Saturday, May 26, 2007
This was a beautiful morning, but I was worried about the wind. It was forecast to blow a bit from the west later in the day, but it seemed to be getting a head start by the time I rounded Standish Shores to pick up my party. My journey to the town pier was uneventful; I didn’t see much action, but it was still early and fairly dark still. This morning’s charter was a hire for another guide in town and I was unclear about the plan. I found Ian and his father, Bruce, waiting at the town dock, eager to get out on the water. We waited for a few minutes for their friend, Dave, to show up. And he did. Three guys, and I only anticipated one. But this was hardly a problem.
We greeted one another and soon I could sense that these guys were experienced fishermen. On our way out we stopped briefly at a rip along the channel as birds were working the water. But this immediately dissipated and I felt it would be better to head out toward the light. Upon arrival we found lots of fish. They were breaking the surface and the schools stretched, as they had in previous days, from the Saquish rip toward Goose Point channel in Plymouth. The guys applied storm shads for the most part and after several landings Bruce hooked into a keeper, and this was somewhat lucky as it was hooked in the gills and might not have survived the event anyway. Spirits heightened and after some time the interest changed to exploring other areas of the bay.
I took them to Clark’s Island, and behind, to seek the odd holding spots. They produced a few fish. Then up north toward the beach and by this time the wind was picking up significantly. A few drifts produced a few fish, and feeling the need to get them into some calm conditions, I proposed a trip to the Jones River area. They heartily accepted. The trip was against the wind and chop and as such, no one muttered a word the whole way over. A busted seam in the boat’s forward deck platform made an uncomforting sound as the bow nailed each wave….a sound that probably only annoyed me.
The lee was only slightly calmer. And the fish of choice were not striped bass. We noticed a series of surface movements and my mind read hickory shad. The wind was gusty in this cove and after a little while I managed to improve our position to fall upon these busting fish. Ian was keen on the idea of hooking a shad, as was Dave. Bruce decided to take a rest.
We rigged two rods with small wiggly lures and within seconds Dave had a fish on. He rose it to his hands and alas, it was no hickory shad but a fine menhaden, or “pogy” as we say here. We marveled at this poor fish before Dave plopped it back into the drink. But Ian was still keen on landing one. And he did.
But this wasn’t going to be a good spot to hang around. A bunch of women and a pack of dogs were making a ruckus on the near shore of Bay Farm and we were only feet away. I thought about following the leeward shoreline and we did this for a few minutes, but I saw nothing in terms of schooling fish. So I recommended a high probability spot for the dropping tide. We arrived through building seas and the guys landed several nice sized stripers. But the chop was bouncing us around and soon I felt the need to move onward, particularly as time was now limiting.
Another go at High Pines and a few more fish were hooked. Then Ian looked up at me and signaled that we might as well head in. By this time Dave was telling some good stories that made us all laugh a bit. The ride in was a bit bouncy, the stories suddenly ceased, and in a flash the party was over. Not a bad morning – lots of fish early, then we had to hunt around and work. A keeper and some greyhounding menhaden….not bad.