…but warmer weather has finally taken over and pushed it out for good at the end of April here in southern New England. I am sorry that I did not stay active here with my updates, but having no phones, and living entirely off-grid in a remote area of the world just didn’t fit well with my technologically challenged and purposely laid-back winter lifestyle! The Dusky was under wraps riding out the miserable, rather snowy New England winter while yours truly spent the interim in much warmer latitudes; my home-away-from home down on the Caribbean is in a sleepy little Mexican outpost called Xcalak; a tiny village of 450 local residents on the Yucatan border of Mexico and Belize. With a re-power last year on the Dusky getting new Zukes coupled with a very good end-of-year clean-up, there was not much to do with the girl this spring. A good thorough cleaning, touch up on deck paint, complete spring run through of the systems and just 2 days after uncovering her she was ready for a splash and a little run through her paces. As usual, it was as if I never left the helm, and the boat responded immediately just like a good friend that knows you would, with immediate response, ready for working hard and playing hard, having fun the whole time.
A little shakedown cruise was quickly followed by the first official trip of the season, for the only show in town nearshore; the always fun, always feisty, always tasty Tautog, a.k.a the Blackfish. These tough little game fish are a very challenging and fun target species, requiring just some willing ness to get your offerings stolen at will and a good amount of crabs for bait. The spring run begins on April 15th, and features some fast action right before the spawn, typically the second or third week of May. This year it was exactly 5 days long, due t the colder than average winter and resulting water temperatures at the end of April. Once they begin the spawn, they will not feed very much for the duration, and the season also closes just after the beginning of the month to allow them unimpeded reproductive time under the state regulations. We did manage to get out 3 of the 5 days that they bit well, and had great fun with easy limits every trip, and had a bunch of fun tagging and releasing the rest with archival tags from the American Littoral Society. Tog are very slow growing, and migrate in a small area, so these tags help study the stock dispersion and movements, to better manage the species. A few make it to the dinner table as they provide very tasty filets, but the majority are released just fine to fight another day.
This week saw the arrival of our first decent sized striped bass, migrating north from their winter grounds to the south. The first waves of fish to show are always hungry and provide incredible action on the light gear, We use 10 pound test braid with 12 pound fluorocarbon leader, and a variety of small artifical lures. The first 2 trips of the week saw non-stop action on 20″ to 35″ fish, and the first few keeper sized fish made it to the coolers and onto the grill, a great way to start the season. This is of course just a short warm up as we wait for the first bluefin tuna to show. Once these fish make their appearance sometime towards the mid to latter part of this month, that is all the Dusky will be focused on from day to day(and night to night!). Of course other species get in our way and rarely will we discriminate, but the allure of the tuna is just too strong and dominates the attention of every crew member that hops aboard. By the end of the month we should be right back into the swing of things, picking up right where we left off with hordes of bluefin tuna all around the boat, and hopefully on the deck! I will of course have my camera at the ready, and we have also added two GoPro Hero HD video cameras on mounts in the T-Top to capture all the action in a little different format for your enjoyment. Stay tuned for my semi-regular picture blogs, and hopefully video updates as well, as the 2013 season’s adventures unfold aboard Coastal Charters Sportfishing.
A striped bass breaks the surface as it feeds on a fresh hatch of cinder worms in Narragansett Bay, RI.
To book a charter with Capt. Dom of Coastal Charters Sportfishing aboard his Dusky 256FC please visit http://www.coastalcharterssportfishing.com/