2007 Season in Review
What a season we had on the Black Rose! I would like to thank everyone who made this year such a blast. I don’t think that I have to tell you how much I love what I do. In addition to having a good contingent of repeat customers, we also met some great new friends this year who fished with us and really kept us on our toes. We laughed and the fun never stopped. Please keep in touch over the winter and keep checking out the website for updates, reports, and specials.
The season ended with a bang for us. The tuna fishing in September and October was truly amazing. Ok, not just “a bang”, but lots of bangs. And a final, season-ending crunch as two of my disks became herniated this week, causing my season to end (though the season is pretty much over now regardless). When I say amazing tuna fishing, in our last 10 tuna trips of the year, we hooked almost 40 tuna!!! Most of these fish were hooked and landed on spinning gear!!! It was the biggest rush and it’s a reason that I can’t wait until next year. We’ll start tuna fishing in mid-June next year!! Get ready for this. We’ll be ready to troll for them as well as run-and-gun for them using spinning rods and high-speed jigging rods.
As exciting as running-and-gunning is, trolling for tuna is that relaxing. I love the peacefulness of it. This year we made our first trip to fish for tuna on June 30th and got three fish to 52”. (we saw our first tuna on JUNE 7th!!!) We had some great days trolling this year and have made many adaptations to our spreads that will make next year even better. The trolling spread that we have put together on our boat is excellent and the boat trolls peacefully and VERY QUIETLY. Every customer comments on the quietness when we’re trolling. I love it. It’s a great way for the non-fisherman to enjoy fishing for tuna as well. It’s a great way to spend time with your customers or employees! The boat does the work and you get to relax and enjoy each other’s company. And then when something happens….it’s mayhem and controlled chaos. I love it. There’s also the great anticipation factor—you never know when something is going to happen! We saw whales on almost every one of our tuna trips this year and in many instances the whales came within yards of the boat!! It’s very humbling.
April and May
Going back to the beginning of the season in this “season ending recap”, we started on April 1 fishing for cod and haddock. In the spring, the cod and haddock move onto Stellwagen Bank to feed and man-o-man do they feed! It’s amazing. It’s probably the best action you’ll have all year. I had one customer talk with me and fish with me all throughout the year, all the while muttering about how he must have caught 70-80 fish HIMSELF in shallow water with me on one trip early in the season. He was beside himself!! I’m not saying that all of those fish were keepers, but he did fantastic and it’s great to be catching haddock in shallow water. I love it.
By shallow water, I mean we’re catching cod and haddock in 80-120’ of water. Because of the shallow water, I decided this past spring to bring along very light tackle with me in addition to my “normal” cod gear. By light tackle, we were using rods and reels that are normally associated with fluke, sea bass, or walleye!! Instead of using 16oz Norwegian jigs with big treble hooks, we were comfortably using 6 oz. Tormenter Jigsthat we rigged with single hooks.
We caught great cod AND haddock in this method and no one got tired of jigging because our gear was so light and the rods were so forgiving. I love fishing like this! In fact this is the best way to take kids on their first cod trip—it’s much easier on them and they can handle the whole affair! You will never go back to “regular cod gear” again. We had people fish with us later in the summer in deep water, still asking to use the light tackle!! We even fished in 300’ of water with that light gear!
I have spoken with the product people at Okuma Fishing Tackle about my thoughts for a reel and rod combo for this fishing and they have come up with their brand-new RED ISIS to which I’ll use their lightest Cedros Speed Jigging Rod. For size comparison, the Penn 113 HLW that I typically use for codfishing weighs 32 ounces. The Red Isis weighs 13 ounces!!! That’s an amazing difference. If I get my wishes, they’ll make this reel without the levelwind option as well. Special thanks to Joel St. Germain, professional bass fisherman who has been a great customer, friend, and mentor to my business. It’s fun watching a professional bass fisherman fish for cod!! What a hookset!As usual, I’ll be using braided line with this combo—30# or perhaps 40#. With the lighter braided line, we’re able to hold bottom very well using light jigs. This makes it so much easier on your arms, back and spirit! Plus, it is so much fun to hook a nice fish on a light rig. The line of choice for us has always been PowerPro Line. I like the fact that they now have 4 different colors to choose from—I can fish different colored line on each rod. Spring cod—light tackle and kids…………………….but still the fish can be great!
This year we didn't really do a lot of Buzzards Bay fishing, and this was a bummer. The fish were there; we got some great fish and the fishing there can be truly amazing---it's only 15-45 feet deep!! We landed some great sea bass, fluke, and scup. With the choice between shallow water action for cod/haddock or shallower water action for seabass, fluke, and scup, you can't go wrong. The fishing grounds in Buzzards Bay are only 10 minutes from the pier....
We had a very varied June—we fished shallow water for cod, deep water for cod, flats fishing for stripers, Race Point for stripers, Buzzards Bay for sea bass and fluke, Buzzards Bay for scup(porgy), Buzzards Bay for stripers and blues on light tackle, and Chatham for tuna. It was a month of transition for us and our customers. The good thing is that there are options in June.
It’s a great thing. We found schools of scup (porgy) that covered the fishfinder and we aptly filled the boat. That’s a lot of fun for the right customers. We also explored some early-season tuna waters off of Chatham that just screamed for more. Yes, we’ll be back there in mid-June next year. The tuna were also in Mass Bay and Cape Cod Bay as well. On June 7 we saw a school of hundreds of giant tuna cruising inside of Mass Bay while we were returning from cod fishing. It was amazing! We’ll be ready next year!
By July we had tuna-fever. It was excellent and we had some of the best blitzes we can remember. The fish cooperated, mostly, and so did the sharks. If, on July 1 cooperates means we caught 21 sharks, then, yes, they did cooperate!!! I love fishing for sharks!
We made our first shark trip on July 1 and landed a 7+ foot mako. Great fish to go along with 20 more blue sharks that day(several 200+ pounds)! We had three hours during the day in which we had a fish on the line the whole time. It can be that amazing. Going forward in July and August, striper fishing off of Race Point, though good, should be planned as a weekday event—on the weekends the great fishing there brings far too many boats in far too small of an area. It is too chaotic with that much traffic---plan your trips there for the weekdays and we’ll have fun. What a day—ending with a 250# mako amongst friends!!!
August brought a lot of mixed charters---tuna in the morning and something else after that. Why not? The weather in August is the most amazing of the year and get your time in. We found the cod and haddock in amazing numbers once again and in predictable areas. The early morning bite for tuna was also very predictable—I love August—we can leave at 4:00 in the morning, fish for tuna, fish for cod, and get back in to port at a respectable time!! I love that.
Because of the number of tuna trips that I was running, I upgraded all of my tuna gear to have it all match. I purchased 5 matching Okuma Titus Gold TG 50 Two Speed speed reels with matching Okuma Catalina Tuna Rods. I have been very, very happy with the performance—we’ve tested them hard this summer with tons of use and loads of big fish. Our biggest fish this summer was a 400+ pound blue shark that was a beast. It is the largest blue shark that I have ever seen. I told my customers that it’s a blue shark and we release them—that we wouldn’t kill it just to get their name in a record book. Too bad it wasn’t an edible shark!!!! It was enormous! I’ll have the video on the website this winter. The rod and reel performed better than expected! That fish took some of the best runs I’ve ever imagined. The sharks started moving in nicely this year with more makos in the area than in years past.