Vermont Sunday Dinner

The Trilogy, fresh wild blackberries, (picked this morning) fresh trout, (caught this afternoon) and venison chili. How anybody can be hungary in this state is beyond me. Oh, and the shot of the Pabst Blue Ribbon is for my friend Linda.

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IT WON’T BE LONG NOW

FALL DEEP SEA FISHING IN THE GULF OF MAINE

September Deep Sea Fishing 2013

This month, September, is my most confusing month. Already there are hints of Fall in the air, cool mornings and nights, color starting to show in the soft maples, and the waterfowl are starting to congregate around food before the annual trip South. As usual I find myself drawn in a number of different directions, hunting, trout fishing, or headed out to the briny deep to stock up for winter.

Early September is a great time to fish the ocean here in the Gulf of Maine. All the species are here feeding and in some cases spawning before the water temperature starts to drop with the upcoming late Fall and winter weather when they either seek deeper water or head south.  It reminds me of tourist season, they’re here all summer eating before they waddle South ahead of the cold weather. By the reports from the party boats this year has been a good one so far, plenty of ground fish and not too many problems of dogfish (those small pesky sharks.)  This time of year is perfect for those of you, myself now included, to make a trip to the coast and jump on a boat to stock some fresh fish in the freezer. Finding an outfit to fish with is easy, just turn to the party boat/ charter boat classified section here in Hawkeye. I’ll try for a week-day to avoid the week-end crowd, but with kids back in school and vacation time starting to concentrate on foliage up North the rail space usually isn’t too much problem.

As I’ve said a million times, take good care of your fish. A cooler is a must, ice in the cooler is a plus, and be sure to bleed your fish before tossing them in said cooler. Come filleting time on the voyage back to port it makes a huge difference. If you have little filleting experience have the mates do them for you. They do it for a living and will be sure to get nice boneless fillets to pack away for those cold winter nights when a fish fry is just what the doctor ordered to break up the cold weather blues. Speaking of tasty morsels, if you happen to get into some nice size cod have the person welding the knife cut out the cheeks and head steaks. Cod are a meaty fish and if large enough will render some of the best tidbits from these parts.  Fried cheeks have been a tradition for many years in Gloucester restaurants. Another species that has good cheek meat is halibut.  Although catching one is not as frequent as it used to be the sometimes huge flatfish has been making a comeback in recent years so if you get lucky and hook into something that literally doubles your rod with thumping runs back to the bottom you could be in for some tasty Atlantic Halibut steaks on the grill.  Pollock are a predominate species this time of year because they are in spawning mode. Look for them on the hard bottom peaks in places like Pigeon Hill or the Ridge out on Jefferies ledge. Pollock grow up to around 40 pounds and are a great fighter when hooked. Jigs and worm teasers work well and feather hooks baited with strips of fresh herring or mackerel will also do the trick. When making up jig rigs for Pollock I always use at least 80 pound leaders to attach my jig and teaser to because double hook-ups are common in this fishery and if two 20+ lb. fish decide to go opposite ways after being hooked the net result is ending up with one fish on the teaser and goodbye expensive jig. When rigging your leaders do not use an overhand knot for the teaser loop, it will pull out every time if enough pressure is put on it. Use a barrel loop which is easy to shape, simply cross the leader material over itself forming a loop about 2 inches big and give it a good 4 or 5 twists before bringing the loop up through the middle twist and pulling  it tight by pulling the ends of the leader in opposite directions. Once you get this knot down it’s very easy. Another reason for this rig is this rig is because knots weaken line strength (thus the reason for 80 ld. Test leader) and this barrel shape has the least amount of sharp corners to break. A 3 way swivel may also be used but why spend more money if you can do it yourself for free.

 Pollock flesh is a moist semi-dark meat that works well in many ways when it arrives to the kitchen. Broiled with lemon and garlic butter, in soups and chowder, pan fried, baked or on the grill Pollock is delicious and the preferred species of most commercial fishermen that know fish. Substitute steamed or baked Pollock for canned tuna in salad and you’ll never want to buy tuna again.

Tight lines and keep you powder dry,

Capt. DonImage