This year C.J. Victoria had a great season. We started our season this spring by traveling 2-2.5 hours offshore to the Cod and Haddock fishing grounds. This was a much longer run to the fishing grounds than we have been doing in the past but fishing was fantastic. We ended up loading the boat with cod and haddock on every offshore trip. The only difficulty was weather. Since these trips are so far offshore, the weather has to be good. Fresh or Frozen fresh clams were the bait of choice for us on these trips.
The Striped Bass in Boston harbor were more consistent this year than the past few years. Earlier in the season the fish were feeding on small live bait with plenty of surface activity. Casting artificial lures into the school was more difficult this year than last year. The bass were so focused on the bait balls that they were feeding on that they weren’t interested in most offerings casted into them. We fished live bait around the schools which produced very well. A couple of times we fished artificial baits and struggled to hook up.
As the summer went along the surface bite disappeared even though there was still massive amounts of bait in the harbor. We typically fish Pogies for live bait, but when we did this the bass seemed to be uninterested in Pogies (Menhaden). So we continued to chase the live mackerel for bait which in turn lead to fishing success. At times we switched to chunking and chumming. This technique was more of a hit or miss for fishing success. We think that the reason the chunk and chumming bite was sporadic is due to two factors. First the Pogies didn’t come into Boston Harbor in large numbers. Without the pogies, the bluefish didn’t come into the harbor in large numbers. I can’t figure out the relationship. Is it the lack of pogies or the lack of bluefish pushing pogies into the harbor. I can tell that without the bluefish feeding and creating chunks in the water, the bass weren’t looking for chunk baits. The bass were still focused on live bait.
One of the big signals that we saw this year for fishing success was the moon phase. Fishing anytime before or after the full moon was great. We did notice that a day or two on or around the full moon before or after made fishing more challenging. I can’t figure out the fish behavior around the full moon, but I do know that the moon affects their behavior. This hasn’t happened every year, but we did notice it this year.
The fall Striped Bass bite never exploded like it has in the past. The surface bite was spotty at best. Fishing was good in certain spots but not in others and the fishing area narrowed to a few small areas. Some of our spots and drifts that we fished all season remained good, but became difficult when fishing pressure from other boats who weren’t hooking up moved in and notice we were. The mackerel was still in the harbor in the fall which is very rare. Having the mackerel as bait was the key to success. One of the reasons why we think the mackerel stayed in Boston Harbor was due to the lack of Bluefish moving in.
Thank you to all who joined us this season.