Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Reflections on the 2008 season.

I hate to say it but the 2008 season is OVAH WITH....It was a great season with lots of great catch and releases. The bass fishing was top shelf early on into early July until the commercial season opened then went to hell in a handbasket as usual. We moved around alot more than we normally do to try and stay on the bass but somedays had to resort to bluefish. Teased up bluefish on feathers or light tackle is not all a bad thing...Personally I love it when I get on the rod end of big teased up blues and the great thing about it is we do it where nobody else does so have the water to ourselves...
We fished Chatham more than usual to be able to move around more during the height of the season and had some very memorable days fishing squid flies and plastics for bass.
Tuna fishing was excellent again this year. Fish were bigger but certainly not less plentiful. We didn't find as many breaking or blitzing fish as usual but we adapted and most days were able to get tight more than once or twice. Thrown in with a half dozen 10 hookup days and we constantly reflect how lucky we are here off the coast of Massachusetts to have such an incredible fishery! As the season wound down and the weather got a bit more dicey the fish came up more and we had many days where we had the fish all to ourselves. I think I will keep the whole month of October open next season in case we have a repeat with fish and weather. I was away this past week in upstate NY visiting family and friends while my cellphone kept ringing from fishing buds who were OTW tight with another fish or two...It was near killing me but I somehow coped..;)
I think were at a crossroads here with our fisheries here off New England. It was no secret that the bass fishing was worse than most can remember since the last fallout. It wasn't just Cape Cod but everywhere north of here as well. I hope it is just a cycle or some other oddity which is keeping the bulk of the fish offshore. For us boat fishermen we can adapt but for the shorebound angler all he can do is reminisce about times gone by.
Alot of charter operations fell by the wayside this summer but I am happy to report that my buisness increased in the wake of the economic breakdown. Gas bit into my profit margin but otherwise it was a good season and I am already booking repeats for prime dates next season.

In summary, fishing remains excellent off Cape Cod but empasis on conservation is KEY in keeping it that way. Learning to release bluefin tuna without killing them should be on everyones agenda and something I think about everytime I hookup with one of these magnificent beasts. Striped bass fishing still remains strong but for those of us who have fished day in and day out over the years we certainly have seen a decline in the overall fishery. To keep our fisheries strong it will take sacrifice, maturity and effort from us all. Live your life with passion and charisma and set an example for others. I will probably never live to see my grandkids but if I do I want more than anything to be able to go fishing with them and to share the vast enjoyment and enrichment it has brought to my life.
I will update this blog along the winter when I have something of note to post. I hope to see many of you OTW again next season!!

Jeff Smith

Thursday, October 16, 2008

This past week...

Has been pretty awesome fishing for bluefin. Good numbers of fish have been around down deep and on top. It has almost gotten too easy to jig fish up anymore and we have done more feather trips than spin trips of late.

Here are a few pics of Chip Cornell and John Brawley from this past week. I also had Steve Moore and his buddy Ken onboard for a morning of tuna fishing and we had phenomenal top water action and I got some good video of it all which I hope to get up at some point.

I also changed the name of my blog so that other addicted tuna fisherman might find our little corner in the world.

Fishing with Jeffrey

My good pal Jeffrey Cardenas of Key West fame came back to fish with me for a few days. We had two stellar days of weather with very little boat traffic and hungry fish on top. The first day we just could not buy a bite even tho our offerings were right on target. As the action died, so did our optimism that we might get another opportunity that day. Towards the end of the day we found a small group loping along and Jeffrey double hauls a cast right in front of them. A fish made a big boil on a swing and a miss then came back and engulfed the fly. We were tight for about 5 minutes before the leader parted for no apparent reason. That was tough to swallow.
The next morning we were out before sunup full of optimism and hope but could not find the fish. The birds were there but the fish were not showing. The full moon was going to prove her theory correct it appeard but as we entered the bottom of the 9th inning, bases loaded and two outs we found some good activity and got tight fairly quick. At 10 minutes into the battle with aggressive action to get line back on the reel the hook pulls...*UUGH*...We just cannot catch a break it seems. Jeffrey and I say nothing to each other and just keep our composure and get back on the school of fish....Within a couple casts a nice fish tail slaps as he feels the hook and an eruption of water blows up in the air as the Tibor Pacific starts screaming....I swing the boat around in the direction of the fish and we are tight again....After a great battle, Jeffrey has landed his first Cape Cod bluefin on the flyrod. Fish tapes at 61". ....
Fishing with Jeffrey is always an enjoyable experience and I always come away with something new that I have learned from him. I think the biggest thing he taught me this trip was this quote..."Attack the problem with a scalpel and not a machette". What this means to me is sometimes you can't always have the big bite and you will need to take what mother nature hands you and work to capitalize on it.....

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Six to Eights

with the tops blowing off....That's what we had today. Jim Miller and Todd Cox were brave enough souls to slug it out with mother nature this morning. We had a stiff westerly of 15 with gusts to 20 which just made fishing miserable. Jim managed to stick one on topwater which he fought for one hour before the hook pulled for no apparent reason.....Fairly soon after, Todd hooked up blind casting the 18wt and fought his fish for an hour as well. As the fish circled the boat 20' out we watched the 4/0 /Sashimi Special fall out of the corner of the fishes mouth....That was hard to swallow.....The seas were relentless so we called it early and headed in.....A bittersweet outing for sure but it was good to see the boys hooked up for as long as they were...
Forget the economy and doomsday news....If this doesn't cheer you up...NOTHING will!

Friday, October 3, 2008

Windy Days and Breezy Nites

Sounds like a line from a country western hit but it is what we have been dealing with lately here on the Cape. It is the norm as I have come to find out living here but damned we need to get out and get back on the fish before it's all said and done. I still have many trips lined up for the next 2 weeks so am hopeful the weather will be on our sides.
My good pal Jeffrey Cardenas and his friend John Aplanalp are scheduled to fish with me in a week as well....Poor Jeffrey has the fevah BAD it appears and I for one certainly understand it. There is something special and serene and one with nature hooking these magnificent fish on the flyrod. I can't explain it but those who have accomplished this feat surely understand what I'm talking about.
I got some good reports from some of the commercials with the 40' boats who were able to get out and they were seeing alot of the size of fish we are after on the sounder and sporadic feeds on top. For those of you that are hoping to get out the next few weeks I would be at church praying for good weather every chance i got until you get here.
I have about two more weeks of chartering lined up then it's off to upstate NY for a short trip to see Doc and family as well as pick up a few cases of that good Canandaigua Valley red wine. Apple and pumpkin picking with my girls will be the agenda. Thoughts of crashing tuna and greased flylines coming tight will race through my mind but seeing my little girl stroll through a pumpkin patch with a smile and dirty kneepants will bring me back to one of the few things I love more than fishing and that is my family....I've got the best of both worlds and am thankful for that!
Feather trip 2morrow....stay tuned....