The Log of a Legend June 1979 and June 1980
By Vito Orlando
FULL ON THE 10TH OF JUNE 1979************
From My Diary Entry’s June 1979 And June 1980
Cape Cod with Jerry Bernard June 12th to June 19th 1979-
June 12, 1979-Met Tony and was told that fishing was very slow. That night we fished Nauset Beach. Tide was outgoing-We fished until early morning and only had 3 bass but all 3 were better than 25 lbs. I had a 29 & 25. Jerry had a 28lb bass. Used 7” Red Fins, and Rebels with yellow or black teasers. All fish on plugs. We shipped 82 lbs of bass.
June 13, 1979- Fished Orleans going from Point to Point. Again, very slow. We had only 4 bass for the night but I had one that went 42lbs. Jerry had a 27lb bass and two bluefish. Again, all fish on plugs. Wind: Approx. SW . Tide outgoing and incoming. Shipped 117lbs of bass and 19 lbs bluefish. Tony fished his boat at Nauset and had 8 bass up to 24 lbs. They also had 21 bluefish. They used Live Eels and 7” Plugs when bluefish arrived.
June 14, 1979-Fished Orleans going from point to point and Pleasant Bay. The Bay was loaded with Big Sand Eels. They would scatter and jump when you placed lights on them. We had a total of 11bass this night, 3 while doing points and 8 in Pleasant Bay. Largest Bass I had was 19lbs. Jerry had a 14lb bass. Fish taken on Darters and 5” Hell Cats. We shipped 134 lbs of bass. Tony fished the boat at Nauset and had only 4 bass up to 19lbs.
June 15, 1979-Fished Pleasant Bay the whole night. Income and Outgoing. We had 18 fish, 9 bass and 9 bluefish. Largest bass was 22lbs by Jerry, I had an 18lb bass. I had one blue that was 11 lbs. Place was Loaded with Sand Eels but few fish on them . We shipped 108 lbs of bass and 84 lbs bluefish. All fish on 5” Red Fins and Yellow Hell cats and or yellow teasers. Tony fished the points and had 2 bass. Largest was 30 lbs even.
June 16, 1979- Fished Pleasant Bay again the entire night. We had 7 bass and 11 bluefish. Largest bass was 23lbs that I had. Jerry managed a 14lb bass. I had the Largest Bluefish, it was 15 lbs. Again, Bay loaded with Sand Eels and very few fish on them. Water seemed to be a little cold. All fish on 5” red fins. Tony was telling us that the fish have not arrived in force yet. He did not fish last night. We shipped 92 lbs of bass and 101 lbs bluefish.
June 17, 1979-Fished Pleasant Bay-We managed only one fish apiece. Largest bass was 11lbs. We then fished the points at Orleans and Jerry had the only bass of 16lbs. Only 3 fish for the entire night. May be due to wind change?? Tony tells us it’s a late spring. He did not fish last night. All fish on 5” Red Fins/Darters. We did not go to market. We stayed on Beach. Saw Bottom Fisherman using Sand eels as bait and only saw two bass both of which were about 20 lbs ea. Some of these guys set out 5 or 6 rods. They use Worms, Sand Eels, Squid, clams etc on each rod. They cover all facets. They also take up a lot of room on the beach. They will place a Sand Spike in the sand without a rod and tell you that’s their spot. We did not fish near them. The entire afternoon we only saw 6 bass caught by the bottom guys. These guys fish all day, sleep all night. Vacation time I guess. They get a 3 day beach pass and when they leave the beach they ship their fish. They all have Very, Very Large coolers and some of them have several. Most are pretty good guys and will share a limited amount of info with you. They are not like the pluggers who rarely tell you anything or if they do will send you to the wrong place.
June 18, 1979-Fished Nauset Inlet. Had 4 bass between us. Largest I had was 26lbs. Jerry had a 23. I also had two more of 11 and 9 lbs. No bluefish. Tony fished at Head of The Meadow and had three bass largest 22lbs. We shipped a total of 105 lbs bass incl from last night.
June 19, 1979-Fished Paumet River- We haven’t fished here in two years. Bill and Artie usually do good here in the fall. We had 11 bass to 17lbs. All fish on 5” Red Fins or Yellow Feather Teasers. Jerry had the largest at 17lbs. River was loaded with Sand Eels but very few fish on them. Tide outgoing. We shipped 97 lbs bass.
This had been a poor week compared to last year. Regulars are saying its a late season. We met one guy who told us that there were no bass in Nantucket either. It must be a late season. Our Totals for the week. 61 Bass largest by me 42lbs. and 22 Bluefish to 15lbs. We received 7 checks totaling $1723. Market up do to late season. Tony told us that you can get an idea how fishing really is by trying to look at the checks when visiting the Co-op to ship. If you can get the girl or guy to show you some of the checks waiting to be picked up you will know who is catching or not. If they let you view the checks they expect a tip. Many of the regulars who are not locals, get Post Office Boxes and then open Bank Accounts. They have their checks mailed to the Post Office Box and then cash them at the local bank where their account is. This way no one can know how you are doing. No one really talks to you. They say hello or just wave then at night they do not want to know you. They try all kinds of tricks. Some will intentionally create drag marks from the surf to their buggy. However, they did not catch the bass there but somewhere else. You see the drag marks so you think they had the fish at that spot. You return at night and cannot find them. Others will get the remains of a dead or filet bass and dig a hole near their buggy. They will burry most of the skeleton and then purposely expose part of the tail just for you to see. Now you will think they buried some fish so no one will see them. Again, return to that spot at night and you will never find them. These guys can stay on the beach for 3 days at a time. If you leave you have to stay off for 48 hours so they all have several Huge Fish Boxes and everywhere you look you can see a cooler. Some have as many as 8 or 9 coolers and it depends upon the size of their truck. One cooler is just filled with ice. Some have chase vehicles. They park the camper at one spot and use the little chase vehicle to fish another spot. The more we fish here the more we learn.
**Post Notes from my Recap at end of season. This year was one of the worst years in a long time at the Cape. Even in the Fall when Artie and Bill went they only had a few bass each. I also heard from Pat Abate that Chuttyhunk and the Vineyard did poorly also. The Derby had very few decent bass entered. I know that Nantucket did not produce as it had for us each fall since 1971. Seven of us had a total of 58 bass and 136 bluefish in 10 days of fishing. Load of sand eels in Warrens Landing, Eel Point and Madaget but no bass on them. Montauk was a bust. I only fished it three times in Sep and Oct as there was very few bass and you had to be there when they were. Democrat Pt and Gilgo areas had bluefish pretty much throughout the season. Caumsett had few weakfish and load of bluefish. I only had two bass there the entire year and others didn’t do much better.
NEW MOON ON JUNE 11, 1980***************
Cape Cod-June 11th to 17th 1980-Jerry Bernard, Ski an I
June 11, 1980- We fished Orleans and in the back at Pleasant Bay. We had 6 bass up to 28lbs. Bass taken on Darters, and 7” Red Fins. They did not take the teasers. Largest of the night was a 28lb by me. Ski got skunked. He could just not hook up. Tide was outgoing off of the moon. There were about 7 other guys fishing. We did about the best as we only saw 5 other bass caught. Jerry & I shipped 122 lbs.
June 12, 1980-Fished Pleasant Bay- Used 5 “ Red Fins and Hell Cats. We had 17 bass between us. Largest by Ski was 19 lbs. He had just one fish. Largest bass for me was only 12 lbs. Jerry had an 18. Fish were picky. Plenty of spearing and Sand Eels. Some bass taken on yellow feather teasers. Jerry & I shipped 16 bass for 177 lbs.
June 13, 1980-Fished Orleans then Pleasant Bay. We had 5 bass between us for the night. I had one 22lbs at Orleans while fishing points and another at Pleasant Bay. Jerry had 3 bass and Ski got skunked. All bass taken on plugs. My 22 was on Darter Yellow. Plenty of bait at Pleasant Bay. Fish were there but were picky again. We shipped 71 lbs of bass.
June 14, 1980-Fished Nauset Beach Bar. We did not get a bass. Went to Orleans and Jerry had one bass 36 lbs on one of the points. He used a 7” Red Fin. That was the only bass of the night. I did manage one small bluefish. Did not see any bait. Did not go to Co-0p.
June 15, 1980-Fished Orleans. Going from Point to Point. We had 5 bass for the night. Jerry had 4 and I had one. Mine was 21 lbs. Ski got skunked. He is just beginning to fish so he has a lot to learn. He works with Jerry and wanted to come with us. All fish on 7” Red Fins. No bait seen. Moon was on Down Side. We shipped 97 lbs of bass including from yesterday. Things are looking pretty grim. All we spoke to say the same. That last year may not have been an off year. We are seeing a decline of quality fish. Frank Daingault told us that he has never seen it so bad. He may not be truthful though. Guys tell us he would not tell his mother if he had bass. Maybe so, but there seems to be a lack of bass. That night Ski and I got the munchies so we made Peanut Butter And Jelly Sandwiches and somehow managed to spill Jelly all over Jerry’s Truck. Had a hard time cleaning it up and when Jerry sat on some Jelly he became more than a little annoyed. However, I never ever heard him raise his voice. He later laughed it off but made us clean up the mess. He had banned Peanut Butter And Jelly from his buggy.
June 16, 1980-We fished Balston Beach and Head Of The Meadow. Had a total of 11 bass between us. I had 6 and Jerry had 4. Ski got the other. I had the largest at 21lbs. We took bass on 7” Red Fins and some on the teasers. Between Jerry and I we shipped 10 bass 141 lbs of bass. We had to move around to find fish. Very slow this year.
June 17, 1980-Fished Balston Beach and Head Of The Meadow. We had 9 bass between us. Jerry was hi hook with 6 up to 15 lbs. I had 2 about the same size. Ski had one. All fish taken on 7” Red Fins. They did not touch the teasers. Water was starting to get dirty with weed. Jerry & I shipped 8 bass for 111 lbs. It has been a pretty bad year so far. No bass at home and no bass to speak of at the Cape. I called The Doc on Nantucket and he tells me to stay put as there is very little doing. Totals for the Week: Between Jerry and I we had 51 Bass Largest was 36 Lbs. We received 6 checks totaling $1269.99.
Recap-This was a pretty slow year for the second season in a row. The Cape and Nantucket were worse than last year. Very few bass around. The fish seem to be getting scarce. Some fishing Chuttyhunk and The Vineyard report very poor fishing. Some say it’s over fishing, others pollution and still others say Normal Cycle. Whatever the reason, all agree that the fishing is real bad. I had only 14 bass fishing local. All total for the year I had 46 bass including Cape Fish, and Rhode Island Fish from Pat’s boat. I did have over 120 Bluefish and 28 Weakfish to salvage a dismal year. Due to family obligations I could not get out as much as I would have liked. Guys who did were also disappointed.
****Footnote: During the fall of 1980, I finally realized that my good friend John Fritz was correct in his thinking that bass stocks were in a serious decline. It was then that I started to release every striped bass that I caught. As of this day, I have only kept two fish since that fall back in 1980. After becoming caught up in the dollars and cents thoughts of those days I ran with it. I had a job and did not need the money to survive. However, just as many others did, I saw dollar signs. My thoughts were that there was no end to the Populations Of Striped Bass. I soon would be proven wrong. Most of us pushed ourselves to get just one more fish regardless of how exhausted we were. Dollars and Cents ruled our thoughts. Today, it is different and I no longer fish for the market. There are still those amongst us who Pin Hook but as long as it is legal I will not look down on them. After all, I was in their shoes or should I say waders 29 years ago. Today I fish for my own enjoyment and could less if someone gets a larger or more bass than I do. As I say, there are thousands of better fishermen than I am but not one of them enjoys it more. Take What The Surf Gives You And Enjoy It.
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