Current Waters - Tuna Time

Captain Carl Bois •

Current Waters

Striped bass fishing is still holding strong in all the usual spots you enjoy fishing them. Bluefish fishing is still solid in the rips and also scattered about in flat water. Bird activity is a clue to their location. The ones on the flat water seem to be pretty active on topwater. There are still a good variety of bait around which helps keep things local.

We had some mackerel pop up in a rip edge with some stripers the other day. It was a real exciting moment - National Geographic kind of stuff. One of the bass we caught has a mackerel twitching in its mouth that was still alive. We were able to pull it out of its mouth and both were able to swim away!

Fluke is nothing to write home about but there are some out there and people are getting them. They are always worth a little extra time and effort because they taste so damn good.

Black sea bass seem to be hit or miss right now; one day they’re around and the next they’re not.

Tuna Time

It’s here. We had our first tuna charter of the season this week and we kicked it off with success as have other charter boats on island. We have a great fishery and great captains out here on Nantucket. The smaller tuna that you can keep for recreational fishery, sometimes called “football tuna” are great for sharing. Tuna poke, ceviche, sashimi, sushi rolls. We plan on enjoying some of the bounty right now as I’m writing this. Have a tuna steak “walk across the grill’ for a seared outside and raw center to dip in dynamite sauce or light soy sauce. Perfect for a summer BBQ or beach picnic. In recent years, the tuna fishery has been outstanding. If you can get out, it’s a good time to check that off your bucket list.

From fishing and now to boats…Tooling around the mooring fields or walking the docks downtown, people love to comment on boat names. Some named after women (wives, mothers, daughters, and others of unknown origin). Many are silly puns about fishing, booze, or relaxing (Shipface, Vitamin Sea, etc.). There are a few with Latin names for various fish species. On Nantucket we don’t get too many outrageous boat names, but it’s still fun to poke around and see what people have come up with.

Coast Guard rules ban certain words in the naming of boats, even though it may not seem like it sometimes. These are the specific guidelines for boat naming, “The name may not be identical, actually or phonetically, to any word or words used to solicit assistance at sea; may not contain or be phonetically identical to obscene, indecent, or profane language, or to racial or ethnic epithets.”

Naming a boat is like naming a child except that you don’t want to have the same name as anyone else. Since watercrafts are identified by hull number officially, two boats can have the same name, but it’s best to try and avoid it in your home port. Short and sweet is best especially considering putting the name on the hull itself. Traditionally, mariners believed that the right name would bring luck to the sailors for the journey and for the fishing.

In the early 1800s maritime law required that each ship be identified with boards bearing their name. After the War of 1812, many privateers became pirates and the government wanted to protect legitimate ships. The signs with the ship’s name were placed on the ship’s stern and along the quarter panel of the bow– hence the name quarterboards. In later years, with the decline of whaling many of the ship quarterboards were removed and were displayed on island houses, thus beginning the tradition of names on Nantucket homes. Today, people with quarterboards might have a different name for their house and their boat, if they have one.

I’ve been asked more than a few times about how Topspin got its name. As with many things in the maritime tradition, there is superstition about changing a boat name and that it may be bad luck. I wasn’t the first owner of Topspin, so I didn’t pick it, but I did choose to keep it. The original Nantucket owner also inherited the name from the boat when he bought it. Maybe we’re all a little superstitious, but the name sure has been lucky for us.

Fish on!

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