Thursday, May 3, 2012

Hope Springs Eternal

Johnny from title town catechizes, "hey old man, what gives with the silent spring?" Well Johnny, to say we've been busy would be somewhat of an understatement, but the time has come to initiate the 2012 campaign on planet blogspot, and what better way to do so than with a depiction disquisition. Lets have a gander...
Early season is generally marked by the appearance of the chain fish, Whitey Bulger, and of course and the kids, coming out of a long and unproductive hibernation. Pictured in this spread are the author, the surfer, and the warden. Although not the sportiest of fisheries in general, Cayo Martha sweet water can be exceptionally fertile and there's no finer way to spend a spring afternoon than playing in the pond.
Of course the national media is bound to take notice. If tippet records for obscure bottom fish and articles in niche mags that explore the particulars of long antiquated bait runs are your thing then clearly we're your guys. But seriously, pretty work all around kids.
And then there's the south Florida experiment. It's been a long hard road for the kids in the sunshine state, but the nut is fractured, and nearing the point where we can deem it cracked. The sound of our knocking on the proverbial door has grown louder and louder and I can say with confidence that a post detailing the circumstances of a grand slam will occur on these pages with in the current decade.
Eventually and inevitably we return to the enclave in the ocean. A warm winter and early spring have brought a healthy crop of frisky striped fish home to roost ahead of schedule this year and we're all looking forward to a fun and productive season. Stay tuned... "Honest to the point of recklessness. Self centered to the extreme" Captain W. Brice Contessa

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Make it a Gamefish

Striped Bass Gamefish from Taylor Vavra on Vimeo.

It's funny ya know, people are always asking me, "hey, old man, what's your opinion on gamefish status for striped fish?" Well it's a multi faceted and complex issue Kevin, but I'm in favor of it. It's a precious resource kids, lets all get together and treat it accordingly before it's to late. Anyhow, watch this vid from the Stripers Forever folks, there's a couple of cameos by the author and the lawyer pushing over some local light bottom not to mention cometary courtesy of Dave from behind the airport and Coopy from the bait hut.

Recently I got a chance to hook up with the guys @ St. Peter's Fly Shop out in the Fort and try my hand at some mountain trout. If you're ever in NorCol I highly recommend looking these fellas up, first rate operation all the way.

What? Unless you're a trusty or a transient this is what being a fishing guide looks like sometimes.

"There's mosquitoes on the river
Fish are rising up like birds"

Fishing the Vineyard

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Fishing the Vineyard Late Fall Report

It's funny ya know, people are always asking me, "hey, old man, what becomes of the kids during the eleventh month, when the striped fish and the touristas have flown south and you're left to your own devices?" Lets check it out...

First, there's one last trip up to the jetty to make sure that no green fish slipped past the proverbial goalie. I can assure you, they did not.

Next, you put the guide op into hibernation for the winter. I've got to admit, putting your plugs in the dishwasher is one of the simple joys of being single...

Then there's one last trip out on the Boylermaker with Jimmy Crab from the big city and Stacey from the Fort to celebrate the harvest like the kids do and accumulate some flesh for the smoker...

After that all you're left with is the elusive and hetty Cayo Martha sweetwater. Fishing the Vineyard confidant Mister from Pensyl-hio has it down to a science at this point in his career. I asked him where it all goes down, I got the token response of course.

And sometimes there's a Wrasse itch. What does one do when the wrasse itch needs a scratchin'? Go down to the Bronx and get up with the crew from the Island Current for a day of pitting your wits against the cunning blackfish over some of western Long Island Sound's finest hard bottom. Pictured in this spread are Brian from the four one, big brown from City island, Jean from the Bronx and the tog-wrasse. Thanks for letting me hang out guys, I learned a lot.

Soon after turning heads at the Halloween show with the Donny Baseball costume, you see a bumper sticker, adopt a new mantra, throw all your shit in a bag and go to the airport.

And then you're in the sunshine state. Accompanied by long time friends and contributors Marshal Law, Patty from the Backwater and Mama Cass from the cradle of union, southeast Florida gets taken by storm. Well played kids, fun trip.

Sometimes the chain fish are simply not enough. When it's apparent that this is the condition it's up north with Dave from behind the airport and @theguyfromcoops to spar with the water wolf. It's hard to describe accurately in this format just what it takes to ride a pike bubble. Lets just say it's highly technical and not for the faint of heart. Pretty work gentlemen.

"Promontory Rider, Territory Ranger"


Thursday, October 20, 2011

Island Autumn Redux

It's funny ya know, people are always asking me, "hey, old man, what happens up there on the enclave in the ocean during harvest time, when the blogspot falls silent and the causatums of the days exercises are displayed on a chalkboard for all the townspeople to see?" Lets have a look...

In the modern era fall on Cayo Martha is first and foremost a time for tunny, and the 2011 campaign was neither an exception nor a disappointment. Tunny are an interesting case study to say the least. At times incorrigible, at times utterly manageable, always amusing. On the mothership we're blessed with a unique and eclectic albacore fishery combined with one of the longest seasons for them coast wide. We've had the tunny in our midst since well before labor day and strong catch is still being reported as this goes to press.

And the teeth. Although not their strongest postseason showing in recent history they were there for those who went a lookin'. Although not the robust Dukes County Choppers of years past this season's tooth crop was consistently mid range and cooperative.

Oh the green bone, the derby's golden ticket. In the absence of surface feeding fish inshore targeting mac-tuna in tournament becomes akin to chasing blackfin or kingfish in more temperate climes, just the boats are shittier and the the fish are smaller. Again though, for those willing to put in the time and the effort they were there for the taking.

Periodically I meditate on whether or not it might behoove the kids to start targeting other obscure Atlantic mackerel typologies, but I digress...

What can you even say about the clown? Fall bass on the Vineyard is an ever evolving and mysterious conundrum...a tough nut to crack to say the least. The clown was very much in the mix for the duration of the event, with the tournament boasting more weigh ins than in the previous year. It's different though. Even in my tenure I've perceived a significant decline in autumn catch numbers. I can only imagine what the old timers must think.

Sometimes I wonder if we might not be better off targeting different bass altogether. But alas, it is the striped fish which we covet. With better management and wholesale changes in the collective attitude amongst recreational and commercial fisherman alike someday I hope the fall will again be the season of the striper.

In the end, when the cards are down and all hope is lost we want what everybody wants. To be comfortable and surrounded by loved ones. So what do you do? Jump up on the pier with some old school heads and do like we've been doin' for the better part of the last 20. Really great.

So what now for the kids? Well, that remains unclear at the current juncture. Stay tuned, I have a feeling it's gonna be an interesting winter...

"I understand why the old fisherman
sail along, sail along, sail along...
Someday he’ll be gone"

W. Brice Contessa