Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Fishing in Lubec with two Skippers! Holy mackerel!

OK, I'm anchored here at Vessup Bay (at the east end of St Thomas) to do some shopping and get ready for Cynthia to arrive late today. I hear rain pouring down on the boat, but here in the stuffy warmth of the cabin I stay nice and dry while sipping my morning cup of coffee: I hope my sail to the airport works well, but there is not much wind.

So.... back to captain Skip Harris in Maine. Cynthia and I rented the Lubec cottage in ME this year, just the two of us and her two dogs. She has missed fishing this summer and, given that I was nicknamed “Skipper” at age two for my eagerness to be on the water, could not resist chartering a day of fishing with another “Skip Harris”.

We met the captain and his deck hand early in the morning and set out. All their rods were rigged identically, with four jigs on each one, potentially allowing us to pull up four fish at a time. Skip guaranteed us mackerel and a good chance of other fish. I think we assumed that these local experts would tell us how to fish and what sort of fish we might hook in each area, but not really. We started out catching mackerel...

And not much else..

By the end of the day, I had formed a mental model: picture the fifty to hundred-and-fifty feet of water below the boat. Picture clouds of hungry mackerel everywhere. Picture occasional/rare other fish.... OK, got that picture? Apparently, the way to fish is to drop your line FAST through the mackerel schools and hope that, perhaps on 2% to 5% of your attempts, you pull up something other than a mackerel. But....we didn't know..

So, after several hours, we had caught four sculpin
(including one that grabbed Cynthia's SINKER rather than her hook, but still held on even while she held it aloft), a single herring,
a single cod
(I had never seen a live cod before...and this one was under the legal size limit), and many many mackerel. Once we even caught two mackerel on the same hook!

Downsides? Well, if we had realized the fish were going to be 98% mackerel, we would have made it a half-day rather than a full-one. And I like getting fish on ice right away: for the price of the charter I wish they had brought ice... it probably would have added another few days onto their fridge life.

Upsides? The day was truly beautiful, bright, and nearly windless. The seagulls crowded us in search of small injured mackerel we threw back and the treats we tossed in while cleaning the larger ones. The rugged coast and the cool air were delightful. And we both caught enough fish to go home satisfied.


  1. That picture of the 2 mackerel at once looks so funny. Andrew and o went fishing from Chatham and caught only dogfish.

    1. I love catching dogfish/sandsharks: no spines, no slime! Too bad they aren't as tasty as striped bass.