Reader E-Mail: Bonito From a Stand-Up Paddleboard
Earlier this week, we received an e-mail from On The Water reader Patrick McEvoy of New York City, who took his stand up paddleboard and a rod off Cisco Beach on Nantucket and landed a bonito. Read Patrick’s first hand account of his thrilling catch below.
Good evening fellas,
I had a truly amazing experience last weekend I thought I would share as I think, even you, will find it unique.
I grew up in Centerville and my girlfriend on Nantucket, and since I’ve been spending more time there than the “mainland” I had to pick up a new hobby — surfing. While fishing will always be my true passion, surfing has quenched my thirst for being on the water when the fishing sucks or my boat is too small.
I’m sure you are aware of the popularity of Stand Up Paddleboards, and Nantucket is a mecca. We surf on them often when the waves are small, and many love to cruise the harbor or a calm ocean for exercise.
Last year, my buddy Brian Sullivan (Nantucket year rounder) thought we should be using these SUPs for fishing. This spring he landed two keepers on slug-gos on the flats near the west jetty of Nantucket Harbor.
Last weekend, though, was my shot. It was our week off so we spent it between Centerville and Nantucket. It blew hard onshore for 4 days, then the wind switched that Friday the 16th and Saturday was a perfect 10. With four of my best buddies visiting from around the country we headed out and fished Great Point hard for four hours. Only bluefish.
A call from my buddy let us know beach conditions were perfect — a slight north breeze and very little swell so we headed out to Cisco Beach. My buddy, Justin Schaeffer, who taught me to surf, asked if I wanted to play a game of “SUP chicken” — who would paddle south off the beach the furthest without turning back. He was going down AND I was bringing my rod armed with a blue Yo-Zuri. I’ve fished that area about 6 times from my SUP with no luck. The water is generally churned from all the swell and really the best shot at a fish is at night or early in June when the bass are in tight (shhhh the fishing from the beach is awesome).
I had my eye on a nice slick about 3/4 a mile offshore, so Justin, myself and his GOPRO headed off. Four casts in and literally as I was saying “I’m going to flip out if i hook a fish” my reel started SCREAMING. I knew immediately it was a bonito or falsie. Justin got the GOPRO set up and these pics (there are many others) tell the rest. I fought the fish for 20 good minutes and it pulled us about 1/4 mile east in the greasy conditions (see below). It took me another 15 to get the hooks out as I forgot pliers and then we used a “nica trick” we learned watching the locals in Popoyo, Nicaragua when we were on a surf trip — feed the surf leash through the fish’s gills to trade it back to shore. It was one of the greatest moments of my fishing career. It’s been funny to overhear people talking about someone landing a bonito when we are out at bars. We have also met people since who said they heard our screams up and down the southside beaches that Saturday.
Fresh sushi on the beach with my awesome girlfriend, best friends and the truly wonderful beach family I have met while visiting the island the past 4 years was something I’ll cherish forever.
My mothers’ father, Tom Mcdonough, taught me how to fish when I was 4 years old. The fishing tournament at the Scituate Harbour Yacht Club is now named for him because, as it turned out, I wasn’t the only one he taught this wonderful sport to. The ocean has been a place of safety and solitude for me, especially after I lost my incredible mother to breast cancer 5 years ago. you can see the pink ribbon pinned to my green Patagonia hat in the pictures. Sometimes life comes full circle and, for me at least, when it does it usually involves the ocean and fishing.
Sometimes i get caught up in worrying too much about what im taking out of the ocean and forget about how much the ocean has given me.
Not sure if anyone has caught a bonito from a SUP before, but I hope tons of people will in the future!
New York City