Member since 2014
On May 30th 2016, I reunited with my younger, non-fisherman brother Doug, at the Cooke’s Seafood parking lot in Hyannis.
This was Day One of my annual trip from Oregon to visit my ninety year old mother, my brother, and to surf fish - not necessarily in that order.
Our destination would be Mashpee Town Beach, the scene of multi-fish days the year prior during late May. We arrived at the parking lot around 4:00 p.m., two hours before high tide. The weather was classic Cape Cod; overcast, misty, in the low 60’s with a stiff onshore wind.
Over the past year, I had researched surf rods, reels and line, and finally settled on a 10.5 foot Airwave Elite rod with a Shimano Ultegra 5500 reel, spooled with 40 lb. Power Pro braid.
Doug was using his 25 year old 10 foot surf rod of some variety, and his 25 year old Penn reel with 20 lb. mono. I rigged Doug up with a 1.75 ounce orange and white Little Bouncer.
I started out with a 2.5 ounce white Super Striker Popper.
I had a brief chat with two other fishermen on the beach. Nobody had caught anything that day or over the previous week (heard that story before.)
My enthusiasm wavered some, but I had my new set-up and no one was going to out-cast me.
Surfcasting Mashpee Town Beach (South Cape)
Doug began leisurely flinging his Little Bouncer with no real urgency, as a non-fisherman might do. I, on the other hand, was on a mission, and missions require single minded purpose - my casting frequency and fervor reflected that.
I loved my rod, reel, and how the braid flew off my reel. I was in my element. Doug was not. After about 10 minutes of casting, Doug, somewhat hesitantly, Doug yelled two words he had never said before:
I looked over at Doug and he was reeling frantically with his rod pointing straight out to sea, parallel to the beach. There was no bend in his rod.
Needless to say, I doubted his assertion that he in fact had a fish at all; a clump of seaweed seemed more plausible.
After a short trot in his direction, I got a clearer picture of what was happening. The 20 lb. mono was flying off his spool. No￼ seaweed could do that! It was a fish after all, and a big one at that.
Doug’s reeling was not bringing this fish any closer. I had taught Doug how to cast but never taught him the subtleties of operating the drag, after all he was never really supposed to catch a fish 😉
The fish had been on about two to three minutes at this point. I made a "Big Brother" decision and emphatically took the rod from him, adjusted the drag, and gave it back to him. I told him to “lift the rod and use the power of the bent rod.”
Nothing is obvious when you have never played a big fish before.
Ten minutes into the fight, we still did not know what it was. The fish finally showed itself as it broke surface about 50 feet from shore with a shake of it’s head and a flash of it’s silvery blue side.
It was a Bluefish and it was big.
As Doug worked the fish closer to shore, we both saw the tip of that forked tail slice through the choppy water. I coached Doug in order to time the final pull with the incoming waves. I grabbed the Blue by it’s tail and the battle was over.
It weighed in at 13 lbs, 35 inches, and was the biggest Bluefish I had ever seen in my life!
I thought it extra amazing that my little “non-fisherman” brother caught it.
Doug only fished a little while longer then bid me good-bye as I continued to crank off cast after cast.
While I was there, no other fish were caught, and in fact, I did not see another fish of any kind caught that day or the next, or the next. And yes, many pictures were taken!
A New Family Fishing Record
That night, at Doug’s local haunt, The Land Ho in Orleans, he relived every moment of that momentous day, and milked it for all it was worth (can’t blame him a bit.)
Doug and I both became painfully aware that there was one person who was absent from our celebration; our father who had died three years earlier at the age of 85.
Our Dad was THE master fisherman in every way.
My father did, however, have an obnoxious habit of one-upmanship, especially with regard to fish stories. It would start out something like “Ahh, that’s nothing, back in ’45 I caught a .....”
Ironically, this was one story he could not “one up” because my father had never caught a Bluefish even close to that size. I’d like to think that if he was still with us, he would be (for once) speechless, and sporting a big prideful grin from ear to ear with no “one-ups”. I keep that picture in my mind.
All I know is that I never had so much fun watching someone else catch a fish and I’ve never laughed so hard with my brother. The memories of that day still bring a smile to my face.
Doug if you are reading this, no one can take away the fact that you were the Rock Star of the Fishing World at Mashpee Town Beach on May 30th, 2016.