On July 26th, MFCC members Dex Chadsey, Ned Bean, Alberto Pina, Alex Ben David, and I, Brian McCarty made a pilgrimage to "fishing Mecca" - Cuttyhunk Island.
Located between Buzzards Bay and the Vineyard Sound, Cuttyhunk is the southernmost of the Elizabeth Islands.
Cuttyhunk is about a mile and a half long by three-quarters of a mile wide, with a large natural harbor located along the eastern side.
New England has many fantastic places to fish. Cuttyhunk has remained a hot spot due to its location smack-dab in the middle of the striper migration route.
It can be said that Cuttyhunk is the "fork in the road" for stripers heading north through the canal, or east toward Martha’s Vineyard, and around the Outer Cape.
For this reason, the Cuttyhunk Fishing Club was established in 1864, and has been visited by legendary fishermen, U.S. Presidents, and many others craving the "tug life."
Sounds heavenly, doesn’t it?
Wednesday July 26th, 2017
My Fishing Cape Cod members Ned Bean, Alex Ben David and I departed Martha’s Vineyard to meet Alberto (better known on MFCC as "Big Papi") and longtime MFCC member Dex Chadsey in New Bedford.
Alex and I arrived first. We loaded our gear onto the Cuttyhunk Ferry, slightly worried that Alberto and Dex might not make it in time.
My absolute favorite thing about fishing with members of My Fishing Cape Cod is the initial greeting; the smiles, hugs, and deep heartfelt excitement about getting together on adventures. Positivity is a good word to describe the MFCC vibe.
Finally we saw Dex and Alberto off in the distance, and Alex and I (being the youngest of the group) got their attention by affectionately yelling “Dad!” and waving our arms to get their attention.
This ended up being a fun practice throughout the extent of the trip!
2 of the "Dads" of the group - member Ned Bean (left) and member Dex Chadsey (right). Over the past 2 seasons these guys have been organizing their own My Fishing Cape Cod group trips, to destinations including Cuttyhunk, Martha's Vineyard and Block Island.
On the one hour ferry to Cuttyhunk, we had time to update each other on our lives, the seasons’ fishing accomplishments, and the strategy we hoped to employ while surfcasting for stripers at Cuttyhunk.
The Cuttyhunk Community
60 minutes later we arrived at Cuttyhunk Harbor and were greeted by many of the residents. Some were on-hand to receive guests and provide services, while others were just interested in seeing what was going on.
Cuttyhunk's year-round population has been estimated at between fifteen and thirty residents. This type of isolation stressed the importance of helping others in good faith.
The community is so small that each resident must be nearly self-reliant, and capable of performing many tasks. For example, we had only been at our fish camp for a few minutes before we were asked to carry a new stove over a stone wall and into the neighbor's house.
After this backbreaking task, we quickly unloaded, and were given a quick knot-tying class about "how to add a teaser” by Ned Bean.
This instruction turned out to be incredibly valuable as you will later see.
After the teaser tying lesson, we suited up, and prepared ourselves for an expedition to the field of boulders along the eastern shore.
The group from left to right - Dex Chadsey, "Big Papi", Alex Ben David, the author Brian McCarty and Ned Bean.
Ned, Dex, and Big Papi were accustomed to the slick stones and shoreline bubble weed typical of Cuttyhunk.
Alex and I, curious to explore the terrain, hiked to the westernmost end of the island, where we found calmer waters and milder winds.
The tide was flowing out of West End Pond and conditions were perfect. Both Alex and I are known for being conversational fisherman, but this time employed our tactics without discussion.
Alex began casting with his spinning rod while I prepped my fly rod. As I entered the water I heard Alex shout those two magical words - I’m on!
Alex had hooked up on his first cast of the trip, with not one but two striped bass!
“Fishing, it makes us participants rather than spectators in nature. A significant distinction; participants become passionate and protective, while spectators remain indifferent.” – Jerry Dennis