Capt. Joe Huck on the Helen H note the Angler has wrapped up its sea bass schedule, barring a couple of private charters slated fore the next week or two if the weather stabilizes. The flags in Hyannis have been standing out at perfect 90 degree angles to their poles without so much as a crease, thanks to the last few days of relentless northeast winds, hampering any efforts to leave the dock, and Joe’s been catching up on his 15-page to-do list on the boats and on the homefront.
Prior to the recent string of gales, the sea bassing in and around Vineyard Sound was generally very good, with a mix of sizes from sub-legals to 3- and 4-pounders. As has been the case, the catch has been surprisingly clean, with an occasional triggerfish, an occasional scup or bluefish. The usual baits-clams, squid and when the conditions line up, herring or small butterfish-fished on high-low or other two-hook bottom rigs have been working just fine. The guys willing to go with bigger hooks and bigger baits have been able to cull through the small stuff and fill limits with all nice fish. Speaking of, special permits allow the Helen H Fleet to work on a slightly enhanced bag limit of sea biscuits, and will also allow the fleet to keep targeting these prime food fish past the date when the fishery closes for everyone else. That latter scenario assumes that the fish hold their current positions more or less.
The last week’s unsettled conditions have represented 2010’s first real cold snap, and with water temps still well above the average for this point in the season, Huckmeyer suspects the fish to hang around through at least the end of the month.
The Helen H will be getting in on the sea bass act once the boat’s tuna obligations are complete toward the end of next week. The Angler will be rounding out its scheduled charters, and the Fleet’s three six-pack boats still have openings if you have a group looking to load the freezer with what are arguably the best-eating fillets you can access in southern New England. Incidentally, whether or not you have vacuum-sealing equipment at your disposal, sea bass flesh freezes quite well, so long as you can get most of the air out of the bag or container. Call the office for a scheduling check, or to book your date on the Sea Hawk or Isabella H or Fish Hawk, all of which have some openings left.
As for tuna, it goes without saying that this fall has not treated the canyon fleet too well. Huck noted the Helen has three trips left on the calendar, all of which have sufficient reservations to sail. First, a two-day trip, leaves the dock this coming Saturday and returns late Sunday afternoon. Next trip, a late-season three-day run, sails on Monday morning and returns late Wednesday. The last trip for the 2010 canyon season is scheduled for Thursday, and hits the dock again on Friday afternoon. “I’d say the chances of us getting all three in are about one-in-a-hundred,” said Huck, laughing grimly. As I type this, word has it there’s a small slug of warm water pushing in toward the edge at Oceanographers, and Joe will be tracking that water carefully over the weekend and into early next week. Here’s hoping that warm water holds together, and more importantly, that it has the mother lode of big yellowfins swimming its boundaries. To book a last-minute slot on any of these end-of-the-line canyon runs, call the office soon: 508-790-0660.