Archive for August, 2011

Taking Kids Fishing Can Teach Even the Most Experienced Angler a Thing or 2

August 30th, 2011  |  Published in Boston Harbor, Fishing Stories by allison

I am a true advocate when it comes to “sharing” fishing knowledge and experiences with those who truly want to learn about the sport. There is a very special group of individuals that hold a soft-spot in my heart when it comes to this. All they have to do is walk towards me on the dock or beach with a fishing rod and tackle box tucked underneath their little arms and a smile on their face, and I will begin spewing fishing tips, tricks and spots without them even saying hello to me. These are the little kids and future anglers of America that are just getting into fishing and learning about the sport. I’m not sure if it’s because they remind me of myself. (Not because I wear juniors size Grundens or weigh the same as a 12 year old boy either!)

I mean after all, it was only four years ago that I was that impressionable sponge walking down the dock with a huge grin of anticipation for my day out on the water. I hung on every word spoken and watched every fisherman and angler while recording it in my memory bank to mimic later and see if I could repeat their motions and actions. That is the great thing about kids and sometimes their downfall. They are uber impressionable and always LISTENING. They watch your every move and can mimic them to perfection. By the end of the day, they become your mini-me. It is adorable unless you drop them off with their parents and they begin swearing like a green horn on the Deadliest Catch.

We introduced our nephew to fishing last year. I don’t have any children, but I know if I had a son, he would be identical to my nephew. My nephew is the spitting image of my husband. He is definitely his mini-me. Fishing is the ONLY sport that he continuously asks to participate in. He’ll do anything and is good at anything that he tries, but he always asks his parents if he can go fishing with us. He is only 8 years old, so when he brought his daily planner to a family dinner to book his next fishing trip with us, I almost fell over. This little guy meant business. We took him out earlier in the summer flounder fishing and he caught a State qualifying tournament flounder, a striped bass, mackerel and sculpin. Basically, each time we have taken him out, we’ve put him on fish. Let me be even more specific, we’ve put him on exactly what he asked to catch. This kid only knows “catching”. He has not been introduced yet to “fishing”.

There is a big difference in Fishing vs. Catching. As we all know, fishing does not always equate to catching. With fishing comes disappointment and heartache. I give Charter Boats my utmost respect. It’s very difficult to catch what an angler asks for every time. No matter what the age or gender, if you’re looking at your fishing guest’s face filled with excitement and anticipation….all you see is pressure. The sweat begins to bead up on your face and your heart rate begins to increase. You gotta produce and you gotta produce big. They’ve been dreaming about their big day for days and have told all their friends they’re gonna catch a huge fish. You never want to be the one to dash that dream. We’ve been asked a number of times if we do charters. I’ll never say never on this one. To-date, we’ve only taken out friends and family and thankfully always produced. But at the end of each trip, we always say we’ll never do charters. Too much pressure!

Now imagine taking out an 8 year old who only knows catching and catching decent sized fish. Knowing how the bass fishing has been in Boston Harbor, I began my damage control early.

“Now you know your Aunt and Uncle don’t always catch, right?”

“Sometimes the fish just aren’t feeding.”

“The water has been really warm.”

I was pulling all the reasons out of why we may not catch. The previous days of fishing were very hard. This was not going to be like his previous trips and we knew it. Well we were right!

First spot we dropped anchor and began to chum. We taught him all about chumming and chunking. You could see the wheels turning and he began to recite EXACTLY everything we explained to him. The sponge was soaking it all in. 30 minutes went by and no fish. We pulled anchor and went out to deeper water. Because the water temps were high, the fish must be deeper. We found our second spot and anchored.

Our nephew began to chum. He said “I have a good feeling about this spot”. My husband and I looked at each other. Silently we both knew what the other was thinking. We’re screwed. We had never fished this spot and didn’t know if it was going to produce. Logically it should. Structure, water temperature, tide and current all pointed to our nephew’s prediction. You could hear the doubt in my Captain’s voice and tone. Meanwhile our nephew was befriending a bird with a broken wing by our boat. He began to feed it our chum and talk to it. We were chumming heavily, so the feeding of his new pet wouldn’t interfere with our feverish attempt at catching the little man a bass. If they were anywhere in the vicinity, we would catch em’. When it was time to swap out the chunks, we had him reel in the lines. First one he picked up, he began to say that he had a big one! Oh, the forever optimist. He had a big one alright. The biggest of them all….the ocean bottom.

The next reel in, he had a Starfish hitch-hiking on it. The oohs and aahs of that catch lasted 10 minutes. He said “Uncle I caught a fish. Star fish. It has the word fish in it”. Then he went back to feeding the seagull. After another starfish catch, we moved to our last spot. Time and tide was running out. After we anchored, he began to try and locate his pet seagull. He then said it again…”I have a good feeling about this spot”. Meanwhile, Captain and First Mate were scratching our heads and praying for a freaking fish. Any fish. Any size. Let the boy reel in something other than the ocean floor and a Cape Cod coffee table decorative item. Let’s do this!

Captain was working hard on the other side of the boat humming, hawing and casting. I decided to eat a sandwich to relieve one pain I had. Then our nephew says “What a beautiful day”. I was taken back and replied with a huge grin saying “You’re absolutely right. It doesn’t get much better than this”. It clicked. He didn’t care if he caught a fish. He just wanted to GO FISHING. He wanted to be out on the water, enjoying the day, feeding the pet seagulls, the star fish and being with his Aunt and Uncle. We were the ones putting the pressure on ourselves. We not once took the time to look around us and take in the experience.  The sunshine, lake-like conditions, and hilarious phrases coming out of our 8 year old-going on 40 year old nephew’s mouth. We tend to get into our competitive and perfection mode when we take others out fishing. When in reality, catching a fish is a bonus. Spending time with our friends and family is what it’s all about. After all, we’re not a charter. The funny thing is, we said we wouldn’t do charters because of this pressure, but mentally we are acting like a charter. A wave of happiness came over me, and just then the line went off. Coincidence? I’d like to believe otherwise.

Our nephew got to reel in a fish. He brought it to the boat all by himself. He caught himself a 32 inch Bluefish. He was ecstatic. He drove us back to the dock, letting the Captain relax a little and have his turn taking it all in. We were out there to teach our nephew how to fish. He did learn a new method of fishing, but he also taught us one of life’s most important lessons….find the good in each experience. It’s there, you just have to have your eyes open and seep it in like a sponge!

The Heavy Weight Smack-Down is coming to Boston!

August 8th, 2011  |  Published in Boston Harbor, Fishing Reports, Striped Bass by allison

Each year before the fishing season starts, anglers polish their gear, organize their tackle boxes and watch re-runs of fishing shows in anticipation of the months ahead. They envision this year being the year they join the “50” pound club. GoPogy is no exception to that. In fact, the wall space in my home is already reserved for my 50lb. mount.

The last month has been slow for catching large bass in Boston Harbor. Don’t get me wrong, there are plenty of blitzes and legal sized bass to provide eager anglers with excitement and physical “warm-ups” for what’s to come. Heck, we even caught legal sized bass on flounder gear in May. But I’m honed in on the heavy-weights and have been for the past couple of years. I caught my largest bass last year at the end of August and I’m happy to report that we are on target for the same trend this year. The larger bass are now making their way into the Harbor and I think it’s going to be another great Fall season.

Reports from Charter Boats and angling friends over the past two weeks have been consistent. No big bass in abundance. Catching a 36 inch was considered a stellar day of fishing. These reports have prompted us to get some “projects” done while keeping our ears out for some promising reports. I’m not sure if we were just amped up from shark week or possibly the report of the world record being broken for striped bass gave us that extra little push we needed, but we decided to get back into the game, however “small” it might be. Sometimes you just need to hear the scream of your reel, see your rod bent in half and get a work out in order to get you out of the lull you’re in. Well we went out and experienced just that. Our faith was back and so were the heavy weights. We caught decent 39-43 inch fish. Our first 30 pounder of the year broke the mold and told us, just like last year at this time, we should expect consistent heavy-hitters. The big bass are starting to move into the Harbor and I am once again dreaming of my personal best and 50lb club induction. (I will definitely take a 40lb+ though!) Gear up anglers, the season is just heating up and the smack-down is about to begin.

Achieving Greatness in your Fishing Game

August 2nd, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Tips by allison

Setting goals in life helps you work harder to achieve greatness. Why, because we outline what we want ahead of time; putting more pressure and accountability on ourselves to actually produce results. We push ourselves to put our money where our mouth is, which is risky. Most of us want to be able to back up our promises, even if it is just to ourselves.

I personally put a lot of pressure on myself to succeed and accomplish what I set out to do. Not because I am trying to impress anyone else, but because I want to be proud of myself. Success can mean many different things to different people, but one thing is constant across the board; it is important to all of us. Whether being successful means having monetary riches or social stature, we all have our own vision of what it is to be successful. When my time’s up, I want to “check out” of life knowing I left no stone unturned, no adventure untraveled and no regrets.

To me, success is trying and learning new things by stepping outside of my comfort zone; being proud of the results I was solely responsible for. Seeing the world along the way and ultimately being able to say “I am happy”.

Each year, I push myself harder when it comes to fishing. During the winter, I set goals for the upcoming fishing season, and then work my “tail” off to achieve them. Some people ask if this takes the fun out of fishing. I think it does just the opposite. The more time you put out on the water, I don’t care who you are, you set silent goals for yourself. You may call them “wants”, but ultimately they’re goals. “This year I just want to catch a Bluefin Tuna”. Even though it is a “want”, it is also a goal of yours. You probably put all your efforts, time and money into reaching that goal. And how fun is it when you actually have your “goal” at the end of your fishing line? I can tell you personally, the grin on your face will last for days, if not weeks.

Goals help us stay on target; they give us focus. Even if you don’t reach your exact goal, you may be surprised at how much better your game is as a direct result of just striving to achieve it. I have met many people, been introduced to the “right” tackle and caught more fish as a direct result of this. It forces you to learn and essentially “earn” more.

Top 5 Goals for 2011

(1) Put more time out on the water this year vs. last year. The more time you put on the water, your chances of catching a fish of a lifetime increases. Anglers who catch 70 pound stripers put a hell of a lot of time into fishing. They don’t just go out one Saturday afternoon and win the lottery. If it were that easy, they wouldn’t be called “fish of a lifetime”.

Current Standing: Last year the majority of my fishing was done in the fall. So far I have logged more time and I strongly plan on racking up the days out there.

(2) Keep better fishing logs. This is a difficult, but essential goal of mine. If you’ve attended fishing seminars or know a network of fishing professionals, you are well aware of the importance of fishing logs. Keeping track of each day you spend out there fishing will improve your game tenfold. Logging where you fished (exact coordinates/waypoints), what species you caught and at what times, what the wind direction was, water temperature and what tides you fished will help you build a book of success. It will cut down on the amount of time you spend on the water “not catching”. This is a tough one for me because I tend to get caught up in the moment of fishing and forget to write everything down.

Current Standing: The first handful of flounder trips I did, I will come clean and say that I did NOT keep an accurate log. That has changed and I now log everything – down to the inches, pounds, exact time each fish was caught, where, how, what tackle was used, wind direction, wave conditions, tide and water temps. Next year I will be thanking myself and saving myself a lot of time and heartache.

Previous Year's Fishing Log

(3) Achieve a Personal Best. To me, size is a factor and does matter. Catching bigger fish each year and achieving a personal best is a constant goal, and a “BIG” one of mine. I never compare myself to other recreational anglers or set out to beat them. The only angler I’m competing against is me, and I’m one tough competitor.

Current Standing: First fish of the season for me is the winter flounder. I am proud to say that I have achieved this goal. Last year’s personal best was 3lb. 3oz, this year was 3lb 13oz. My largest striped bass last year was 38lbs and largest bluefish was 12lbs. I am still aiming to beat both of them. Stay tuned….

(4) Catch a new species. This goal is also an important one for me each year. Living in Boston and close to the Cape, I am fortunate to have many species available to go through before I have to start visiting the West Coast and other countries. This is the exciting factor of fishing. Learning the feeding habits, favorite hang-outs and fighting techniques of new species. The excitement of the unknown, the hunt and ultimately the experience of catching exactly what you set out for in the seemingly endless ocean is a great thrill.

Current Standing: I have knocked this one out of the park. I took a trip to the Cape and caught Scup for the first time. I went to FL and caught Mahi-Mahi, Amber Jacks, Permits and Tarpon. This is the biggest achievement so far for me and I would be one lucky gal if this goal is beat next year.


(5) Travel to a new fishing destination. If you set one goal for yourself, seriously consider this one. Experiences are irreplaceable. If you travel to a new fishing destination, you are not only experiencing a new fishing scene, but so much more. From culture and dining choices, to history and architecture, your trip will allow you and your family to experience time together and memories that will last a lifetime.

Current Standing: This was an easy one for me. Not so much for my wallet, but this is what we work so hard for. We should get in the habit of rewarding ourselves and taking a break from the daily grind. We went to the Florida Keys for a 2 day fishing trip and 2 day discovery, relaxation trip. We had a blast and the times of our lives. One piece of advice: if you have this as your goal….make it another goal to book more vacation time than you think you should. We all do this. We feel like we are taking too much time and the working world can’t go on without us. The truth is, the working world will reap the rewards too if you take a longer vacation and come back a new person; fully invigorated and happy.

Setting goals is easy…doing the legwork is difficult…achieving them is greatness.

My Ultimate Goal

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