Hello My Fishing Cape Cod! This is your MFCC Podcast host Kevin Collins.
Today, I'm stepping out from behind the MFCC podcast microphone, and checking in with a haddock and cod report from Stellwagen Bank.
Fortunately for me, I was able to attend an MFCC group fishing trip for haddock with Cape Star Charter's Captain Cullen Lundholm this past Saturday morning, on May 13th.
Smooth Sailing to Stellwagen
The game plan was to target haddock on the top of Stellwagen Bank early on Saturday morning ahead of the Nor' Easter which was predicted to hit Cape Cod later in the day.
I met Captain Cullen along with four MFCC members at 5AM Saturday morning at Green Harbor in Marshfield, MA.
As the six of us departed the protected harbor in Cullen’s 27-foot Conch, we were exposed to a steady breeze and some decent chop.
Fortunately for us, Cullen's boat the Conch 27' is known for a dry, smooth ride. We arrived at the southwest corner of Stellwagen Bank in no time at all.
The Search for Life
Once we reached the fishing grounds we immediately began searching for signs of life. Stellwagen is known for epic whale feeds this time of year, which seem to be a daily occurrence.
However, on this day there was not much happening along the surface. We stopped at several spots Cullen had successfully targeted haddock in the past few weeks, but there were no signs of surface life in terms of birds or whales.
After cruising around for about 20 minutes we again stopped and Cullen immediately recognized the balls of bait just off the bottom on his fish finder. I also observed massive schools of big mackerel midway down the water column at 20-40 feet.
We caught everything including monster cod (well over 10 pounds), big mackerel, pollock, sculpin, and of course haddock.
For over four hours we were dropping, cranking, catching, and releasing non-stop! Being in 70-80 feet of water, it wasn’t long until my weak forearms started to feel the burn! I realized quickly how out of shape I am for a 31-year old, but my poor gym habits are a story for another day.
During our time fishing the bank, I would estimate we caught an even distribution of haddock and cod.
Due to Massachusetts Fishery regulations, we had to release every cod we landed, but it was great to see the massive schools of large cod feeding heavily on the bank.
It appeared that the cod and haddock were grazing on sand eels along the bottom. As you can see from the above photo, most of the fish we got to the boat still had mouthfuls of bait!
Thanks to Captain Cullen immediately putting us on massive schools of fish, the MFCC crew was able to catch our haddock limit in no time. The 10 fish per person limit was achieved in a few short hours!
Filling the Haddock Limit!
Once we started approaching our limit, Cullen began filetting the fish off the stern of the boat and packing the fresh filets in ice.
I learned from Cullen that charter captains like himself are instructed to keep the skin on the fish filets to make the species easily identifiable to authorities should any issues arise.
As Cullen continued to filet on the stern of the boat, the rest of us had a catch and release party while the Captain was hard at work.
The action continued until the last haddock was packed in ice and we began our steam for home to beat the weather.
Great Experience on the MFCC Group Fishing Trip!
It was a privilege fishing along Cullen on his boat for the first time. Not only is he an outstanding fisherman, but he’s an all-around fantastic person. It just goes to show you that Ryan needs to let me out of the MFCC Podcast Studio more often!
We returned to Green Harbor well before noon with the boat full of fresh haddock packed in ice.
I reflected on what a wonderful experience I had on Cullen's vessel. Not only did I get to take home a cooler full of haddock, but I was able to meet and fish with four MFCC members on Cullen’s brand new boat.
The filets I got to take home are beautiful and I am blessed to be sharing them with family and friends.
After completing my first MFCC group trip I can’t recommend them enough.
If you haven’t yet tried a MFCC group trip, then please don’t be bashful! Captain Cullen will take great care of you.
Until next time, Tight Lines and Take Care!
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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.