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Spring Report Mid May 2016:
Greetings from the sandbar once again! Downeast Charters has been under the gun to make up for lost time this spring. Our trusty ROS 24 has undergone a major refit this winter courtesy of Billy
Sartini and his trusty crew at Coastal Boatworks in Tiverton, RI. Billy and his late brother built my boat in the mid 90's and it was really cool to return to his shop and talk boats. We rebuilt the transom, added a custom bracket and swim platform, as well as a slick battery and cable compartment. The boat is now safer, rides better, and is over 27' in length. Still have a couple minor things to finish her off but I'm more than excited to get fishing.
So let's talk fishing. I have been out a few times in the last week scouting all the early season spots around Chatham armed with a light spinning setup and a topwater bait. Everywhere I've been has had fish. Mostly small schoolies but a few decent ones mixing in. Stage Harbor has been productive from Oyster
pond to CYB docks as well as Barnhill landing. Around the corner, Battlefield mooring field has been awesome with some voracious topwater strikes. Up in the Mill Pond, pogies are everywhere with lots of small fish when the seals aren't on them. The weather station holds fish below the stairs on Morris Island. Harding's, Red River, and Buck's Creek have all been productive. Bottom line, get out there now from shore because as the water temp creeps up these fish will push out of the harbors. On the north side, the herring run at Ryder's has been OK, but not on fire. Bassing harbor and the Crow's Pond narrows has been good, as well as the Strong Island Channel. As long as the water is moving you will find fish. Water temps throughout Pleasant Bay are already nearing 60. Sea Bass season opened on 5/21 and has been on fire. Jig those jumbos now before they are thinned out. Elsewhere, Cape Cod Bay from the canal to P-Town is now red hot. Surface bites on sandeels, mackerel, and sea herring will get your blood pumping. Here in Chatham, the bite on bigger fish takes longer to develope, but the tradeoff for consistent fishing during the hot summer months is well worth it. I hope everyone out there is well and look forward to seeing you all again this summer. Go fishing! Cheers and Tight Lines, Capt. Drew
Happy May All!
Currently, it's in the low 50's and the rain is pouring down and May looks more like March. The incredible run of spring weather with light winds and dry conditions has faded into what spring on the
cape is really like--some fog, some dampness, and some wind, and some spring fishing!
This is one of my favorite times of year because everything is progressing and changing daily and one can entertain themselves outside again with such variety. After the lawn mowing, and the dump runs, and the garage cleaning, I usually throw a rod in the back of the truck and go for a ride. So what's going on around Chatham?
alot. I tried my hand at jigging squid in Stage Harbor over the last three weeks or so and what a riot! They were in pretty thick at times and one night, a buddy and myself got close to 40lbs of these critters (personal best). Ernie Eldredge and the crew that sets up and maintains the historical weirs off Harding's Beach have started fishing again and have had good amounts of Pogies, Mackerel, Squid, and some Scup and Seabass have started to mix in. If you want to catch small Stripers the time is now. Small Sluggos, Deceiver flies, and topwater poppers have been ravaged lately by some of the smallest stripers I have ever seen. These little guys are probably making the first trip up the coast to migrate, are most likely about 3 years old, and are a great sign of a year class success and good fishing in our future! Try Barnhill Landing, Mitchell River Bridge and Hardings Beach. Over in Cape Cod Bay, guys are live-lining mackerel and catching that first run of keeper-size fish outside of Barnstable Harbor. I think a few days of southwest wind and sun will bring that first run of bigger fish into Chatham. My boat is in Stage Harbor as of 5/7 and starting my season commercial Seabass fishing in Nantucket Sound this month. Will this weather, looks like my first day out will be Sunday.
I hope this email finds everyone in good spirits and health, and as excited about the summer months ahead as I am. Shrug off the chores and get outside, and at the end of the day come check in with me at the Squire!
Have a great day and see you soon.
Tight Lines! Capt. Drew
JUNE 6th Report
Hi All! Hope everyone had a great Memorial Day weekend and had a chance to relax, reflect, and maybe wet a line!
Just got back from a trip today to some waters to the south of us here in Chatham. Beautiful day after a string of cold, dark, windy days here to begin the month. The east wind had been howling and that means colder water and slow progress for migratory Striped Bass. Left Saquatucket Harbor in Harwich on my buddy's 34' Duffy to test some areas off of Nantucket. Some 30 miles later we found 49-54 degree water, yet lots of birds and bait and some serious rips making up. Despite the conditions we found some great bass feeding on squid, butterfish, pogies, and sand eels. It was on!
We fished the morning tide using bucktail jigs, rubber squids, and I had a 12 weight flyrod that we put into action. Large herring and squid flies seem to do the trick. What a day. Thanks go out to my buddy Jason and Magellan Charters! We also checked some local waters on the way home and the fish were not there quite yet. Any day now we should see some of this biomass off our rips and outer beach. Hope everyone is doing well and look forward to fishing with you all! Tight Lines- Capt. Drew
Early July Report:
Happy 4th everyone! Hope you all had a day filled with BBQ, beach, and Bass! It's going strong now as the summer pattern is beginning to show and the resident fish of Chatham are getting comfortable in their usual haunts. The water is warm, the sun is shining, and the time to get them is now.
Had a great couple of trips this week with some good friends and familiar faces from Chatham. Both days had calm mornings with a strengthening wind throughout the midday. We were off the dock early and out to the grounds during the best part of the day. Still some squid and butterfish on the move to the south, and sandeels filling the nitch to the east. Couple pics of my guys mastering the vertical jig!
Commercial Striped Bass season starts next Thursday and proceed every Tues-Thurs. each week until quota is reached. I fish the Priority 1 commercially during this time. If you want to grab a charter during these 4 weeks, try to let me know if a Monday or Friday or Sunday work for you. Sounds good! Tight Lines!-Capt. D
Had four great guys from the Albany area out on the boat today. Sunny skies, light west wind and unlimited visibility made for a dream day on the water. Now, if only we could find some action!
These guys bent some rods for the better part of the morning with a mix of bass and blues and the occasional party-crashing dogfish. What a day. Thanks again guys- Capt. D
7/23 Ladies Day!
Had a great day on the boat today with 4 lovely ladies. These girls knew how to laugh, relax, and FISH! We cruised for the morning and checked out the inshore seal population, the commercial fish pier, and Lighthouse Beach. As the tide started to move, so did the fish. Checked a couple spots and then we found them. Total blast. Thanks ladies!!
Commercial Bass Season
We just wrapped up the Massachusetts' Commercial Bass season aboard the Priority 1 this past Wednesday. Some thoughts from the four week season:
Hot and Cold! This season was very different from the last in that there were days of glorious, borderline absurd fishing where everything you threw at them worked, as well as days of maddening solitude and lock-jawed fish. It would change day by day and hour by hour like this at times, very strange and no real pattern or tide influence to it. Last year was lights out.
Wild Weather! Hail, Microbursts, and even Funnel Clouds were sighted. One evening it blew 60 mph as the leading edge of a system bore down on Chatham. Multiple small boats were flipped on the ocean, the sound, and in Pleasant Bay. The entrance to Ryder's Cove never looked so inviting! Nobody
was seriously injured thank goodness.
Mixed Bag of Humanity. Sure there were some ass***** out there, but there were plenty of good guys on the water once again this year. You end up communicating and seeing the same boats day after day and you realize that they are taking a similar approach to the day's fishing as you are, or vice versa. Met some nice guys on a Hydrosport called the Dirty Oar, and it was good to see the Free Monomoy, the Mokai,
Jordan and Mikey and many others.
Everybody got their fish if they put the time in. You had to wait them out. We had a couple of off days but all in all it was a good season. Finished strong with a +500lbs day at the closing bell. Love being part of the madness for four weeks a year and it's ok when its over as well. The fish deserve a much needed break from heavy pressure. Have some midweek dates available for charters the next couple of weeks. Be in touch and Tight Lines! -Capt. Drew
Just got back from a morning trip with Tom on the Priority 1. Light winds, perfect temps, and sunshine made for a great day on the water. The fishing this past week has slowed down a bit as we wade through the dog days of summer. We found fish right away but the lack of tide was working against us. We threw the kitchen sink at them but they were reluctant at best. Tom had the right mindset and we stayed upbeat and patient and when the fishing turned on we were ready. We caught bass on diamond jigs and the tube and worm was working as well for other anglers. We even had a suprise visitor, a rare Bonito on the ocean side! Was a great trip, thanks again Tom! Tight Lines- Capt. D
The weather has been fickle out here on the sandbar this month. Beautiful, then windy, then REALLY windy, and now dark and gray with late fall hues. I'm not ready for winter yet and neither are the fish!
So whats going on? Bass are starting to move to the south but the bite continues on. Guys are having banner days Tuna fishing to the east and us inshore guys are having a blast with our late season warm water visitors: False Albacore, Bonita, and the occasional Spanish Mackerel. Albies are most prevelant and the last two weeks have been outstanding from Buzzard's Bay out to us in Chatham. Make sure you wet a line and try to grab these guys before they go. Tight Lines! Capt. D
10/18 Winding Down...
Greetings all! Checking in as the season winds down. Sadly, mother nature has been fickle this last 5 weeks or so and the wind has been howlin'. The few times we've been out have been great but the fish are in transition/migration mode and all it takes is a few days of north wind to send them south. With that said, it's not over quite yet. Offshore, guys have still been grinding at the Bluefin Tuna bite. The brave souls head 90-130 miles out to George's Bank and the inshore guys head to famous local spots such as the Regal Sword, the BB Buoy, and Crab Ledge to name a few. Had an opportunity to hop aboard a great friend's boat this week and we had a blast SE of Nantucket looking for Giant BF Tunas. We didn't get the class fish we were looking for but we did boat 9 Tuna up to 100lbs. Great fun and alot of action for an offshore day trip.
I want to thank everybody for their input this summer and look forward to my second year at the helm of Downeast Charters. I'm going to continue to put time and energy into it and remember how lucky we are to have this resource at our fingertips here in Chatham. Remember, the best way to make the winter fly by is to tell tall-tales of the one that got away--or the one that didn't! Thanks again everyone and wish me luck Bay Scalloping as I turn the Priority 1 into a shellfish barge for the next couple of months. Tight Lines and check in when you get a chance. Cheers- Capt. D
Late Winter (Early Spring!!) Check-In 3/13...
Hi all! As we are poised to set the clocks ahead this weekend and there are signs of life returning to the back yard here in Chatham, a cautious very merry spring to you all. It has been a tough winter for many of us here in the Northeast weather wise. Blizzard conditions, Hurricane force winds and shots of cold air has had us all hunkered down. Hope that this report finds you in good shape and that you weren't terribly affected. One bright spot from all this wild weather is the new south cut here in Chatham. During the blizzard, storm surge and high winds washed over a section of beach about a mile south of Chatham Light. It has remained open, widened, and deepened since then and that has alot of mariners excited! A new navigable waterway in Chatham that has the potential to provide easy access from the sound to the Atlantic. So what does this mean for fishermen? In my opinion, cold water and bait will open things up for us in an area where the flats fishing will be outstanding starting in early June. Also, Downeast Charters will have additional options for day trips and fishing grounds. Pretty exciting stuff.
So what else is going on these days? Never too soon to break out your fishing gear and start the process of cleaning, greasing, and bringing your gear back into shape. Over the last
month I've been sharpening hooks, cleaning reels, tying saltwater flies, and working on the boat. Here's a couple pics of gear including some must-have jigs for the spring and early summer. Note the St. Paddy's Special!
Alright, back to the grind. In 5 or 6 weeks we should start seeing squid return to local waters and my season begins. For those of you who have never been bottom fishing in Nantucket Sound in May, get a hold of me. It's an absolute blast, great for kids, and the action can be red hot for Sea Bass, Tautog, and Scup. Sea Bass might be favorite fish to eat. Any questions about your gear, boat, etc. don't be afraid to send me an email. I would love to hear from you. Cheers and Tight Lines! Capt. Drew
Greetings once again and a belated happy Memorial Day and start of summer to you all. Hope this report finds everyone in good spirits and health and ready for the best time of year to be on the water on Cape Cod.
First off, big news and thank you to everyone who was kind enough to already wish us well, my wife and I are now proud parents of a beautiful 9.1 lbs baby girl, Isla Grace Downing. We caught a keepah! Mom and baby are doing well and I now have even a more profound respect for parents out there everywhere. God Bless Ya! Anyways, haven't been on the water as much as I would like and that accounts for the truency in my spring reports. I did get out there a bunch this last week and there is alot going on around Chatham.
Bass and Bluefish are making a big push easterly through Nantucket Sound this week with the sun and southwest winds. Sighted schools of fish on the flats and on top from Saquatucket to Cockle Cove and Hardings Beach. Fish are present on West Monomoy and at the new break as well. Plenty of bait out there with small Sandeels and Pogies at the Stage Harbor Cut and dropback Herring at the mouth of the runs. Water temps are coming up quick with this heat and bigger fish will be showing up in better numbers daily. Pleasant Bay has also been good with decent numbers of fish sighted at Minister's Point and the Strong Island channels. Grab a rod, pick a sunny day, and cast to them while they're in the shallows. Don't forget the fluorocarbon for leader material!
Trips are booking up for late June-early July. If you or your friends want to fish in and around the July 4th week, let me know as soon as you can. Cheers and Tight Lines! Captain Drew
Fishing has been solid in Chatham this week. Spots to the south are fishing well including Handkerchief, Monomoy Point, Stone Horse, and Pollack's. West tide is producing bass and big blues at Point Rip and fish are still feeding on squid and sandeels. Drifting through the rips, trolling the leading edge, and dropping baits back have all been effective. Nantucket Sound has slowed down as has the bite in the harbors. Pleasant Bay is still holding fish. Now is the time to grab a date as we have had consistent action. Happy 4th of July to you all and get outside! Tight Lines-Capt. Drew
Week of 7/4/13