Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Memorial Day Weekend I

On Saturday the Meunier mobile arrived at our house, full of Meuniers. We were in for an afternoon of explorations and an evening of food and jazz. And this was all accomplished in typical fashion. The dinner: rigatone pasta with a green crab tomato sauce. The green crabs came from my small crab traps at the oyster grant. Also oysters (raw and fried) and a bunch of other stuff that I now don't remember well. Jazz at the Winny was nice and I ended up staying too late (apologies to everyone).

But the fun started on Sunday morning. Joel and I sped out onto the bay as soon as the tide freed my boat from the slip. We decided to get some mackerel first and so we did. Fifteen boats were all schooled up at some random location outside the bay. We were number 16, and then more arrived. Nothing but a small cod that Joel was lucky enough to dredge up off the bottom (too small to keep). Then we trolled around, hit the mackerel, stopped to reel some in, and in no time the 15 other boats (a quarter mile away) emigrated to our small nation of fishy waters. Then we bolted.

The live lining of the mackerel worked out well, except none of them hooked. Lots of screeming lines, but no landings. While lining the macks, we fed Slug-gos to the rips and this produced some nice ones, including a 34 on my line. We fished well and enjoyed some tackle busting fun, even kept most of the fishing private (away from the others).

The mackerel were immediately placed on my Weber grill by noon and consumed by 12:30. Fantastic.

We had planned to either hit the beach or head out in the boat in the afternoon. But all plans changed as a large thunderstorm hit us from 4:00 til 6:00. Large hail, lightning, winds, amazing rain, all that stuff....it hit us hard and wouldn't stop. It was fun but worrisome: a house on Washington St. was hit by lightning and was burning; large hail dented cars and ripped up gardens, tree limbs down, and flash flooding. Cool stuff.

The power went out in our house for hours and we took that as an opportunity to cook wings and burgers on the grill, drink some wine, and enjoy the candle light. Earlier, the rainbow over Miles Standish was amazing.

Not really a good fishing story at all because I am tired and barely awake. Maybe I'll take another shot at it tomorrow. But next up is Monday and Tuesday (today) when some of the year's best fishing continued. To be continued.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Signs of Spring, Hints of Summer

Now the bay has changed and there are fish everywhere and things are growing. People have also changed. Some things don't need to be said (written):

Sunday, May 17, 2009

In the Fog

Saturday, May 15

I overslept. I did. I knew I would, and I did. I was pretty tired from a long week and the plan to meet at Matt. Ct. at 5 AM didn’t sit well with me. Not only did I forget to set the alarm, I also managed to silence the phone so that Joel’s call at 5:10 never had the chance of waking me. But my right arm woke me at 5:12. It had “fallen asleep” and while I began to pump blood back into my hand by making fists I realized that I was missing something important: a morning on the water with Don Gunster and Joel on Don’s boat. Holy shit! So I called Joel and he understood and they both allowed me the 15 minutes to scrape myself together and arrive at the waterfront, totally disheveled. Totally.

The fog was thick. It took a long time for us to get out to mackerel ground. The fog never burned off and the mackerel never showed up. But about 15 other boats did and it was a scene. Actually, hearing all the close calls in the fog was entertaining and frightening. Anyway, we bagged out on the mackerel after the only thing hitting the jigs were illegal herring (all released) and headed in a ways to some flounder ground. There we had fun in the fog, landing our limit of 24 flounder in just over an hour. Don crinkled our mojos with sounds of the 70s from his XM radio which allowed us to laugh and sing through the fog, aware that many others would hear us (but would never see us).

After the mackerel we visited only two spots that I felt would hold bass. Seeking them through the fog would be tough, especially with the 70s cheese stomping out the telltale chirps of the gulls and terns. Both spots produced many large, feisty stripers and we had a fun time catching them. It was awesome and Joel, in correct form, sputtered cuss-filled exclamations, when he experienced near misses, faster than shit through a goose. Some of them were great:

“Holy shit-on-toast!”
“Fuckin’ fucking fuck!!”
“Holy fucknuggets!!!”

…and a personal favorite:

“Holy fucking fucknuggets Daddio!!”

(I am sorry if you are under the age of 17…but this is an honest account)

And then there was Don Gunster, famous for his “rip-the-hook out of the fish’s mouth” style of fishing. His first “Gunster” was terrific. Fish was on, then Don ripped the lure out of its mouth with the force of 14,000 giga newtons, sending the lure inches from the hull and our cherished human flesh. Others followed, but he was quite cool about it and even provided the occasional announcement that he, in fact, had “Gunstered” the fish. But Don’s first time out for the season was quite productive and he landed several keepers among dozens of others that were healthy in size.

I was in a tired daze most of the morning and my mind was almost as foggy as the bay. We went in around noon and cleaned the fish under a mix of fog and sun (and fast moving, whispy, low clouds), my favorite weather. It was also getting hot. I watched Joel clean the fish. I also watched people moving stuff from the old Duxbury Bay Maritime School building to the new one. And I felt pretty good.

I forgot my camera...no pics.

May 13 - Wow

On Wednesday (3/13) I spent a few hours fishing with Joel. The day was absolutely amazing because not only were the stripers abundant and large, but we found flounder (thanks to J. Bunar), and the mackerel were in thick. The south winds made it a little wet here and there, but no matter. The fishing was spectacular. Alex Mansfield was also out there and we all fished for a while together. The three of us hit our limits in no time. Here are some photos:

Saturday, May 9, 2009


The post office was busy this morning with oyster guys picking up their packages from Maine. But that was just one sign of summer. The other one was the school of large stripers that were congregated around Two Rock channel midday. They were busy slurping down food and the laughing gulls were busy picking up the pieces. It was fantastic and so I tossed a line in and hooked a keeper which ended up feeding a dinner party back at home. It was 30 inches long, but there were others in the mix that exceeded this size. The school lasted about a half hour, then split up into smaller pods and changed with the weather. They were nonexistent within a few minutes and the SE wind moved S and the clouds came in. A quick search around the rest of the bay indicated nothing else but hungry birds.

The gut contents of this dinner fish consisted of a dozen or so sardines or anchovies, I am still checking up on the exact species. Also, a relatively large Asian shore crab, an invasive that is showing up more frequently here in the bay.

But enough of that. I grilled it over cowboy charcoal and it was served along with mango lime salsa (see Chris Schlessinger's "Thrill of the Grill"), black beans, rice, and Art's cole slaw. It was great.

Sunday, May 3, 2009


The first thing that happened upon Joel’s arrival was the prompt breaking off of the last two inches of his Fenwick rod when his son, Trevor, slammed the car door on it. Good thing he packed two rods. After the curse words and histrionics subsided the two of us (Trevor ran upstairs in fear) got our tackle together and began packing what we needed for our first try of the season for dinner stripers.

We decided to take kayaks down to Buzzards Bay. Then I decided it would be easier to borrow my friend/neighbor Ned’s kayak because it was shorter than mine and therefore easier to lug around. But then the second mishap occurred. When I started to pull his kayak off his rack system (attached to his shed) the rack system failed and two kayaks fell on top of me. Ouch. But I survived, as I’ve survived all the major earthquakes, and soon Joel and I were speeding south to the fish.

The weather this afternoon was overcast and mild. The water on the bay was surprisingly warm. We put in on the coming tide and paddled out about 100 m and started casting our poppers. Within ten casts Joel was on. It measured out to 26. Then I was on, another in the mid twenties. Then we were both doubled up with near keeper fish. It was fun. Just about every cast resulted in a strike or a swirl and this lasted about 15 minutes. Then it stopped. The wind picked up out of the south and the bite just stopped. So we moved up into some salt marshes, explored several creeks, and enjoyed a small plane overhead doing acrobatics (wild stuff) and I envisioned it crashing somewhere. But it didn’t crash anywhere.

The marshes provided only tranquility. Then out to the open water where we had luck earlier. I hooked two fish that were about 26 inches long. Then the rain began and the wind picked up. We discussed heading in and eventually we decided to. I had forgotten how much my lower back hurts after a couple of hours fishing in a cramped kayak. So we started back across the bay toward the car. Then I heard a whine from Joel, then saw him fighting the fish, then heard him ask for the tape measure. We awkwardly measured the thing: 28.5 inches – dinner.

Back at home Brooke and Suzanne had the wine and cheese started and the fish was cooked in a fantastic tomato sauce and poured over ziti. It was an amazing dinner. The girls then hosted a beach party desert in the basement with beach boys and James Brown music….lots of whipped cream on Suzanne’s ginger cake.

Now a quiet house and I am full. We each landed about six nice fish this afternoon and lost twice as many. Feelzgood.