Current Waters: Striper Fishing On Fire

Capt. Carl Bois •

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Thank you stripers! The striper fishing is still outstanding. We’re getting a lot of stripers with top water action. When that doesn’t work a little sub-surface presentation seems to go a long way. Not only do we like stripers, but the sharks do too! On a charter earlier this week, the Althea K had a shark come right up to the boat and decide to feast on a striper the clients were retrieving. It doesn’t happen all the time but it’s always exciting when it does.

Alright, back to the fishing report. The bluefish are still disappointing. We’re catching some, but we really hope that a big push of bluefish comes in any day now.

There are still a lot of squid of multiple sizes around. It seems the ones the bass spit up are of the smaller size.

Brian with Absolute Sport Fishing caught a bonito out at Great Point a few days ago so they’re around. They’ve been caught all around the island at this point from boat and beach. You just never know what you’re going to get.

We saw our first sunfish, or mola mola, on Thursday. It’s no surprise since there have been a lot of jellyfish. The mola mola are always a cool sight on the water.

We’re having a great time on the water, we’re catching fish. But nothing is doing what we’re used to them doing. The black sea bass aren’t really around right now. The tuna bite has been good but not as consistent. Water temps are kind of all over the place. It’s just a weird season. It’ll be interesting to see how it all unfolds.

Besides “where are the fish,” one question I get a lot is about my boat. Topspin now is a 35-foot Terry Jason which means it was built by a boat builder named Terry Jason. It’s in the style of a Downeast hull.

In New England, there are generally two styles of charter boats: Downeast boats and center consoles. Different styles work for different purposes and types of water.

The Downeast boat style is one well-suited for the waters around the island and offshore. These boats are rugged and dependable; built to withstand the temperamental conditions of the Atlantic Ocean. As you may guess, they hail from Maine, but are popular throughout the northeast. The hull style was designed originally for the lobster fishery.

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The basic parts of the design, which originated over a century ago, are the same today with only modernized changes depending on the boat’s intended purpose and the money available for extras. The typical Downeast boat design boasts a semi-displacement hull, a sharp bow, and a big, flat aft (or rear) section. This combination offers both stability in rough seas and efficiency in calm waters. The traditional nature of the boat hull is a testament to the rich maritime traditions that shaped it.

The boat design was practical and efficient for those working on the water with little means. The original hulls were built with wood from the surrounding areas in coastal New England because that was what was available (primarily oak and cedar). Today there is a lot of fiberglass but the traditional Yankee pride in efficiency and minimalisms prevails. Downeast boats are not just functional; they are a symbol of New England craftsmanship. Despite the change in material, the emphasis on handcrafted quality never waned.

Downeast boats were originally workboats. The big aft was designed for lobster pots which could be stacked up and still have room to maneuver around the deck. Today, we have space for coolers, anglers, and even a few bean bags. This area makes a comfortable spot so now some people who buy these hulls use them as cruisers, research boats, sport-fishers, and workboats of all types. I like having the whole stern wide open to fish from versus having outboards in the way. Especially with clients and lots of people reeling in fish. These boats are dry and comfortable even in adverse conditions. Staying warm and dry helps extend my season from early cold spring to late chilly fall.

Topspin was built by Terry Jason who came from a multigenerational boat-building family in Maine. This cool article talks about his history of boat building if you’re into that stuff like me. He built many different kinds of hulls, but in Steuben, Maine, he built a lot of “lobster style” boats like mine.

It’s important to note that there is no “perfect” boat, but these are pretty close.

And don’t forget that this weekend is the first Jamie Topham Fishing tournament to support the scholarship fund in Jamie’s name June 28-Sunday June 30th. Jamie was a Nantucket firefighter who loved being on the water and casting a line. This tournament honors his memory and helps support the local scholarship fund. Sign-up for the tournament is today from 5-7 m. at Fusaro’s restaurant at 17 Old South Road. Wet lines in at 8 p.m. (June 28th). The tournament ends with a cookout on Sunday at the Admiralty Club.

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