The fishing community experienced some wild ups and downs last week. The earlier part of the week saw striped bass fishing as good as it has ever been, with many boats limiting out and some big fish taken. A few bluefish were mixed in as well. But the latter part of the week saw the bass first scatter and then completely disappear. With them went the bluefish, too. We now have mackerel, however, and little hand-sized bonito virtually everywhere.
Capt. Dave Gibson of the GinnyG caught a torpedo fish that weighed about 150 pounds. These bizarre fish are members of the ray family and can generate electricity, which they use to stun their prey. I caught one about 10 years ago and hadn’t heard since of one caught recreationally until this week, when Capt. Dave reported his unusual catch.
We caught a striped bass last week that was tagged. The tag, which belonged to the National Marine Fisheries in Annapolis, said “If found reward,” with a phone number to call. It was tagged in Maryland as an “under 26 inch.” When we caught it on the CeeJay it was 34 inches. So, this fish had grown quite well since it was tagged in Maryland.
The whales have thinned out off Race Point, and we are now seeing only an occasional one or two in an area that had as many as a dozen a few weeks ago. We also got our first brief visit of the summer in the outer harbor by a rather large pod of white-sided dolphins.
A commercial fishing boat caught fire in the harbor last week. It happened late Friday night on Capt. Damian Parkington’s boat Clean Sweep. I asked him what happened and he said, “I believe that wood was charred from exhaust heat around the deck flange. That area had previously been water damaged and was recently repaired. The repairs were like for like, with the same clearances but using dry new wood. My guess is that the char turned to an ember that chased up the exhaust cabinet until it found enough air to ignite. We left the boat at 5:30 p.m. and I returned at 7:30 p.m. and saw no sign of smoke.”
Tom Lombardo was on his night watch at the harbormaster’s office around 1 a.m. when he smelled smoke and saw a glow. He called the Provincetown police, who responded in minutes and called in the fire dept., also there in minutes. The blaze was put out quickly.
“Their response saved my boat, and the damage was amazingly minimal,” said Capt. Damian. He expressed gratitude to Tom of the harbormaster’s office for being observant and diligent, to the police for their fast response, and to the Provincetown Fire Dept. for its rapid response and efficiency.
This is not the first time the fire dept. stopped a waterfront fire from becoming a catastrophe. Add this latest incident handled with great skill to the Surf Club and Whaler’s Wharf fires.