After a frustrating start to the week including being shut out of BFT Monday on a trip with three Scientists from the Large Pelagics lab at UNH and being in the wrong place at the wrong time on Tuesday’s Giant trip, we had an awesome day at the bank yesterday Hooking five Big fish yesterday on mackerel and whiting.
Tuesday Night we realized as we were cleaning up the boat that we still had a tank full of live macks and a few jumbo whiting in the other tank and that the wind was forecast to blow 25-30 Knots out of the East on Wednesday. East and Northeast are often good on the bank especially if it is snotty.
We got out to the bank to find our friend Dave, a very good and successful commercial BFT fisherman already set up and fishing. Other than us and a few boats trolling it was pretty quiet. Quickly we started marking big fish and soon after Dave went off and we watched him for the next 1 2 hours fight what must have been a 700+ lb fish. Dave has caught a couple of hundred giants and usually has them wrapped up in 30-40 minutes so when he is 2+ hours on a fish you know it is big. Dave called us on the radio a couple of times, first saying that he couldn’t get the fish up past 70′ and then that he had broken three of his five rod holders on his transom and had lost the fish. He headed bank to Gloucester for repairs and to get out of the weather that was rapidly turning nasty.
We then got and released our first fish which was 66″ BFT. No sooner had we gotten back on the ball then we hooked another large fish that ended up to be a 77″ keeper That went smoothly but we now had wind gusting to 30 knots which made getting back on the ball and fighting fish much more difficult. We flooded all the ballast tanks and with another 8000# of weight the Karen Lynn settled in nicely. We then quickly hooked another fish that gave us a tough fight but when we got it along the boat and measured it came up short by 2″ and was released. As soon as we were back on the ball we hooked up a third time and as we struggled to stay with the fish in now very large seas, we were worried that we had hooked another monster like Dave had. When you have 30 Knot winds the chances of getting a really big fish on the boat without pulling the hook or breaking him off go way down. We got the fish after 30 minutes and it was smaller than we had thought about 88″ but incredibly round and fat high quality fish. However, we had broken our second and last harpoon due to the aluminum shafts that Jim decided to try this year, that snapped off cleanly where the shaft threads into the harpoon. Collin then rigged our 8′ long wooded boat hook “old style” with another harpoon shaft flossed and duct tapped to the wooden closet pole! With that crisis sorta solved we concentrated on getting our third Giant. Now we were all alone on the bank as the smaller boats trolling had had enough of the wind and the rain. We remind ourselves that we had built the Karen Lynn specifically so we could fish days like yesterday so we decided to stay out there and go for the trifecta..three giants. Things slowed down for a couple of hours and gave us a chance to clean up the boat and get a little more organized but then we were on again, but after a short but hard fight due to the now large and confused sea’s we released a third fish that was 64-68″. We gave it a couple more hours but by 4:00 PM we headed back to Gloucester very happy but quite tired. For our mate Chris, who had caught many school to large BFT’s, this was his first Giant and he was absolutely jacked! He even took a bite out of a Tuna Heart!
We will post some pictures and a video in the next few days.
Jim and Collin
Karen Lynn Charters
We had two tuna charters this weekend and trolled at the bank successfully both days.
Saturday was just one of those awesome days where we had a slow early morning but after a very helpful call from Nat of First Light, we made a move and soon after started hooking up. We ended up Saturday hooking ten fish trolling, bringing six to the boat. Our clients were an assortment of Boston Restaurant people and the group had originally included the sushi chef from the very high end new Boston restaurant “Oya”. Unfortunately the sushi master had to cancel at the last minute. Most of the fish were in the 45″-60″ range with our last one being an absolutely beautiful 65-70″ very round and fat fish which we released at the boat. Our group had a lot of fun and they were planning a big sushi party for many of their friends tonight at Oya.
Today, we took out another well know Boston chef/owner and his family, Steve DeFillipo of Davio’s restaurant and others. We got a very late start and didn’t get to the bank until 10:15 AM but apparently we had missed much. With clear skies and a very full moon last night, there was not much of a bite this morning. We heard much frustration on the radio. We hung in there for the tide change and then trolled up another very fat fish which was about 100+ #’s. Steve’s 18 year old son fought the fish for 40 minutes on a 2 speed 50 and we couldn’t understand why it took so long to boat the fish until we opened up the stomach and found to our surprise that there was absolutely nothing in it! With all the bait around and the moon that was the last thing we expected. BFT with empty stomach’s always run really hard and can be difficult to get up to the top. Steve and his family were really excited about catching their first BFT.
We are back out tomorrow with another group of regular First Light customers who are experienced fly and light tackle guys, but are excited about giving Tuna a try.
We will try to do an update tomorrow night.
Jim and Collin
Karen Lynn Charters
This big striped bass didn’t slip the hook
By RICHARD GAINES Staff Writer Gloucester Times
Colin MacKenzie is a professional fisherman. So when he hooked up at dawn yesterday a couple miles out past the Dog Bar breakwater, it was with some experience that he said, “I thought I had a tuna.”
Un-uh. MacKenzie would discover to his great pleasure 10 minutes later that, using a live mackerel, he’d hooked and boated a striped bass for the ages.
Back at Winchester’s Fishing Company where it was weighed into an annual contest as the leader by far, MacKenzie learned he had caught a 54-pound bass — so far as Winchester’s knows, the largest bass of the decade, and only the second 50-plus bass in 15 years.
Winchester’s has already weighed in five other fish of more than 35 pounds in a season that seems ready to take its place as the best for fish of a certain size.
By the standard chart of length, age and weight, the MacKenzie bass likely hatched from an egg in 1986, about the time a massive all-points recovery program to save the striped bass from extinction finally took hold.
The recovery has been one of the nation’s singular recovery success stories.
The only other bass of more than 50 pounds in this decade was caught strangely enough just off the Annisquam Yacht Club in August 2005.
Born and raised in Gloucester, MacKenzie, 28, and his mate Chris Coomb were on their way to participate in the Monster Shark tournament in Martha’s Vineyard on MacKenzie’s 43-foot boat when they took some time to catch some mackerel and hoped to land some bluefish to use for bait in the tournament.
The mackerel was swimming in about 20 feet of water about 30 feet from the bottom when the big bass hit.
“He took it and ran; I thought it was a small tuna,” MacKenzie said.
MacKenzie operates Karenlynn Charters. Stripers heavier than 50 pounds are rare anywhere, especially on this side of the inshore waters, and even farther south along Cape Cod, past Montauk on Long Island, N.Y., and down the coast of the mid-Atlantic states, 50-pounders are big news.
For perspective, the world’s record rod-and-reel striper is a 78-pounder caught in 1982 off the Atlantic City, N.J., boardwalk.
Richard Gaines can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org
We pushed off the dock at 3:00 AM with Christian Bilodeau and his small group from central Mass. We headed right back to the Northwest Corner at had line is the water trolling by first light. We found that the bite had slowed down since Wednesday and we had the added disadvantage of well over a hundred boats trolling a couple of square miles. About 6:00 AM we got a call from another captain to get right up on the bank a couple of miles down and we immediately started marking tuna and huge balls of bait. After one knockdown we hooked a nice fish on a squid rig and had a good fight before we were able to gaff and tail rope it. The BFT was in the hundred pound range and after trolling for another couple of hours we had some grilled tuna steak and headed in. Christian and his group went home tired and happy with many tuna steaks. We will be back out this week and hopefully with a wind shift and 90% less boat traffic the action will be great again.
Karen Lynn Charters
This past Saturday, we had a client charter the Karen Lynn for the Boston Striper Shootout Tournament with a $5k winner take all purse, for the longest fish. We had the 250 gallon livewell packed with live herring and mackeral and lines in the water at 5:00 AM. We had steady action all day releasing about 18 fish in the 34″-40″ with a few a little bigger. We knew that to win we needed a fish over 46″ and we fished right up to the 5:00 PM deadline. Unfortuately that effort and some serious traffic made us miss the 6:00 PM weigh-in in Chelsea by 10 minutes! Not Good. The winning fish was monster at 48 1/2″ so we would have been likely 4th place at best had we made it on time. A fun day of great fishing with a frustrating ending.
Jim and Collin
Karen Lynn Charters