Frank G. Dwyer
February 18, 2004
As the boat leaves the marina in Cabo San Lucas, the warm ocean air laps at my face as we head for open water. Once we are 20 miles offshore, the mates set out an assortment of colorful surface lures with only one intention; to attract marlin.
In unison, two of the big Penn International reels start singing as the rods bend over under the pressure of the two fish that just took the bait. I sit in the fighting chair with one of the rods, while my friend stands at the rail with the other, both prepared to do battle. I’ve been lucky enough to grab the rod with a Marlin attached to the other end! My buddy has himself a decent sized Yellowfin Tuna and I’m thinking dinner!
The striped marlin puts up a valiant fight, many times tail-dancing across the water and is finally at the transom. The mates unhook and revive the beautiful fish as I give it a quick pat on the back and just like that it’s off swimming to fight another day. Meanwhile, my buddy has landed two Yellowfin Tuna that will be brought back to our hotel and prepared for our dinner.
Next, I find myself at the helm of my small motorboat, slowly leaving the fog shrouded docks along the Merrimack River. As I motor under the Route One Bridge, I’m greeted by swirls of surface busting striped bass that are being followed closely by terns and seagulls overhead.
While my visibility in the fog is limited to a small circle of slurping bass around my boat, the extent of the feeding frenzy is clearly quite large as the sounds of the screaming birds combined with the surface activity is quite thunderous in the pre-dawn light.
With the engine shut off, the outgoing tide slowly carries me towards Joppa Flats as cast after cast is met with the quick hit of one of these freshly arrived striped bass. Their aggressiveness is a welcome fight after a long winter and these spring mornings usually exceed the expectations of this easily pleased angler.
Waiting in line now at the Chappy Ferry on Martha’s Vineyard, I slowly slide on my waders as the cars ahead of me and I wait for the “On Time” to take us on the two-minute ride across Edgartown Harbor to the island of Chappaquidick. To me, and many other’s, this is the surfcasting Mecca of the East Coast.
The beaches of East Beach and Wasque have provided me many exciting outings in the last 20 years, and the anticipation of the fishing to come still jumbles my stomach as we head for the new Dike Road bridge and our access the sands of Chappy.
Driving over the sand, towards the “rip” at Wasque Point, I pass several other surfcasters trying their luck along the beach. Some bent rods give me hope as I drive towards my favorite spot. As I pull the car close to the water line and park, a gentleman in front of me is releasing a health bluefish. Ah, bluefish on Wasque, nothing can please me more at this point in time!
I grab my rod from the roof rack and attach one Arnold Spofford’s famous bluefish lures, the Ballistic Missile, to my leader. I launch a cast into the churning ocean and begin reeling the surface lure frantically across the waves. As I watch the lure skipping across the water, a large bluefish strike’s and I see it bite the lure, then disappear under the waves and the fight is on! The power of the angry bluefish, combined with the frantic churning of the ocean makes the fight more challenging than normal but eventually the 12-pound bluefish is on the sand, both of us tired from the fight. I gently unhook the fish and wade out into the surf to release the fish and cast again.
The New England Saltwater Fishing Show is being held from March 5-7 at the Rhode Island Convention Center. The show is being presented by the Rhode Island Saltwater Anglers Association and looks to have quite a busy schedule.
The show will feature over 40 seminars covering a variety of topics, as well as information and giveaways sponsored by many of the top names in the industry. Admission is $10 and further information can be found at www.nesaltwatershow.com
The World Fly Fishing Expo returns to the Shriners Auditorium on March 13 & 14 and the show has all the major manufacturers of fly rods, reels and accessories, which equates to over 200 exhibitors. Hours on Saturday are 9am-6pm and on Sunday from 10am to 5pm. Admission is $10 for adults and $2 for children.
In addition to the all the fly fishing gear, the expo offers seminars from some of the most recognizable names in fishing. Seminars will be given by Flip Pallot, Lefty Kreh and Lou Tabory to name just a few. Getting there is as easy as taking exit 39 off of I-93 (from north or south) and following the signs to the Shriners Auditorium.
Hang in there, spring is coming.