Sunday, April 23, 2006

April 22, 2006: Even Finer

We were initially ambivalent about going, but once Alex and I returned from some early morning surveying along the Jones River, we felt the fishing bug return and had decided to join Matt down on Buzzards Bay. So, we pulled our boat out of Duxbury Harbor (approaching storm) and did some maintenence work on the thing in the driveway, and then made plans with Matt to be initiated into one of his favorite early season striper and bluefish spots a little ways south.

The day pretty much deteriorated into cold, clammy conditions with an east wind that held steady at 15 kts. Some sprinkles came and went as low-hanging horizontal bands of rain clouds skirted overhead at frequent intervals. However, where we were on Buzzards Bay was fairly well shielded from the wind and we could cast to the prime spots without much trouble.

The fishing picked up immediately. Every 10 minutes we were into small/medium striped bass almost every cast, then 10 to 20 minutes of nothing. We drank some beer, which we left vulnerable to the eyes of various family visits; the kids would come out to the end of the walkway to ask us about fishing, etc. Kind of cheesy behavior on our part - the beer and all. But we continued to fish in the aweful weather.

Then Matt hooked the big bass. A 33-inch long striper that kept him busy for some time. He was quite happy about this and before letting it go, he asked us if we wanted it. "Sheeyaah! Definitely, we'll take the fish!" (Matt, a fervent fisherman, doesn't like to eat "seafood".)

The action died not long after and we wrapped things up and headed back to our homes. I fileted the fish early the next morning and dropped off one of them to Alex. It was a thrill to grill this first keeper of the year. Hopefully, many more to come.

Friday, April 21, 2006

April 21: a fine day.

"Yar!" is what my friend Joel would often say. Often this would be in response to a question with an obvious answer. The obvious answer being "yes" - so "yar" has replaced "yes" and that is perfectly fine with me. So last night I asked myself, "Should I get up at 5:00 and go fishing tomorrow morning?" The answer, emitted aloud for my confused family to hear was, of course, "Yar!"

Today's post is about today: my first day really fishing in Duxbury Bay this year.

From here on is my report from today.....

Well, I decided that a little fishing story is appropriate on a Friday in April. My morning started with mishaps, the first being getting out of the berth against an east wind and other docked boats banging around the hull. This resulted in the complete evisceration of my newly purchased, unsipped Dunkin Donuts coffee; one of life’s morning pleasures and necessities. The coffee spilled with a loud crack right on top of my tackle as I tried to avoid my fingers getting pinched off along the edge of the boat.

Anyway, I was soon off and running to my destination. The sun broke over the horizon as I crossed the midpoint of the bay and I enjoyed the few rose/gray low clouds moving fast from north to south. When I arrived at my secret spot (also called the “honey hole” by some odd fellows in town) I put a gray and white Fin-S on the line and wished for the best. [Soon I had realized that a package of storm shads had flown off the boat, unnoticed by me – my second mishap of the day.] I set up on a drift that would maximize coverage of an area that I suspected would hold some fish. The drift carried me from the edge of a marsh, across a subtidal mudflat, then over a creek channel. Just as I was getting the feeling back, on my second cast of the day, the line turned into a bird’s nest at the reel (mishap #3). This was one of those deals where the tangle remains stationary on the reel as you pull loads of line out trying to figure out where to begin. In doing this I had removed about 15 yards of line and soon I found the resulting knot to be unmanageable. So I cut the line, put the rod down and began pulling my l remaining line, and Fin-S, back to the boat and thought about how good a cup of coffee would be about then. And then, as you might guess, that is how I hooked my first striped bass of the season. He was a small, scrappy fish who was just as surprised as I to be meeting under these conditions. I quickly removed the hook and we had that moment of staring into one another’s eyes. “Hi little dude,” I said, gave him a kiss on the forehead and plopped him back into the chilly water. Yes, he had sea lice squirming about his tail.

I then straightened out my line by trolling it around the area for 10 minutes (which works quite well) and continued with about 3 more drifts over the honey hole. I ended up picking up four more fish – all between 12 and 14 inches and all with sea lice. A couple of these fish were quite lively, the others were a bit sluggish given that the water is still fairly cold. Anyway, that’s the story.

Here we go again