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Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Cape Cod, where the fish are bigger than the men

One day I can tell my nephews, I was there, at Steelwagon Bank, when the Bluefins were plentiful and the poppers were roaring!
I got there with my back still hurting, didn’t bring any rod with me, just my photo equipment (that already is quite a load), and a lot of layers of clothing in my suitcase. In Madrid at the beginning of November was still mild, above 15 Celsius every day, with 20º at midday, but Cape Cod seemed to have a different climate.

With me my friend Mario, the guy you nearly want to have travelling with you all the time. Great fun, good companion, good chatter, excellent fisherman and keen photographer as well. We were supposed to be there in October but a whole week of stormy weather drastically changed our plans and forced us to move our flight to November the 2nd. Lucky us. We ended up with some very nice weather, lots of sunshine and very decent sea conditions.
Domenico Petrarca, with obvious Italian ancestors, picked us up at the Logan airport and drove us to the hotel, very kind of him, he saved us a bit of hassle with the bus, something manageable but a tad tiring after 7 hours flights. On our route we stopped at the Longhorn Steak House and ate the whole thing. The red California wine helped the gastric juices and put us between the sheets at an even faster pace than planned.

Day one of fishing welcomed us with quite a nice swell. Leaving the safe and calm waters of Green harbour made me think of Dramamine kind of day and after half an hour cruise to the bank my stomach stepped into Defcon 3. We had 4 casting candidates on board, plus me and the Captain. So I decided to stay in a safe place, worrying about my stomach more than necessary. Thus, after a while of many casts to some very reluctant Bluefins I grabbed a rod and hopped to the bow. My stomach was already at Defcon 4

One warm up cast and on the second one a fish boiled some 70ft from the boat, at 12hrs. One cast between his eyes, a couple of twitches and bang! I set the hook some three or four times, tried to start a fight and when the “bad-back-bell” rang I had nothing to do but pass the rod to Tom, a very nice guy sharing the boat with us. My stomach by then was at Defcon 5, and roaring its ugly head! I was happy though, I had hooked my tuna and the guys were happy too because they could fight it. Big deal for an old man like me!
Now, the great thing about having somebody fighting a nearly 200lb Bluefin when Capt. Dom ( is at the helm is that the show that he puts together is already worth the trip. His yells and screams are unique and can be heard probably around the whole of New England, such is his passion for fishing and his great expertise in popping and jigging for Bluefins. Domenico is a great deal of fun, very motivating and always cheering up the crew. No doubt that he is among the best skippers I ever had the pleasure to fish with.
We had no more fish that day, few swirls, followers but no mo takes.

The following day we headed to Boston for a photo tour. The weather was nearly perfect, amazing blue skies, no wind, and reasonably warm. I don’t know how many photos we took but I had an absolute blast. I took my tripod with me and set it on every corner, park, building, tree that I found attractive. If cameras could melt for abuse my D90 would now be like a Dali sculpture.

Second fishing round. Nice weather, nice seas, happy me. On the boat with us a very good friend, Kil Song, who I have never met in person but talked to several times, during the last few years. It was truly like meeting a buddy from college time, and I was truly happy to finally meet him in person. With him Willie, a very nice and polite guy, very much looking forward to his first tête a tête with a Giant. Kil is a very experienced Tuna fisherman, way more than myself, and have already fished Steelwagon ban some 20+ times this season. Even though he was the eldest on board he kicked our ass big time with a magnificent 3 strikes X 2 fish caught, one on jigs and the other on a stickbait. Willie fought a fish that Dom has hooked and Mario, hooked his freight train at the very end of the day and lost it at the leader because the wire of the lure broke, but Dom has the mono in his hands so the fish was ethically caught. We did the Longhorn Steak House thing again, and boy, did we have a good time or what!

After one day of photos in Plymouth, where we had a nice lunch with my friend Peter Johnson of Roberts Lures, the last morning we left…well at night. Crazy Dom picked us up at 04:30, there was ice on the boat and I can promise you that it was freezing. Right at the mouth of the harbour we lost the sensitivity of our faces and after less than 5 miles we had no more sensitivity in our fingers or hands whatsoever. The Tunas seemed to be less active, I’m sure the cold night had something to do with their behaviour and we didn’t manage to raise a single fish to a surface lure. Thus, after a radio call from a friend’s boat, Mario first and myself 4 minutes later both hooked and lots two nice fish. Mario’s broke the braid and mine simply spit the hook. Dom had a further bite too but even though we put the lures on the head of many animals, we ended up with skunked.

The last dinner in our favourite (and only) Japanese restaurant was delicious, and packing things to return home quite sad. We had finally experienced the most amazing popping and jigging that can be done in this planet. The wildest beats, the most challenging hunt you can ever hope for. I’ve been a GT fisherman for years, loved the Cuberas, Amberjack and large Dogtooth Tunas, but none of these fish get ever close to the sheer strength and power of a Bluefin. These things are the Ferrari, IVECO and Boeing of the whole biz. Things will never be the same again.

1 comment:

hector200 said...

excelente reseña, felicidades mi estimado, preciosos animales y muy buenas fotos.