Striped bass fishing took a serious turn for the better this week, as more bass starting showing up not only in the Race but all along the bayside to Wood End. There is a tremendous amount of bait around. Mackerel, sand eels, herring, and even some pogies (menhaden) have been showing up around the harbor. The striped bass are getting bigger, with many keepers of up to 35 inches being taken by all the charter boats.
The fin whales that normally hang out between Herring Cove and the Race Point station have yet to discover the smorgasbord that is awaiting them right now.
Flounder fishing remains very good in the south end of the bay, and many boats are reporting that they are catching the limit — five fish of at least 16.5 inches per person.
Bluefish are still teasing us here. They are in the canal and along the backside down by Hyannis, but they have not shown up here yet. But that should change any day now, as long as the winds stay southerly to southwest and the water temperature keeps climbing. It was at 59 degrees over the weekend.
The National Marine Fisheries Service, part of the U.S. Dept. of Commerce, often comes up with rules that make you say, “Huh?” Here’s one that’s a real head-scratcher; they are now allowing the commercial guys to take three Atlantic bluefin tuna a day instead of one. This raises many questions, the first being why you would allow more fish to be caught when at the same time you are telling us it is a highly endangered species.
Second, the market is already saturated with product, which has driven the price downward. This is due in part to the gross misrepresentation of tuna fishing portrayed by the very popular Wicked Tuna “reality” TV show. Because of the show, the number of guys trying to fish tuna commercially has gone up exponentially in the last few years.
The new tuna rule also very much favors the harpoon guys, because it is much easier to land three fish harpooning than it is rod-and-reeling.
It remains to be seen if Fisheries will adjust the daily catch limit after July 1, when the fish start to get fat and become more valuable.
The wholesale price of lobster has taken a dive at an inopportune time, just as lobstermen are trying to cope with extremely high fuel and bait prices. The price of live pound-and-a-quarter hard-shell lobsters fell from $12.35 a pound on April 1 to $9.35 a pound on May 1. That’s not good when you consider what these guys and gals are up against in their day-to-day local markets with skyrocketing fixed costs. I hope they can find relief at some point during the summer.
The Coast Guard will be increasing the number of safety checks they undertake on private boats this spring and summer both in and out of the harbor, so make sure you have the appropriate gear on board: life preservers, horn, working bilge pumps, firefighting equipment, signal flares, and a working radio.