Collin Catches record 54.7# Striped Bass


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 rgaines@gloucestertimes.com