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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 15, 2015

Strange Turtles Showing Up and Funny Fish Fever In Cape Waters

by Jerry Vovcsko

The never-ending saga of Joe's Lobster Mart added yet another chapter as the Sandwich Zoning Board of Appeals unanimously approved a special permit last week that could pave the way for the Lobster Mart to pick up where it left off near the Sandwich Marina.

The special permit had been sought by G-Four LLC, members of the Gallo family who own the property. Their attorney, Jonathan Fitch, said the Gallos plan to lease the lot at 0 Gallo Road to Joseph Vaudo for a wholesale and retail seafood market similar to the one he had operated for decades. Vaudo had his licenses to sell fish revoked by the state Department of Public Health after he pleaded guilty to receiving stolen oysters in Barnstable District Court. It remains to be seen if Vaudo will be able to get licenses to operate the new location.

Vaudo, of course, was bounced from the original fish market after being caught buying stolen shellfish, fined for that offense and kicked out of day-to-day operations of the seafood business. The new market still needs a permit from the Old King's Highway Historic District Committee. That committee is scheduled to take up the project Sept. 23.

Vaudo was subleasing the Cape Cod Canal location to a longtime colleague before it closed Aug. 31. He is also seeking a demolition permit from Old King's Highway so he can comply with his federal lease to remove the building on property belonging to the Army Corps of Engineers.

Who says crime doesn't pay?

It looks as if yet another invasive species has its sights set on New England waters. Biologists say Chinese soft-shell turtles found on Wollaston Beach in Quincy last week pose a potential threat as an invasive species to the state.

Onlookers spotted the turtle, a species native to the waters of eastern Asia, digging in the sand at Wollaston on Labor Day. Members of the New England Aquarium's Marine Animal Rescue Team came to collect it the following day. A second turtle, believed to be of the same species, was spotted on the beach later in the week but its whereabouts now are unknown.

Scientists are worried that if the species gets a foothold, like it has in the Philippines, it could consume a lot of small fish, insects and mollusks and cause a serious problem in the ecosystem. The turtles also eat snails, shellfish, crabs, fish detritus, and some plants and could compete with other native turtles as well as carry disease to other native species.

Nantucket Sound is awash in peanut bunker and other baitfish and that's ratcheted up the false albacore action end to end as well as around the Big Islands. Local bait shops report funny fish cruising along the beaches and chasing bait every which way. Great Point on Nantucket has been seeing dawn to dusk action all week long and the continuing presence of bluefish in the Sound only adds to the fun.

Striped bass are another matter, though, and it takes persistence and savvy to score with resident linesides. Not to worry, though…won't be too long before the annual fall migration comes into view and that's when pretty much anybody who can wet a line can expect to catch striped bass.

Bottom fishing has slowed considerably since black sea bass season closed. Fluke still abound over on the Middleground and around Cleveland Ledge and tautog can be found in numbers over at the Weepecket Islands, but anglers will have to wait until next year to pursue those tasty black sea bass for the freezer.

Some striper action has picked up recently around Barnstable Harbor although most of that action involves school-size bass. A few keepers have been nailed by folks employing the tried and true tube and worm method. Bluefish continue to hang around in Nantucket Sound as well as over in Cape Cod Bay and boaters working along the edge of the Brewster Flats on an ebbing tide have experienced lively mid-day action tossing plugs and jigs.

The Cape Cod Canal is hit-or-miss although local "canal rats" working jigs down deep during the night tides have taken some large bass including a twenty-five pound striper last week. At the east end, anglers drifting mackerel chunks have also had some success. When the fall migration kicks off, the Ditch becomes a super highway of south-bound stripers and the rip rap will be lined with hopeful anglers.

Next Sunday will see the New England Patriots heading for Upstate New York as the Pats take on Rex Ryan's Buffalo Bills. It'll be interesting to see what Bill Belichick has planned for the Bills' new starting quarterback, Tyrod Taylor. Taylor played well against the Indy Colts but hasn't had much game experience and Belichick lights up at the sight of young QBs – should be an interesting game. I know where I'll be come 1 PM on Sunday.

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