Editor’s note: Choosing the “perfect” fishing boat is impossible because what works for one angler is often ill-suited for another whose needs differ. In this first of two columns by Zach Harvey he interviews a 50-year charter skipper who talks about the first two of the four boats he has owned — the merits and shortcomings of each and why he moved on.
What makes a perfect fishing vessel? There’s no singular answer to that question. There are a thousand issues of scale, of fishing methods, species and grounds, of inlet clearance or pure economics.
Every year, a few of us try it. November comes up so fast, with so much fishing we’d intended to do not done. So we decide to stretch the envelope a bit, hold tight in the slip a bit longer, resolving to go sniff out a few more codfish or prowl the beachfronts, up in the lee, the northerly blows no real threat as we jog out to intercept a few late-running bass and blues deep in month 12 before the weather sours in earnest.
“What the @#$%! was that?” I shout, half to myself and half to the bridge behind me, where Capt. Andy Dangelo’s head whips around, probably praying it’s me — his mate — and not a customer who’s buried a jig hook past the barb in my neck.
Ever since I wrestled my first double-header of 3-pound black sea bass off a jagged piece of rocky ledge well south and east of Newport, R.I., I’ve marveled at the relative lack of interest in the directed sea bass fishery.
I have caught striped bass on flies, plugs, jigs, plastic baits, bucktails and natural baits — dead and alive — from squid to alewives to eels. I have taken them in skinny water and from 60 feet, chased them from boats, the sand, the rocks and on the flats. Casting, drifting, trolling, jigging and drowning bait on the bottom. I haven’t caught them kite fishing yet, but it’s in the back of my mind.
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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.