Saturday, July 20, 2013

Finally Went Fishing Last Night

I don't fish anywhere nearly as much as I used to do. Heck, even when I lived in El Centro, CA in the middle of a godforsaken desert, I fished more than I have in the past few years back in NY. Well, as I said, I went last night. I took the Super Hawk out of Point Lookout, NY for Ling. We traveled south for about an hour and a half and then started fishing. After just a few minutes I hooked up and as I was reeling in I felt a second bump on the line. I knew what that meant and it did not mean that my fish had been taken by a bluefish or shark. When I had reeled in so that I could see the ling (red hake), I was elated to see what I had caught and shouted out "watch your heads, double header coming over the rail".  I thought that was a harbinger of the good fishing to come but it wound up the fishing was only so-so. In all, I hauled up 9 ling from pretty small ones to medium sized one. Not a bad catch but not a good one either - a bit less than mediocre at best. I am not complaining though, just stating fact; I have been out where I have caught absolutely nothing and some fish are definitely better than no fish even though they cost me $9.22 apiece with the fare, poll money and tip.

I used a fairly heavy rod, one of two I brought along. Seems I did not learn from making that same mistake on my last trip out - last summer. Near the end I switched over to the lighter action rod that I had and I caught 5 ling in about a half hour. I decided to make the switch after losing several baits without ever feeling a tug on the line. With he lighter rod, I felt every little nibble and it was enough rod for ling. One thing I did learn well, many year ago, was not to place both hooks down on the bottom. One of the mates set up my hooks and sinker and did just that. I asked him to change to put one hook about 18 to 24" above the other. He told me that would be pointless since ling only feed on the very bottom. I insisted and he did it for me, setting the top hook about 18" above the bottom one. I caught 6 fish after he changed the set-up for me, 5 of the 6 were caught on the high hook. Hopefully he learned something from an old coot like me and will change how he sets the hooks for ling in the future.

Speaking of mates, I am none to sure I will use the Super Hawk again. The mates were pleasant enough but when one of them starts fishing before even all of the fares have been set up to fish - something stinks and it's not fish coming over the rail. Two of them were fishing right next to me leaving only two others to help the fares. I usually go out on the Captain Al, from the same dock but it has not been doing any night fishing for ling. They go out for striped bass at night. I will probably go with them, the Captain Al next time. The crew on the Captain Al is usually much more attentive to the paying customers. Now, I do have to say that the two mates who did not fish were pretty attentive but one was much better than the other. The better one was the guy who did my hook set-ups. The other guy came over and helped clear a few tangles but when he did so, all he did was got the two lines untangled from one another and then handed the remaining tangled up line back to each fare to undo themselves. Very unprofessional. They work for tips and while I gave the guy who did my set-ups a very nice tip (that I imagine they share), he was the only mate who was worth any of it. Mates can make the whole trip a good one instead of bad by being courteous, attentive, untangling lines, gaffing big fish, and giving tips to people about how to hook the fish for which they are fishing. Not once did I see any of the mates correct one of the fares, who was close to me, and who kept jerking the hooks right out of the fishes mouths and who also often slacked up after a bite that said person lost several fish. The mates were not paying attention to things like that but had thy been doing so, there would have been ore fish in some buckets - including mine. One of them should have told me my rod was too stiff for ling. Instead, when I got aboard, I asked if that rod would be good. The mate, without even glancing at my rod, said: "It will be fine". It wasn't and as I said above, I caught 5 fish in half an hour after switching to the lighter rod. Oh well, I will remember that next time out.

I should mention that one of those first two that I caught missed be the pool fish by a very small margin, too bad because winning the pool would have paid for the trip plus some. As for size, I am guess that most, if not all, of the ling that came over the rail were between one and two pounds. A three pounder would have been huge for this trip. Other fish that I saw caught were a sand shark, a skate and a couple of eels.

All the best,
Glenn B

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