While I’m sure plenty of boat anglers were out on the water over Labor Day weekend enjoying the great weather and perhaps even some solid fishing, yours truly was dealing with a comedy of errors that left me drifting, paddling and ultimately unable to take care of the four trips I had on my schedule.
The first issue was a result of my failure to check on a very basic feature on my Honda outboard, which as a result of my not knowing what it is might be called technically, I will label the “kill switch.” Somehow, it had become dislodged and when that happens and you fail to notice it, you can come up with all kinds of fancy reasons for why an engine won’t start.
Since then, I have been looking for an after-market part that Robert at The Boat Guy can install, you know, something that includes a wooden mallet that will pop out and knock me on the head, followed by a sign advising that I check that little plastic clip.
On Monday, confident that all was right, I headed out of Falmouth Harbor. All went well until I was off of the town swimming area on Surf Drive when my outboard began to sputter and then die. It was clear, even to a knucklehead like me, that she was starved for fuel, so I first checked the primer bulb.
Sure enough, it would not develop any pressure and no amount of squeezing and advancing the throttle would bring my Honda to life.
At this point, I called Sea Tow and after deploying my anchor, as they advised (I told you I was a knucklehead), they assured me they would have someone come to give me a tow.
Sure enough, Capt. Chris Godino was on the scene in short order and got me to the boat ramp without a hitch. From there, I broke out my little safety paddle and had the Katie G on her trailer in short order—while three other boaters waited to launch.
All I can say is that at least it wasn’t rush hour at the ramp, which would have been a real embarrassment.
Ultimately, the problem proved to be a manufacturing decision on the part of the Raycor corporation that boggles the mind. When you buy one of their smaller units in its entirety, it comes with the bracket that holds the filter, the fuel/water separating filter itself, and the clear plastic bowl that screws onto the bottom of the filter, which allows you to see if there is any water in the fuel if you have an issue.
There is also a valve that you can unscrew to drain the fuel to have it checked, as well as a tube that is extruded into the bowl that has no apparent function.
But, if you buy just the plastic bowl for that unit, that tube is open and threaded to accept a plug, which comes in the box.
Now, if you didn’t know that you had to put that plug in, or that it even existed, there is no way you are going to create a vacuum seal to draw fuel from the tank to the motor.
Of course, when I took my boat to The Boat Guy on Tuesday, Mark said he could hear the sound of air when he pumped the primer bulb and Robert noticed that the plastic bowl had been changed since the gasket on it can fail, causing another air leak in the system.
Sure enough, he went to the box, found the offending plug, and after installing it, my Honda fired back to life.
End of story…or so you would think.
A letter is on its way to Raycor questioning the wisdom in not having the plug installed since the unit is useless without it in place. I can hear you all asking, “Why not read the instructions?”
I suppose that would help, but I need to know why they even made two different bowls when I haven’t heard any logical reason for that tube being open at all.
So thanks to the crew at The Boat Guy, Sea Tow Cape and Islands owner Capt. Ramsey Chason and Capt. Godino, and the gentleman who waited on the beach to see if I was OK while I deployed my anchor.
After all those minor mishaps, however, I was left with a great example of irony and a nice big piece of humble pie.
See, as I was anchored up off Surf Drive, Capt. Eric Stapelfeld’s son and one of his daughters came down and climbed out on the rocks—and began to catch schoolie bass right in front of me! So here I am, the mighty, all-knowing fishing guide and writer, with a boat full of rods and gear, watching them catch fish a short cast from shore.
Oh, and they were using Rebel Jumpin’ Minnows, in case you were wondering.
As of today, I imagine that many folks might be asking what the fishing will be like once the effects of the remnants of Dorian pass through our waters, and I suspect they might kick start a push of bass down from Boston and other spots to the north.
Speaking of Dorian, keep the folks in the Bahamas in your thoughts, and if you have the means, consider making even the smallest donation to relief efforts. I can’t imagine the desperation folks are dealing with there. If you remember Bob, which was a minor hurricane in comparison and swept through our area in hours, it still left a fair amount of damage in its wake.
Apparently, the bass fishing along the southside has been picking up from both boat and shore. There aren’t any monsters being picked up, but there are plenty of smaller stripers to be caught both from the beaches and inlets as they chow on small bait like peanut bunker, silversides, and bay anchovies.
The entrance to Great Pond, Menauhant, Popponesset, the Three Bays, and Dowses are all spots where I heard that people are catching a mix of bass and small blues from the sand and rocks.
A few more rock hoppers have been out at night tossing eels in search of larger bass now that the first signs of fall are upon us, while down the Elizabeths eels, pogies, and tubes seem to be the way to go.
Shore shots for albies or bonito around the southside are relished by those without a boat, so those with a stinkpot should give them a break and stay out of casting range or, better yet, head elsewhere.
According to Amy Wrightson at the Sports Port in Hyannis, Dowses and Craigville Beach are two spots where some funny fish have been caught, while folks continue to put their time in at the stone pier in Woods Hole and the jetties around Green and Great Ponds in Falmouth.
I made the run up Buzzards Bay with Ruth Anderson and Michael Beebe earlier this week in hopes of finding some of the bonito or perhaps even some albies that have folks had been finding between West Falmouth and the west entrance to the Canal, but there were no funnies for us. We did manage, however, to find a nice little bass flurry close to shore, as well as some quality sea bass to take home for dinner.
Speaking for sea bass, remember that the recreational season for 2019 closes at the end of this Sunday, September 8.
My reputation as Capt. Doom and Gloom took a hit on Wednesday as I heard that there was a nice little push of albies off of Green Pond earlier that morning and Evan Eastman at Eastman’s Sport & Tackle on Main Street in Falmouth told me that there was some good action off of Popponesset. You see, I had told my buddy, Capt. Warren Marshall, that the greater part of the albie action between Falmouth and Mashpee was over as the fish had moved east from Bass River to Monomoy. I’m sure he will enjoy serving me some crow once he reads this because you can be sure I won’t tell him!
Folks who drove up late last week in anticipation of blitzing action in the Canal were fed a dose of reality as opposed to crow. Sheila Miller at Canal Bait and Tackle in Sagamore offered up one of her wonderful, melodious laughs when she described all of the sad faces and moans and groans emanating from the out-of-staters, who have no sense of what the reality of the Canal is since they have been spoiled by the ridiculous fishing there over the last several years.
To put it simply, the fish don’t always break during the breakin’ tides. For example, Jeff Miller took a break from filling internet orders and said that guys fishing chunk mackerel or jigging at night have been picking up some quality fish, but they are working for them.
A.J. Coots from Red Top in Buzzards Bay said that there are still good numbers of schoolies down the east end, but far too many people have gotten into the mindset of only targeting big fish in the Canal. By downsizing your equipment and choosing lures with single hooks that imitate the small bait the smaller stripers are feeding on, such as peanut bunker and silversides, you can have a lot of fun.
Even with all of the bait in the Big Ditch, including mackerel, squid, and pogies, the larger bass that are being caught on the tube-and-worm around Scorton Ledge were perfectly happy to stay there, Jeff confirmed.
The word from a local shore angler who happened to be visiting Canal Bait and Tackle is that he has been walking and plugging the beaches in Sandwich, doing well on schoolies to smaller legal fish using SP Minnows at night, including darker colors as well as white and yellow on occasion.
Elise Costa at The Powderhorn in Hyannis said that I heard predictions of 14-foot seas south and east of Nantucket starting today, so I imagine that any offshore boats are tucked snug in their slips. Earlier in the week, folks venturing out towards Veatch, Hydrographer, and Oceanographer were still doing well on yellowfin, according to Kevin Downs at Falmouth Bait & Tackle of Falmouth. There are still plenty of skipjack around, as well as mahi and even some wahoo.
The word from down Cape is that bluefin in the 90-plus-inch class had moved in as close as 10 to 12 miles off of Chatham Inlet, while Stellwagen to Plymouth has produced some quality fish that are feeding on mackerel and pogies.
Although school has started, Sports Port staffer Shawn Powell continues to fish wherever and whenever he can. He took a break from catching brown sharks at Dowses, including four a week ago Wednesday, and fished Nickerson State Park over the Labor Day weekend. He caught a mix of perch, pickerel, and bass; the perch were caught on worms and small minnows, while the other two fell for artificials, including a drop shot rig on the bass and a square bill crankbait for the freshwater barracuda.
This cooler weather show draw trout closer to shore and I was reminded that the state will once again be doing a fall stocking.