Massachusets #6: Sometimes The Last Bird Catches the Worm

Heading back to Boston to catch our Yankee Fleets boat, we were excited to be out on the ocean. Boston is the city of my birth and I always love being here. We arrived at the docks at Gloucester at 6:30 for a 7 A.M. departure. There were between 20 and 30 people on the boat, and we had rented the proper equipment as our rods would not have been able to handle the kind of fishing we were doing. We were excited to catch our Atlantic cod!


After we got out to the first spot, the crew handed out clams as bait, and using a heavy 16 ounce lead weight we dropped our lines down 250 feet to the bottom. After ten biteless minutes, every single cast started catching haddock. As we weren't keeping any fish, we gave away any legal sized catches to fellow passengers. We stayed on the haddock bite for a few hours, and we also caught one pollock. After nearly everyone on the boat had reached their fifteen fish limit for haddock, we moved spots to try to catch some cod, which due to overfishing are much rarer. At this new spot there were a few cod caught, and some haddock and a new fish for us, a cusk, which Daniel caught. A 12 foot blue shark swam right past the boat. Gulp!





Then captain came on the loudspeaker and announced that there were ten minutes of fishing left and then we would have to head back in. We had dropped some precious time and cash for this trip, and we still didn't have our cod. I dropped down my line with a huge piece of bait, and got a large bite that I thought might be a cod we were after.


Reeling it in as quick as I could, which wasn’t very fast due to the 300+ feet of water at this spot, I was disappointed to see a large haddock instead. I quickly put even more bait on the hook and dropped it down. Immediately I felt a bite and set the hook, and as I reeled the captain called for all lines in. I had no idea if this fish was a cod, I just reeled and prayed. Some of the crew members, aware of our journey, gathered around hopefully, trying to catch a glimpse of the fish to identify it. And sure enough, it came into sight and there was our cod! The mate gaffed it for me to make sure it didn’t spit the hook, and we had our sixth state!



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Luke Konson & Daniel Balserak are taking a gap year from COVID online courses at Clemson University to catch all 50 US state fish. FishAllFifty.US

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