Monday, June 04, 2007

Solo (with dog)

Sat/Sun June 2nd and 3rd, 2007

It’s time for lobsters and on Saturday I prepared a few of my pots for deployment. The day was hot but quite muggy so the paint on the buoys took some time to dry. Regardless, I geared up three pots and told everyone I had to put them out while the going was good. So I did this and it was fun. I tossed them pretty much in the same place I did last year – a resulting 25 lobsters on 3 pots last summer made it worthwhile. This year I’ll be setting closer to 10 pots, but I doubt I’ll acquire 250 lobsters…maybe.

But the story is about fishing. On my return home I decided to try a few spots that typically held fish throughout the summer months. But this weekend was the first typical summer weekend with lots of pleasure boaters speeding through the best fishing areas. Of course, no one can blame people for cruising around in their boats. But these activities don’t mix well with fishing. Or so I thought. I was sure that my luck would be poor. But upon setting up on a drift over a spot that would produce big fish in the early morning hours, I soon discovered that the fish were there and were eager to chase and hit my Yo Zuri swimmer. Boats intermittently sped by at alarmingly close ranges, but the fish were there and striking my lures quite diligently. I landed a couple of feisty 26” bass before a couple of boats became curious and swarmed the area. This made me decide to move on. So I did, to my next spot, which yielded the same. The thing is that there were some big fish on many of the follows. They were cautious this afternoon and were more apt to follow than strike. But they revealed themselves quite clearly, and I reckoned that we might now be into a pattern of good sized (into the 40s”) fish. We’ll see.

On Sunday the weather forecast did not look good: a series of thunderstorms to precede the arrival of the remnants of tropical storm Barry. Monday was to be crap-on-a-stick. I told everyone that I’d better check the pots as I wouldn’t be on the water for a couple of soggy days. Permission granted. I took the dog, Oliver, and we departed Howlands only to find some hints of fish along one of my favorite stretches. The incoming tide and north wind played into my drift plan and within a minute or so of positioning time, I was into them. First cast produced a fish of about 25 inches. Then another. But my drift was swift and I had to reposition quickly. I was the only boat out there and I am sure this was due to the weather. The wind was picking up and rain was increasing in its consistency. My second drift was full of surprise. I was rigged with a dark 6” Fin-S but changed over to Joel’s “cherry popper”. This was a good move because the result was a spectacular series of retrieves that consisted of close to a dozen large stripers charging and striking the plug. With sighs of frustration, I could not manage a decent hookup. Lots of these fish were well into their 30s (length) if not 40s. But they were not able to set the hook. (I had removed the forward treble – makes life easier for everyone).

Then a familiar boat joined up to the area. It was Reb. I’ve known Reb for about a month. He lives at the outermost house on Goose Point (Standish) where I’ve been digging steamers. Each day he’d walk out and say hello and perhaps we’d share a story or two. His boat, a dark green V-hulled aluminum, has menacing eyes painted on its bow in the fashion of a corsair fighter plane. I’ve forgotten the name of the boat, but Reb told me and it is a long name….the Charles Emerson Winchester III, or similar. I was glad to see Reb out there with me along this drift. I had trouble seeing whether he was hooking up on anything, but he continued moving up, drifting down, and moving up again.

But I was about to go crazy. The fish were all over and there were big ones in there. They were quite aggressive too. I should have had several in the boat already. However, the plug, as popular as it was, could not hook into any of the fish. Finally, I focused a bit more keenly on my retrieve and then did I get the reward of a 30” on the line. I landed him without any problems and continued on for a spell. Oliver the dog was nervous about the fish and began pacing about. But overall he kept his cool.

The wind picked up even more and I had not even checked the pots yet. I decided, quite wisely, to move on and pull the pots and get home. The ride to them was into the wind and waves and I worried about my fuel supply. Upon arrival I found them devoid of lobsters yet full of spider and sand crabs. The sand crabs, also known as rock crabs and pinky-toes, are good eating so I collected about a dozen good sized ones and released everyone else. Back home we went – a striper and a dozen crabs. The storm continued its approach and within an hour of returning home the bay was socked in pea soup fog.

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