by Jerry Vovcsko
Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries has some good news for folks who might enjoy wetting a line over the 4Th of July holidays:
Free Saltwater Fishing Days: July 4 & 5
Celebrate Independence Day by fishing with family and friends! This year, Massachusetts's Free Saltwater Fishing Days will be Saturday, July 4 and Sunday, July 5. On these two days, no permit is required to fish recreationally in our marine waters, out to 3 miles.
If you're looking for a spot to drop a line from shore or a boat ramp to put in your kayak, canoe, or larger vessel, check out the Office of Fishing & Boating Access' directory of access points.
All other days of the year, saltwater anglers over the age of 15 are required to possess a Massachusetts Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit, unless fishing under the authority of a recreational license from New Hampshire, Rhode Island, or Connecticut, or unless otherwise exempt. Your purchase of a Recreational Saltwater Fishing Permit directly funds improvements to saltwater fishing access projects and other programs that support marine recreational fishing in the state.
For more information on fishing in saltwater, contact Matt Ayer (Division of Marine Fisheries) at 978-282- 0308 x107 or [email protected]
And the state Environmental Police took time out from catching miscreants poaching black sea bass to catch and relocate a five-foot long rattlesnake that was slithering in the brush near a Quincy office building.
In a video posted to their Twitter and Facebook accounts, officers from the agency can be seen capturing the rare timber rattlesnake and placing it into a cooler, slamming the lid shut. They said the snake was taken farther into the woods of the Blue Hills Reservation, away from the building's entrance.
The snakes, which have enlarged fangs that can produce venom, are listed as endangered in Massachusetts due to their declining population, he said.
The state is extremely protective of the species, and anyone caught killing or handling the snakes could face significant fines or jail time under state law. Officials are currently dealing with two ongoing cases in regards to people illegally killing timber rattlesnakes.
"These animals belong here, they are beautiful critters and they serve a purpose," Amati said.
According to the state Division of Fisheries and Wildlife, timber rattlesnakes are large, heavy snakes that belong to the viper family.
The endangered snakes, which have a triangular-shaped head and a noisy tail that lets off a rattling sound, have been documented in Berkshire County, the Connecticut River Valley, and the Boston area.
Adult timber rattlesnakes are typically jet black or sulfur yellow, and don't possess stripes on their heads like those found on other types of rattlesnakes. The snakes can also regulate the amount of venom that they release when attacking prey.
Massachusetts only has two types of venomous reptiles — northern copperheads and the timber rattlesnakes, he said.
After all those recent reports of bathers at North Carolina beaches being bitten by sharks (including youngsters who lost limbs in the attacks), Cape Codders might be excused for displaying acute anxiety over the arrival of the season's first Great White sharks near the seal colony at Chatham. Actually, these toothy visitors have been a catalyst for the robust summer Cape economy. At one point it seemed like everybody who had something to sell – be it T-shirts, souvenir mugs, inflatable toys or shark-watching trips – capitalized on the visage of the great white for promotional purposes.
But new state restrictions may change all that. On June 4 the Division of Marine Fisheries announced sweeping regulatory changes on shark tours. Specifically banned are" "Cage diving, shark chumming, baiting and feeding, towing decoys, applying research devices on sharks, or attracting sharks to conduct these activities." End quote.
Maybe that doesn't necessarily put anyone out of business but now they'll have to attract sharks without using bait, chum or seal decoys, and they won't be allowed to put cages in the water. Which is probably a good thing as sooner or later one of those naïve "cage divers" would likely find to their dismay just how much power an adult great white can generate.
Meanwhile, the action continues around the Cape.
The ledges around Woods Hole hold plenty of school bass with the occasional bluefish taking up residence. Just keep in mind that the six-knot currents pouring through there are not conducive to good health if attention should wander. Fish or no fish, pay attention to boat traffic and tide conditions. Stay safe.
Lots of school bass in Nantucket Sound these days and pods of small blues (2 to 4 pound range) cruising around the Nobska Point/Lackey's Bay area. Later this month we may see the first of the funny-fish when false albacore show up around here.
Pretty good fluke action around Lucas Shoal and the Middleground. Some keeper sized flatties have been reported on the wreck site of the James Longstreet target ship in Cape Cod Bay and black sea bass are always in attendance there as well as large scup. Many angler mourned the demise of the Longstreet when the Coast Guard sunk it, but it has become a favorite site of bottom fishermen ever since.
Things are still lively up around Race Point and around toward Herring Cove for bass and blues both but that real striper frenzy that had a plethora of skiffs, kayaks, open consoles and fishing boats of every sort stacked up off the Race has diminished some. The bass are still around but anglers have to do a little more work to score.
The tube and worm folks continue to ring up keeper sized striped bass at Billingsgate Shoal and the Brewster Flats have been producing on a falling tide. Speaking of falling tides, a few savvy kayakers have done very well for themselves by working jig and plastic combos well up into the marsh at Scorton Creek and then riding the ebb tide back down to the Bay.
These are local dudes who've made their reputations right there between the marsh and the Bay. More of that "local knowledge" we talked about in previous blogs – you can't beat it.