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

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