Perseverance pays off in a big way…46lbs of big!


February 6th, 2010  |  Published in Fishing Stories, Fishing Tips, Striped Bass

46lb Cow

Mike with a 46lb Cow

I went fishing yesterday with my friend Mike, who boats up in Newburyport. He belongs to the Freedom Boat club so he reserved the 25ft Bluefin for a day of fishing. Mike invited one of his clients to go out with us in hopes of showing him a thing or two about fishing the Merrimack River.

We made a stop to buy some tackle, re-spool a reel and get the lowdown on what people have been catching in the river. The guys at the shop said the mackerel were still out there and the Stripers close by them. Off we went, in search of the elusive mackerel. Let’s just say, after 5 hours of trolling, jigging, and tossing a few chunks we had hooked up with one sand shark, one sculpin, sighted 3 harbor seals and a crazy bluefish swimming circles on the top water. Sunburned and exhausted, we retreated back to the river in hopes of casting to some schoolies to ease our disappointment.

We drifted in with the current using a pogy, some Hogys and a Deadly Dick. Nada. I was thinking the guys at the tackle shop may have been serious when they said they don’t use pogies this far north. Mike took me to a place he had caught some schoolies before, and it just didn’t look right, so I picked another spot for one more attempt.

The tide was down to a trickle. I cut up 3 pogies and proceeded to toss them over. They drifted almost straight down. I figured we were screwed. The two guys I was with tossed their chunks out and waited. After a while, Mike was looking at his watch. The boat had to be back at 7, so he started wrapping up his gear and making the motions that it was that time. I took my rod out of the rocket launcher and asked him to give me 10 more minutes. I cut a nice fresh chunk and tossed it out. When I put it in the rod holder, I said “no one touch this”.

I tossed the 4 remaining pieces of pogy and started to wash the cutting board while casually watching the rod tip. I looked up to see the rod twitch then nothing. Then it twitched again. I told Bob to get ready and 2 seconds later the reel was screaming. Bob picked up the rod and it was game on. The fish ran and ran just like a 30 pounder did a few days earlier in one of the Boston harbor rips, only there was no current here so I knew this was big. It ran and ran and ran. The Penn SSG450 was getting a work out. I was a little concerned as I watched the line disappear to the center of the spool. Mike must have been thinking the same thing as he headed for the anchor so we could get ready to give chase. I told him not to do anything yet since it was a nice fish and we didn’t want to lose our only fish of the day.

Bob managed to stop the fish and started to make some headway only to loose it back on the second run. Slowly he eased the fish closer and closer, bit by bit. The fish started to come to the surface. Holy cow…I mean MOBYCOW!  Mike was still messing with the anchor when I told him to leave it and get the gaff. Mike yelled back “no gaff I’ll get the net”.  He grabbed what looked like a trout net and headed toward Bob.

Get the Net

Get the Net!

The fish was still a good 200 ft away, but I figured give him a job so he doesn’t pull that darn anchor. It seemed like it took forever to get the fish headed our way. I was trying to catch a few pics for Bob when Mike let out a gasp followed by a look of panic. Mike looked at me and said “it’s too big for the net, it’s huge!” Just then, I re-focused and got a good look at the fish. That look of panic had now transferred to me. I kid you not, my knees started to shake. All I was thinking was oh no, what if I lose this boat side. No gaff, no net and lots of free-board.

Bob guided the fish right along side. I grabbed the lower jaw… then a shake and it was free. I had under-estimated the power of this fish by a long shot. My heart was now pounding out of my chest. Bob circled the fish back boat side, I reached and got a good grip…two shakes of the head and the fish was swimming again. Shoot, this is a strong fish. Now I’m mad and somewhat embarrassed. The commotion had now attracted the attention of another boat fishing the area. I kept thinking: I can’t loose this fish I just can’t.  I can only imagine what Bob was thinking at this point after my two failed attempts. On the third try, I grabbed the fish in the mouth with one hand while I quickly slipped my other hand under the gill plate. Then with one quick move, it was in the boat.

There was a lot of “yelling” and excitement during the battle, but when that fish hit the deck, we just stood there in amazement. Three guys frozen in time so quiet you could hear a pin drop. Bob spoke first. “That’s a big fish”!  We erupted with high fives and a lot of cheers. One of the best trips of the year! Each time I read this, I can recall the day like it was yesterday. The fish weighed in at 46lbs and measured 51 inches.

Bob's Bass

Bob’s First-Ever Bass!!

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