Report: Recapping a VERY Controversial Inaugural Seven Stripes Tournament

Folks–we had a doozy of a tourney. All boats caught fish and we lost some absolute monsters. And as an added wrinkle, we confined it to Plymouth Bay. One angler was a sure winner, but the second place fish… well, let’s just say there may have been some shenanigans. But we’ll get to that in a bit.

 

The Bay is loaded with small fish again

On Thursday, we headed out on the Mal de Mer for another nighttime pizza eating/beer drinking/fishing trip. Thursday has turned into my favorite day this summer. Except that every time we head out we get poured on. Here was my ride to the mooring.

We had a mission with this trip: Get Sean his first striper on the fly. And with bass breaking all around the boat, we thought it was as good a time as any to get it done. This is what happened.

 

It was a heartbreaking experience, but I’m positive it won’t be Sean’s only shot at landing an elusive striper on the magic wand before the season ends.

The Tourney: A stormy start

We came very close to postponing the tournament due to the expected rain and thunderstorms. And as I dropped the Dulamon boys off at their mooring, the lightning lit up the sky to our south and a few drops of rain began to fall. I was fully ready for a soupy (and possibly short) day of fishing.

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But, as the sun rose, it shown through the clouds and we were treated to a beautiful, gusty but dry, day on the water.

The battle plans

For the inaugural tourney, we kept it to five boats. It was:

  • Mal de Mer, Captained by yours truly
  • Dulamon, Captained by Seany Two-Fish
  • Lucy Blue, Captain Ron
  • F/V Beirut, Captain Dave (and First Mate Capt. Bill)
  • F/V Nero, Captain Nero

The fleet met at the “one” and jigged up some mackerel (some boats quicker than others). From what I heard, Johnny Mack was relegated to Johnny “Snacks,” and a new crew member was made Alex Mack.

The boats then spread out across the Bay.

In Warren’s Cove, away from the pogy schools we began marking fish. A few hundred yards off our bow, our resident humpbacks breached, shooting pogies up into the air.

It was challenging and required some finesse, but we fished three mackerel at once, and the crew was up for the challenge. During the first drift, we hooked into our first fish. And it felt like a good one. Until it broke us off on the front cleat. The next fish hit almost immediately and we subsequently lost it too.

Spirits were down, but there was limited chatter on the radio, so it seemed like this thing was still wide open. On the third big hit, we made it count, and we boated a 32″. Not enough to win the tourney, but a good start.

The fish remained feeding throughout the outgoing tide. They were well outside of the pogy schools and would gladly turn their nose down at the numerous bunker and hit our rigged mackerel. Many times, our mackerel would get picked up (with the pull of a big fish) and for one reason or another, we wouldn’t be able to get it to the boat, either breaking us off on the bottom of the boat, splitting the leader to braid knot, or simply popping the hook. I had to give the “I swear, this doesn’t usually happen” line.

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But, we were able to land some quality fish. Andrew horsed in an 18# and Tyler landed what he thought would get him the smallest striper award, at 24″, but he would be sorely mistaken at the weigh-in.

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The boats fished throughout the Bay, but concentrated efforts in Warren’s. Lucy Blue had lot’s of success on small keepers in the rips off of Clarks. I have no idea where Captain Nero went. When the tide began to slacken, we called it a day.

Controversy at the weigh-in

At the weigh-in, through mountains of steamers, we weighed the fish. In a surprise upset, Capt. Ron beat Tyler for the smallest striper at 20″. For this, Ron received a beautiful new rod and reel that he is required to use on his next trip. IMG_5677

And he’ll look good doing it.

The biggest fish was an easy one. Andrew’s 18# won him some Sox tickets handily. But there is where the definitives go out the window. For second place, Captain Bill and Captain Sean’s fish were tied in a dead heat. To. the. ounce.

So, we split the prizes (a pack of Guppy Lures, thanks to Wayne Hess), and a pair of Grundens (thanks to the company my brother works for that shall not be named).

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This is where it gets interesting. We begin filleting the fish. As is typical, we cut open a few stomachs to see what the fish have been eating. Sean fillets his fish and we see something strange in the belly of the beast.

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Hm. How did that 4oz weight get into there? Hm.

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Hm. Interesting. The Dulamon crew claimed that the striper probably just picked a weight up off the bottom and ate it. Yeah, that’s probably it.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Well, it was a great time, and we look forward to growing it for next year.

 

 

 

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