Bluefish are feisty to catch and tasty to eat

Jimmy Moffat 5th of South Attleboro caught these bluefish fishing with his dad, Jim 4th and his uncle Ron Erzk, with charter captain Ed Jerome of Edgartown. — Photo courtesy of Ed Jerome

Striper snobs look down on bluefish. Not me. I think bluefish are fun to catch and great to eat.

Last Friday, on the recommendation of Ken Brede, whom I encountered while floating off West Chop Thursday, Tom Robinson and I pointed his 19-foot Sea Strike in the direction of Mashpee. We were headed to the flats off Popponesset Beach, but we really did not know where we were going.

We knew about where we were going. I fished Popponesset from shore many years ago and knew it was a great spot to catch bluefish. Ken said he had found schools of bluefish in shallow water on either side of the channel.

Tom and I picked our way across, looking for what I recalled it should look like. After about 45 minutes of fumbling around and casting with no results, we located what we were looking for — schools of hungry bluefish in about six feet of water.

One of the charms of bluefish is that there is nothing subtle about them. Cast a popping plug, and if the fish are there they will announce their presence with a crushing strike.

We were on a mission to fill the Masterbuilt smoker we bought together a few years ago. Mission accomplished: Tom and I caught 10 fish each.

Friday night I brined the fish, and Saturday I smoked up my batch. I smoked the fish for about five hours at 180 degrees. I was pretty happy with the result.

I also contacted David Nash for a smoked bluefish recipe he got from Don Mohr. In his note, Dave said, “Don’s recipe had lots of ‘optionals’ in it, but I just added them all, plus I now also add a teaspoon of capers and a generous splash of cognac. Plus, to make it a bit healthier, I use half low-fat cream cheese and half tofu cream cheese.”

Many readers will remember Don, a wonderful gentleman who moved south with his wife Marian last year. With the exception of memory issues, Ron Domurat tells me Don is in good health. His e-mail address is The home address is 114 McIntosh Way, Roswell, GA 30076. I know he would enjoy hearing from friends.

This is Don’s recipe and I highly recommend it.

Don Mohr’s Smoked Bluefish Pate

Thoroughly mix:

8 oz. cream cheese softened to room temperature
6-7 oz. shredded smoked bluefish
½ tsp. prepared horseradish
a dash of Worcestershire sauce
1 tsp. fresh Lemon juice
1/2 tsp. any Dijon mustard
A pinch of cayenne pepper or a dash of hot sauce to taste.

This can be done in a food processor to obtain a better mix of the ingredients. More cream cheese (or less bluefish) can be used if the bluefish is especially strong flavored.

Last, fold in a medium finely diced red onion.

This tastes better if it sits for a few hours to absorb and blend all the flavors.

Welcome home Marine

Last week, I reported in this space about the catch and release tournament and fishing with members of the Massachusetts National Guard. I received the following email from Cliff Moore.

“It was very nice to read this story about the National Guard vets returned from Afghanistan, who you invited to go fishing. My son, Cpl. Bill Moore, USMC, is also just home in one piece after serving in Afghanistan. He begins terminal leave in a few weeks after eight years in the Corps. We live in Rocky Hill, NJ, so to read Washington’s Farewell Address, written some 100 yards or so of where I am writing this email, is an especially nice way to start my day. We’ll be on the Island in July. Save us some fish. Best wishes to all our ‘Friends of Bill!'”

Welcome home Bill and welcome to the Vineyard.

Sad news

In my last column of 2010, I wrote about a poignant moment at the 65th Martha’s Vineyard Striped Bass and Bluefish Derby awards ceremony.

It occurred when Scott Duhaime carried his cancer-stricken son Brendan up on stage to receive an award for the second biggest bluefish in the mini-junior division, and the crowd cheered as the little boy inwardly beamed from a frail body too tired to smile.

Brendan Duhaime, 7, of Bolton has trouble walking and standing. His dad had to help him up on stage. But the brain cancer that was robbing him and his family of so much has not taken away his love of fishing.

Kevin Lord of Bolton, a friend of Brendan’s dad Scott, had arranged for Brendan to fish the Derby. He contacted Cooper “Coop” Gilkes, Derby committee member and tackle shop owner.

Coop called Derby president and charter captain Ed Jerome. The Wednesday before the Derby ended, Brendan, Scott, and Kevin met Coop and Ed at Derby headquarters where they gave him a hat, tee-shirt and pin. Then they went fishing.

“This is the perfect place to bring a little kid who loves fishing,” Scott said when I spoke to him. “And where else in the world are you going to bring somebody where everybody, just about, is fishing. I thought this would be perfect for him. I thought of it as a little Derby make-a-wish.”

This week I received the an email from Kevin addressed to the Vineyard Derby fishing community:

“Guys, Just wanted to let you know that Brendan Duhaime passed away this morning. Thank you so much for being a part of his life over the last many months. The times that you spent with him were some of the highlights of his life. He never forgot his second place derby bluefish this year, and there are pictures on his blog of him fishing in FL with the rod/reel that he won, as one of his many derby prizes.

“He was fishing up to the last moments of his life, last evening at the local pond. It’s ironic that he would catch fish at this pond every day, but last night was the first time he caught nothing. It seems like it was God’s way of telling him it was time to move on to a better fishing hole. The link below is to his blog and the last entry chronicling ‘the fight of his life,’ a bigger fight than any fish we’ll ever catch.

“Please keep Brendan and his family in your prayers as they go through the time of great loss.”

From the MV Surfcasters

Thanks to the extra effort of Matt Sudarsky, once again the club has been entrusted with a key to the winter access to Long Point, said Bob Lane.

At the request of TTOR this access is open to the general public as well as MVSA members.

Same rules as before: Night access for fishing only, call 508-693-3678 before you go in, no guided trips, no access on the nights of the Full Moon Kayak Tours, carry in-carry out.

To use the property contact Matt Sudarsky at 774-226-3276 or 508-693-2117 to arrange to get the key. Then call the property manager Dave Bouck at 508-693-3678 so he knows people will be on the property.

Big Bass

In 2008, Peter Vican caught a 76-pound, 14-ounce striped bass and set a new Rhode Island state record for the largest striper.

On Sunday, June 19 he beat his old mark. He caught a 77-pound, 4-ounce fish on a live eel fished off Block Island at 3:30 am. reported.

Rod and Gun Club celebrates

The Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club will celebrate its 100th birthday for members with a celebration cook-out on Saturday, June 25 from noon to 3 pm. For more information call 508-627-3019.