It was late summer on Cape Cod and we were in the midst of an intense heat wave. All week long the mornings had been greasy flat calm and the afternoons scorching hot.
Leading up to the day of filming of episode 3, I had run several successful tube and worm trips on my boat the Miss Loretta. Not much else was working, as the fish were holding deep along the bottom in cool water, refusing to bite lures and even eels.
When MFCC TV director/producer Shane Uriot called me during the early afternoon of September 3rd asking for my opinion about shooting an episode during this summer heatwave, I initially hesitated.
I knew the only way I could put the film crew onto fish was by trolling tube and worm, which is not always the most exciting way of fishing, because there can be long times in between bites.
The tube and worm may not be regarded as the most exciting technique, however no one can argue how effective it can be during the "dog days" of summer.
However, an unexpected thought of inspiration struck me midway through my chat with Shane. What if we really mixed things up for this episode, and brought my 67 year old mom onboard the boat? What if we turned the focus from trying to catch big fish on TV, to trying to have my mom catch a big fish on TV?
Shane immediately loved the idea. Instantly I picked up the phone and called my mom. When my mom Kathy answered, I wasted no time and simply asked "Hey mom, would you like to be on a television episode?"
That's my mom Kathy in the 12 foot tin boat, with my sister Katelyn front and center, and me in the background - photo was taken at the Sandwich Boardwalk sometime during the mid 1990's.
To my surprise my mom hesitated. She was a little unsure about the whole idea! More than anything she wanted the episode to be a success, and she was worried that she didn't know enough about fishing, or that she would end up losing a big fish or something like that.
Fortunately her attitude changed after a little pep talk from her son. I reassured her that everything would be OK, and that the viewers would probably get a real kick out of watching her reel in a big striped bass.
The Day Of Filming
The very next morning my dad dropped my mom off at my house at 4:30am. She helped me get the boat ready and we gassed up at a nearby station. By 5am we rolled into the marina where we would meet up with the rest of the film crew.
We had a great team of people helping out with this TV shoot! As always Shane and lead cameraman Evan Schneider of Hop Top Films was onboard. We also had cameraman Tyler from the Goose Hummock Shop and longtime MFCC member Steve O'Malley standing by as a second buddy boat.
Longtime MFCC member Steve O'Malley (pictured on the right) was the captain of our "buddy boat" during the filming of this episode.
Sea conditions were gorgeous and it was a beautiful summer day. By 7am we had arrived at where I expected to do most of our fishing for the day. Initially I did not see anything on the sonar, but finally we began marking decent size schools of striped bass in the area shown below.
For a brief time we tried fishing with eels, but after several drifts without a bite I knew we had no choice but to put my luckiest red tube into the water. All week long I had caught 90% of my fish on this particular red tube, that for reasons unbeknownst to me, was getting all the bites while my other tubes caught nothing.
I had so much confidence in this one particular tube that I didn't even bother trolling two lines. Instead I put the focus on sticking with the schools of fish, moving the boat around strategically, and only trolling one line directly through the center of the school of bass.
Pictured in the top half of this image is a large school of bass on the regular down sonar. Pictured below is the same school on sidescan sonar.
The Biggest Stripers Of Our Season
On my second or third troll through the school the tube got crushed and the rod doubled over under the strain of a huge bass. I picked the rod from the holder and gave it to my mom. She panicked a little but then regained her composure. I remember her saying something along the lines of "this must be a tuna!"
The bass put up an amazing fight, which was amplified when a nearby angler trolled too close to us and got tangled up in our line. Fortunately I was able to free his line from ours, allowing my mom to put the final screws to the fish and get the big bass to the boat.
Apparently my mom only catches big fish!
After a ten minute long fight we had the big fish next to the boat. The fish was well over the 40 inch mark and probably weighed around 35 pounds - making it one of the largest stripers of our entire season!
We revived the bass for several minutes, allowing the fish to recuperate and "catch its breath" before releasing her back into the ocean.
It's always a smart idea to spend some time reviving a striper after a long fight - especially during the middle of the summer when water temps are high.
Amazingly, about 30 minutes later my mom hooked into a second monster striper, which was basically a cookie cutter spitting image of the first bass of the day. This fish was again easily 35 pounds and put up another amazing fight!
By 10am we had captured enough content to make a full episode. Everyone was pumped and excited. My mom in particular was very happy!
We reminisced about two summers earlier, when my mom was not able to make a single trip out on the boat due to her surgeries and chemotherapy for a serious case of lung cancer. After we were done filming, I remember taking a look at my mom and feeling very grateful for being able to have her onboard for this awesome experience. It was truly a wonderful memory that neither my mom or I will ever forget!
Thank you to everyone who tuned-in for this particular episode. As always I appreciate your support of My Fishing Cape Cod, and I am already looking forward to the 2019 Cape Cod fishing season!
Tight lines 🎣