Fishermen and their secrets

Plus some fishing gear recommendations.


Fishermen are known to be a secretive lot. We love to fish with friends, and do so often, but we also have secret spots that we don’t share with but one or two close friends, and they are, of course, sworn to secrecy by penalty of death (at least of the friendship). 

I have one bass spot that I’ve only shared with one person, my teammate Dave. When I drive there, I park a good distance away, try to hide my vehicle, and then walk in the dark with no flashlight or headlamp. I also wear a black jacket and hood to hide my blonde curly hair just in case anyone is around. Oh, and I put on a marine life vest that Dave bought for me and insisted I wear once he saw water I waded through to get to the sandbar. 

I’m not the only one who goes to such extremes. I heard a great story on Monday night at the monthly MV Surfcasters. April was “show and tell” month, and I’m going to share two of the evening’s “secrets” with you. Mind you, no one gave away exact fishing locations, but folks shared some helpful tips and inside info. 

Kevin Seger was the first to share, with the preface that he would tell a story that happened in an undisclosed location. One of Kevin’s friends, whom we’ll call Alex to further protect the fishing location, invited him to go bass fishing to his secret spot. Kevin hadn’t been to the location before. They stopped at Dick’s Bait and Tackle in Oak Bluffs. 

Alex said to Steve Morris, owner of Dick’s, “I’m taking Kevin bass fishing. What should he use?” Kevin remembers, “Steve reached behind himself and grabbed this lure, then put it down on the counter without saying a word.” Kevin held up a well-used blurple Super Strike needlefish. “When he sold me this lure, I knew I’d be catching fish,” said Kevin.

Kevin and Alex arrived at the secret location, spaced out a bit, and Alex cast first. Fish on. The two friends spent three hours catching fish, neither one of them taking any pictures. Then, Kevin felt a big hit and a fish that pulled hard. “This was my twelfth or thirteenth bass of the night, and it was the biggest.” Kevin backed it up onto the beach and Alex walked over to take a picture. The moment was captured but not shared on social media, and the fish was released. 

When Kevin got home, he took his blurple Super Strike and hung it up in his garage. “Tonight’s the first night I’ve taken it down,” said Kevin, who would return the lure to its memorial location on the wall as soon as he got home on Monday night. 

To emphasize how secretive fishermen are, Kevin first asked Alex if he could share the story and a picture of the big bass he caught that night. Alex agreed, as long as they removed all locations from the photo. Kevin worked some iPhone magic, then shared the photo with me.

With striped bass working their way up the east coast, now is the time to check your tackle box. If you don’t own a blurple Super Strike, buy one. You may find the same success Kevin had.

Jim Mullen followed Kevin in the “show and tell” presentations. Jim divides his time between Connecticut and Chappy. He is an avid fisherman and quite stealth in his pursuit of big fish. He fishes the rivers and salt flats in Connecticut and traverses all of Chappy when on Island.

“I drive out to the beach, park, and then walk. I keep moving,” said Jim. “I start at East Beach and just go.”

Jim carries very little when he’s fishing, a plug bag with nine lures, his surf rod, and he wears his homemade fishing belt. He shared his homemade belt with the Surfcasters.

The simple belt holds all Jim needs. “I have my pliers, a rod holder, a water bottle, and a rope to carry my fish. I’m a minimalist,” said Jim.

Jim may be a minimalist, but he’s also a fisherman who has set a goal to catch a striped bass every month of the year and accomplished his goal. Multiple times.

I always wear a belt when I’m fishing, which holds a small plug bag and my pliers. Then I lug a rather large backpack with water, more lures, extra gear, protein bars for long stints, and whatever else I shove in there. I think Jim might have the right idea. And, his fishing record proves that less is certainly more for him.

If you’re not a member of the MV Surfcasters, and you enjoy fishing, you need to join. The friendship and fishing tips will be the highlight of your fishing season. Check out the website here:


Spread the News

It’s no secret that the Martha’s Vineyard Rod and Gun Club Trout Tournament is one of the most fun family events on Island. Organized by Coop’s Bait and Tackle Shop, this year’s event will mark the 50th anniversary. 

There was a lot of conversation earlier this week that the Trout Tournament was this coming Saturday. The event had run the second Saturday in April in 2022 and 2023 but has been moved to May 4 for this year. So do not head to Duarte’s Pond at 4 am this Saturday!

“It was so cold last year, we moved the tournament to May 4,” said Lela Gilkes.

Lela and her husband Coop Gilkes started the Trout Tournament fifty years ago. This year’s 50th anniversary tournament promises to be a great one. Mark your calendars now, and head to Coop’s to get all your tackle and gear for your children or grandchildren. Coop and a few others are “working on a surprise” that we don’t want to miss!

When you stop into Coop’s be sure to ask about his new tautog jigs. He was creating jigs for fluke and, “thought if I tweaked it a bit, it’d make a good tog jig. I don’t know,” Coop said cautiously. “I haven’t tried them yet. But I think they’ll do well. They’re going out of here like crazy.”

I still have some money left on my Coop’s gift certificate, so I’ll be picking up a few of those tog jigs this weekend. 

Larry’s Tackle Shop is re-opening this Friday, April 5 from 11 am to 3 pm and Saturday, April 6 from 11am to 3 pm. I asked owner Peter Sliwkowski what was new and looked hot for the spring season. He mentioned the new forged rods from Tsunami. 

“Brand new technology from Tsunami with a great price point. They look and feel sweet and are under $200 for inshore and under $270 for the surf series,” said Peter.

He also mentioned a recent shipment of Grunden’s ankle boots as well as a new brand of sunglasses called Bajio from Costa’s founder.

When I asked about lures, Peter’s immediate response, “Nomad Squidtrex lures.” 

Doug Asselin, who works at Dick’s Bait and Tackle, also mentioned the Squidtrex lures. “With all the squid we had around last year, these lures could be really good this year,” said Doug. “We’ve been using Nomad lures for tuna for a few years and now we’re stocking more of their inshore stuff. It’s not cheap, but it comes decked out ready to catch a big fish.”

Dick’s is open most days in April from 9 to 3. They don’t have regular hours on Sundays this month, but if you need anything Doug said to give them a call and they can meet you at the store.  

 I will be buying a few of the Squidtrex lures. The pink one has my name on it. And I need one for my friend Pat to thank him for taking me out on his boat. 

I hope to see you on the beach, just not in my secret spot.