18 Oct 2008
It's a Wrap!
Summer Job is covered, I started the first fire to warm the house from the fall chill and the count down to the 2009 fishing season has begun.
2008 started out as a year of anxiety. I bought the new Parker boat without a water test in December. I've always wanted this hull but it is easy to see where the doubts can set in. Will it ride the way I expect, does it have enough power? I need to have the T-Top made, purchase the outriggers & radar, am I investing more money into a mistake? And most important, will it make a good charter boat? YES! On an abnormally warm, calm day in late April we splashed Summer Job and I could finally relax, this is a great charter boat, and concentrate on the up coming fishing season!!
Mid May arrives, the marina opens and no schoolie bass! Not unusual, the next week should see a few and the "keeper" sized bass should be here by June 2-4. Not here yet, now I'm getting nervous! June 7th arrives with loads of schoolies, plenty of legal bass and they stayed for the season!! In fact they arrived with the mackerel, which were also late, and due to a cool water bubble that formed from Cape Ann to just south of Portsmouth NH we had mackerel until August 3rd!!
Fresh, live mackerel every day for bait only happens in the cooler waters off the coast of Maine. There they hide from the bluefish that are happiest in 60-65 degree water. But since we had large schools just off shore we live lined them in place for bass from 15 to 30 pounds. When/ if the customers got impatient waiting between bites from trophy sized bass, we moved back to the river for fast action though out the tide.
2008 turned out to be one of my best years ever! I "handled" hundreds of striped bass. Most were sub- legal and carefully released. There were also more keeper sized, 28" plus, striped bass than I had seen since 2005. Many of those were gently released also. I am fortunate to work out of this amazing fishery called the Merrimack River because it was not quite as good for my friends up north who fish for striped bass. It was also a tough year for the "off shore" guys with high fuel prices and all of those afternoon thunder storms with wind gusts and rough seas that just would not go away!!
The tuna season in our local waters was again a bust. I finally took up the axiom "if you can't beat them, join them" and started fishing on Stellwagon Bank where there are tuna. There I did have some success. I did not take any charter trips there but I will be doing so next year. I have never taken a charter customer, whether for striped bass, bluefish or tuna on a "boat ride". I will only book a trip if I feel confident that we will catch fish. Next year should be the year of the tuna!
I would like to thank all of my loyal and new clients who ventured out with me to find fish and make pleasant memories to hold us over for the winter. I hope to see you when the new season begins in 30 weeks!