Last week we were blessed with a November day that felt more like May with temperatures in the 60s and winds light and variable for most of the day. Captain Rich Antonino of Black Rose Fishing met us at Green Harbor marina in Marshfield, Massachusetts and an hour later we were drifting over 380 feet of water east of Stellwagen Bank. With cod season closed, the plan was to target pollock, a more aggressive relative of cod and haddock that will slam metal jigs and fight like heck as you try to move them off the bottom.
By the time we arrived, a few boats were already drifting the area, catching pollock two at a time on jig and teaser rigs.
Capt. Rich grabbed a lightweight Okuma Andros jigging rod and reel and sent a 10-ounce Sting-O PBJ jig down to the bottom. While demonstrating how to work the jigs, Capt. Rich hooked up with the first fish of the day, a 15-pounder that went right into the fish box.
OTW publisher Chris Megan was up next, and for the next couple of hours until the tide slacked, the action was pretty consistent, with several double- and triple-headers on pollock from 10 to 20 pounds.
It took me a few drops to get the feel, but after missing the first few fish I started to connect and put a few pollock on deck.
While the pollock hit the jigs hard and fought with violent headshakes, it seemed like a subtle jigging action with a tight line right on the bottom produced more hits than a fast jigging action or a quick retrieve. Adding a simple teaser fly also increased the number of hookups.
As we were drifting, Chris spotted a broad-shouldered shark that we assumed to be a porbeagle – a cold-water shark that would be at home in the 52-degree waters – cruise past the stern of the boat about a foot underneath the surface. Capt. Rich took a small live cusk off his line and pegged it on a circle hook underneath a balloon and fed out line from an Okuma Makaira sharking set-up. Minutes later the clicker started screaming and Chris took the rod. We were shocked that the taker wasn’t a porbeagle but a small blue shark that provided some excitement and a spirited flight.
After that exciting diversion, we got back to loading up on pollock fillets to take back to Dave “Pops” Masch to cook up using some recipes from his Cooking The Catch cookbook. We even caught a few redfish – also known as ocean perch – a member of the scorpionfish family that is covered in venomous spines! Capt. Rich handled those carefully and we’ll see how Pops has a recipe for them.
With plenty of footage for an episode of On The Water TV, producer Matt Rissell put down the camera and got in on the action.
Many thanks to Capt. Rich Antonino of Black Rose Fishing for a great day on the water.