Wednesday, November 10, 2010

New Boat! ...First Fish!

We recently bought a new boat but have yet to have a chance to use it. We chose Wednesday 11/10 to try Tilly bay out of Garibaldi. It was absolutely POURING the whole day/night before with 40 mpg gusts, so we had a few second thoughts about going. However, the forecast showed it to be a 'transition day', and we all know how nice those can be.

Sooo, we went anyway. I brined up some herring the night before, tied up some leaders, and we were off.

Last time I was in Garibaldi was for longfins, so it was change to drag some herring so slowly in the bay. We got there and noticed barely a ripple on the bay.

The weather was AMAZING for November. Hell, for almost any day over there!
The few clouds around, quickly evaporated.

We started out by the CG tower, but it was fairly rough. We set the crab traps, made a couple passes, but no feeshes...

Then a couple runs by the CG station. Again not a whisper...of fish, OR wind...

We decided to head over to the ghost hole, where most of the other 20-30 boats were.

Lines were deployed.

I can't help but notice Johnny Bowles alongside.
He had a good day, btw

First pass, heading downhill on the incoming, my dad notices his rod going ape-crap and jumps up and the fight was on! A nice buck that took a couple good runs around the boat, but finally contained. My dad followed that fish around the outboards, and under the boat like a pro!! I was even
impressed! I net the fish and the hook immediately pops out. WHEW!


...and what better person to have it then dad!

My dad is 6'4 if that helps for perspective of the fish...

We were fortunate enough to pull 3 crabs from two pots for the day to add to the fish. We were very thankful for such a great bounty from the bay!!

Another great trip to Little Italy!! ...Winter Styleee!

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Bluefin Tuna Off of Cape Cod, MASS

*Warning, Picture Heavy...Sorry*

Just a recap, I entered a Fishing Videos Contest on a rival site, and was fortunate enough to win the contest!
Prize being:
2 12hr days of fishing aboard the FORTUNA for Giant Blue fin Tuna
3 nights stay at the Scituate Harbor Inn.
...all i had to do was get there. ...Not a problem!

Our journey began as my brother and I flew in to Salt Lake City, where we had a 45 minute layover. We darted into the airport bar to check scores and have a cervesa. We had to try to pint of the local, Utah, of all places , Polygamy Porter, "Why Have Just One!"

After our plane arrived in Boston, we made our way to a commuter train that took us out to the coastal town of Scituate. {sit - chew - it}

There, we met up with our guide, Greg Sears of Mass Bay Guides.
On our way to the hotel, he took us on a little tour through the town and showed us the area.

It is a small, one-road town (practically), but gets pretty packed in the summers.

We drove by the marina, where Greg pointed out his fleet of boats,

The FORTUNA was our boat both days. This is a tuna killin machine!

as well as some of the other nice ones in the tuna hunt.

One of the boats he pointed out was on the Lobstermen show on TV.

Another boat there is on the Swords show.
We drove out by the lighthouse, and he showed us some nice houses right along the water.

He mentioned these houses get destroyed or partially wiped out about every 5 years. Not to mention, they can't get insurance out there, so they refuse to leave, and instead, just pay to fix it each big storm. I mean, their streets get washed away, large boulders from the jetty crash through the houses, and onto the roads. ...Amazing when people have enough money to just keep fixing and living.. They must want that property pretty bad! (But I don't blame them, the other 4 1/2 yrs! )

We met some lobstermen and other fishermen in the local sports bar who had some great stories, and made for some great info/entertainment!
Down on the docks, I saw a couple older gentlemen enjoying the afternoon, catching smelt....1 at a time. Probably caught one every couple mins. But hey! I could tell they were having a great time doing it!

We stayed at the right across the street from the harbor at a nice little hotel.

We had a Great view from our window, looking out over the harbor and the lighthouse.

Most of the boats had already pulled out for the winter, but there were still a few left tied up on the water.

The fall colors were starting to turn and made the place look even better.

DAY 1:

The next morning, we met up with Greg and his Mate, Cory, at the boat before sunrise.

Once light, we headed out. In Oregon we watch for crab pot bouys, but the amount of lobster pot bouys out there multiply in terms of how many there are. These guys have to go through a mine field everyday. The week before, and even the past few days leading up to the days we fished, were rough, 10-14' seas, so the boats didn't get out. Therefore, we'd be trolling to start the day. I've never used bars this big before!

This is the best way for them to locate the fish after they get stirred up. The seas had calmed down, but still weren't ideal. From Scituate Harbor, we could be fishing just a couple miles off the tips, but started a little further out.

We fished the Stellwagon Bank and down into Cape Cod Bay, and out around the hook. Scituate is where the Red Dot is. and We'd head across to Cape Cod, which is about 30 miles across the bay, to give you an idea.

The deepest we noticed was around 200'. At some points we were fishing in 18' and it would drop off to 200'.. Just visualize a 'grand-canyon' style plateau under the water.

The clouds would roll in, then the sun would burn off. The wind kept fairly steady, but by the end of the day, the sun was out to stay.
We trolled a few areas until we made our way out by some draggers. (by the way, when I say draggers, that's what they called them.. errr, "Draggas".. They'd drag the nets, but weren't allowed to drag bottom. Mostly just mid-water column.)

When we would see them start bringing up their nets, we'd sneak in behind and troll, using them as chummers.

We instantly got hit on the long rigger. an explosion at the surface, but no take. Not a minute later, it comes back and slams it again!

Again, No take... Our hearts skip a beat, but no luck this time.

We continued fishing different areas and decided to try out by the whales. This is another area where, if there are whales, then there are usually fish.

We came across numerous pods of humpback whales breaching and slapping the sea lice off their GIGANTIC bodies.

We could see other crashing tuna on the surface from time to time, but nothing hit the spreads. Day 1 was definitely a tough 'locating/scouting' day, with no luck on the giants. On the way in, we noticed another boat with a harpoon deck on front. Wouldn't THAT be something to 'poon a giant!

We finally trolled back toward the harbor, picked up around 4, and called it a day. They definitely don't have as much of a 'bar' as we do, crossing the tips.

This is our boat, The FORTUNA, coming in for the day...

The sights of the harbor alone, make it such a peaceful and amazing place.

That evening I decided to walk around a little, get some photos, and see some of the sights and sounds of the Harbor.

Also walked up and down a few rows of some pretty nice battlewagons!

Reel Knotty = 41' Lures

This next ride is a Buddy Davis yacht. These boats are completely custom, rather than a production boat, like this Lures (above) of almost the same size, etc.

That's the difference between a $400k boat, and one that will run you around $1.5mil.

Not a bad ride!

Day 2:

The clouds had blown away through the evening, leaving us a crisp clear morning.

Bright sunshine, much less wind, and a smooth ride out.

It's so strange to be heading INTO the sunrise.

When I see that orange horizon, I feel like we're heading into an Oregon evening trip..

This guy crashed North, just ahead of us...

Over the evening, Captain Greg had heard of 2, 700+lb fish taken just a few miles south of where we were fishing the day before. So, this day we ran across the bay, (about 30 miles), to Cape Cod, and fished along the beach for bait.

While fishing along the beach, I noticed alot of fishermen in trucks along the beach. These guys do it right.... Rod holders and coolers mounted on the grill-guard up front. Nice rigs!

The smaller gear was then deployed for bait...

We hooked up with some nice bluefish that would rival some of our coho in terms of size. I was shocked to see that this was our bait! Its hard to imagine something bigger will come up and inhale this fish!
While fishing bait, we also tied into some stripers.

Nothing of larger size, but still fun to catch, as well as another species off my list of fish to catch.
After 30 mins or so, we had 6-8 bluefish of perfect bait size... 3-6 lbs.

We put away the dink gear and brought out the 130's.

Once we located the area he wanted to fish, we shut down the engine and drifted. There was a 5-10kt wind allowing us to deploy a kite.

This was also a first, kite fishing for tuna! With one of the 50's, the kite was let up about 100 yds and an outrigger clip was tied to the line.

At this point the 130 was rigged for the bait. It was hooked through the top of the back, in front of the dorsal, under a 12' leader where it was clipped into the outrigger clip.

We simultaneously let line out of each reel, keeping our large volunteer dancing out there on the surface, inviting anything with large eyes below to come up for lunch!

Two other baits were deployed under balloons and set out to explore areas closer to the boat, giving us 3 baits in the water. Multiple times did our baits get nervous and get struck. The balloons would make a strange sucking sound as they darted down under the water. ...but right back up. Multiple times did we jump up, to just sit back down. These were determined to be smaller tuna that just couldn't eat the baits, but still flew up and attacked them, only to scare them.. not eat them. He guessed they were only 60-100lb fish and we were looking for larger.

We picked up gear and ran out to the fleet of draggers. We stopped and deployed gear for a while but no fish. Time was running out and the fish just weren't cooperating with us. These late, last-of-the-season fish are much more finicky and hard to find. Our captain tried all kinds of techniques but we just couldn't locate a giant.

As we were coming in, we noticed some smaller docks. I asked, they call them lobster cars.

The lobstermen pull up to these, throw their lobsters in the pen and leave them until the market price goes up.

The memories of the bluefish, stripers, fishermen off Cape Cod, size of baits, kites, whales, everthing, will be in my mind for a LONG TIME to come and can't wait to go back there and try it again!

Next time, probably in July when the fishin is HOT! All in all, it was a great trip that I couldn't have asked for much more. The experiences I came away with, far made up for the lack of a giant. I can only hope to go back and try again someday!