Three Lantern Marine & Fishing

By Steve Zelck

Well folks, it has been quite a month aboard the Bounty Hunter and in the waters off of Gloucester. At the start of the month, we actually had difficulty finding schools of fish to freeze and use as stickbait for the upcoming season. They were in schools so thick that they were actually hitting a bare hook next to the boat. How many guys can say that they caught a fish on a bare hook? Not to toot my own horn, but that’s what I call talent!

Steve Zelck and Cam Newth caught a 600 pound slob aboard the F/V Bounty Hunter. After an epic 12 hour fight and 2 harpoon shots, the beast finally succumbed.

The haddock fishing remains epic. On most charters, we hit our limits within under two hours. Of course, there are a few big pollock mixed in. The real issue is still getting through the hundreds of cod that we keep hooking and then have to throw back. I mean, these are nice beasts – eight to ten pound cod, sometimes bigger. Also, the groundfish party is about to end as the spiny dogfish start to move in. They’re all big females (solid 3-footers), so be aware.

The striper fishing up this way is still spotty in some parts. However, the fishing down in Cape Cod has been amazing – there are big fish and lots of them. Last week, a friend of mine had more than 100 fish, each over 40 inches. And on the first day of the commercial bass opener, most of the boys down there had their limit of 15 fish by 8:00 a.m. Now that’s good bass fishing. We seem to have a mix of schooolies and big boys around the island but there isn’t a main body of fish like there is in the Cape. The very best advice I can give to you is perseverance. We have not had much luck on the striper front, but while trolling a live mackerel the other day, we got hit by an absolute slob. She hit that mack and tore off a bunch of line. I then tightened the drag and she took more line. She paused for a second as I tightened the drag again, and she took off and took more line, making a beeline for a lobster buoy. Bill started backing down on the fish so we we wouldn’t get spooled, and then she spit the hook and was gone. She must have been one big fish, and it was fun while it lasted. That’s why they call it fishing, not catching.

Lastly, on the tuna front, it’s been a slow start. We’ve been out trolling on a few scouting missions with no results. However, in the last week, the stick boats have been absolutely hammering them – one boat had 13 tuna on the deck alone. Word is that there are acres and acres of fish just to the south, which I’m hoping will translate into an epic rod and reel bite around these parts. I’m anticipating that because the water is still so cold from the lovely winter we had, the main body of fish will stay in local waters instead of spending the summer in Canada (my deepest apologies to our neighbors to the north, but it’s our turn). I’m heading out on Tuesday to sit on the hook all day aboard the Bounty Hunter. The weather looks good, so it should be a great day to get the stink off the boat. Stay tuned and keep tight lines.

SteveZelck_HeadshotFORECAST BY: Steve Zelck was born and raised in Gloucester. Steve’s love of the sea lured him back to pursue his fishing passion and not a day goes by without him checking the pulse of the harbor for action. If you don’t find Steve at the Three Lantern Marine, you can bet he’s out working on his lobster boat, F/V Erik and Devin, named after his kids. He also tuna fishes aboard the F/V Bounty Hunter with captain Bill Monty from Wicked Tuna.