I have always said the summer season goes by in three blinks of the eye. The first time you blink, Memorial Day is gone; the second time, the Fourth of July is in your rear-view mirror; and the third time, Labor Day comes and goes and takes the summer with it.
I will soon be wrapping up my weekly waterfront news column and heading up north to the White Mountains, where my real nonfloating home is. Some boats have already departed the marina for winter dry dock storage and called it a season.
The fishing has improved somewhat over the course of the week. Bluefish are back in the bay and along the backside ocean beaches. Mackerel are back in the Race. Striped bass have seemingly made the Race and the Race rips their permanent summer home. On the bay side, there aren’t a lot of bass around, beyond what’s in the Race. The good news on bass is that many of the 27-inch fish we have had all season have eaten well here and grown to 28 inches. The extra inch has now made them legal to keep.
Drifting mackerel is unquestionably the ticket here for these bass, and now that the mackerel are back close by, getting bait has become much easier. Huge schools of pogies are also back and are virtually everywhere.
Beach Point has been uncharacteristically quiet for quite some time now for blues and bass. Bluefin tuna fishing has heated up, and the fish are close, as I have seen fleets of boats off the Pamet as well as off Beach Point this past week. The market for bluefin is still rather sketchy, and there was a day last week when a few giants came in and went unsold. That’s a lot of tuna to suddenly have to get rid of. But Mediterranean fish farming, a lack of flights going to Japan due to the global pandemic, and restaurants operating at significantly less than full capacity have softened demand and put pressure on wholesale pricing.
Bonito continue to pop in and out of the bay side, but their presence is too unpredictable to specifically target them on any given day.
Whales are back in the Race and can be seen from the beach, as both minkes and fin whales have been spotted cruising through the rips and feeding. Whale watch boats have had to go all the way up to the northern edge of Stellwagen Bank, however, to see humpbacks lately.
A dead minke whale washed up on Long Point this past week, creating a bounty for coyotes and seabirds and an awful sight and smell for visiting humans. Judging from the number of coyotes howling the other evening at sunset, I would be very careful letting your dog run free there.
Has anyone noticed how large the seal population is getting at Long Point? And the comfort level they exhibit around humans? This can’t possibly end well, on so many levels. But time will tell.
Now is the time for locals to get out and enjoy the natural beauty that surrounds us, as work demands are reduced, post Labor Day. The air and water still have their summer warmth, and the sunsets are more brilliant than ever at this time of year. So treat yourself to all you can get before the cold northern winds arrive.