Monday, February 10, 2014

32 pounder!

So a few months back, Bruce asked my brother Brian and I to contribute to his blog this year.  Bruce was going to focus his blog on catching striped bass and seeing as how we accompany him on a lot of his fishing trips (and we’re wicked funny), he wanted us to join in the blogging fun. Well, since I like Bruce, I like fishing, and I like making up fishing stories, I agreed.  So here goes……

Back in the mid 80’s, my family lived a few miles from the Cape Cod Canal.  During those days, I was commuting to Bridgewater State College during the day and tending bar at night.  Occasionally, Brian and I would head down to the canal to cast out a plug.  We would park at the railroad bridge and walk down the service road a ways, passing the same fishermen most nights, all camped out in their regular spots.  We would spend a couple of hours casting out and reeling our plugs back in not really knowing much about when or where or how to catch stripers. The striper population was in a big decline back then so the size limit had been increased to 32 inches. I had never caught striper up to that point, but I enjoyed sitting along the edge of the water, smelling the salty air and tossing back a few cold ones.   Boy, life was a bit different then, with my only concerns being which class I should skip the next day and wondering if we had enough beer for the night. 

Well one night, I was standing out on a rock by myself as Brian had to work late and was going to met up with me later that evening. I was reeling in a swimming plug when suddenly something hit my line and pulled like crazy.  Well my heart just about stopped and my brain started to panic.  The fish on the end of the line started to pull out line and I didn’t know what to do. I had caught plenty of largemouth bass in freshwater, but nothing that ever took out this much line.  The rod bent over way more than I thought possible.  This was my father’s old 8 foot surf casting rod that I thought was overkill, but enjoyed using because it could cast some heavy plugs way out.  We used to have casting contests to see who could go the farthest across the canal.  Anyway, here I am with my rod doubled over, line peeling off each time the fish made a run, and I’m standing in the dark on wet rock afraid to move for fear of failing onto the water.  It seemed like every time I started to reel up some line, that fish would take off again and take out more and more line.  After five or six strong runs, I started gaining on the fish.  I kept pulling up on the rod and reeling in slack as I let it back down.  Unexpectedly, the fish turned around and started swimming towards me.  The line started to go slack and a wave of disappointment swept over me as I realize that no one was even there to have seen me fight this fish.  But suddenly, I realize that he was still on, so I cranked that reel as fast as I could go.  The line tightened again and the battle continued.  As the fish came closer to shore, he gave a huge swirl as he made one last turn to run.  I just about peed my pants when I saw the size of his tail.  Eventually, he tired out and I dragged him towards the rocks.  No longer worried about getting wet or slipping on the rocks, I jumped down and pounced on him. Not really sure how to hold him, I grabbed him with both arms in a bear hug and climbed up to the service road.  My rod was still down by the water, the plug somehow now hooked to my shirt, and my foot was soaking wet from apparently stepping in the water, but there laying on the ground in front of me was my first striped bass. 

Now when I say this bass was huge, I of course am exaggerating.  He measured out to 32 inches (well maybe I had to squish him down a little for that last half inch) and weight at least25 pounds.  Now I know what you’re thinking, no way a 32 inch fish weights 25 pounds. Well, you’re probable right, but this is my story so that’s the number I’m using.  Since my previous biggest fish was probably an 18 inch largemouth, this fish was impressive. I had never had a fish almost pull the rod out of my hands, never caught one that I couldn’t lift with one hand, and never been so excited after catching a fish.  It probable took a good 5 minutes for me to catch my breath and for my heart to slow down to normal after landing this beast.

Well Brian had not yet shown up, so I decided to head home.  I had to show someone this fish before I exploded. I packed up my equipment and headed back to the car.  One of the regulars saw me walk by with the fish and asked how big.  I proudly said it was 32 and I was going home to eat it.  And boy was it good.  My father showed me how to filet it and within 30 minutes of pulling it out of the water, it was on a grill, topped with salt, pepper, and lemon and tasting better than any fish I have previously eaten.  This was the night that I feel in love with striped bass.  Not just the taste, but the thrill of catching it.  I now spend the winter months planning fishing trips and anxiously waiting for spring and the bass migration to arrive.   

P.S. The next evening, Brian went down to try his luck.  When he asked a local how was the fishing, he was told, “You should have been here last night.  Some kid pulled in a 32 pounder!”


Tuesday, January 7, 2014

A Not-So New Year's Resolution

Well this is not a new years resolution because I came to this conclusion back in the beginning of December.  I've decided to go back to blogging more regularly.  It kinda went to the way side due to my crazy life and work schedules.  Well my work schedule has changed a little and that actually helped everything else be less crazy.  That alone did not made the decision for me it was coupled with the fact that I came up with a theme for the year and have a couple co-writers agree to help me stay consistent.
First the theme:  A year of chasing Striped Bass

Coming to the theme was brought on by many things.  One goes back to a work schedule that will allow for more fishing, especially fishing with friends.  Also I have acquired more saltwater gear, which will make fishing less about what I can piece together and more about just going and doing it.  Also I have found and been shown spots to go fishing (this was an issue when we first moved to Massachusetts).  The problem of fishing spots is not completely solved, but is much better then two years ago.  Lastly I am starting to figure tides, baits, seasons and tactics.

This brings be too some co-writers. They will write bios for themselves soon but here is my take on them.

John and Brian
They are brothers and we all fish together a lot.  I can say they are both good fishermen and even if the fishing stinks they bring some fun.  John is a very good largemouth bass fisherman and has been bringing that skill to the salt a lot more in the past couple years.  He also has picked up a fly rod in the past couple years and last year stuck his first striper on the fly.  We caught many bass in the fall and also had a ton of fun with shad.

Brian brings a lot to the table, including dinner and drinks.  Brian has a house on a very popular (not to mention productive) river that stripers are in at least 3 seasons a year.  Along with living on one of the waters we fish, Brian has two boats.  He also is a good chef and though I release 80-90% of the fish I catch Brian and John like to keep stripers more then I do so he will be cooking up our catches this year.

Hopefully this next year will be fun and full of learning, teaching and excitement we can somehow convey to anyone willing to read.  Here we go again thanks for reading.


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A little bass action.

So I have slowed my fishing obsession down a little in the last couple weeks.  There is no one reason for it but a bunch of them.  Even with this pull back I have had a chance to go do my favorite fishing of all, small mouth bass on the Housatonic river with a fly rod.  
First fish that was bigger then 8 inches (with a gurgler variation in its jaw)
A nice 13 inch fish weighing in at about a one pound.

This was me after that trip to the river.  Catching bass takes it out of ya.
 I have been fishing one time since then (the 4th of July week).  Yesterday I spend an entire day fishing and I haven't done that in a long time.  I fished a weed choked pond in town and had a blast.  Stuck mainly with the bait cast rod and a frog but made a few casts with the fly rod as well.  After the first dozen fish or so I stopped counting but kept having fun.  Most of these large mouth weighed in at a pound or two with one hitting the two and a half mark.  There were no lunkers but man was it fun and a funny thing happened I actually stopped fishing.  I hit that point where I was either tired enough, dehydrated enough, or just plan done fishing for a couple hours.  It was refreshing to fish like this.  No time constants, no other people around (it was Wednesday after all), and no weather to worry about.
cooky cutter bass but tons for fun on a frog
 Thanks for reading and hopefully I'll have a new adventure soon.