I’d better return home to help get the kids off to school, which was something I was looking forward to. So, in we went, the wind was then just picking up from the north. Bright sunshine, warm.

I went in, but Joel had brought along his kayak and returned to the bay to fish the rest of the morning. He produced several, but they were scarce and spread out. He met me for lunch (striped bass sandwiches – with red onion and some hot sauce) and after hammering out some of my aquaculture nursery racks, we returned to the water. He went fishing off his yak while I flipped mud for steamers – not a bad day.

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