Fishheads Surf Fishing Story
Have you ever noticed how fishermen are always looking for the next best and greatest spot, lake, lure or technique? For instance, fishermen on the shore cast out deep and the fishermen in a boat cast towards the shore. The one on the shore is convinced that he needs to get that cast out as far as he can in order to catch fish. The guy on the boat is convinced he has to get his bait right up next to the shore in order to provoke a strike from his quarry.
How about fishing on deep sea fishing excursion boats? Fishermen that frequent these offshore bottom fishing adventures are always trying to get aboard before the rest of their fishing brethren in order to get that “best spot on the boat” from which the next giant fish will be caught. Never mind that the boat is often drifting, turning and otherwise causing massive line tangles and birds nests, usually with some guy named Guido on the other side of the boat with arms like Popeye. Both fisherman convinced they have a real monster on that keeps trying to pull the rod out of their hands.
Stream and river fisherman are always trying to get to the next “perfect” spot or rock or snag in which to cast their baits. Some will wade into roaring rapids, risking life and limb in order to reach a certain rock or boulder in the middle of the river convinced there is a giant trout or smallmouth waiting in the eddy behind the rock to ambush the fisherman’s lure or fly.
I am reminded of a summer surf-fishing excursion with my lifelong friend and fishing buddy when I convinced him to walk out to the end of this long jetty located at the confluence of the Merrimac River and the Atlantic Ocean off Plum Island in Massachusetts. This jetty went out approximately a quarter to half mile into the ocean with numerous treacherous breaks and washouts in the jetty. The thought of catching giant sea run Stripers outweighed the risk of serious injury. It seemed like a good idea at the time! Did I mention that we were carrying surf fishing rods, tackle and a very large cooler full of thirst quenching beverages?
The plan was logical and sound: get to the end of the jetty as the tide was going out, tie on big chunks of mackerel to a hook and let it get taken out by the current and tide to where the mother of all schools of stripers were anxiously awaiting our baits. How could this not work? After 2 hours of navigating the washouts we reached the end of the jetty and were happily surprised and rewarded in that no one else was there. We had the whole spot to ourselves and the timing was perfect. It was approximately 5:00 PM and the tide was waning. We rigged the poles and cast as far as we could letting the current take our baits out while we fed the line. When we had approximately 1/3 of the line out of our spools we set the rods up with the bait runners on and jammed the butt end of the rods into drill holes in the massive, 10 foot by 10 foot granite block we were standing on. Man, this was going to be sweeeet! We set up shop, popped a couple of cold beverages and settled in to await the first strike. It was a beautiful day and I marveled in the brilliance of this latest fishing scheme, I am good! It wasn’t long until my buddies bait runner started to scream and my buddy hurried to the pole. The bait runner was going and he tried to gently lift the rod out of the hole in the rock. Unfortunately, the butt of the rod was stuck in the hole and he panicked, yanking on the pole caused the two piece rod to separate leaving him with the upper half of the pole in his right hand and the lower part of the rod with the reel still stuck in the hole! What a dog and pony show this was going to be. Now try to picture this: My buddy is 6’6”, 275 pounds and is kneeling down trying to set the hook with the top half of the rod in his right hand and reeling with his left hand. A strong, sea run striper on the other end of the line is mad as hell and taking line with the drag screaming. All hell was breaking loose and he is screaming at me to help him. Meanwhile, I was trying to reel in the other pole to get the line out of his way and had also hooked up with a striper, besides I was laughing so hard I was in no position to be of help to him. Suddenly his line goes slack and he has lost his fish. I still had my fish on and eventually landed a chunky 39 inch long Striper. We were in the middle of a striper feeding frenzy, both fishermen frantically trying to get baited up and cast out for the next flurry of action. With his pole loose from the hole it wasn’t long until he hooked up again and lands a nice size Striper around 36 inches long. This scene was repeated over and over again for the next 2 – 3 hours. People in boats were riding by us and marveling at these two brave and brilliant surf fisherman with the best spot on the jetty. As the action began to slow, both of us realized that the tide was now coming in, the water was much higher and the sun was starting to set. It was at this time both fisherman realized the only flaw in their scheme. Remember those washouts we had traversed to reach our prime spot on the jetty? The washouts are now totally submerged with at least 50ft of water between our granite block and the rest of the jetty connected to the shore! The cold, hard truth set in as to why the boaters were staring at these two morons at the end of the jetty, we were stranded and it was getting dark. The only thing we could do was ride out the tide and pray the water didn’t rise over the top of the granite block. After about an hour it was still not certain that we were out of woods and safe on our granite block. Our predicament had the potential for disaster and soon the Coast Guard came by to check us out, apparently notified by the numerous boaters that rode by us. “Are you guys all right.” they called to us on a bullhorn. “Do we look all right?” my buddy blurts out to them as waves lap the edge of our granite block. “You’ll just have to wait it out. The water doesn’t usually go over the top of that rock. The tide will be down far enough in a couple of hours for you guys to get back in”, easy for them to say.
Approximately four hours later the tide receded and we were able to slowly and carefully make our way back to the safety of the shore. Having endured the ridicule of having the Coast Guard come check on us and ask us what the hell we were thinking. Then began the flotilla of pleasure boaters with nothing better to do than watch this dog and pony show for their shits and giggles. The boaters must have gone in to notify their friends to come out and see these idiots raising the asshole flag at the end of the jetty because the growing flotilla of pleasure boaters cruised by us constantly the whole time we were out there, we saw many of the boats several times!
Both fisherman were quiet for most of the ride home, a comfortable silence that neither wanted to break, just in case one or the other should bring wrath and scorn for such a monumentally stupid scheme. However, after thinking about it I decide I would be the one to break the silence. “You know we really were on them for a while.” “Yeah, they were biting good and big too.” my buddy recalls. “Hey, now that we know how far the water comes up, we can really plan the trip and bring lawn chairs next time” “Yeah, we could even bring a grill, lantern and make a night of it next Friday”
So onto the next best and greatest fishing spot!