Avid Angler

Jun 022010

May 29, 2010

Wow! Wow! Wow! We awakened to a hint of the coming sunrise.  An orange tint interrupted the predominantly dark sky as we stared out toward the east. It was 55 degrees in Marshfield, MA and the weatherman predicted that it would top out at a perfect 72 degrees.  This time he was completely accurate. The wind was steady out of the southwest at 10 to 15 knots. The crew was ready as we headed to meet the captain of the Ridla, Andy Glynn, at 5 a.m. The crew consisted of  Jeffrey, Lucas (Luke the Fluke), Rob, Dave (Big Dave), and  myself.

On our way to Stellwagon Banks,  Jeffrey and Lucas  scored with about 30 mackerel at Big Dave’s request.  Big Dave likes to smoke them (once they dry, obviously). We continued on. Andy was somewhat pessimistic based on the previous day’s report. Big Dave and I were fully confident because we have always had excellent to fantastic days on the Ridla. This day may have topped all of the previous performances. Once we got to the bank, it was not long before we started to slam 5 to 7 lb. pollack with a few 10 to 12 pounders mixed in. There were also a few small cod in the mix. It was impressive how newcomers Jeffrey (12 years old) and Lucas (15 years old) quickly picked up on jigging and reeling 12 lb. fish up from 170-foot depths. After we had our fill of pollack, Capt. Andy found the codfish waiting and hungry. After culling approximately 150 codfish and keeping our limit of 50, we decided that we were done. Multiple doubleheaders were the norm. Lucas and Jeffrey were on fire at times. They even managed tripleheaders. The cod were mostly market sized. However there were many over 10 lbs. Big Dave may have had the biggest at about 15 lbs.  Many thanks to Capt. Andy Glynn and extraordinary mate Patrick. Some may be as good, but nobody is better. Wow! Wow! Wow!

May 172010


Friday morning I woke up to sunny skies and light winds. I could barely contain my excitement as the salt air drew me to the south shore like a bee to honey. My honey, however, has fins and scales, eats green crabs, and does not smell so sweet. What I have anxiously awaited all year, along with many avid fishermen, is the pursuit of blackfish.

The conditions seemed perfect as Big Dave and I were in the comfortable cabin of the Codfather. The sturdy JC is captained by Mike Barnett, whom many consider the best in the business. The boat’s name is a bit of a misnomer. Although Capt. Mike can easily locate cod, his specialty, I believe, is blackfish. He is not only an expert at finding them, but once located I do not know too many anglers better at catching them. Please trust me.  If you are a novice fisherman, these fish will humble you.

So off we headed through Jones inlet in search of a productive wreck. The temperature was a cool 35 degrees with a NW breeze of 10-15k. The seas were a comfortable one to two feet. We were prepared for something comparable to fishing in a washing machine, so this was heaven.

Our first drop was immediately successful. I hooked up with a plump 5.5 pounder. A few more fish followed in the two to four pound range as well as some shorts. Fred, our mate, was consistently on the money. Bait was always prepared. New rigs were always at the ready, and he’s fast and efficient. If you want to learn how to tie a knot, Fred is your guy.  This man should write a book on tying knots; he’s that good.

Just prior to leaving our first spot, Capt. Mike enticed an eight pound brute with a white crab. To his credit he offered the only white crab to Big Dave and me, but we declined, thinking that the water temperature, at 49 degrees, was still too warm for that bait. A lesson learned.

We hit a few more wrecks with each producing some fish. On one of the drops Big Dave connected with a nice 7.8 pound tog. Dave is renowned for catching pool fish. As a matter of fact, the Codfather has an annual pool and big Dave is currently in first place. By the time our day came to a close, we had easily culled our limit as well as releasing many fish. We finished with ten fish over five pounds, including two seven pounders and two eight pounders, both of which were caught by the captain. Luck you think?   Perhaps not.

May 172010

Perspective and Timing

February 9, 2009

Would you sign up for fishing temperatures in the high 50’s to low 60’s with partly cloudy skies, and a NE breeze at 10-15 knots in early February? A New York fisherman’s perspective would be to savor the day. A Floridian, on the other hand, might enter a temporary state of hibernation and await the inevitable sunny and 80.

Well, on this Sunday, Nancy and I awoke at 6:00 a.m. in Florida, having temporarily fled the New York winter. Our scheduled destination was Flamingo Bay in the Everglades for some exciting sight fishing with the reputable our trusty flats guide, Jorge Valverde of Low Places Guide Service.

The cool morning began with a glitch. The two Starbucks we passed in downtown Miami at 7 a.m. were not yet open. Eventually after several right turns, left turns, and u-turns an open Starbucks miraculously appeared on US 1.

90 minutes later, we were on the water and searching for fish. We searched and cast, searched and cast, and searched and cast some more. After two to three hours, the number of fish caught was equivalent to the number of open Starbucks early on Sunday in downtown Miami. This should serve as a subtle indicator to the average soul to call it a day. Not so for a passionate, determined angler. To the dismay of my considerate angling companion, Nancy, we continued on.

What was my perspective?  I saw a beautiful, untouched, marine wilderness. We were treated to porpoises swimming about, a bald eagle perched and waiting to strike, and countless other exotic aquatic birds. I wore rose-colored, Costa del Mar, polarized sunglasses. Nancy saw ominous clouds on a flats boat with no amenities.   She endured cold wind that chilled her to her core. She wore prescription Persols that were far from rose-colored. Perspective: I was happy-she was not.

Eventually we found some sea trout. We tossed a shrimp baited j-hook with a popper to entice them. I was also fortunate enough to deceive a seven-pound snook into believing that a green and red grub was lunch. After a safe release of the snook and a few more casts, we decided that life on land would be more comfortable than life at sea. Especially for the  tough and patient Nancy.

Now for the timing part of the story. That weekend in New York, temps had soared to the mid -50’s after a month below freezing. The codfish bite off Montauk was reported to be the best in at least 25 years. We were also informed that the weather in Florida returned to sunny and 80 following our departure.