Welcome to another edition of the My Fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast. I'm your host Kevin Collins (cousin of Ryan of MFCC).
Today we interview Jason Colby-MFCC member and captain at Little Sister Charters. You might recognize Jason from some of his posts and reports inside our forum.
Jason been a member of MFCC since 2015. He's been running charters out of Quincy and Westport for many years, fishing for everything from tuna and triggerfish, to tautog and striped bass.
In today's show, we'll focus our conversation on bottom fishing. Topics covered in this podcast include:
You can click play below to listen now, or scroll down to read the transcription of today's chronicles podcast.
Please forgive any typos and grammatical errors, as this transcription was done automatically by a computer program.
Speaker 1 (00:02):
The my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles are brought to you by the goose hammock shops, Cape Cod's largest outdoor outfitter serving new England since 1946. Shop them firstname.lastname@example.org. Welcome to the, my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles, the, my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast profiles, impactful members of our fishing community. And beyond now here's your host, Kevin Collins.
Speaker 2 (00:35):
Hello, and welcome to another edition of the, my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles here from my fishing Cape cod.com. I'm your host, Kevin Collins, back with you for episode number 14 of the MFCC Chronicles. And it's my pleasure to present to you. Captain Jason, Colby of little sister charters. He is going to be our interview subject today. Captain Jason is also a very active member of the MFCC forum. I know a lot of you have exchanged messages with him in the forum before, and he is going to share with us his wealth of knowledge and expertise on bottom fishing, the area we're going to talk a lot about black sea bass. We're going to talk a lot about to tog. We're going to talk about flounder and many other species of fish that you can target on the bottom here around Cape Cod. So let's get right into today's podcast and welcome in our guest captain.
Speaker 2 (01:30):
Jason, how are you? Oh, I'm wonderful. I'm so happy to be here. Where's Mickey mouse. Oh no, wait, I'm sorry. I'm in the wrong place. Uh, I'm confused. Um, right. Uh, Oh yeah. Uh, my efficient Cape Cod. That's my second favorite place next to Disney world. Well, what's going on? We get a real good North wind here. I understand you were out fishing this morning. Is that correct? That is correct. I've got spots where, uh, I'm completely in the Lea. So, uh, you know, Westport's kind of beautiful in that way with any kind of North wind, uh, it's completely protected. So let's dive right into today's show captain Jason, we're going to talk a lot about bottom fishing for Titania, sea bass, flounder and other species. First off. What do you love most about fishing in general in, in bottom fishing in particular? Oh, that's a great question.
Speaker 2 (02:20):
Uh, you know, bottom fishing, first of all, fishing is, is my life. I mean, you have some people fish because they like it. I, I fish because I feel I have to otherwise I don't feel like I'm alive. So, uh, yeah, that's, it's my life. So, uh, I on a way to, uh, to, to make it by living too. So that's a beautiful thing. Um, and bottom fishing in particular, uh, I grew up bottom fishing, so it's kind of like my nature. Uh, and, uh, you know, when I came to Massachusetts in 1998, uh, I noticed that a lot of people, you know, bottom fish, nobody uses chum. And, uh,
Speaker 3 (03:00):
And I try to find a way to incorporate in, into most of the things that I do. So it, it makes it, I believe it makes it more effective, any kind of bottom fishing, uh, or sometimes drumming is, uh, is, is detrimental. And you gotta know when to, when to pull the plug on it, like when there's a lot of SCUP around, uh, just make a mess out of things by, by attracting too many scopes. So you mentioned flounder before, but, uh, with flounder, uh, you know, a lot of times there's crabs present and I found a way to make the crabs, your friends, uh, when it comes to children, you know, by, by using a lobster bait bags and putting clams and lobster bait bags, I'm letting the, letting the crabs chew up the clamps. But anyway, uh, I hope I answered your question not too much, but, uh, adequately.
Speaker 2 (03:48):
Absolutely. Jason. And how did you hear about my fishing Cape Cod?
Speaker 3 (03:52):
A lot of my customers are, uh, are on your website and you have a writer named John Silva who writes for my fishing Cape Cod. And he introduced me to Brian a number of years back. And, uh, I've written a few things. So a little bit of content for the website. I've spoken to some of the, uh, some of the members, uh, on, on the, on the forums there, question and answer. And, uh, and of course, uh, some of the members fish with me.
Speaker 2 (04:19):
Yeah. I was just going to ask you, have you done any trips with my fishing Cape Cod members recently?
Speaker 3 (04:24):
Almost every week. Somebody that's a member of my Christian Cape Cod is on my boat.
Speaker 2 (04:29):
Awesome to hear. And I know you start your season in the spring in generally you're fishing for flounder. Is that correct? Out near Quinsy?
Speaker 3 (04:37):
Yes. Uh, I go, like, I actually start middle of April when, when, uh, the haddock opens up. Uh, and I appreciate it, you know, towards, towards Stellwagen bank, but I have spots where I don't have to go as far as still get bank. And the prevailing wind at that time of the year in April is, uh, is out of the West. Uh, so it kind of flattens things out over there in that area. So even if it's blowing a bit, uh, it's, it's quite fishable. I don't want to bounce anybody out of the boat at any given time, either. You know, it's important to, uh, to fishing, you know, in, in, in relative, uh, I don't know, not, not necessarily comfort and ease, but, uh, at least not be life threatening. Uh, so I feel better about it and the customers feel better about it and so on and so forth.
Speaker 3 (05:31):
And, uh, um, so in the spring water's cold, it feels a bit harder to you had a bump and, uh, uh, you know, it's not the water's not as soft. Um, at least it seems that way. Uh, and, and with the haddock, uh, I give that about a month and then not sometime in may, uh, the flounder starts getting a lot better. Uh, and, uh, I transitioned away from the tech and into the flounder and, you know, sometimes it's, uh, getting a lot of haddock really fast. Uh, you know, it's a good idea to come in and, uh, have people fish for flounder while I'm playing haddock, uh, which is, uh, you know, it makes it a beautiful thing where people can catch boats, races, all right. But, uh, in one trip, um, but, uh, you know, when I switched over to the flounder, I usually try to make the sever to sever the, uh, the ties between the two, because I could really only do, uh, one had a trip in a day.
Speaker 3 (06:32):
Whereas with, uh, with flounder, I can easily do two trips a day. I do a 6:00 AM to 11:00 AM and then doing the 5:00 PM. Uh, so I, I really get a lot of fishing in, uh, and you know, I have a lot of people that come from New York on New Jersey, Pennsylvania. Uh, some of us some as far as, uh, wash DC, Virginia, uh, to, to fish or frown, or, and they usually make it a two day trip and they, you know, they, they, they, they come and they for the afternoon, one day and the morning, the next day. And, uh, you know, so there's a lot of call for a Hunter fishing until I, I need to, to spend a lot of time doing that and putting in a lot of trips.
Speaker 2 (07:11):
So for the folks that may want to, you know, do a flounder charter with you, captain Jason, can you talk a little bit about what a flounder charter is like and the different techniques you'll be using the Ketchum?
Speaker 3 (07:21):
I provide all the bean tackle. Um, I really like to, there's two, two techniques that I use one would be I anchor in shop, right? And when the anchor and Sean me put a, there's a one leader hook and a short leader of both hooks around the bottom, and the short leader hook gets the, uh, gets a piece of clam and along your hook gets a worm, half warm. And so books are on the bottom and the worm is on lonely leader. It goes is further down current, and the fish are approaching into the current. So they see the worm first. Uh, and generally speaking, what happens is, uh, you know, you'll feel a tap and you lift the rod slowly. And when the rig tightens up the fishes, either there is not their efficiency there, you set the hook and start fighting. The fish is efficient.
Speaker 3 (08:09):
There, you disrupt the sinker back down to the bottom. I usually let the people, you know, tell the people you bounce, the sinker just lifted an inch or two off the bottom and then drop it suddenly. And you do that about 10 times really fast and stirs up the mud and found her very curious, they'll come over and see what's stirring up the mud and they find your bait. And what happens is, uh, uh, about, well, several founder over four pounds in some years, some seasons, uh, I've had as many as 20 flounder over four pounds caught on my boat. Uh, last year, only one, or this year only one rather last year, a couple, uh, the, the, the fish have been getting smaller. Um, you know, it's just a trend, uh, because there have been increased, uh, dragger pressure on them. So they just don't get a chance to grow as much anymore.
Speaker 3 (08:59):
Right. Um, but anyway, uh, of the, of the Shober four pounds, and this is, uh, something that you gotta get a visual one over 80% of them have gone to the clamp, which means they got to actually pass by the worm because of they're, they're, they're moving up into the current. So they got to pass by the worm to get at the clam. And yet 80% of the ones who were pounds go for the clam and you get the many more fish on the worm, but there are smaller size on average. Right. Uh, and then the other technique that I use is drifting. So when the conditions are right, like, you know, uh, a moderate wind, not a very heavy wind, uh, reasonable current, or sometimes wind against tide situations where the, where the wind or the tide is going to win, but not significantly.
Speaker 3 (09:46):
All right. Uh, you can get a relatively slow and slow by slow. I mean, between a half a mile, and according to the GPS between a half a mile, an hour at one mile an hour over the ground. Right. And, uh, the flounder will follow the bait and ingest it. All right. And, uh, at that, when I'm doing that, I go with a half warm on the truck, right. Because they're efficient ingest the worm quicker. Right. Whereas the clam would be, you'd be missing a lot of fish. Right. So, uh, and again, it's tapping the bottom, but instead of tapping it 10 times and then letting it shit, you're constantly tapping it. So the sinker is taking little hops over the bottom. And, uh, if you feel anything different than that, I instruct the people. If you feel anything different than the sink or hopping over the bottom, uh, just assume it's a bite lean forward. So the efficient has a chance to get the Baden his mouth, and then lift up on the rod. And the finish there set the hook, if not, just go back to tapping the sinker. Right. Uh, so that's the essence of the two major methods. Of course, there's, uh, many different variations of variables involved, but, uh, that's the basic, uh, two, two different methods that I use.
Speaker 2 (10:56):
Awesome info. I'm going to pivot to a different species here. We're going to talk a little bit about black sea bass during the spring. And that's something that, and that's something that a lot of MFCC members target have no problem targeting during the spring, but for some reason, and a lot of it has to do, I know with water temperature, uh, during the summer and the fall black sea bass is a lot more difficult for the members of my fishing Cape Cod to find and target. And they're looking at all sorts of different areas, also sorts of different water depths. It's just kind of an interesting topic to pick your brain on and between the differences fishing black sea bass in the spring, when everything's kind of bountiful versus the summer and the fall. And do you have any kind of tips for trying to find fishy places for black sea bass outside the spring window?
Speaker 3 (11:46):
Well, first of all, you're only allowed five fish, so I mean, for a person, so it really shouldn't be a big deal of a problem. Being able to get five keeper fish, but if you want really out-sized fish, which is really what, what I try to do, and we get a lot of them, they'll all summer, like, you know, July, August, and, uh, you know, until they shut it down in September, although the charter boards did get an extension this year to, uh, to, uh, October 9th. Um, but that's not usual. Right. Um, I personally do not fish the sea bass for myself and my people in the spring, because I'm up in Quincy. Right. And you have all these fish in buzzards Bay. And, uh, you know, she kind of easy picking, it's like shooting fish in a barrel, but when the fish spread out after they're done spawning, right.
Speaker 3 (12:34):
Um, depending on the water temperature, they'll get deeper structure. And, uh, some of that structure is quite uncomfortable, the fish and you, you snag use a lot of, uh, news, a lot of breaks. Um, and I mentioned chumming before, um, here's where chummy might really come into play. Alright. Uh, you want to get up current of that structure, so you're not actually fishing in the structure, but you're fishing into the structure. Right. And you put a chump pot on the bottom, even if it's in 70 or 80 feet of water, uh, like in, in, in July, uh, you could be fishing in 50 or 60 feet of water in August. You could be fishing and 70 or 80 feet of water or 90 or a hundred feet of water for that matter. Right. Because that's when the, water's the warmest and official for the cooler water, deeper, the deeper structures.
Speaker 3 (13:21):
Right. So, uh, you put the, put the chump out down. And when I'm saying off current of that, I'm talking about 40 or 50 feet, right. Not a couple of hundred feet because you know, you, you can't line it up properly that way anyway. Right. You know, if you're, if you're off by a couple of degrees, you're, you're chumming into a, into not the structure and you're not, and the fish don't even know that you're there, but if you're 40 or 50 feet up current of the structure, you'll have all the fish on that structure right. On your boat. Right. And, uh, again, it's very simple to, uh, we, we usually pick who the fish, uh, don't take anything under 16 inches. Some days, you know, we get half the limit on the boat pretty quick. And then I, I raised the limit to 17 or 18 inches, you know, to finish out the limit.
Speaker 3 (14:09):
Uh, and I noticed that a lot of the people that, that, uh, are members of my fishing Cape, uh, like to jig sea bass and in the spring, when they're splinting, they're very, very, very aggressive. And they're very, very quick to hit the jig. Um, once they're out of that mode, they're more relaxed, uh, and more watery. And they're, they're less likely to hit a jig. Alright, even though you can get them on the jigs when the conditions are right, uh, it's, it's infinitely more effective to fish bait and chump, right. And, uh, sometimes if there's SCUP around and, you know, wore a lot of smaller seatbelts, you can get up current of the fish. And the chumming is just the fishing. I get, you know, six people fishing with, uh, with soft clam bellies or clam Bates, and the fish ripping the clams off the, off the hooks.
Speaker 3 (15:04):
That's, you know, that's self drumming, it's a self coming prophecy, so to speak. Right. And, uh, and I don't have to put a chump out down, but if you're just a couple of people on a boat, it's probably a good idea to put a chunk down. And again, um, use a lobster bait bag. I use a swordfish online clip, all right. Uh, to seal the bag, uh, and, and a sash weight sometimes to sash weights or clothesline or something close to a clothesline quarter inch, a quarter inch rope, parachute rope, right. And, uh, you a hundred feet of that in a bucket with a sash way on the end of it. And in a swordfish long line clip. And you attach that to a, uh, a lobster bait bag with clams in it. And you're all set.
Speaker 2 (15:46):
Now, another thing that folks love fishing for too, alongside the black sea bass or to talk, and that's a great species and a great eating fish around these parts, is that a fish that you target? And if so, what season do you target them? Predominantly?
Speaker 3 (16:00):
Okay. Um, I leave them alone in the spring. They usually full of eggs, uh, and believe it or not, uh, fishing up in Quincy while we're flounder fishing as a bycatch to the flounder fishing, we often catch to talk, right. And, uh, are black fish. And they're, they're usually full of eggs in the spring. And I don't like to kill them. And I I've been pretty successful in getting my customers to let them go. Right. Uh, and by the time I get to Westport in July, usually the tog fishing is almost nonexistent. You know, we can pick some while we're, while she best fishing. Uh, if we're fishing with crabs, uh, instead of [inaudible], sometimes we put a crab on the bottom hook and clam on the top Oak, and we'll pick a little, a few more tog that you wouldn't even know that they're there.
Speaker 3 (16:47):
Uh, if you're just fishing clams, right. Uh, but come towards the end of August, all right. Uh, you start seeing more and more tog and in September, every day brings more and more talk. And by now where, you know, just past the middle of September and today, we had full limits or tog, uh, along with the full limits of sea bass on, and, you know, it's, it just gets better and better. And, uh, once you, once you're into limits, then you can start targeting size, uh, and, you know, just start looking for bigger and bigger fish. Right. Uh, some of the structures when, when they're really move in, like, uh, in, in October, um, I can really move away from numbers of fish to look for bigger fish. And, uh, very often we'll catch them all fish over five, six, seven pounds with a few double digit fish flown in, uh, to make it really interesting.
Speaker 3 (17:47):
And, uh, you know, there's, there's a couple of methods that we use and some people bring methods from other places. Uh, I have customers from New York and New Jersey and they're, they've got other mindsets, uh, you know, like Southern New Jersey there. They target a lot of these, a 20 pound tog on the wrecks down there a while through the winter. And sometimes we get people on the boat that do that, and they don't do very well in there. They're fishing for, you know, eight pound tog. But, uh, if there were 20 pound talk, I'm sure they'd do fine.
Speaker 2 (18:21):
Okay. So talking about, talk to and using the different setups for them. I know I love the toxicology. When, and why would you, would you choose to use the toxicology egg versus using a high, low rig for today?
Speaker 3 (18:34):
Okay. Um, simplicity and I get a lot of people on my boat that, that fish a few times a year. Uh, and then there's those that are hardcore. So there's a, there's a big distinction between the way people fish and the way people should fish. And you gotta do what you're used to, what you're comfortable with. Right. And there's a bit of a learning curve, right. Uh, so let's take the jig that you just mentioned. For example, I like to fish, you know, an average, a one ounce jig, you know, sometimes three quarters sometimes announcing a half, but I don't go any bigger than that. Right. And, uh, I don't even have anything, all I go to any bigger than two and a half. And the reason for that is, uh, when a top takes a bait with a jig, uh, they think it's one unit, right?
Speaker 3 (19:21):
So you got a whole crab or a half crab if it really giant crabs on a one ounce CEG and the top picks that whole thing up and swims off with it. And when I think that fish has the old bait in his mouth, usually between two and five seconds after the, I feel the initial contact, um, I'll give it a lift and vicious there. I'll give it a jab to drive the hook in right fishing every day. So I have a feel for it and people that don't fish every day, I would say, Oh, you know, you're catching them on the gym. Let me try the Jake. Right. And, you know, I'll, I'll give them a rod identical to what I'm doing and they'll go, never catch a fish. Whereas if they were fishing a bait rig that they're used to, uh, and I, I say, ignore the Pekka Pekka and respond to the chunka, chunka give it the second chunk of chunka or, you know, five seconds after you feel the first chunk and chunk up, set the hook.
Speaker 3 (20:17):
Right. Uh, and they do fine. They do really, really well. They, they catch limits, they catch lots of fish. Uh, sometimes they're catching fish nonstop, but they go to the jig and, you know, it's just a disaster. Right. Um, it's, it's a little harder and takes a little more to get used to. And then you add the wind into it too. And, uh, you know, it's, it's just not fun if they're watching everybody else catch fish on the other hand, if it's not windy and the bites good. And I tell them, if you, if you think you have the patience for it, follow my lead. Right. And I'll tell you when you get a bite and I'll tell you when to set the hook, and then you just do that from now on. Right. Then it, it kind of works out, but, uh, a lot of people think that, uh, you know, how hard could it be?
Speaker 3 (21:06):
And it's kinda like, uh, Oh, I can think of a lot of analogies, but I can't think about one that I would like to repeat right now. So, uh, I'll just say, it's, it's a lot more difficult to learn than, uh, than just going out and doing it. You need to, you need to practice. And sometimes it's really good to practice on small fish, right. Uh, so, you know, early on the fish are smaller and, uh, it's a good time, you know, through September and the first week or so of October, the fish tend to be a little smaller and then the bigger stuff moves in and that's when you really be gotta be on your game.
Speaker 2 (21:41):
So we've talked about tog, we've talked about sea bass, we've talked about flounder. Are there any other species that you target while your bottom fish?
Speaker 3 (21:51):
Yes. Um, well, you know, targeting, uh, or hoping for might be two different things. Uh, you know, we, we like, like every day we're catching big SCUP, uh, as a byproduct to the, to the tog and see vascular Shane, uh, we're catching one or two, uh, trigger fish every day. All right there, uh, you know, they're, they're around, uh, I sometimes catch a welfare there, sometimes a flute here or there while bottom fishing. Um, but, uh, the fish that I target is a Cod and, uh, I've got some deep spots, like, like I said, I'm fishing, uh, sometimes 80, 90, or a hundred feet of water in August. And, uh, and out there, even though the waters, uh, you know, it's, it's warm enough for sea bass, but it's cold enough for Cod. And, uh, sometimes we get, you know, 20, 30 caught on the boat. We'll keep us, you know, keep her Cod IX makes it very interesting.
Speaker 2 (22:51):
Do you have any tips for people that want to take a stab at targeting triggerfish? Hmm.
Speaker 3 (22:56):
Yeah. I mean, if you really want to target them, I, I, I personally, don't like to kill them because you get a 20% yield out of them. And I, you know, like 10 pounds of whole fish or, you know, three, three average fish, we'll give you a, you know, two pounds of Flay. All right. And, uh, it's a lot of work and include the skin and yeah, they taste good, but do you really have to kill a fish for a 20% yield? That's my mentality, but, uh, if you gotta do it, if you want to do it, they really like grabs. He can fish form exactly the way you do for a black fish, but their bowels are a little bit smaller. So scale down the hook a little bit, instead of like, I use five octopus hooks the same, same I use as, uh, like eight O octopus hooks for yield fishing for striped bass. I just scale it down to $5 for a black fish or Totango. And, uh, for, uh, triggerfish, you can go down to like a two hour or three hour. Right. And if you wanted to compromise, you know, get, you know, go three or four. Oh, when you you'll get all the black Christian, there will be a trigger fish too.
Speaker 2 (23:59):
All right. Jason, one last question for you. And it's just a general, I'll say advice question for folks that are going to be listening to this podcast as part of my fishing Cape Cod. I know some of them listening to the podcast are going to want to put together a bottom fishing trip. You know, if the, this wind ever lays down, as we get into the late September, early October, for folks looking to fish the bottom, you know, around Cape Cod, or even up North your way, do you have any general points for bottom fishing in the fall?
Speaker 3 (24:28):
Uh, yeah. Uh, what I think of fall fishing is, is talk fishing, um, look for the nastiest gnarliest, most godforsaken Rockpiles, uh, and as the water gets cooler, you know, starting in, uh, you know, 20 to 30 feet, uh, you know, in, in mid October, uh, or early October 20 to 30 feet. And then, uh, towards the end of October, go 35, 40 feet, uh, and you know, we're 45 feet and, you know, and each week you'll see the, the, the body of fish will be, you know, a body, a good fish will be moving out to, uh, structures a little bit deeper as the water gets cooler and cooler, right. So, uh, you know, just follow the fish and, uh, if you don't find them in a specific depth, then move out a little deeper or come back a little shallow or, and, uh, keep in mind that if there's a big blow, like we have right now, uh, particularly blows out of the South or East, right. Uh, it does stir up the water and sometimes it takes a, a day or two for the water to clear out before the official actually bite. So if you're not doing well, it might not be you. It might just be the fact that the fish are unsettled, the waters unsettled.
Speaker 2 (25:41):
Okay. Captain Jason Colby, just a wealth of knowledge, really appreciate all the time you gave us and the members here on my fishing Cape Cod. I just want to give you a chance, Jason, to let folks know how they can get ahold of you. If they're looking to book a charter on little sister's charter.
Speaker 3 (25:58):
Oh, sure. Uh, just send me an email. That's the best way. I mean, I, I I'm getting old, so I can't remember if somebody calls me or text me or something like that. So email on right in front of my book and I could write things down. Um, so my email addresses is fishingLsister@aol.com. That's the word fishing. And then the letter L and then the word email@example.com.
Speaker 2 (26:19):
And you can absolutely get a hold of Jason as well as he mentioned, he's very active in the, my fishing Cape Cod forum. So we thank you for that as well. Jason, Sharon, all of your knowledge and expertise in the forum.
Speaker 3 (26:30):
My pleasure. Thank you.
Speaker 2 (26:32):
All right, Jason, thanks so much for your time and look forward to catching up with you again on the podcast maybe next year until then tight lines. My friend. Thank you. You too. Bye bye. A big, thanks to captain Jason, Colby of little sister charters, and he's also a proud MFCC member, as he stated a couple of times throughout the podcast, but a big thanks to Jason for sharing so much of his time and knowledge with us here on this edition of the, my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles. And that's going to put the wraps on the show. I sure hope you all enjoyed it. This is your host, Kevin Collins signing off on this edition of the MFCC Chronicles. And until we speak again, tight lines and take care.
Speaker 1 (27:12):
Thanks for listening to the, my fishing Cape Cod Chronicles podcast from all of us here at my efficient Cape Cod tight lines and take care.
Speaker 2 (27:23):
Well, the latest information on how to fish the Cape, be sure to check out my fishing Cape cod.com become a member today and receive your first month for just $1. Join us as a, my fishing Cape Cod member.
Kevin spent 9+ years with the New England Patriots and New England Revolution producing podcasts and other digital content. Currently he is the host and producer of the podcasts here on My Fishing Cape Cod. Kevin grew up on the beach in Plymouth, and he has salt water running through his veins.