Cape Cod 2009
The "Patricelli Cape Cod Striper Invitational" 2009 will certainly be remembered as the year of the weather. 11 friends from OR, WA, MN, MA and I assembled as we do yearly over a 10 day period for, initially, shore fishing, and then 5 days with the guides for a full-on experience. The Cape had cold, blustery weather for two weeks before we arrived, it got colder and blustrier while we were there, and when we left, they had a full on 3 day NOR'EASTER! Everyone got to test their rain gear in what would have been survival conditions if we didn't have a quick way of giving up and getting to a heat source. SO, if in some of the pictures we seem over-dressed, we had everything on from the suitcase just trying to stay warm.
Bob Parsons and Dave Langan from the Reel-Time forum were generous enough to share their time and knowledge in helping us to connect during the shore fishing phase. Bob ferried us out to Sandy neck one day, then spotted us on east Barnstable flats on an incoming on another day. Dave Langan and his friend Sean showed us the intricacies of another Cape Cod Bay Undisclosed Location (UDL), or, How Not to Swim Back in Waders from that Outside Bar during an Incoming Tide. That first day we only had casting practice with a 30 mph gale at our back but we returned on the correct tide cycle and connected.
Our guides were Capts Will Raye on Monomoy Flats, Alan Hastaback on the Monomoy rips, Gil Berke fishing P-town, The Race, and beyond, Bill Cooling in his micro-skiff in Pleasant Bay (which held an incredible sleeper population of big fish this year), the Fishstyx boys from Boston, John Mendelson and Rich Armstrong who launched variously out of Plymouth, Barnstable, and Sesuit, and Joe LeClair in Buzzards Bay and the Elizabeth islands. Alan also showed us his fledgling patented design sluggo business, under the name "Got Stryper". The turbulence creating fluted and ridged design catches everything up to and including Bluefin tuna.
We had one angler who had never caught anything larger than a Montana trout (but a BIG trout, as trout go), another who had never caught a striper, and another who had a little Oregon striper experience 30 years ago but nothing of the order we were facing. They all came through with flying colors. At least 4 fish in the 30# range were caught, the longest a measured 44", one of them in Pleasant Bay! The sight fishing was essentially blind given the overcast except for the fact that Will Raye had x-ray vision and could direct us into the game, "10 o'clock at 50 feet...to the left...lay it down NOW!"
No tuna this year, although Larry Steiner and I did dedicate one day to the pursuit. One swing and a miss.
For the record, we killed 2 fish for dinner and spent $24,500 NOT counting air tickets and rental cars. Those two fish would have returned about $30 to a commercial fisherman. As recreational fish, they provided 6 weeks of excellent guide income and substantial further economic benefit to the community as a whole. The question becomes, can you have your cake (a vibrant recreational fishery of such quality to draw anglers from around the country and the world) AND eat it (with commercial fishing, MOST of it by part-time, amateur "commercial" fishermen) too. That IS the question, isn't it? Stay tuned.
The pictures are set up as a slide show. Click on "Pictures" below and let it run.