News, Views, Happiness Pursued

Fishing in Public

by | Sep 17, 2020

Hey, folks. This month I’m gonna tell you about a style of fishing I never done before: boat fishing! I ain’t been on any type of vessel since the ’80s, so I was really looking forward to this.

My editor brought me down to a marina in South Portland last month where Capt. Carle keeps his No Slack charter-fishing boat. Right off the bat Carle says, “Hey, boys, Farmers’ Almanac says this is the worst day for fishing for the whole year.” Then he damn sure shows us how bad it is by catching a nice striper whilst we’re still tied to the dock!

I’m no genius, mind you, but I think other fishermen throw away leftover bait once they put it, and it just might keep fish around and interested in a snack. What do you think?

Well, after that, no fuckin’ around. We motored into the harbor.

When I’m fishing from shore, I stay in one place the whole time. Now I’m in a boat and the captain can look and see where the action is, searching for gangs of seagulls or terns circling and diving over a patch of choppy water. This certainly increases the amount of fishies you can catch. It’s also good because if one guy is reeling one in, another chap can help by holding the line and guiding and hoisting the fish into the boat.

The author (left) and the editor “documenting” the one we caught at the dock. photo/Capt. Carle Hildreth

I noticed a lot of places I never seen before, like the back side of Diamond, Cushing and House islands. There are so many outcroppings and hidden coves — been perfect for smugglers stashing booze or weed or whatever over the last few centuries.

Even the cruise itself was entertaining, what with Carle showing us interesting things around the bay. I do wish so much you could’ve been there with us. We were having the time of our lives. The weather was terrific — hot, but just enough breeze to cool us a bit. We talked about all sorts of stuff, as guys on a boat are wont to do.

I do believe Carle has the job of a lifetime. He just sort of fell into being a captain and he’s surely making the most of it, picking up knowledge of different spots that are good at various times of day, depending on the tides and the weather.

And best of all, when things might have got slow, he gets on the radio, talks to a fellow captain, and in two snaps of your fingers we’re heading off to another striper frenzy. It’s almost like the fish are jumping or dancing on the surface — I kid you not — and sure enough, one of us has a tug on the line, and soon we’re posing for “documentation” — Carle and Chris’ words for taking a picture. We got quite a few of those.

Stripers gotta be 28 inches to keep. We caught a half dozen or so in a few hours that afternoon, and one was over the legal length, but we tossed ’em all back to catch another day.

We had the kind of good time money can’t buy. I swear to Christ, I was feeling like quitting the writing biz before this trip. But I decided not to go to the lower 40 acres quite yet. Talk about puttin’ gas in the tank! I’m surely back on fuckin’ track now.



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