This huge cod was Vince’s largest fish of the afternoon
My buddy Curtis invites my son Joel and I to join him and one of his friends for an afternoon of ground fishing in the Gulf of Maine. Curtis owns a serious 33-ft ocean-going vessel. We’ve talked many times in the past of taking his boat out on a fishing trip into the ocean and the day has finally arrived to do it. The maritime forecast calls for overcast skies and calm seas with no wind or waves and air temperatures in the mid 60’s. These are ideal conditions for this time of the year! We head out of Portland Harbor at noon and navigate for about two hours in a southwesterly direction (thank goodness for GPS!) until we hit the northern tip of Jeffreys Ledge, which sits about 30 miles off-shore. On the way there, we observe several whales including two humpbacks. They alone make this trip already worthwhile!
I meet up with Tom D. and Tom A. at the Claypits boat launch off Clay Pits Road (see The Main Atlas and Gazetteer map 3 B4) in Scarborough at 5:30 am. We’re going after striped bass which enter the Scarborough River with the incoming tide. We have to hurry up though because high tide occurs at 8:30 am.
We motor out of the river and into the ocean to jig for small mackerel behind Bluff Island. Typically, we’d catch a dozen mackerel in 15 minutes and be ready to go after stripers. But not today… It takes us one hour to catch 4 mackerels, by which time two of them are dead. This is not a good sign, though, because stripers follow the mackerel schools and if the schools are absent, so are the stripers… We return closer to the mouth of the river and fish our remaining live bait close to the surface with a bobber. We see no striper activity, even though large schools of 2″ baitfish are swimming all around the area and the seabirds are having a feast.
Our two mackerels are dead within 45 minutes. We motor back out towards Bluff Island to catch some more. Again, it takes us one hour to catch a handful of fresh ones. We return to shore and let our new baits drift in front of Prouts Neck. Half a dozen other boats are doing the same thing. No one is catching anything.
It’s 9:30 am and the tide has turned. We’ve given it our best but the stripers decided not to come to the party… Fortunately, the weather was gorgeous, with a light southern breeze, no waves, and filtered sunshine. It was definitively worth to be on the water this early in the morning in the company of two friends.
The results: skunked : (
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