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New England Regional Fishing with Tim Coleman | Soundings Online Column

Are we headed for another bass crash?

Stripers such as this heavyweight caught (and released) at Cuttyhunk this spring may well be plentiful for years, thanks to the legacy of some mightly year-classes spawned during the height of the bass rebound.Five years ago, give or take, when the first rounds of known striper strongholds began to dry up in the Northeast — spots on Cape Cod, Martha’s Vineyard, the Elizabeths, Fishers Island, the Sluiceway in eastern Long Island Sound — most motivated stripermen knew the rumors about a diminished fishery but had seen no evidence thereof on “local” grounds they fished.

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Drift smarter to catch more fish

Zach HarveyOutside the charter fleet, where rigid schedules and the need to catch on command force captains to lean on high-percentage methods, you won’t find many anglers singing the praises of wire-line or downrigger slow-trolling. Nor will you encounter many casual anglers with a powerful urge to spend their free time monkeying around with cumbersome ground tackle.

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Back in the fighting chair after a long break

Zach HarveyIt was almost two years ago — Sunday, June 10, 2012, late afternoon — when I wrapped up my last professional turn on a charter boat deck. Through May that season I’d avoided making any of the usual commitments to full-time party- or charter-fishing gigs. I’d had one hell of a time wrapping my head around this sudden disruption of my normal seasonal rhythms — felt like the proverbial “man without a country,” a guy with no peg on which to hang his hat.

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A tuna, an old fish tag and the captain behind it all

Zach Harvey“You see ’em?” asked Capt. Russ Benn, pointing at the slick-calm surface. I almost jumped out of my deck boots at the sight of at least a dozen large shadows, one of them the size of a compact car, speeding this way and that, down deep where daylight faded. Nearer the surface, the electric-blue backs of the tiny skipjack tuna I’d been watching swarmed, picking off the silvery bits of butterfish chum as they slid down-drift out of the hull’s shadow-line.

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A humble sage and swordfishing pioneer

Zach HarveyUntil a few years ago the main thing I knew about my Uncle Tud’s lifelong friend, Martin “Rocky” Bartlett, was that he was involved in work my father and uncle described as “experimental swordfishing” out of Woods Hole in Falmouth, Mass. — and that he once contributed to a handful of the fishing magazines around the Northeast.

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Tim Coleman

Tim Coleman died May 3, in Weekapaug, R.I., doing what he loved to do best at that time of year: scouting the salt ponds and outer beaches for spring striped bass. He was an exceptional saltwater angler and a prolific writer. Thousands of readers lost an advocate and authentic storyteller for fishing in the Northeast, and anyone fortunate to have known Tim lost a good friend.


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