Who turned off the switch?
21 May 2008
I welcomed Capt. Fred Bowman and his friends Peter and Chris aboard the Lady Diane today. Capt. Fred is one of Rhode Island's top charter captains who consistently puts his clients onto trophy striped bass every year. It is always a pleasure for me to have such knowledgeable guest aboard as I am always interested in learning new techniques. Today were were targeting cod and haddock so I hoped I could show Capt. Fred and few tricks of my own.
We decided not to fish with the maddening crowds that were looking for a trophy codfish on the inside grounds and instead headed to Stellwagen Bank where we hoped to fill the coolers with much better quality eating size cod and haddock. We arrived on the bank and 0650 and immediately starting doubling up on slightly sub legal cod.
I let the guys loosen up a bit with these feisty fish and then started working my way east as I had in previous outings. Within a couple stops we started putting keeper cod in the box along with nice haddock in the 5-7lbs range. Capt. Fred had brought along some of his favorite light tackle rods which provided great sport when fishing for these bug eyes. A soft tipped rod is key to landing haddock as they have a very soft mouth and constantly bounce their way to the surface when hooked trying to free themselves. The haddock bite intensified as the morning progressed and by 1130 I had already cut over 30 lbs of haddock fillet and had a dozen nice cod in the box. I think I was able to finally convince the Capt. that haddock will indeed take jigs as we never used a bait rig the entire day (except for one time and the result produced another green eyed monster).
Everything was going great and just when I thought we were in for a slammer day on haddock....SOMEONE TURNED OFF THE SWITCH. Just before noon the fish stopped feeding and no matter where we went, how deep we fished, or what jig we used we couldn't' put another keeper fish in the box. The whales, which had been feeding around us the entire morning, disappeared, the fish finder's screen went blank and the ocean seemed void of any life. I have never seen a bite end so abruptly as it did today.
We put up with the frustration of lock-jawed fish until 1500 at which time we decided to head for the barn. Although Capt Fred and the guys took home a respectable amount of fillets I was disappointed that the fishing went south for the last three hours of the trip. The best part of it all was having experienced anglers on board who understand that no matter how good you are...no one can make the fish bite when they chose not to. I hope to spend many more days with Capt Fred and his friends on the water, as I enjoyed both their company ,listening to the stories of past fishing days, and learning a couple new tricks for future trips.
Now, I am going out to find the guy who, TURNED OFF THE SWITCH!