Wednesday, February 17, 2010

September 2k9 Slob Stripers (on the buggy whip)

When the water starts to cool around Buzzards Bay and the Islands it usually means that the bass are coming back in, and coming in good numbers. For around 6 weeks this fall they have taken up shop in a few places along the South Coast shoreline. It has been fun trying to get the really big ones on the surface with the fly rod, but this is not easy (DO NOT TRY THIS AT HOME) and just about everything that can go wrong does go wrong. In the rare event that nothing goes wrong and the fishing gods shine on us we have landed some amazing and beautiful Striped Bass (toads) with the buggy whipp...

September 2k9 half beak feeds

September means cool mornings and for me the beautiful drive through Rochester and Carver across old country cranberry bogs full of water and floating red berries. It also means it is time for the Tuna to turn it on. This year we started to see the schools of Blue fin Tuna feeding on the surface on half beaks early in September. What a sight, and some days you could set your watch to it. Unfortunately it did not last for more than a few hours each day, so as the feeds got later and later the rest of the day was a dud. But unlike many other species of fish in the worlds oceans you can not change tactics and do something else because as soon as you do the Tuna will throw you a curve ball and feed all day long.

Monster Bluefin (ooops) August 2k9

A couple years ago (2005) if you had told me we were going to be catching these simple, easy 20-30 lb. baby Blue fin Tuna on the heaviest tackle known to man and it would most likely hurt you really bad, possibly throw your back out for weeks, I would have said Naaahhh.... But here we are, not only are the cute little Tuna that were approximately 30-33" and jumping around in front of my Glacier Bay Catamaran outside of Westport Harbor, now putting truck size holes in the water off Gloucester, Massachusetts, they are mean (grrrr). I watched as Ryan and Rob worked hard (I had to run the camera) on a Tuna that was around 75 inches today. It was totally nuts. We all saw it eat a Tattoo Sea Dog (white) like it was a small piece of candy left in front of a hungry French guy who has not eaten in three weeks and then the battle was on. Ryan did his part. He whined, got really sweaty, and looked like he was going to black out before Rob stepped in and brought the fish to the boat, where we gaffed it and brought it along side the boat (which suddenly looked small). I called Ryan a sissy, I did, but this fish was HUGE and I am glad he hooked it instead of me.

Aug 2k9 Bluefin (who is killing who ?)

The size and power of these Blue fin Tuna is just astounding. I have fished with several different groups of anglers in the last few weeks who have all but thrown in the towel. In some cases these are anglers who have caught large Tuna before and just had their asses handed to them. Gotta love it if all you have to do is drive the boat, but come on this is mean business people. I watched as we hooked into a Blue fin that was approximately 75 inches and full of piss and vinegar. All I wanted to do was unhook that fish, and now. I sometimes try to explain to the anglers what they are in for so they can pace themselves. It doesn't work. One needs to do this type of fishing on a regular basis to know exactly how hard you can pull and when. So when someone who has been hoping to hook into a large Blue fin for years finally gets hooked up on spinning gear or fly gear, look out excitement, anxiety, adrenaline, and then 30 minutes later tears. What a great deal for them huh ? Seriously though as these fish are getting larger there is more and more heartache. It is a wonder that we can catch these fish at all.

July/ Aug 2k9 The sights sounds and smells of New England

You can almost smell the salt air.

July 2k9 Tuna (gotta love it when a plan comes together)

So here we go, fishing for Blue fin Tuna, but this time we need to put a large Tuna in the boat in a very short time and deliver it to the dock so that preparations can begin. This Tuna, even though we had not caught it yet was scheduled to be on the menu for a wedding here in Southeastern Mass. Crazy Dave tells me after we put the beast in the boat, "Good work Joe, lets go home, my Daughter is going to be so happy". Can you imagine the look on my face ? What if I new this crazy family was counting on me to produce fresh Blue fin Tuna for a wedding. I mean this is the young lady's first marriage, not a second or dirty third, this is the first one, whoawah I am glad I didn't know the plan.

July 2k9 fishing with Kids

Of course the biggest kid on the planet is Ned Taylor and I had the opportunity to fish with Captain Courageous himself again this July. We slayed the fish and he only broke a couple things. As well throughout the month of July and August I had the opportunity to fish with Kids from around the country while they are visiting Cape Cod for a little summer vacation. Sometimes we really get lucky and we can take kids out for Fluke, Scup, Black Sea Bass, and throw in a little Striped Bass and Bluefish to round out the day (or 1/2 day). This past month I have been fortunate to locate all these species of child pleasing and put them together in a fishing trip that begins and ends without disaster (see children in the dictionary).

July 2k9 Stripers Set the hook, Ya Hear !

It is always fun fishing with good anglers. I enjoy teaching, and do it allot, but every now and then I fish with folks that have been doing this fly fishing thing longer than I have been alive (1971 for those who are counting). In many cases it is a chance for me to learn a little about the types of things that people bring with them from their angling adventures around the globe. I have enjoyed some great sight fishing for Striped Bass and has shots at some Stripers that were truly monsters. What is the case during this past month and has been the case for as long as I can remember is that we don't always catch those super slob monster bassalo we see, in fact we usually don't catch them at all, but that very rarely matters because if you are in a position where you are seeing the Walters of the Striped Bass world, you will probably be catching Striped Bass large enough to challenge 99% of the best anglers in the world (80% of the time). So having some of these great moments lately watching Walter slide off into the deep green waters where hence he came and attacked the fly, but hey, why worry, we will get him next year (as I like to say :)

June 2k9 Bluefin Tuna (already)


so who needs to wait until September for the Blue fin Tuna ? Not me, they started showing up in the waters around Cape Cod this year while I was still fishing for Tarpon in Southwest, Fl. and they filled up just about every square inch of water before Father's Day again this year. It was Fathers day 2008 when myself and a couple friends fished in the rain together. With the horrible weather forecast we all had to cancel our charters and then headed out on the water together. Nuts huh ? So there we were after hours of catching crazed schools of Blue fin Tuna feeding like wild dogs and then just when we thought it could not get any nuttier it did. One of the largest deep water schools of adult Menhaden swam right in front of the boat and into the same waters as they "Very Hungry" and now apparently "skitzophrantic" Blue fin Tuna. It was simply laughable what the surface feeds were like. I have never seen anything like it. 300 lb. Tuna were sliding through bait balls of adult Menhaden that were around 13 inches long. The bait was so scared that they were actually able to levitate themselves out of the water with a conscious group effort and very frenzied behavior which makes a normal school of Menhaden swimming in a circle look like they are asleep. None of these Tuna had any idea what was going on around them and I not only hooked up with and lost fish that were hooked up right next to the boat, but I actually felt like we could have poked them with the end of a fly rod. In the order of the Universe where we spend days looking for just one of these silly fish to jump out of the water, that was a little hard for me to swallow. So anyways here it is June again and they are up to these tricks again. Who knew ?

June 2k9 Striped Bass cranking up the coast

Every year I drive myself, boat, family, and all of our crap up the east coast to our sleepy little town of Marion. Our town with a long fishing history nestled into the northern corner of Buzzards Bay is so perfectly suited for me and my family it is as if it was built just for us. The spring time is a wonderful time when all the trees are bursting into bloom and the flowers are radiating all the colors of the spectrum again and as we drive north you can feel the wheel of life turning. Somewhere around the Mid Atlantic states the LeClair family's migration begins to overlap with the northern migration of the Atlantic Striped Bass. Just knowing that they have gathered into Massive schools that will migrate together along the coast of the United States is one of the coolest things a human being can imagine or envision, and this is exactly what I am doing each spring as I make my drive home. I am often already on the phone with other fishing guides who have hit the waters in the Northeast before I have, and it is the anticipation and eagerness to be back out on the water again that drives us all. In many ways I have shaped my entire life around this simple movement and migration of these awesome creatures and looking forward to the days of summer when they arrive to the waters around New England again seems like such a simple ordinary occurrence, but it is so much more to many of us.