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Postby EC NEWELLMAN » Sat Nov 10, 2018 9:59 pm

This blog will be updated with fishing stories from this point on....

NOVEMBER 10, 2018




At this time of the year I had planned for one last shot in the deep for ling. Winds were supposed to be fair, with a slight swell, and I thought with my group that I could get this trip off the dock without a problem.

I got down to the dock before 6:30 and get the boat ready as everyone was making their way down to my boat. Even though I wanted to get going, I still had to wait 20 minutes and was waiting for the east wind lessen so the outgoing tide could to drop so I could get under the bridge. Finally I was able to barely squeeze under, shoot over to another dock to pick up ice and off we go.

What was supposed to be a big but mellow swell, was closer and tighter than NOAA weather had advertised and now with a 10 to 15 mph east wind on top of the swell.

Push off a mile and see the nautical seas growing bigger and bigger and made a snap decision. I pull back even more on the stick, and as I was swinging my boat around 180 degrees and aim right back at the inlet, I tell my crew, “That’s it we’re going blow fishing.” There was no argument and in fact everyone was ‘joyfully quiet’ to not go any further from the safety of the shoreline.

As I was completing my turn around, I pass Butch on the Daunty heading out. He’s giving me hand signals from the wheelhouse, shrugging his shoulders at me and pointing to the east as if to say, “you’re going the wrong way.” I don’t have a 77 foot Gulfcraft that can punch through, ride over and just eat up the sloppy seas running north up the beach.

Get back through the inlet, pull it back and make a quick stop at the fuel dock and ask the young man standing there if they got chum logs. “Yeah, I think so.”

This poor kid then had to move 15 or so - 50 lb bags of ice in the walk in, just so he can lean across a pile of ice in order to barely reach for those 6 buried logs.

The kid was chilled and giving me a funny look and wondering “who in October would be asking for 6 chum logs at this time of the year,” and I would agree as the winter flounder fishery is a really - long distant memory in this area. Then he raised his eyebrows and figured that we were just another group of weekend warriors who were going to find some blowfish in the area.

It was then back to the dock for everyone to run around and pick up the tackle for blowfish which basically is a trout rod armed with small hooks. That’s all you need so you can leave the super duper max-a-whatever and she-man rods home. Finally everyone gets back to the boat and we shove off but it was now 8:15 – 8:30 in the morning.

This time I was going in the opposite direction as we needed to go through the canal, and at that point I realize we would be getting to my spot at the start of dead high tide which in my blowfish captain’s vernacular is “not good.” The hours on the clock are ticking away, but I tell my group that we should just drive in slow circles for another hour because it’s all about tide at that honey hold blowfish drop.

I finally decide to make the first drop and start motoring over to the spot and find another boat on my honey hole numbers (yes lol, but I needed a few giggles at this point) but we end up anchoring next to him. There was no fishing magic in the air today as we waited for 20, no, 30 minutes of zero blowtoads coming over the rail, but as expected with this type of fishing we had to the toss back the conciliation prize of 3 to 4 baby kingfish. “Screw this crap, let’s take the ride,” and the crew had no idea what the ride was going to be.

A ride out to the Stolt would have been a shorter ride as I watched the gps slowly tick down the 22 miles to get to where a fleet of 25 - 30 boats were set up on the anchor. I had to make it look like I had an old spot in my machine, but at this point in the day I literally just had to find a parking spot to toss the anchor.

I was watching what the other boats were doing and saw most had done this before as I saw either a heavy white parachute cord of black tarred-colored lines hanging over the side which meant they had their pots over the side and were chumming away, possibly for a few hours.

Now my attention was drawn to the boat right next to me and the fishermen onboard who were just barely a long cast away, and everyone onboard is snapping them one after another. It was a guy and girl who were either catching them or swinging at one all this while we can’t even buy a bite.

This was turning into a disaster of a trip and I just blurted out at that point, “Maybe these clams are the ones I’ve taken in and out of my cooler 10x and are now pretty sour.” Heads nodded but no one said a word. Now I said, “It’s got to be a bait issue” and a few “yeas” were repeated but that didn’t much change our luck. It was another 30 minutes later as we stuck it out at this spot and we have a grand total of 3 blowfish rolling around in a big cooler. My thoughts at that point where that I just drove 25 miles for this dog-poop.

Most old time captains would consider this the right time for a “sandwich and toilet break,” as I yelled out to pick up, and the crew expected another long ride to find some fish, but I only steamed over another 1000 - 1500 feet out to the other side of the fleet.

I set up in 7 feet instead of the 10 feet we were just in. At this point of the day I had to use my “super blowfish spidey senses” because this was just one dud of a fishing day and I was just pulling one out of my (LOL).

This time two anchors, and they were not even tight when I’ve got two on. From then on it was lights out blowtoad fishing. Before I couldn’t get a nudge on the bait and now it was literally doubles coming up. Instant bites as soon as you hit the bottom and I didn’t even bother to put more chum in as I pulled the pot, but with the water temps so warm and tide moving along so quickly the chum log would be gone in less than 15 minutes anyway. With this drop and lock fishing there was no need to reload it for the rest of the trip. Over the decades, I can say this was faster than the most outrageous scup or seabass bite.

Would you believe that after all we went through with fishless-fishing, 2 hours and a tide change later everyone agreed and said they were done fishing for this trip?
I Left them chewing and we had for the group 240 toads. If I had two more guys with more inspiration I would have had an easy 400.

Some would say that is some amount of fish, and it is when you have to clean them. But for anyone who has done blow fishing, and then had to cut them and split it up amongst a few guys, you realize that you have literally more meat off one 40 lb striped bass!

These were some very nice blowfish as you can see with only a handful of throw backs. I know that amount of blowfish is a decent amount of “tasty turkey legs” to eat over the next few weeks. Blowfish are that tasty, much better then chicken. The unofficial VTR count was 1 ‘spiny burr fish’ out of few big Ziploc bags of exotic blowfish that we were bringing home. Thankfully I had 2 guys who were expert blowfish cutters and they had them all skinned by the 15 mile mark.

Ps, you missed a good blowfish trip…or didn’t you realize that at this point of the story?

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Postby EC NEWELLMAN » Sat Nov 10, 2018 10:19 pm

NOVEMBER 10, 2018



I figured I had fixed the electrical issues on the boat that have been dogging me lately. Wrong, and more on this later. I was supposed to have four ‘Pennsylvanians’ and a five year old. With the lousy weather, I tell everyone not to wake up too early and they can shape up at 8:30, and I get down to the boat and it’s only the two ‘PA-ers’ and the kid. Other two guys are nowhere to be found and are no-shows, and worse, no call. That’s a huge pet peeve of mine. When guys commit, I expect them to be at the dock ready to go simply because I’ve turned away another four to five guys who wanted to go. I considered those spots are filled by the two no shows - who now don’t show, and anyway those characters are now banned from my boat. I gave them the extra time to show while tying up the other people that have shown up, so I finally shove off.

I motor over and grab some ice at the fuel dock, come around the bend and push her up. Get maybe 50 feet and the tach jumps all over and then the engine stalls dead. Jesus Christ. Start the engine up and go another 25 feet, and she craps out again. Drifting like a mo-mo just 200 feet from the fuel dock and a few boats just going by. With a very excited 5 year old now wondering what is going on I grab a screw driver, dive under the helm and do the “electrical 101" when you don’t know what is wrong” and crank down on every connection. Get 3/4 of a turn on the ignition switch screw (which I’ve tightened 4 different times already) and like I am some magician to this kid, and all is fixed. Off we go again.

Get into the river then canal with the no wake zones, and 23 miles later I’m at the promised land, at least that is what I call it. The fleet of 30+ boats from 2 weeks ago is now just one 17ft whaler. Something is up but I still continue to go over to my spot. Now to give you an idea, it’s literally the same steam as when I go to the Lilly, except without the pain in “you know what,” no wake zones.

I am looking around and figure this spot is as good as any and anchor up and pray we get bites for this kid. To recap from 2 weeks ago, I hadn’t even shut off my engine or come tight, and had 2 double headers. Well today, we set up in 7 feet of water and wait.

Now it sounds like nothing, but I know from years of experience in blowtoad fishing that if 2 to 3 minutes go by without a touch, I’m starting to twitch. It’s a long sight-seeing type of ride for bad fishing and that’s not the way I want it to be with the kid on the boat.

Finally after what felt like 2 hours (In blowfish fishing, it was 2 minutes actually) the kid gets one. 30 seconds later it’s lights out double headers. Instant bites. 99% are what I consider keepers with no exotics at all, just toads.

My no-name-brand flounder hook was bent into an English bend, circle hook from all the abuse. They were so vicious that the tip and barb of one my hooks was actually bitten off. Stayed red hot like that until everyone finally quit 2 and 1/2 hours later. We actually left them chewing with the final count of 285 as we went home.


Now the high and low 'lights,' this after that amount of blowfish?

Well I stuff the chum pot when we got there. Put the clip on the wrong cotter pin. Toss it over and then see some brown thing rising to the surface and it’s my chum log. Pull it up and slip a new log in, put the clip on the proper pin, swing it over, line jerks as it hits the water, chum pot snaps off and gone. This routine was done in front of the kid and at the end I was standing there just holding onto the line.

I get an idea on how to remedy this by taking a 3 gallon bucket, fill it with lead, cut a bunch of holes in the lid and it worked just fine. Maybe I should get into the plastic chum bucket business.
Eventually I say I’ve gotta put my camera down to see this mayhem. Tie it to the chum pot line with 40 lb mono, an hour later the blowfish must’ve eaten it because it was gone when we pulled the pot. At the very end I was sitting on the helm and wondered what I could toss over next.


The aftermath report is that the boat is officially now fixed, this after I’ve tightened, shook, twisted, and cleaned every wire and connection looking for the bad ground for the last 2 weeks. Imagine if you had a guy in the shipyard do this? Probably charge me for a month worth of labor! The screw, I swear I’ve tightened 3x already and just needed ¾ more of a turn. Go figure.

What’s funny, the five year olds dad, maybe fished 20 minutes today. Me, my buddy and the kid had most of them. The Dad was constantly rebaiting and taking fish off his kid’s hooks. Kid would catch one, hand the pole to dad, and grab another pole that was already baited for him. This kid maybe took one break lasting 3 minutes. Otherwise all day he was at the rail. Me and the other two guys probably took 2 or 3, 10 to 15 minute breaks.


This kid couldn’t even see over the gunnel. Chest high on him. But he kicked all our asses. We would tell him to stop reeling with 2 feet left between the tip and the swivel. He usually did, but if we didn’t tell him he was cranking those fish through the guide’s, lol. Kid probably dropped 40 fish cranking the top of his double headers through the guides. Too funny. Kept saying, “dad I’m on fire.”

Funny story, like if this wasn’t a hoot already. The kid had to eventually pee. He can’t get it over the side so I tell him to pee on the deck in the corner. Like any little kid, he’s gotta pull his pants down to his knees. His little bright moon white butt is sticking out, but he’s trying to preserve his dignity by trying to cover it with one hand. ‘Omg’ I was dying.

I told his dad when we got in, “never take him blow fishing again.”

Confused, he asked me, “why not?”

“This was unreal.”

I say, “Exactly. It will never be this good for him again. Go out on top. It’s only goes down from here.”


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Postby R SONS » Sun Nov 11, 2018 11:47 am

that is a great read steve ,,, blowfish are very under rated as table fare , more important is about the son on the trip , i remember when my son had to pee . same thing . now he is taller than me ,and we do make certain we catch a few blow toads for dinner , deep fried salt and pepper chinese style . dont know which boat it was but kudos to capt that made that kids day . its what it is all about . they are the future hence my screen name
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