Fishing Report: 21 June 2010
Headed out to fish the Star Island Tournament via a last minute offer to fish on the 'Daz Tingler' homeported out of Quonochontaug, RI- a 36' Luhrs Express powered by twin 550 HP Yanmars that's a true 'screamer' when it comes to top end speed. Took the 1900 New London-Shelter Island- Sag Harbor Ferry route and arrived in Montauk at 2300. Late to bed.. early to rise. The owner, Steve, his son John, friend Craig, and mate Bruce all showed up bright and chipper at 0515 at the Snug Harbor Marina & Motel(owned by Steve's girlfriend- Lorraine). Joined the 0600 Bimini Start with about 125 other boats and were making roughy 40+ knots at the front of the pack as we headed towards MP. We watched one 'Guido' with a mixture of amazement and horror (still drunk from partying the night before- crawling forward along the port gunnel of a big Viking) puking his guts out as the boat was being tossed about by the confused seas stirred up by wakes of all the boats going flat out. One of his buds crawled out, grabbed a handful of whatever and literally tossed him up on the foredeck. Both of them were lucky not to have been dumped into the maelstrom where they, no doubt, would have been made into a couple of speedbumps for all of the boats running full steam, coming up from behind. Although I had a specific area in mind on Day 1 to look for a thresher, we headed to a spot to a spot 18 miles to the SSE of the Point where one of Steve's friends had grabbed a mako last Wednesday. Roughly a half mile from the numbers, we saw a 100 lb class mako free jump. After checking the drift, we dropped our baits in little further to the SE and almost immediately had the first of roughly 45+ blue sharks that ate out offerings mug us. It was non-stop bluedogs for over seven hours of fishing with multiple hookups being a common denominator. Both of the 21 year olds got a workout, as did both Bruce and I in regards to keeping a supply of wire rigs ready to rock and roll. Finally, we headed back to the slip.. arriving at roughly 6:30 PM. Went back to Lorraine's house to clean up and had a great meal.
Saturday, the crew fully understood why I wanted to head to a spot with cooler water rather than put up with the bluedogs seeking quality over quantity. Once again, the 'GO' signal at 0600 produced the frenzied start that is either a whole lot of fun or terrifying if you have a boat that is somewhat 'tender' when it comes to a confused sea state. Seeing a 50+ foot battlewagon coming up from behind at 40+ knots is guaranteed to make your eyes open really wide and the pucker factor to ratchet up to 100%. After an hour of flat out running hard we reached the spot that I'd wanted to fish the day before.. started the chum routine.. and had just gotten the second bait out when the outside float took a quick dip. I stated.. 'Guys, I think a thresher just tail slapped the bluefish!' just before a decent sized whiptail came blasting out of the water, easily clearing 6 feet on its bid to win its freedom. Slid into the helm seat.. got the engines revved up.. and started running down the T-tail that was rapidly dumping a 50 VSX that was mounted on a VS5010RX60 rod. After a few minutes of chasing after it,we had the fish off of the starboard stern quarter and Craig put some heat to the fish. After two hours of tussling with this Apex Predator.. in a battle that featured a crazy-azzed run at the boat in which it slapped its tail over the stern with a vengeance, just missing Steve's son, John, as it turned on a dime and raced to the other side of the boat, it was end game time. Craig had done a masterful job with the rod although he'd gone from a nice pink veneer to dead white before turning cherry red from the sheer exertion of being on the wrong end of the physics equation. While Steve was bumping the boat in and out of gear, the fish was gingerly leadered up to a point where Bruce was able to make a perfect gill shot with the AFTCO flying gaff. A second gaff was quickly employed and the thresher was then tail wrapped. It took about five minutes for four of us to get the fish aboard. It measured 84 inches fork to snout and 13 feet over-all. A little more than an hour and a half after we dragged the fish through the tuna door, we were back to the dock with the 286 lb thresher weighed in by 1045. Lisa Natanson and her neice, Olivia, made short work of the scientific end of the tournament. The 'waiting game' on the rest of that LONG day began. 1st place, 2nd, 2nd bumped to third, etc. Believe it or not.. the second to the last fish of the day that was weighed in at 5 PM, a 313 lb thresher, bumped us to 6th on the day.
It was not only their first time sharking, it was also the first tournament that the father, his son, and friend had fished in so being up on the leader board out of approximately 180 boats was totally acceptable outing. All in all, a good experience for their first sharking venture, and in my opinion, not a bad finish when looking at the big picture of competing in a nearly 180 boat field.