Fishing is heating up, with bluefish showing up in the bay and keeper-size striped bass being caught more and more. In the last week, striped bass keepers were taken off the cottages and from Wood End to Herring Cove. Mackerel are still very thick in the harbor, so getting bait is a pretty easy task.
We have an unusually large number of small striped bass around, and they seem to be everywhere. Cut mackerel or live mackerel drifted as bait is still the most effective method.
Flounder fishing is good off the Pamet. The trick is to fish deeper than the cormorants can dive, which is about 25 feet. Where it’s shallower than that, the cormorants have pretty much mopped the bottom clean of flounder.
Whale watching has been tough. The whales have been mostly absent from our local waters. It’s a big ocean, and they go where they go to eat and are constantly moving. I’m sure we will see them around eventually. It has also been pretty quiet on the white shark front, and there do not seem to be as many seals in our bay and harbor as there normally are in June. It remains to be seen how this will play out as we get deeper into summer.
We have had a significant marine mechanic shortage nationwide even before the pandemic came along. Now things are worse. The Marine Retailers Association of the Americas estimates that about 31,000 jobs will be unfilled at boat dealerships this year, and that more than 85 percent of all open marine service department positions are for service technicians and mechanics. This severe shortage has led to chronic backlogs. A survey that the website Soundings Trade Only conducted last summer showed that 90 percent of marine boat dealers had a service backlog, and 13 percent of them said the backlog was longer than two months.
It is encouraging to see that some of our local high school graduates will be attending the Mass. Maritime Academy in the fall. Skilled mechanics will always be in demand.
This is a good time to remind everyone to exercise extreme caution when operating your boat in the West End area of the harbor in front of the Provincetown Inn, as those waters are filled with oyster and clam farms, which are marked by buoys. Running over them can damage your boat and the aquaculture equipment as well.
Also, walking your dog on the flats at dead low tide and letting it do its business out there is not a good idea, for obvious reasons. Keep that in mind and the oyster and clam farmers will thank you, and I thank you.