The way some people see it, we are hitting the summer doldrums fishing-wise. And it’s true, bluefish have been camping back by Head of the Meadow and show no signs of coming around the corner at the Race and entering the bay. There is another body of bluefish down by the north end of Billingsgate shoals. Patience is necessary: they are there one day and gone the next.
Striped bass have been somewhat consistent in the Race and also in the very deep water off the Mission Bell, but a lot of shorts are being reported in the catches. Small tuna are also in and out around Peaked Hill. The giants still haven’t hit their stride yet.
We’re still seeing charter fishing boats from the west side of the bay in our waters right now, which clearly says fishing in the bay is slow. We’ve got baitfish virtually everywhere in our area. What surprises me is that we don’t have bigger fish chasing them.
Whale watching is outstanding at the moment, with a lot of humpback whales up in Stellwagen Bank exhibiting feeding behaviors. The fin whales have been noticeably absent from the Race, though. There is a pair of smaller minke whales in the Race, however, that we’ve been seeing every day. They are hard to spot from the beach as they do not have prominent spouts.
Fishing has always provided thrills and lasting memories for children, even when it’s slow. In fact, when things slow down it gives us a chance to really notice their experiences more than at busy times on our charter and party boats.
Two heartwarming fishing stories unfolded on the Cee-Jay this past week. A boy named Luca had anxiously awaited the day he would go out to catch his first fish ever. You could see the excitement in his eyes as he boarded the boat. Wouldn’t you know, we had a tough day with a lot of wind. The fishing conditions were not favorable, and although he stuck with it, Luca never caught a fish. Again, the look on his face got us right where it counts.
Our mate, Tammy, felt really bad for him, and she sat down next to him to console him on the ride in. Would he like to come out tomorrow as her guest, she asked. I don’t know where she found the nerve to do it, but she promised him he would catch a fish. Sure enough, Luca came back the next morning. Tammy got busy making sure all the little details were perfect, hoping to give him the best chance possible. Luca crushed it that day, catching a keeper striped bass, a short striper, and a sand shark. Now the look on his face was priceless: pure joy.
A few days later, Tammy spotted a young fisherman on board who was sitting quietly while everyone else was fishing. His name was Keegan, he said, and Tammy asked him why he wasn’t fishing. He told her he was too nervous to try. Tammy took him under her wing and helped him to the rail. Lo and behold: Keegan caught a keeper bass.
These are the reasons we love taking families out fishing. With all that’s wrong in the world, and all that’s tough about fishing these days, these moments are what’s right and will always be right.