I remember starting to feel a little nervous as we trudged along the Vineyard Sound side of the Elizabeth Islands towards Woods Hole. We had enjoyed a beautiful flat calm morning, but now the prevailing summer southwest breeze had kicked up to over 20 knots.
What that translated into was a steady diet of 2-4 foot waves. 2-4 foot waves does not present much of a problem for many larger, deep V vessels, however at the time we were stuck in a small, flat bottom Carolina Skiff. Believe me when I tell you that 2-4 foot waves in a small, flat bottom skiff is an absolute nightmare.
It took us a good 5 hours to reach Woods Hole. Unfortunately the tide was running against the wind, which created even scarier sea conditions. Whenever a strong tide or current is running against a stiff breeze, sea conditions worsen and the potential for standing waves and abnormally large waves increases.
With life jackets securely fastened we entered some of the worst sea conditions I have ever experienced. If we were lucky the skiff would ride up the face of a wave and down the backside without any problem. However every 30 seconds or so we’d hear a large bang! as the flat bottom hull caught a wave the wrong way. This of course resonated through the entire skiff and crew, throwing everyone off balance and drenching my father, myself and my friend Jason with sea water.
Finally after 6 hours of trudging along we reached Green Harbor in Falmouth. Our 3 hour tour had turned into a day long trek back to safety. We had successfully missed baseball practice and given my mom quite the scare. It had been one of my first Vineyard Sound fishing experiences, and needless to say I was not terribly eager to fish the area again anytime soon.
However I knew that Vineyard Sound produced a lot of big bass. I was 14 or 15 years old at the time and I was determined to get in on the incredible fishing I had read and heard about. During this time the chum and chunk and yo-yo bite off the Vineyard was in full swing. A family friend of ours would torment me with incredible stories about acres of big bass, slurping down chunks of pogie with such aggression and vigor that you could literally “hear them slurping” once the bite got going.
Of course at the time I had absolutely no idea how to catch striped bass chunking or yo-yoing. I still consider myself a rookie chunker and I have never caught a bass yo-yoing. Yet there is something exciting about fishing a completely new area via a completely new technique.