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.