Fishing Reports

Facebook Fishing

November 5th, 2013  |  Published in Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories, Fishing Tips by allison

As technology evolves and advances, so too, should your fishing game. I can remember thumbing through magazines and travel brochures when I was younger trying to pick our annual vacation destination. Now granted, I wasn’t fishing back then, but a lot of my “vacation criteria” was the same: hot weather, sparkling clear water and sandy beaches.

The pictures would almost speak to me and I’d visually replace the model in the picture with myself and determine, “Yep, that’s totally where we’re going.” Our feet would touch down on the tarmac, our taxi would pull up to the resort and I’d look at my family with confusion and mutter the words “Well, this doesn’t look like the picture at all.” And like the frozen dinners that always look so delicious on the box but never like that in reality, you come to the conclusion that a very talented marketing team put your travel brochures together.

Like so many others, I had to learn my lesson the hard way. Realizing it doesn’t have to be that way, I have since course-corrected my fishing vacation selection process. My travel agency is now Facebook and my travel agents are my “fishing friends” on Facebook. I went a different route with social media than most. It was about fishing strategy rather than connecting with friends, high school alumni, family and co-workers. If I didn’t see the person holding a fish, a gaff or a rod I didn’t click “Accept” friendship. This strategy has not only “landed” me some very close friendships, but it’s also allowed me to gain personal insight to pick enough fishing destinations, charters and trips to last me a lifetime.

Think about it, if you want to plan a fishing trip but don’t know where to go, who to fish with and where to stay, all you have to do is throw it out to your Facebook community. They’ll give you the who, the where, and the what and also have the real pictures and video to prove or disprove the selection.

Build your network and you will have the people who have actually experienced the trip. They can honestly give you the Facebook “Thumbs Up” or better yet the angler’s seal of approval. You won’t have to roll the dice anymore and chance picking a destination from a brochure written by someone who has never even fished before. I can honestly say that this strategy has paid off for me ten-fold and is an Angler-2-Angler tip that will help make your dream vacation a reality.

Published in Coastal Angler Magazine

Key West Permit Caught on a Trip Endorsed by My Facebook Friends

Key West Permit Caught on a Trip Endorsed by My Facebook Friends

Up Your Fishing Game

October 6th, 2013  |  Published in Boston Harbor, Fishing Reports, Fishing Tips by allison

The thing I love most about the sport of fishing is that size is not a limiting factor. Growing up, I participated in sports and thrived on competition until my early high school years when it became apparent that my 5-foot stature no longer intimidated my opponents or even came close to measuring up to the competition. Size definitely mattered, so I traded my number 11 jersey for a seat on the sidelines as a spectator.

My competitive spirit has never dulled over the years though, so when I was first introduced to the sport of fishing, that spirit came rushing back. Only this time it was more about personal achievement rather than beating a team of opponents. No more sitting on the sidelines. But just like any sport, you need a coach to show you the way and lead you to the winner’s circle.

Over the last five years, I’ve come to the conclusion that the secret to “catching” isn’t actually a secret at all, but rather the ability to recognize and adapt to changing conditions and apply different techniques.  All too often people adopt a technique, perfect it and use it over and over again because that’s what they know.  We were always taught ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. If there is one thing you pick up by reading this article, it’s that complacency holds you back. You will never be better than what you were yesterday if you always do the same thing.

Recently I had the chance to fish with Captain Jimmy of On Time Sports Fishing.  Jimmy is a legend in the fishing community and has been my “coach” on the water for the past five years. He runs a 31 foot SeaVee that he trailers from location to location putting anglers on their moving targets.

On this day, we launched out of Hyannis to target black sea bass in Nantucket Sound. On the way out to the grounds, we chatted about the success he’d been having with the Black Hole Taifun-v rubber jig combined with the Jigging World Fluke Candy Teaser.  I knew we were in for some fun when he turned to me with a smile and said, “this combination has been deadly, and I mean deadly in a jumbo way.”

Jimmy handed me some leader and I started to tie rigs based off of his setup. As a perpetual student, I can’t help but ask why something is done the way it is, so that later I can apply it to other similar situations.

When we started our first drift, we were marking some nice sea bass and sure enough, they started coming over the rail pretty quickly. Because I do a lot of ground fishing for flounder, my jigging method was to jig it up and pound it down. As I watched, Jimmy was out catching me 3 to 1. Little did I know, he was silently observing my technique and before my competitive frustration reached its peak, he said…”Allison watch how I do it. You gotta wiggle it quickly just above the bottom”. And before he even finished his sentence, his rod was bent over with doubles. So I watched him a few more times and began the quick-wiggle technique and started matching him fish for fish. I almost added something extra to the technique by singing the song “Wiggle it just a little bit” to see if that gave me an extra edge, but decided to spare the ears of the anglers and not scare off the fish.

Uppin' My Sea Bass GameA Bonus of Fluke

After a while though, I began to see the fish that Jimmy was pulling over the side growing exponentially in size. And before I could even make a competitive comment about it, he says “If you want to catch the big ones, drop it to the bottom and slowly reel in until you feel them hit your lure. When you feel it, slowly let your line out.”

Once again, with a slight adjustment, my catch showed improvement. I spent the rest of the day laughing and learning with one the best captains there is. I was careful to pay close attention to the reasoning behind the methods.  Captain Jimmy, my “coach” on the water, helped me catch the biggest black sea bass and fluke I’ve caught to date and provided me with the knowledge to repeat it.  If you want to catch and learn, check out Jimmy’s website: On Time Sports Fishing Charters to book a trip. I’m telling you, that in itself will up your fishing game.

Uppin' my Game Big-TimeCaptain & Fishing Coach Jimmy

Published in Coastal Angler Magazine

GoPogy goes Zoom..Zoom

September 30th, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories by allison

Our four year wedding anniversary was approaching and just like “normal” couples, we started to plan our special day and talk about gift exchange. Each holiday that calls for a gift, you can pretty much figure in the house of GoPogy, a fishing rod, reel, apparel or shiny tackle is involved. The one holiday that any type of fishing equipment is exempt is Valentine’s Day. I believe this was made official two years ago when Cupid brought me a Striped Bass Wall mount. Though I loved the fish, which is now hanging in my office, it didn’t have a red rose in its mouth or a diamond necklace adorning its gill plate.

In lieu of gifts on our anniversary, our tradition has been to visit the island where it all started for us…Nantucket. We met on Nantucket and said “I Do” there. Last year we didn’t make our annual trip due to a substantial “scheduling” conflict and we have regretted it ever since. So shortly after that, we made an addendum to our wedding vows which states:  “No Matter what is going on in our lives, we vow to visit Nantucket every September to celebrate the love we found in each other and together. (Fishing)

With the ferry tickets, lodging and sand vehicle booked, we headed to Nantucket to reminisce and fish. We didn’t plan our wedding date around fishing, I swear, but it just-so-happens that the bonito and false albacore also vacation on Nantucket in late September. The Albies are quite accurately called “Zooms”. The little tunas provide some of the most fun, light-tackle battles you’ll ever experience. On our last trip, I caught two of these guys, but my husband was not as fortunate. This year would be different. I think he snuck that into the vows as well that we would not leave the island without both of us landing one.

By the time we checked into the B&B, picked up the jeep, and had lunch, it was about 3pm. We headed out to Great Point to get our beach pass and scope out the scene. After all, it had been 2 years since we’d been there. We saw anglers congregated in one area, so my husband hopped out and rigged up. I said “I thought we were just coming out to take a look for tomorrow. I left my waders and boots at the hotel”. I think this was his plan. He wanted to get a head-start on me. His determination to land one before me was written all over his face. He practically pushed me down into the sand on his way to the surf. Ok, not exactly, but let’s just say I wasn’t feeling the anniversary love, but two can play at that game. So I grabbed my rod and ran up right next to him.

I had an advantage this year that was also a disadvantage. My first 2 trips surfcasting, I rented a 9 foot rod. Now the longer the rod, the further you can cast. However, the 9 to 5 ft. ratio really hindered how long I could work the water. So this year, I brought my pink flounder rod which is only 6.5 feet. Now let me explain myself. This pink rod has landed large bass, tournament winning flounder, my largest seabass, scup and bomber bluefish. It has never let me down and I can cast it until the end of time. Would I be able to get it out as far as the 9 foot rod? Not even close and I realized this. But here is where I made a modification to keep me even-keel with my last trip (successful I might add). The last time I was standing at the edge of the water where it met the sand. This year, I had waders and boots making it possible to walk in 2-3 feet of water.  So basically…I think my cast ended up being the same distance. So with 2 hours left before sunset, we were casting with anticipation and excitement alongside the locals. My husband’s line went off and I could see him giddy as can be to my left, so I made my way close to him with the camera to capture his “moment”. Now he is famous for saying things like “This is a striper” then two seconds later saying “No, this is totally a bluefish” then 2 seconds later saying “I’m  not exactly sure what this is”. So when he hooks up, you can never tell. Since he has never caught an albie, this was going to be the case. Cause let me tell you, if you catch an albie, there is absolutely NO MISTAKING it. Needless to say…the first day would produce only a beach pass and some baby bluefish.

Day 2

We headed to Bill Fisher Tackle in the morning to grab a couple lures and get the low down. The shoppie told us that a couple anglers caught 6 zooms the previous morning, but this morning he didn’t catch any. He informed us that anglers were catching on incoming and outgoing tides and on both sides of the point. So we grabbed some sandwiches next door and began the drive to the beach with the tunes blaring.

We began working the beach at 11am. Let me just say that they need to rename Great Point Seal Point. These seals are absolutely relentless, sneaky and downright mean. I used to love seals and think they were adorable. This year changed all that. We had been working the beach for hours and miles. We found a pod of fish, but they were bluefish. We can catch tons of bluefish in Boston Harbor, so for us, we were like…NEXT! We then moved to the “seal” side. My husband hooked up and at that point, he screamed “Albie”. As I said, there is absolutely no mistaking an albie. The Zoom, Zoom is indescribable. At times you think you may run out of line when they are making their statement. I looked over and he did have one. You know how I know? A giant seal was making its way over to him. I kept yelling “Hurry Up”. Sad thing is, when you hook an albie, you shouldn’t hurry up. It’s a memorable experience and one that should be enjoyed each minute that it lasts. Well, I then saw the huge swirl on top of the water and the look of despair on hubby’s face. I quickly put the camera away and ran back to my spot. Fred was back up at the tackle station (jeep) re-rigging and cursing the entire time.

I hate to say it, but this exact episode happened again. It was almost like someone video-taped it and pushed “replay”. I felt horrible for him. We decided to go to the other side since Fred was down to 1 deadly dick. We decided bluefish weren’t that bad and ended the day at Allison – 6 blues, Fred-4 blues with 2 lost lures.

Day 3

Originally we were to have the jeep back by noon on our last day. Taking into account yesterday’s substantial “loss” and lack of official Albie catches, the first item on the day’s agenda was calling the jeep rental company to extend. We then stopped in at Bill Fisher Tackle again to buy some more Deadly Dick’s with our heads down and our excitement for chit-chat with the shoppie at a minimum. We grabbed our sandwiches and started the trek back out to Not-So-Great Point. The ride was in silence. No music, no talks of the “damage” we were gonna do. I was more than prepared to convince my husband to extend our trip another day, or as long as it took for one of us to land a damn albie. The plan was to go to “our spot” and then give it an hour and go to “Seal” side. As we were about to pass the entrance to Seal-side, we saw a ton of anglers lined up over there. Fred made a hard turn and we were once again going head-to-head with the furry thieves. We had enough Deadly Dick’s to last us all it was do or die time. As I pulled my rod out of the jeep, one of my guides was literally hanging off of it. I showed Fred and in one quick-movement, he ripped it off and said “there ya go”. He didn’t have time to be bothered with problems or questions, he was on a mission. As he was getting ready to head down to the water he said “Oh and your top guide ring is also missing…that’s gonna be a problem..See ya”. REALLY?! And he was off. Part of me was thinking “sabotage”. I mean I was the only one that caught an albie on our last trip, but he seemed happy for me. Could it be so? Then I looked at him and I knew deep down inside he cared. So I looked at my rod and had a little one-to-one with it. “You’ve never let me down before. Just get me an albie and I can put you to rest, I promise”.

I then headed out to the water with all the guys. I was casting for about 30 minutes when the guy to my right hooked up. Then 5 minutes later, Fred hooked up; he was on my left. I thought…damn, I’m just not casting far enough. I ran over to Fred, fumbling to get to the camera. The whole time he is screaming “where’s the seal”? I’m not sure if he saw a seal in the vicinity or if he just knew it was going to appear. Well at that exact moment, I spotted the seal. It was less than a foot away from Fred’s line. I pretended I didn’t see it, since the ending was going to be inevitable. I really wanted to turn around and go back to my spot and cast, but I wanted to show that I was hopeful for him and supportive. So I stood there with the camera until the swirl and swearing occurred. He lost another. Seal-1, Fred-0.

I went back to my spot and casted and casted, each time looking at my missing and broken guides. I then looked up and a seal was right in front of me staring at me. It was so close, if I reached out I could touch it. I started fumbling to get my camera out. Fred’s yelling at me to get out of the water. By the time I got the camera out, Mr. Seal was gone. My attitude started to turn. I began to second-guess my strategy with my trusty flounder rod. Then I thought, you know there is a guy in Boston who lands huge fish on a Sponge-Bob Square pants rod. Just keep casting Miles. And just then my line began to zoom. I was on. I began to back up, look around for seals and reel like crazy. I didn’t see any seals. I didn’t realize this, but I think the seal that stopped to watch me saw my gear, my cast distance and determined that he was wasting his time hanging around me. I handed Fred the camera and continued to reel, while looking at my rod. There was definitely a chance that my line would break. It had been rubbing on metal for the last 3 hours. I am proud to say that my trusty rod made it. I landed the albie successfully. Women came over to watch and I was so proud that the only woman out there fishing caught one. Allison-1, Seal-o.

Fred expressed his happiness for me and I know it was sincere. Even though I was elated, I was also very sad. I wanted him to catch his albie. I headed back out, pressure now off of me. I saw the guy to my right hooked up. He then began walking towards me. He had a seal on. He was determined to walk the beach until the seal bit the fish and let go of his tackle. I never saw him again. The action died down and after no catches, we decided to move to the other side of the beach to our spot. Now we hadn’t caught any albies or seen anyone catch albies over there yet. Then the miracle happened. We were by ourselves and the distinctive sound started to play. Zoom..Zoom..Zoom. Fred was on. We were on the no-seal side. He was going to do it. I didn’t take out the camera for fear of jinxing him. When he got the fish close to the edge, he began to run. (I have never seen him run so quickly). Every time I ask him to go for a jog, he says no. Now I know he CAN actually jog. His first albie was caught and released.

An angler witnessed this and jumped out of his jeep and began to cast next to me. I caught another albie and Fred caught 2 more. Our spot gave us the magic we came for in the last 2 hours of our trip. And my rod hung on until 30 minutes before departure. I casted it out and watched my lure go one way and my line go the other. It was done for. It gave all it had and will be retired with many catches and memories under its guides. I have literally been in mourning since we got back. I miss it already.

We left Nantucket the way we came. Smiles on our faces, extreme love for each other and more adventures and memories with each other that outweigh any other gift.

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.

Meeting Royalty of a different kind…The Majestic Silver King

July 20th, 2011  |  Published in Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories by allison

Having not taken a vacation in two years, the destination choice for our upcoming spring getaway involved some serious consideration. When I say I♥fishing, I should clarify and say I ♥ Big Game Fishing. Call it a size complex or just the thrill of catching something that no one believes I caught, but I can’t imagine myself targeting and dreaming of anything less than some of the largest, fastest and most challenging saltwater fish in the ocean. One fish that I have been intrigued by is the Sailfish. Swimming at speeds of up to 70mph, its magnificent sail, and its water acrobatics put it right at the top of my “To Catch” list. Another species I have wanted to see up close and personal is the Permit. The first time I saw a picture of an angler holding one of these, I fell in love with its cute face and frying pan body. We knew we wanted to go somewhere sweltering hot to help us thaw out from the wintery New England weather, so we chose Key West, Florida. We did a lot of research to find our Charter Captain, R.T. Trosset, who has caught all of the species on our vacation checklist. The most difficult part of the planning was the waiting.

We booked a full and half day of fishing with R.T. Our first day was the full day offshore to look for Sails. However, when we arrived in Key West, R.T. informed us that the Sails had pushed out due to a change in the wind, but assured us that he would still be working hard to find any that may have remained. I was so impressed with this Captain and his first mate. We know how difficult it is to find exactly what you are looking for on the exact day you want to find it. Fishing is by no means a guarantee. Needless to say, we didn’t find any sailfish. However, we had hours of reeling in Mahi Mahi, Amberjacks and my beloved Permit. And the Permit is even cuter in person.

The second day of fishing, we met R.T. at his house. He had his Hell’s Bay Flats boat geared up and ready to go out Tarpon fishing. R.T. has 183 IGFA records under his belt, and Tarpon fishing is one of his and his wife’s favorite types of fishing. The way he described Tarpon fishing, you could see the passion and spark that all of us addicts have. I knew we were in for a special experience. If he had so much love for this, I had a good feeling we were soon to fall in love too. I had never read about Tarpon or even had it on my radar, so I was entering this evening of fishing blindly. I was also unaware that Tarpon can get up to sizes of 200-300lbs. R.T. definitely listened to why I wanted to catch a Sailfish and found an alternate that made me almost forget the Sail entirely. (At least for now)

The wind had picked up and we could see the worry in RT’s face. The wind was going to make it difficult for the Tarpon to see our bait. We moved a few times after no hits. I was so enamored with the sunset that I wasn’t stressing out just yet. As it got darker, time seemed to be ticking away faster and faster. Was this going to be one of those dreaded charters where you don’t catch? Were we going to get skunked? These thoughts started going through my mind. As soon as I started reliving the previous day and reassuring myself that if we didn’t catch, it was ok, my line went off. I grabbed the rod, stood up and began cranking on the reel. Now RT had said something earlier about “Bowing to the Silver King”. He instructed “Now Allison, when the Tarpon jumps, bow down to him. Point your rod down to give him slack and then start reeling and lift up once he re-enters the water”. I guess I should have been more prepared. I didn’t have my glasses and it was dark. So it was virtually impossible for me to see it when it happened. It all took place in a flash. Therefore, I never bowed and the hook pulled. RT rigged another line and sent it out flying. Sometimes fishing is like a big scary roller coaster. Until you go on it once, you don’t know what to expect. Now that I had been through the Tarpon jumping and got the “feel” for it, I was confident I could do it. I always have those moments after losing a fish, of looking up to the sky and pleading for a chance to redeem myself. I couldn’t go out like this. Was this going to be our only Tarpon? Did I screw it up for everyone? Poor RT, I could tell this was not going to be an easy guarantee for him. And now I think he knew it too with this first missed landing.  Thankfully, the line went screeching again. I jumped up, said a silent prayer, and began the process with more caution. This fish ran and ran and ran. I can distinctively remember asking RT “when is it going to jump, you said they always jump”. Poor guy, to him it must have sounded like a little kid on a long car ride asking “are we there yet” a million times. And then it came….the Big Jump. I bowed down to the Silver King in time and when the jump that seemed like minutes was over, I felt the line and he was still there. THANK GOD! By now I was losing breath and strength in my arms. My husband grabbed RT’s rod belt and put it around me. Well just like always, it didn’t fit. My husband cinched this belt around my waist and held it. Being married as long as we have and fishing together as long as we have, he knew that I NEEDED to land this fish. If anything went wrong…he would never hear the end of it. There was one point where I screamed “The belt is too tight, I can’t breathe”.    

After about a 30 minute fight, I got the Tarpon to the boat. It was an incredible sight. The feeling I had when this silver beauty was up close was the same feeling I had the day I landed the Bluefin Tuna; a feeling of personal accomplishment and triumph. You can’t take these fish out of the water, so it was a challenge to capture the size and magnitude of the experience. RT has been catching these fish for years and said this fish was around 180 pounds. Again, he was determined to give me the experience I had talked about. He held that beast while my husband fumbled with the camera trying to get the flash to work and successfully take a picture with all 3 of us in it. The splash and tidal waves this fish put out while we were having our “Photo-op” was incredible. RT looked like he had all but jumped in the ocean and taken a swim. We landed 5 of these fish that night. The passion and excitement that RT had at the beginning of the night had now been transferred to me. It was no Sail, but it was massive, provided jumps of a true acrobat, weighed in at at almost 200lbs., was beautiful and gave me the fight and experience of a lifetime. I met a true Royal King of the ocean; the tarpon…and he was truly majestic!

Fall is my favorite time of Year!

September 12th, 2010  |  Published in Fishing Reports by allison

The big fall run is definitely getting started. Big bass and bluefish are being caught day and night, high and low tides, so make sure you get out there and enjoy the explosions on the waters of Boston Harbor. Keep a keen eye out for birds working these pockets of action early morning. Pogies seem to be the main fuel for these blitzes, driving the bass and blues into their acrobatic feeding frenzies. Pogies are beginning to show up right off of the Winthrop Yacht Club and Public Landing, so make sure you have your snag hooks with you. Bass and Bluefish are making these little guys “jump” like Michael Jordan. The extremely high tides this week proved to be helpful for anglers targeting some big fish. I had a good night on Friday, or should I say morning. So dark, I couldn’t even tell the difference. I have never been much of a “morning” person, and for many years I have heard it is the best time to catch fish. And as tough as it was pulling a 28 hour day, it was well worth it. We started to fish at midnight and were heading back into the dock at 5am. We caught and released 12 keeper bass, 5 of which were in the 40 inch range. My biggest that morning was over 30 pounds. So I guess what they say is true. If there are really extreme tides and it is late night, early morning, you really should be fishing it.

30+ pound Striper

The bluefish this year are also nothing to scoff at. You don’t even need to leave your dock in some cases to land a huge one. Blitzes have been going off everywhere, and 90% of the catches are double-digit blues. I am actually going out today to target bluefish. I know, most people think of blues as annoyances, but the fight with a 20 pound blue, I imagine to be incredible.

Hot spots this week from the reports received: Snake Island, Deer Island, Long Island…..hit the islands people!

Get Out and Fish!

Big Bait…Big Fish…Big Accomplishment!

August 24th, 2010  |  Published in Boston Harbor, Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories, Striped Bass by allison

Every week we pinch ourselves and say “what a season”. Things are still shaping up to make this year the best it’s been in recent history. The numerous pods of various bait fish continue to amaze local anglers and cause feeding frenzies inside and outside the harbor. Many people didn’t even have to use their fish-finders this week, but rather secured their fishing spots by following the diving birds. The spike mackerel seem to be the talk of the harbor. It is the end of August and this baitfish is literally everywhere. Anglers have been able to Sabiki them up in large numbers and live-line them for bass & blues. Every fish we caught this week was so full of mackerel and herring that they were coughing them up on their way into the boat. The only complaint to the bait situation in Boston Harbor is the lack of top water pogy action. There are definitely pogies out there, they just aren’t in the large schools yet like past seasons. Gigantic bass and blues have been reported from Gloucester to Nantasket Beach. I was able to spend two hours reeling in over 2 dozen keepers in the midst of a 6 day blitz at Hull Gut. Biggest fish to come to the surface and hit my Yozuri Mackerel shallow diver was 38 inches. We were heading out of the Gut and I convinced my husband, as I do every trip, to just give me 5 more minutes. The water was so choppy, and the number of boats cutting others off was both amazing and frustrating at the same time. I threw out my yozuri shallow diving plug and I watched a huge swirl right around the landing spot of my cast. Oh yeah baby….it was on. As I willed the fish to grab my lure, it did. My little bait runner reel was peeling out. My pink flounder rod was bent in half. The entire time I was reeling in the fish, I was praying for my rod to just hold it together. “Please don’t break, please don’t break”. There was a charter boat right next to us, cheering me on. “That’s how its done!” they screamed. After 10 minutes of praying to the pink gods, I got the fish to the boat. The fish was 38 inches. Although I caught my biggest flounder on that rod this year, it was not even close to 38 inches.

38 inch Striper caught on Flounder rodAnother great spot this week was Broad Sound. I have never seen bass chase and harass pogies across the top of the water and in such great numbers as I did this week. I literally watched the shadows of bass rise to the surface to chase my pogy. My pogy looked like it was running on top of the water with a huge surfer wave right behind it. I literally screamed “Go Pogy, Go!” and then the line just began to peel out feverishly. I had a circle hook, so although I wanted to cross the eyes and yank back on the stick, I had to watch the line go and go and go. Now I was praying to the line god. Please don’t let him spool me before he swallows the pogy. The pogies in the harbor this year are huge. This means the only fish that is able to take it completely is a big fish. So good news and bad news. If I lose it, I lose big. So as I watched the line go out and the sweat began to drip from my forehead, I waited for the fish to stop and shake its head. On the fourth run, I thought, “this is it”. I began to reel in and the fish didn’t fight back. It was tired out.  My husband was busy reeling in his own fish as I brought mine boatside. I kept yelling at him…”are you ready”.  He came over with the boga grip and hoisted it onto the boat. Once the fish was on the boat, the hook practically fell out of its mouth. If I had let the tension off at any point, this fish would have swam away. The fish weighed in at 37.2 pounds and measured 45.5 inches. Even though I haven’t fished as much this year as last, this has been by far, my best season yet and I’m just getting serious. These fish are feeding and feeding hard. We caught a 20 pounder and a dozen bluefish in the double-digits that trip. One day later I heard about the 61 pounder caught in Newburyport and I have to say, it didn’t take away any of the giddiness I felt for landing my 37. Not bad for a 90lb gal.

37.2 pounds 45.5 inches

Sharing is caring…and Catching!

August 11th, 2010  |  Published in Boston Harbor, Fishing Reports, Fishing Stories, Striped Bass by allison

The Harbor and adjacent crystal clear waters were alive with bait fish of all kinds and plenty of game fish to chase them this week. The bass and blues had a buffet of prey all week: bunker, herring, spiked mackerel and butterfish were hopping and popping all over the harbor, reaching out to Broad Sound and Nahant and extending to Nantasket Beach. Bluefish blitzes were going off at Brewsters, Graves Light and the BG Buoy. I caught an 11.5 pound bluefish slow trolling an X-wrap deep diver. All bluefish landed during the blitz were in the 10-11lb range. We spent 3 hours trolling and reeling in bluefish during the splashing action. The deep diver plug was definitely on their radar. Because the lure worked so well, a customer of GoPogy was having trouble catching. Now I know we are all in search of that 50lb bass and we don’t ever set out to catch smaller or to catch bluefish. I knew I had to send him out into the “thick” of it with a sure-fire lure to get his arm loosened up. 3 hours after I sent him on his way, it was time for me to go fishing. I left the shop with my fishing gear and was headed to the GoPogy mobile, when a car came pulling in to the shop quickly. I thought to myself, “well maybe this person ran out of bait and doesn’t want to miss the rest of the tide”. The angler got out of the car and called out to me. I came walking over as he was opening his trunk. Well not only did he catch a big blue, he also landed a 36 inch chunky bass. My intentions were to make sure he caught and had fun…and we all know that bluefish 90% of the time provide that to us. Other times, they just steal your bait, your tackle and your spirits. He told me he used the deep diver out at the Brewsters and landed the fish all within an hour. The look of happiness on his face made me so proud of him. He was so grateful for the advice, but little did he know, I was so grateful to see his catches and also know that he took the time to drive all the way back to share it with me.  Congratulations to Dan on this great accomplishment. And a big Thank you to him for sharing it with me.

And I guess what they say about Karma is right, because the next morning I caught a fat – 40 inch bass.

40 inch Striper - GoPogy

40 inch Striper - GoPogy

July 31 Report – All Key Players Made an Appearance this week

August 4th, 2010  |  Published in Bluefin Tuna, Boston Harbor, Fishing Reports, Striped Bass by allison

The Quick and the dead, or just being in the right place at the right time, was the theme here on the Winthrop side of the harbor this week. Fresh bait was key, however, many who chose the chunking method also made out. Shore fishermen did quite well applying their trade at the tip of the Deer Island jetty. This spot produced several large striped bass and a few blue fish. Yes, that’s right, the blues are starting to show up in larger numbers and many pieces of tackle went missing this week.
The night bite, for those willing to go out in the wee hours of the morning, was very active for many anglers. Large bass were around Boston Harbor, Hull Gut, Deer Island Rip, Pines River, and Egg Rock. Live eels, pogy chunks and herring all turned up success stories. As for those of you who have been following the top water blitzes the past few weeks, they have moved out away from the inner harbor to north of Graves and Nahant. Capt Norm Hyett of Flying Fish Charters ran into several morning blitzes Thursday & Friday, which produced numerous keepers while using The Lonely Angler Top water poppers and the Fin-S split-tailed plastics. Look for the birds, or find yourself a bait ball and try one of these top-water enticers.
The Niner Rigs, along with tube and worm, worked well for Mark Strand and Carlton Sewell. They landed several fish from 35 to 39 inches Friday & Saturday. Granville of Winthrop caught a ton of blue fish and bass on a bucktail jig, and Oscar, also from Winthrop caught a 44”striper near the ILS Pier by Logan Airport using a pogy chunk. John Seaburg landed a 32 inch bass using this off of the Salem Willows Pier. Nice Job John!
Anglers are still buzzing about the late season Flounder bite. Catches are still being reported at their regular hangouts: Deer Island, ILS Pier, Green Island and Faun Bar.  These family-favorites are making a lot of people happy this summer with some relaxing fishing and tasty dinners. Football tuna blitzes have been reported 6 miles off of Nahant with anonymous catches on live-lined mackerel. GoPogy was out Sunday morning and witnessed a tuna blitz over at Theives along with jumping dolphin. Quite an exciting day of fishing in Boston. The off-shore tuna bite is also hot right now.  Large fish are being caught on live bait, mostly pogies and mackerel. Macks also seem to be the bait of choice for those who are targeting sharks.  The crew of the Micky Fin hooked up with 3 blue sharks Saturday. All hit on live mackerel just outside of the SW corner of Stellwagen Bank.

All in all, it was another great turnout this week. Sharks, Tunas, Stripers, Blues and Flounder all made it into the local fishing successes!

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