Fishing season off to a squiddy start
I have developed an affection for squid, the precursor of most everything fishy around Martha's Vineyard in the spring. The squid has many fine qualities associated with it.
First and foremost, squid are one of those creatures that fish and fishermen like to eat. There are not that many types of baits that can double as dinner when the fishing does not pan out.
I will leave a plate full of worms to the numbskulls on reality shows. Order me up a plate full of calamari.
Don Mohr of West Tisbury holds a false albacore. His many friends hope he recovers soon and joins them on the beach well before the albies arrive in the fall. MV Times file photo
I also like catching squid, although I am not particularly good at doing that and rely heavily on my friend Tom Robinson for squid handouts. The best squidders have a certain feel for that brief moment when a squid wraps its tentacles around a squid jig.
I have heard reports that fishermen casting squid are doing well catching big striped bass. Rather than fishing the squid on the bottom using weight, the fishermen cast the squid into the current in the same way that one would fish a dead eel.
There is an abundance of squid in Nantucket Sound, according to commercial fishermen. Apparently, they are also plentiful off the docks in Edgartown.
Wes Wood caught 101 squid Tuesday night, his wife Linda told me. "I just watched him," said Linda, explaining that someone else borrowed her rod.
When a person can tell you down to the squid how many were caught, you know they take their squidding seriously.
I caught my first striped bass of the season just before sunset about ten days ago at the end of the right fork off South Beach. The fish hit a small Storm shad and was only slightly bigger than the squid I saw people jigging up off Memorial Wharf when Tom and I stopped by to inspect the action later that evening.
In recent years, the bait of choice this time of the year was herring. Unfortunately, there has been a decline in the number of herring returning to runs along the New England coast.
This spring, the state Division of Marine Fisheries prohibited the taking and possession of herring in order to protect the stock. That includes snagging a herring from the mouth of the Lagoon Herring run and fishing it for bass.
Apparently some fishermen seem to think that the rules do not apply to them. Hopefully, the Oak Bluffs or Vineyard Haven shellfish constables will set them straight.
There was a report that a bluefish was caught at Wasque prior to the deluge earlier this week. If the wind begins to blow from the southwest I would expect to hear more reports of bluefish soon.
That would be good timing for Dick's Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs. Owner Steve Morris is organizing the shop's 14th annual Memorial Day weekend tournament.
Speaking of big fish, Dave Belcher, the Trustees of Reservations' Chappaquiddick superintendent, told me yesterday that a large Minke whale that washed up on Norton Point Beach Tuesday had drifted to Wasque. The usual assortment of folks interested in dead whales were already on the scene.
I was more interested in knowing if the carcass had attracted any great white sharks or killer whales. To my disappointment, Dave said, "No, just seagulls."
I have never understood the official attention paid dead whales when they wash up on a beach. Whales do not live forever. They have to die sometime. So if one dies and washes up on the beach, why do folks act like it is a crime scene and perform an autopsy?
If people want to study whales, they need to go out and harpoon a fresh one. Just kidding.
Regular visitors to Chappy will no doubt be missing the smiling face and wonderful spirit of Don Mohr of West Tisbury, who remains in the Martha's Vineyard Hospital recovering from complications associated with a hip infection.
Don will be in the hospital until Wednesday, after which he goes up to a Boston hospital for more medical attention.
Cards and notes of encouragement may be sent to Don in room 404 care of The Martha's Vineyard Hospital, PO Box 1477, 1 Hospital Road, Oak Bluffs, MA 02557.