First trips of the year…Haddock Fishing on Stellwagen Bank

Yeah, I’ve been dreaming of fishing since I wrapped the boat up last year.  I’ve been dreaming of tuna fishing: Casting into blitzing fish.  Hearing the drag scream.  I’m imagining the gunwhale rod doubling over and seeing the biggest tuna I’ve ever seen at the end of the line.  I can feel the muscles tense as I throw the harpoon.   I see the Black Rose in a shark tournament, hooking into a potential winning mako, porbeagle, or thresher shark.  Seeing the shark jump and hoping we can land it.  The excitement of bringing out the block and tackle to pull it over the rail.  These are the glamorous things that we dream about.  However….

However, the reality is that people overlook haddock fishing IN THEIR DREAMS.  Those trips aren’t what dreams are made of, but they are WHAT MAKE MEMORIES!   They are the most common trips that people have ever run in the northeast.  They are a shared experience.  They are part of the fabric of life on the water here.  If only they had been called “groundfishing trips” for the past 70 years instead of “cod fishing trips”, but that’s another story.

You’re not going to take most 10-year olds shark or tuna fishing UNLESS they have been haddock fishing already and mastered being on the water.  You’re not going to take your Grandfather or older Dad or Uncle fishing running and gunning for tuna.

But, you will take them on the water haddock fishing!  The smell of the salt water as we leave the breakwater.  The smell of a school of mackerel under the surface.  Seeing the sunrise on the horizon.  The lap of the waves as we cruise to the fishing grounds.   The chill of the wet line on your thumb and the mist from your breath in the morning.  The anticipation of another year on the water; another winter behind us; a fish fry to share with family and friends.  The flaky crust on the fish fillet.  The taste of the beer washing it down.  The homemade tartar sauce.  Friends together.

No, we don’t dream of haddock fishing.  We live the experiences and they make us appreciate life.  Is haddock fishing just not that much fun?  Not at all.  It’s often giggle-to-yourself fun.  The action is fast; the bycatch is often interesting (and tasty).  There is always a chance of hooking into a big fish, whether it’s a shark, halibut, or tuna.  We use gear that is fun, however, for the haddock we are targeting.  It is strong enough for big pollock, cod, or even a 68# halibut last spring.  Mid-summer we bested a 200+# blue shark on a haddock rig.  Ok, we got shamed by tuna one day.  Two at the same time.  It happens.


Haddock and Cod on a GoPro

If you want to relax and watch haddock and cod in action, you might find out some behavioral hints to help you catch more fish next year…on the Black Rose, we get started on April 15.. Light tackle, shallow water on jigs. Watch these fish act around the camera and teaser. Pretty interesting. Nothing exciting here, but it is very relaxing. Four minutes of a few limits of fish swimming around under the boat.

Posted by Black Rose Fishing on Friday, January 11, 2019

But with haddock fishing, it’s not just about you.  It’s about the person that you are bringing.  Often to introduce them to fishing.  To share your experiences with someone else.  That is what it is all about.  To continue a tradition.  Or to rekindle one with the person who took you on your first time.  In the past 20 years there has been a HUGE advancement in techniques and tackle.  I can’t imagine how it must have been 50 years ago!  When I was young, in the 70’s, I fished for flounder in Boston Harbor using heavier gear in 20′ of water than we use for haddock in 100′ or even 200′ of water.  I remember pulling up lobster traps that we snagged.

One of the worries parents have about kids fishing is that they will get bored.  With haddock fishing, that doesn’t happen.  The action is too fast; it doesn’t take a lot of experience to hook them and have fun.  It is the perfect fishery for that.

For guys who want to bend a rod, fill a cooler, and get away…it’s perfect.  Guys travel many hours to come fish on Stellwagen Bank.  They often spend either the night before or after the trip and enjoy some “away” time.  It’s hunting camp, but on the ocean.  You might not dream about it in the winter time, but it’s the reality for most fishermen when they wake up.

I run the Black Rose 7 days a week starting on April 15…See you on the water.  If you “have” to fish on weekends, better make your reservations soon as those days are going fast. See you on the water, Capt. Rich, 508-269-1882