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Old 06-14-2009, 12:20 PM
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Coalman Coalman is offline
Join Date: Sep 2006
Location: Exeter, NH
Posts: 262
Default Re: Bugs and Bass Great Bay 2008

The Bay was beautiful this morning. Adam's point left. Thomas Point right.

Newmarket's water tower center.

I am thinking of visiting the butcher rather than the fish bait dealers. The pork worked very well.

Second trap, four keepers. The first three traps had eight keepers.

The lobster are not the only thing coming out of shed. I caught at least 20 horseshoe crabs today. The majority of the green and red crabs were soft.

Even though the water is stained brown the crustaceans look good.
All but one lobster today was soft shell. These are the lobster that came to shed in early July. They are coming out of molt and they are hungry.
Seventeen keepers today . 6 culls came home. Those lobsters along with some soft shell clams and sea scallops are going to make a good seafood salad.

I have two sets that have produced 9 keepers in the last three checks. I took 5 traps today and set them further up the channel. The new holes I set are proven producers. They have plenty of bait and they are the only lobster traps around.

The Great Bay has been very, very good to me.

28 traps, 22 keeper lobster in the Bay this morning. But it gets better. Setting the last traps of the day we saw pogies on the surface. Broke out the gill net and had 7 in the boat in no time. Jumbo variety.

First drift live lining the pogies and I had a striper slurping. Just wouldn't take the pogie. Second drift at noon and my first mate Richard lands a 35" 20 pounder.

One live pogie left and at 1 PM yours truly lands a 37" 21 pound striper. Got it on my tube and worm rod and reel. What a fight.

As we were leaving the Bay, Richard spied more pogies. We motor over there and giant bass are crashing them on the surface. What a sight.

Don't overlook those pogies.

Father and son 08-24-08
My son Shawn came fishing with me today.

We got into the pogies right away. But hooking a striper on the jumbo pogies proved challenging. The slurpees were incredible. The bass would throw the pogies right out of the water.

Shawn caught the big fish of the day. 39" 25 pounds.

This is his PB to date. He chose to release the fish.

My best fish was 35".

Today is my father's 79Th birthday. Physical restrictions didn't allow him to join us. We fished for him through our pictures.

Happy birthday Dad.

Took a couple guys from work out tonight. Plenty of pogies. Snagged a half dozen. We didn't have any worries or bites.

Brian was back with me tonight. We ran the gill net in the favored drift and got four pogies the first try. Took the pogies to the Dad and Coalman honey hole. Brian caught his first striper 38" 24 pounds. We got some pictures on his phone. I landed a 33".

I gave my striper to my buddy Mark. In return I got 2 baitings worth of freezer burnt meat.

There is even some pork in there.
Squeal, Squeal.

Caught 4 pogies today and netted 3 bass. Biggest 40" 28 pounds.
I had a promise to keep to a good friend on the Bay. She was sushi in an hour.

The crustaceans were squealing in the cooler today. 16 keepa lobster. Moved some gear into the hot zone. The bugs are on hard bottom.
Shawn and I will be there at daybreak. There's a 50 with our name on it.

The stories are still being told. Great Bay water flows through my veins.

See ya on the water.

Got to the dock this morning in a sprinkle. Left 20 minutes later to torrential rains. About 0800 the rain stopped and we tried it again. I had the pleasure to share the boat and Bay with a mentor of mine who showed me how to trap and dig the bounties of Great Bay.

It had to be the most humid day I have ever dug a peck of clams. There was a lady out digging clams today. Where has she been all my life?

After clamming Joe decided to go for a swim. He came over and sat on the bottom to show us the school of fish that were pecking at the hairs on his legs.

We scooped up some in a bucket to try and identify them. That is Larry up to his waist picking oyster up off the bottom.

They were smelts.

When we returned to the dock at 3 PM the rain started. Thank you Lord for the break in the weather. 14 keepa bugs today, a peck of clams and a bucket of oysters. A feast fit for a King and a New England Patriots game.

My goal today was to move my gear back into Great Bay for the last month of my lobster trapping season. I plan on pulling out the week of 10/13.

Tradition has the bugs coming back into the shallows of Great Bay to shed one more time before returning to the ocean for the winter. I put 6 test traps in Great Bay a week ago.

Today these were the first traps I checked and I got 3 keepers. Not bad I thought. I started to get mentally prepared to move traps. Lobster trapping is my hobby but it is sure work.

Then I got to check my gear in Little Bay. Trap after traps were coming up with lobsters. I soon made the decision to leave my traps where they were. I have not seen the quality of lobster I was catching in years. And the pheromones were fragrant. I had 2 traps with nice keeper females in them. In both traps were two courting males each. 2 traps, six keepers.
I love those ladies.

I brought my medium cooler today not expecting many bugs and knowing moving traps was going to make space in the boat a premium. I knew things were going well when I filled the cooler. Out of 28 traps I took home 21 of the nicest lobsters I have caught this year. Not a cull in the bunch. Two phone calls and they were all gone. F&G cancelled clamming today due to the recent rains.

I caught a tom cod in my lobster trap today. After lobstering I put a hook though it nostrils and let him free swim. Just at top of tide at Adam's Point I landed a 23" striper.

Tom cod is the other white meat.

It was such a beautiful day to be on the water I went back out and spent the rest of the day fishing. There was guy anchored in the Dad and Coalman Honey Hole. My first reaction is not printable. I drifted by him and could see he was using live bait. We spoke on how the fishing was and he told me he had taken a couple bluefish. BLUEFISH? They don't go well with live eels so I moved on. I worked the next drift lower and landed a 21" striper.

I could see his motor running and watched as Steve pulled anchor at the honey hole. As I motored by he waved me over. How did I know his name was Steve and his port of call was Sagamore Creek? Because he gave me what was left in his live well. 4 Pollock and two tinker macks. THANKS Steve.

It didn't take me long to get back to Adam's Point with my bootie. The first drift and the mackerel was swimming for its life. The line off the open bail was screaming, set the hook, nothing. Reel up the mack and it is cut in half. Boo Fish. And that is what happened to my bait. Yellow eyes are the scorn of striper fisherman.

Last week was the bounty, this week the bust. 6 keepers. I got more shorts today than keepers. You know what they say" Next shed, your dead".
I had fresh bait so I left the traps where they were. Caught 2 two tom cod. Not a striper bite, notta.
I fulfilled a promise with my bugs today. Traded for some venison a buddy assured me he was going to shoot with his bow.
I bought into the promise.

There was a small window in the storm today so I took advantage. 28 traps , 8 keepers. My first 4 traps in Great Bay had 4 keepers. Thought I was on a roll, not!
I moved all my gear back into Great Bay. It is do or die. If the lobsters are there, it is do, if they are not , it is die. The season is sadly coming to a close for this trapper. I can feel the salt water draining from my veins as I see the autumn colors coming into the leaves.

Mother nature has not been to friendly to Great Bay since I have known her. In the 12 years of lobster trapping 5 of those years have had floods. Lobsters are so sensitive to salinity. The floods of of October I think 1989 saw 3 days of pouring rain totaling 16" on the seacoast.

The tide went out for a week. The water would get higher but only flowed one way with the influx of all the freshwater. Lobsters and crabs were dead in my traps.

The Mother's Day flood of 2006 was the worst. The lobsters never came to Great Bay. Gone.
The month of June 2006 the Great Bay was all fresh water. I caught TWO lobsters all summer.
The spring rains of April 2007 didn't help. The early June run didn't happen. Again, too much freshwater.
Forward fast to 2008. The previous 3 poor years have weeded out the weak. The price of fuel makes it cheaper to get your lobster from the pound. The was very limited competition this year.

And low and behold this summer the lobsters came home. If you remember last Saturday I moved all my gear back to family grounds. I put my 28 traps back in Great Bay, Do or die. Today told me a story. From Adam's Point to the Stratham trestle to Nannie's Island I have the only traps in the water.

It was outgoing tide today so I started at the furthest end of the line and worked home. The first 15 or so traps and I had 1 keeper in the cooler. Things weren't looking good. But as I got back into shallow water the bugs started to appear. Traditional grounds were back.

I caught 15 keepers today. There seemed to be a section about a square mile where the bugs were concentrated. I moved my gear on them.
I write this with a tinge of pain and sadness. Today was my last bait and check of the year.

The traps will be going into dry dock next week. Two emotions fill my senses this time of year.
Sadness that the summer is over. The bugs and bass will have to wait another 7 months.
But the emotion of what's to come, deer hunting, trapping, and chasing the white bunny fill me with anticipation.
See you next week.

I got back to the dock at 1000. Just as it started to rain. The Lord was on my side today.

Bugs and Bass Great Bay 2008 is over. I brought all my gear in today The traps are now happily home in the barn for the winter.

This is always the saddest part of the season.

And with the last trap going ashore for the season on a full moon night I thank the Lord for all his blessings.

Thank you for coming. The Lord willing I will see you in 2009.
Your eye in the Northeast sky.
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