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Jerry Vovcsko

First dunked a worm in Otsego Lake (upstate NY) some 68 years ago and began pursuing striped bass in Cape Cod waters 40 years ago. Pretty soon I should be able to get it right...maybe.

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July 18, 2012

Happy Birthday to Me!

by Jerry Vovcsko

Okay, so here comes another milestone – July 18th and looks like I've made it to a whopping-big 74 years of age…Happy Birthday to me! There've been a lot of changes since I was a kid and just starting to catch on to what struck me as a really lucrative scam: Have yourself a birthday, and look here, people gave you presents! I could really get behind that idea. One of the best presents to come along showed up when I was right around nine years old or so and my dad gave me a brand new Pfleuger baitcaster reel- a level-wind at that- and I figured I'd hit the big-time for sure. That reel would be my number-one until it got lost in a move during my teen years.


It got replaced by a series of whatever-I-could-afford hardware store specials and then I laid eyes on a Mitchell 300 spinning reel and that was all she wrote for decades. The Mitchell handled everything freshwater could offer up along with schoolie-sized stripers and blues in the salt. Nowadays my Mitchells are pretty beat up and some of the parts are a bit worn but, what-the-hell, that pretty well describes me too, so we get along okay and mostly get the job done even if we don't look too spiffy doing it.

Speaking of getting the job done the hook & line commercial striped bass season opened last week and those lads surely know how to fill their boats to the gunwhales with fish. Livelining scup is one of the methods the commercials employ. They drop that tempting bait right on the nose of big stripers that hang in a variety of ambush sites and haul bass in by the bushel. The deep "holes' southwest of the Middleground is a favored location for a few locals who augment the grocery money by selling their catch. I'm okay, I guess, with folks scratching out a living by doing odd jobs locally and catching & selling some fish, but I have less patience for the notion of with a couple guys, whose fishing gear cost more than a brand new '56 Chevvy cost back in the day, hauling in stripers from the deck of a $20K Boston Whaler. There just seems something wrong about that, but maybe that's just the opinion of a cranky old crock that needs to get-with-times.

Anyhow, bluefish are still plentiful in Nantucket Sound and schools of 4 to 6-lb fish cruise the Sound regularly – the perfect size fish for a summer grilling session. Pop the fillets in aluminum foil, add a slice or two of ripe tomato, a couple slices of red onion…drizzle a little olive oil or dab a mix of mayonnaise & dark mustard on the fillets and pouch up the foil. Grill until done and Happy Eating! Wash down with a cold brew while listening to the struggles of this year's Red Sox and enjoy another fine summer day.

Right now the best places to dunk bait or toss lures include: Race Point up around Provincetown; the Chatham area from Nauset Inlet on down to Monomoy; Cuttyhunk, especially around Sow and Pigs reef and up toward Quicks Hole. The latter is especially productive around dark for those who like to work live eels into the boulders and ledges that line the bottom along these shores. Folks with local knowledge are doing well drifting live eels or tube & worming around the ledges in Woods Hole but the key there is "local knowledge". Boat traffic is heavy the current runs fierce through the Hole and those ledges are known hull-eaters if a boat wanders into the wrong place. Fog and nighttime make Woods Hole an extremely dangerous area to wander around in so have a care if you're thinking of giving it a try.

So I guess that's my Happy Birthday to Me column for 2012 and I hope I'm around to write the "I Just Turned Three Quarters of a Century Old" version in 2013. Tight line and see you out on the water.

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