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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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September 08, 2015

Strange Days of Labor Day Weekend

by Jerry Vovcsko

It may have been sunspots, holes in the ozone layer or a disturbance in The Force. Whatever the reason, it seemed like this past Labor Day weekend on the Cape was one of the kookiest ever.

To start with, bathers enjoying the sun at White Crest Beach in Wellfleet were startled to find a fourteen foot great white shark stranded on the sandy shore.

A crowd of about thirty people gathered on the beach to watch and more looked on from the dunes with binoculars, said Suzanne Grout Thomas, beach administrator for Wellfleet. Bystander formed two lines and along with two rangers from the Cape Cod National Seashore and researches from the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy helped get the shark back into the ocean. The conservancy used one of its tagging boats to tow the shark into the water assisted by the willing beach folk.

Unfortunately, the shark was bleeding from serious internal injuries and the return to the water was in vain. Scientists will be trying to determine what caused the shark's death.

While New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady straps on his helmet in preparation for up for the team's opening game Thursday after a judge lifted his four-game suspension, he might be pleased to know that a great white shark named in his honor will be swimming somewhere off the coast of Cape Cod.

Brady, the 13-foot male great white, was tagged off Nauset Beach in Orleans last week. He was the 15th shark to be tagged this season by the Atlantic White Shark Conservancy, an Orleans-based nonprofit agency dedicated to shark research. Sixteen sharks have been tagged so far this summer, according to Conservancy officials.

Disgruntled Patriots fans are probably hoping that Brady the Shark bumps into NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell swimming at one of the Cape's beaches and decides to take a nip out of Roger the Dodger's rancid carcass. He's not a lawyer so there's no likelihood of "professional courtesy" forgiveness.

And, of course, what would Labor Day on Cape Cod be without traffic issues? Which is why the smart guys decided to get a jump on their holiday departure by leaving early...which is also why Route 6 turned into a packed-full-parking-lot - thirteen miles long – by mid-afternoon.

But to get a true picture of the Labor Day weekend's wonkiness, here's a sample of the police report from the Bourne PD.

•Two children's bikes (and helmets) stolen
•Man walking dog tells driver to slow down, driver and passenger get out to argue with man
•Woman calls for help in shutting off car, running for hours in garage, FD responses to ventilate
•Dog triggered lock, locking himself in vehicle
•Party reports someone sleeping in her backyard
•Man in beige shirt and shorts jumping in front of cars on Sagamore Bridge (lost his wallet driving over the Sagamore and was trying to retrieve it)
•Report of someone walking down the road in a bathrobe and slippers at 4:30 p.m.
•Employee alleged to have stolen scratch tickets from employer
•Report of watermelon being thrown at cars
•Unwanted tweets on Twitter
•Anonymous "you are a bad person" texts received
•Suspicious male in a unicorn mask
•Caller reported seeing an ice cream truck driver drinking and driving
•Driver called to report seeing a bakery truck with the back door rolled up and baked goods falling into the road
•Propane tank thrown through window
•Angry customer punches, shatters window
•Person in Speedo walking in traffic on the Sagamore Bridge

Seems to me having a car running "for hours" in their garage might create a waking-up problem for anybody sleeping in the house. And I wonder if whomever was throwing the watermelon at passing cars might want to get together later with the guy driving the ice cream truck and the bakery truck dude for an impromptu picnic under the stars.

The gent walking in a Speedo probably got home a lot faster than the folks sitting in that 13-mile backup at the Sagamore Bridge. And I have no doubt the fellow in the unicorn mask was Roger Goodell trying to sneak over the bridge before Patriot fan spotted him. All in all, it was Labor Day on Cape Cod and another summer vacation slips away into the mist of history. Must be getting near time for that annual fall migration to put in an appearance…can winter be far behind?

Oh yeah, and what's happening with the fishing hereabouts?

Striper action has been slow although the Elizabeth Islands continue to deliver bass to early morning anglers and a couple of plus-thirty-pound fish were caught in Robinsons Hole by locals employing live eels in the rips around the northeast corner.

Albies and bonito ruled the action in Nantucket Sound especially in the stretch of water between Lackey's Bay and Woods Hole Harbor. The Middleground saw swarms of boats working the reef on westerly running tides in pursuit of fluke and the occasional jumbo bluefish.

Speaking of bluefish, they are all over the Sound right now and it's a challenge to dunk bait without having these voracious eating machines severing an angler's line.

The big schools of stripers that hovered around Race Point for a good share of the summer have broken up and dispersed – they'll be shoving off before long headed back to southerly waters…but not just yet.

Aside from the great whites that have been terrorizing the seal colony around Chatham, other shark species inhabit Cape Cod Bay and both thresher and mako sharks have been targeted this summer. The area between Race Point and the southeast corner of Stellwagen Bank has been productive with makos as well as Bluefin tuna this year.

Now is an ideal time to hit the surf along the outside beaches for striped bass. Head of the Meadow and Ballston beaches in Truro are active. And Nauset is worth a look particularly around Coast Guard Beach at dusk and into the night. Live eels are killer baits around the sandbars and holes.

Two points I feel the need to make: the Patriots, Deflategate notwithstanding, are looking very solid this year and chances are Belichick/Brady have a burr under their saddles. If I were the Indy Colts I might be a tad nervous going up against the Pats later this season. Bill B. may not say much but he's got a long memory and isn't averse to running up the score to make a point.

And keep an eye on the Red Sox next year. All those talented young outfielders (Betts, Bradley and Castillo) have the defensive ability to make a pitching staff look really good. And Jackie Bradley, Jr, is beginning to look like the reincarnation of Ted Williams these last few weeks of the season. New England fans have a lot to look forward to and there's always that fifth Super Bowl as a motivating force. Buckle up, sports fans, for what promises to be a helluva ride.

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