Friday, September 22, 2006

Three Days on the Water. Part I: No Injuries.

I was psyched. Friday was to be taken off from work to host a professional friend who was traveling up from Rhode Island just to fish Duxbury waters. Serendipitously, Joel Meunier was also available for the day and a plan emerged faster than shit through a goose.

At first light I met Joel at the coffee stop and while he crullered-up, I filled an extra jerry can of gas for the long day ahead: about 12 hours on the water. The first order of business was to run some maintenence on the oyster grant. Joel and I motored down to Mattakeesett to meet Alex and within a few minutes Alex had discovered an aweful thing: his keys locked inside his truck and a work day ahead for him. He tried to jimmy the door but failed to do so. He decided to borrow my truck to return home to grab his extra set of keys and by this decision he was out of luck for working the oysters.

So Joel and I did the oyster work for about 45 minutes and accomplished quite a lot more than I had anticipated we would. Then, still wearing our damp wet suits, we headed out for fish. First out to Saquish and beyond, but nothing going on out there. Then to Kingston Bay where we ran into Doug Carver near the dog leg near Howlands. He was on top of some blues and soon Joel and I were hooking into several fiesty fish...jumping, screaming, and making for all sorts of action.

After some time we decided to check the lobster pots and bait them with the fresh racks of 3 or 4 bluefish that Joel fastidiously bled and fileted. No lobsters but a small throwback. Then to meet Jim from RI back at the town landing.

I was thrilled beyond words to be off from work on this Friday. Having this freedom really agreed with me; knowing that I'd be sitting in that room, that chair ruining my back and ribs, telephone calls and computer screens -- the boredom at my place of employment (am I wasting my life?). I attempted to convey this all to Joel, but he was probably being polite with his nods of agreement.

We had an hour or so to wait for Jim; he was running late. So we went to the gas-n-sip to get some ice and bagels. Then ran into a talkative commercial shellfish guy in the parking lot who tended to monopolize the conversation. Then Jim arrived and we were off.

We had fish within the first five minutes: blues out front of the harbor, near Powder Point. Joel and Jim jabbered on as I took the boat from here to there, seeking schools that wouldn't evaporate in the blink of an eye, which they all did.

Duxbury Bay, Clarke's Island, Saquish, Kingston Bay, and finally back near Cripple Rocks where we were on top of schools of blues for an hour or more. But Jim’s luck was poor and it was beginning to piss him off. Follows, break offs, near misses, but nothing to show for it. He did a good job of containing his frustrations despite the fish Joel and I were successfully hauling in. And this is good because once just a little bit of negativity leaks out then the whole picture is ruined for everyone. A delicate balance where one must enjoy vicariously. “It is a beauty of a day though,” he said.

Soon we had decided to begin making way back to Duxbury. We stopped briefly at the Nummet, one of my favorite spring season spots, but it was unproductive. As were a couple other rips along the way; the sun was high and by then the boat wakes were probably spooking any slumbering fish in these deep holds.

After an uneventful checking of the lobster pots, we did manage to find a scattered school of blues along the north side of the bay. And at last, success. Jim’s fish was fighting hard and a smile was beginning to emerge on his face. But after a minute or so his grin flattened as he began to recognize that he had goofy-hooked the fish. The treble of his chub popper lodged equidistantly between the mouth and tail, right under its dorsal fin.

“You know, that’s a 4-point deduction right there Jim,” I offered as comic relief. But it probably induced more pain than comfort. We knew that this was it for the day and so after Jim tossed the back-injured blue overboard, we all sighed and looked toward shore.

Joel and I stopped in at the Winsor House for some post-fishing beverages and recapped the day. It felt good to sit down. We stayed for about an hour until the Friday night crowd increased in numbers. Surrounded by madras.


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