This tournament is based in Boston and was run out of Pier 6 in Charlestown, MA. The tournament went from Friday June 15th at midnight – Saturday June 16th at 3pm.
With these details in mind, the LJF crew for the tournament consisting of myself, Dave Murphy, and Cam MacDonald had a lot to put together Friday after work. There was a Captain’s Dinner at 5:30pm Friday night and we wanted to be there to make sure we knew the tournament details and received our Captain’s Bag. Through some miscommunications online vs. email a group including us were told it started at 7pm…
So to start this tournament off we had missed the Captain’s Dinner, not exactly ideal.
Though were arrived late Friday night it did not deter us from fully preparing for a long day of fishing Saturday. We arrived back home to gear up and pack for an early morning. We had eels in the fridge, ice, refreshments, subs, snacks, bagels, and waters ready to go; plus all of our gear. All of this along with the three of us were to be perfectly spread out around our 17’ Montauk Boston Whaler.
Our alarms went off at 1:45am with an aim to leave the dock by 3am. Our goal was to fish eels for at least two solid hours before the sun breached the horizon. Packing the truck and finding a parking spot in South Boston went much better than planned. It was a very quiet car ride and also a quiet, coordinated attack to get gear down to the dock and loaded on the boat. Everything was going smoothly until, as I am sure some of you have experienced, a sabiki rig was magically tangled with a rod loaded with braided line. There aren’t too many things worse than dealing with this when you are trying to get off the dock asap.
Thankfully we made a few cuts of the braid and we were back in action, pushing off the dock around 3am like we had planned. We started cruising out through Dorchester Bay, President Roads, and the Broad Sound South Channel to fish eels on some outer Boston Harbor rock piles. Arriving close to our first destination and coming off our plane it was stunning to see a bright clear sky and hear nothing other than the noises coming from our boat; the engine running, and the terrible sound of a foam coffee cup rubbing against the plastic windshield (which needed to be moved asap).
We had made it in the darkness and could start fishing. We rigged up our slimy critters and were fishing three rods within minutes. One was weighted off the stern, while two of us made casts and slow retrieves during our drift. With our tips up high preparing for that first hit, we were all ready. One of the first meaningful “ugh”s was let out shortly after… one seal pops up, then another, and another until a solid handful were staring at us like we were intruding. Seals are not a good sign for any fisherman. We tried moving and setting different drifts, but the same outcome repeated itself, more and more seals. By the time we were over fighting for space with the seals, the sun had started to pop over the horizon and we decided to change tactics and search for Mackerel. Being out in deep water anyway helped our search and we had 5-6 Mackerel within a few minutes. These were quickly rigged up (one weighted and one free) and tossed back in while we continued to fish for bait.
On our way out in the direction of the B Buoy we were able to hit a couple bumps we found on the chart and were successful. We had our first bass bite and it resulted in a 30” fish. For a tournament that’s not what we are looking for, so she swam back down deep, as we thought “at least we were doing something right.” Our next bite was an interesting one. Since we are using circle hooks, if you set them correctly the fish sometimes can seem as if she doesn’t know she is hooked. That’s what we believe happened in this case. Dave Murphy picks up our light spinning rod and begins reeling this fish straight in to the boat “This one may not be any bigger than yours Jack.” And let’s welcome the second “ugh” of the day. Only until this fish finally feels a good tug towards the boat, and she took off. She went from one side of the boat to another, and down deep taking plenty of line back with her. The sound of that reel was exactly what we needed to hear.
Dave plays the fish perfectly as she executed another full run, and a shorter one immediately after. Through his constant pressure and patience, he was able to pull the fish along side and we were able to get her in the boat. This was a much better fish at 42”, the laughs and the smiles said it all. This was a solid fish to bring in, so we packed her up though we knew we needed bigger to pull out a win.
Here comes the third and final “ugh”. Our 90hp Yamaha engine original to the Montauk decides I don’t have reverse anymore and is sticking on its way into forward. Out as far as we are we did not want to test what this engine had left. Once we were able to get the boat back into forward at 8:30am we started our limp back home. We arrive back at the Pier 6 dock to weigh in our fish at 11:10am, and had to sit and wait to see what everyone else brought in. Turns out the winning fish was 46”, and there were seven boats who landed and weighed in Striped Bass between 42”-46”; a very competitive tournament for this early in the season. For what we were given and the time we had I believe we made the most of it. The Whaler is now out of the water and will be back just in time for July 4th with a new 90hp Evinrude Etec. Until then it seems like everything will be from shore for us.
This was a great tournament and we cannot wait to get back next year for a shot to win.