Everything ended well, but it started out bleak.
s of Thursday there was a front blowing in, the Jackal had engine issues, and the fishing reports were spotty. Team Jackal got together Friday and had to strategize. Thankfully Mike Joy of Harwichport Boatyard worked his magic on Friday am and had the Jackal ready to roll. Friday was blowing, but we needed to know if we could try to make it through the southway cut to give ourselves more options on Saturday. We heard of fish off Chatham and that would save us serious time coming out of Saquatucket. We decided to go on a scouting mission in the 4-5 seas and cruised down to the cut. It was dodgy, but we made it through.
Back on land we discovered Brax now offered Jackal drinks. Things were starting to look up.
Then there was the weather. We were watching the reports and had a few captains asking if we were going to cancel. We wanted to avoid a blowout at all costs knowing we would lose half the boats if we pushed it. Luckily, the front was moving in quicker and the t-storms were moving out.
Team Jackal met at the dock at 3 am - in pouring rain and lightning. We waited it out for a few, and then cruised around in the dark looking for pogies. Tria was up on the bow, with myself on the spotlight, and the wind blowing. He had one shot and made it count. His legendary cast net throw got us about 10 live ones which was enough to get us in the game.
We cruised towards Chatham, still unsure of our plan. Like every year.
In the dark we sat outside the entrance to Stage Harbor and debated whether to try the cut again, in the dark, or head around the point and hit Bearses. Capt Sean made the call and we entered the cut. We had 2 of us on the bow with spotlights, followed our tracks from the day before, had a few close calls - but made it through.
When we got outside the cut, the waters were flat calm and the sun was just coming up. It was on.
We hit a couple good fish early on, one on a pogo and one on an eel. We were ready to move locations and I slow retrieved my eel bringing it in to leave, and got nailed by a good 17 lber (good lesson for all you kids out there).
Then we found the pogies. Piles of them. We switched to snag hooks and within minutes Ben cast a snag hook into the school, opened the bail, and bam! 5 seconds later had a 31 lber on the boat. At 7:30. Definitely a new feeling for Team Jackal, to have a contending fish on the board, early. We were shut down for next few hours, and then drifting in a random spot in 50 ft of water we got nailed again- doubling up on a 28 and 25 lbers. In all we got 9 fish, with only 2 under 20 lbs. A good day, with a good chance, based on the mostly negative chatter we were hearing the horn.
Back to the weigh in, spirits were high. We had navigated the cut, grabbed pogies in the dark, had great weather, and found the fish. We thought this was the year.
It was not meant to be.
We made it to the after party early and a few boats were already waiting to weigh fish. Reports across the board were spotty. We had boats that hit Barnstable, Race Point, Nauset Inlet, Bearses, Nantucket, and even further. Some people complain we open it up too wide, but we make it anywhere on the Cape and let people do what they want.
Then the Sundquists pulled in. Based on how they were carrying their cooler to the weigh in, we knew it was over. The defending champs played to the crowd with the dramatic effect of coming in only a few minutes until the weigh in was over and dropped a 40.6 lber on the scale to take the title. Again.
Great team and the bastards sure can fish. We will get them.
When the final bell rang, Team Jackal took 3rd - and 3 non charters took the top 3 spots.
This year we were also lucky enough to have a few bucks to donate to local charter captain Jeffrey Craig and his kiddo Sawyer who is battling Leukemia. It was great to see them at the after party.
There should also be some press in the next few days as we had Kat from the Cape Cod Chronicle and a few folks from the CC Times there as well.
Congrats again to team ReeLax'N - great group of guys and a monster fish to win it all. The final standings were -
1st place boat: ReeLax'N
2nd place boat: Lindsey Gale
3rd place - Team Jackal
Overall, thanks again to everyone, including Billy and Jean Burke (mom/dad) who helped with all the behind the scenes work and setting up and making the after party happen.
Congrats to everyone who made it out, and hit me up if you didn't get a shirt.
Until next year (maybe)!!