A Vertically Challenged Fisherman
by Kelly J. Bandlow
Yes, standing upright in a 24 foot boat on a rocking & rolling open ocean while casting a fly rod can be a little tricky. Especially after consuming many “dark & stormies” (rum, ginger beer & a slice of lime) the night before.
Attached are several photos from my latest fishing trip – three days in Marblehead, MA. This is, without a doubt, one of the coolest towns that I’ve ever visited and it’s only 15 miles north of downtown Boston. Striped bass were the intended target and I had the chance to chase these bad boys for three days in mid July.
My fishing partner was Mark Perry who lives there and has the cool classic boat in the photo below. Initial plans called for us to buzz up & down the coast searching for bass “blitzes,” but we never left the local area because the fishing was so incredible. I landed somewhere around 60 bass in those three days.
My largest fish was 38″ and I’d guess it to be 15-18 lbs. Most were in the 25 – 28″ range & all had wide shoulders and were great fighters taking me hard into my backing every time. We would constantly search the sky line looking for gulls & terns flocking over schools of bait. When the stripers started busting these bait balls on top of the water the action came so fast & furious that it was totally insane at times. Once you had a hookup you’d get the fish in as fast as you could so you could get your fly back into the boil.
Often these “blitzes” were right in the harbor. With each hookup in the harbor it was a real challenge to keep the fish out in the open wayer and away from all the boats and the mooring chains they were attached to. When not charging into these blitzes we’d blind cast our flies along the rocky coast line where the tide pushed the bait up against the rocks. That also proved to be a very productive way to catch fish.
Our fishing would start early and I had my first bass in the boat by 5:30 AM every day. By 8:30 or so, we’d cruise into town, tie up at one of the public docks, walk up the street and catch us a little breakfast at one of the quaint local cafes. What a relaxing and civilized way to fish. This was certainly not an episode of The Deadliest Catch.
We did more than drink all night & fish all day. Incredible dinners such as scallops on artichoke hearts served on top of risotto, fresh lobster, fried clams, etc. was how the day ended. I’ve always wondered why striped bass fishermen were such a devoted and maybe a bit bizzar group and now I know why. One more Cow baby!!!!