by Jerry Vovcsko
It's not all that uncommon to see a blind person being guided by a seeing-eye dog, but you don't generally expect to hear about the guide role being played by a shark. Which is why a recent story in an Australian newspaper really got my attention. Seems a policeman, Toakai Teitoi, from the Central Pacific island nation of Kiribati and his brother-in-law Lelu Falaile set out in a small wooden boat during what was supposed to have been a two-hour sea journey between the islands of Tarawa and Maiana, During their journey, the pair stopped to fish and then decided to sleep overnight on the boat.
When they awoke the next morning, they discovered the boat had drifted out of sight of Maiana and soon after, ran out of fuel.
Over the next few days Teitoi said he survived by subsisting on fish and what little rainwater he and his brother-in-law, Ielu Falaile, could collect. But Falaile, who died during the ordeal, succumbed to dehydration and Teitoi said he slept next to him "like at a funeral" and the next day buried him at sea.
After some weeks drifting at sea the policeman said he awoke from an afternoon nap because he heard the sounds of scratching coming from underneath the boat. He looked overboard to see a shark circling the boat and bumping the hull.
"He was guiding me to a fishing boat. I looked up and there was the stern of a ship and I could see crew with binoculars looking at me," Teitoi said.
Once the shark had his attention, it swam off and Tetoi was brought aboard a Marshall Islands fishing vessel, given food and juice and he is a recovering from the ordeal.
Massachusetts Salt Water fishing permits for the 2013 season went on sale December 1st, 2012. These permits can be used for the 2013 calendar year, starting on January 1st.Cost for the permit is $10.00 (free for those 60 and older). They can be purchased online through the MassFishHunt Licensing System, via telephone (866-703-1925), at any one of the three MarineFisheries branches, or at participating stores and town offices.
These days there's not a whole lot of salt water action happening as the weather and scarcity of fish have focused local anglers' attention on the freshwater scene. Striped bass, bluefish and bonito may have departed Cape waters but there are plenty of trout, bass, pickerel and some salmon available in the sweetwater these days.
Peters Pond in Sandwich has been productive and Mashpee/Wakeby pond on the Mashpee/Falmouth border has served up some nice largemouth bass. Anglers jonesing for grill fare have been doing well over at the Brewster ponds using PowerBait to score on rainbow trout.
Plymouth's Long Pond harbors a population of salmon which the state folks keep topped off with regular stocking programs and that's a particularly good pond for the lads in kayaks to try their luck. I've had good success there flipping a medium sized Al's Goldfish and a few years back a gent who was waiting to use the boat launch nailed a ten-lb salmon casting a metal slab a few feet from the boat ramp. (Guys like that are the ones who win lotteries!)
Folks who simply can't put away the salt water gear just yet might see a bit of action around the east end of the Canal as mackerel have been showing up sporadically and there seems to be a leftover contingent of small stripers hanging out in the Ditch. But local waters around the Sound now show temperatures in the mid-forties and that's not conducive to a lively striper presence, so those fish are likely to be checking out real-soon-now.
The Patriots are playing in Miami this weekend and it looks like they've got their December rhythm going right now. Could this be another Super Bowl year for the folks in New England? It's possible and their chances are looking better by the week.