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