The 2006 Bunny Clark Guestletter

Tim Tower's annual primer on the 2005 Bunny Clark fishing season

January 15, 2006

Dear Guests:

Welcome to the beginning of our twenty-fourth season! The following is a recap of the Bunny Clark's 2005 fishing season and the plans for the upcoming 2006 fishing season.

[The image on the left is a shot of eleven year old Ryan Keniston (ME) barely holding his 37 pound cod. The picture was taken on the August 9, 2005 full day trip. This is the largest cod that Ryan has ever caught.]

The 2005 fishing season started after our third cold winter in a row, much colder than a decade of winter weather previously. However, unlike the 2004 fishing season, where we saw ambient surface water temperatures stay colder than any other previous season, the 2005 fishing season saw surface water temperatures about normal, particularly during the summer months. With a few exceptions, the ocean stayed as calm or calmer (from the beginning of June until the end of the first week of October) than any previous season including the best weather September southern Maine has ever seen. However, we canceled more fishing trips due to hard weather in April and October than we have canceled for some whole seasons. Almost a whole month of trips was lost due to weather related events. In combination with the largest number of named tropical storms in the history of the National Weather Service (twenty-six plus) and the weather in general, we saw more rainfall than any previous Bunny Clark fishing season. As of this writing, Portland, Maine has received over sixty-two inches of rain fall which means that we may end the year with over twenty inches of rainfall above normal. Almost every other year ended with deficits in rainfall to the tune of four to eleven inches! All in all, it seemed the weather was either very nice to go fishing or too rough to venture out; a good advertising year for those participating anglers.

Fish landings were up over last season but slightly less than the last few previous years. Cod landings were down, the least number of cod we have ever seen in a season, and about ten percent less than our slowest year, the 2004 season. I'm not sure this is a bad thing as our pollock showed up much earlier and in greater numbers than most (or, possibly, all) previous years. They arrived earlier and never left. For September, October and November the pollock made up the bulk of the catch on every trip. It was almost impossible to get away from them to get other species during that time. Pollock made up a significant part of the total landings during the trips from late May until the end. April and May saw more haddock landed than during any previous Bunny Clark April or May. Landings of haddock alone were over a hundred and ten percent more than our best previous early season! We also recorded our earliest ever haddock slam on April 9, 2005! Haddock and pollock are certainly a more aggressive fish than the cod which, I think, explains in large part why cod landings were down.

Following the trend of last season, the dogfish bothered us less during the early part and throughout the half day trip season than any previous season. We didn't escape unscathed though, as we saw more dogfish during the fall season offshore than any year I can remember. White hake landings were down slightly but better than most seasons. Interestingly, a huge percentage of hake were caught on the open bottom this season along with the other groundfish species and not in specific locations as is normally the case. It was a very good year for cusk, wolffish and haddock in general. We landed our token number of monkfish as we have done every year. We recorded only nine confirmed bluefin tuna hookups and only one bluefin landed for the season. Unlike the previous year, the small bluefins moved away from the offshore grounds we fish and moved along the shore where they became available to near coastal anglers in record numbers throughout the summer months. The warmer seasonal waters, the lack of herring offshore and the increase in the quantity of small bait fish and spike mackerel along the shore probably caused this phenomenon. We saw a decrease in the number of blue sharks and porbeagle sharks for the second season in a row. Lack of blue sharks is a good thing for us and there were certainly enough porbeagles to make it interesting as it isn't a target species anyway. The amount of krill, small Maine shrimp and euphausid shrimp were way up which helped our fish and whales. There were more whales around this year because of this. Herring, our main baitfish, were down yet again, a steady decline since the early '90s and directly related to the mid water trawling bait fishery that started then. The saga of lopsided fishery management (micro-management) continues unchecked however I believe that managers are becoming more aware of this problem - I think.

The improvements we made in equipment increased our landings and allowed our anglers to enjoy themselves more than ever. We added a seven foot boat rod to our arsenal of available "regular" rods. This is a foot longer than the rods we had previously and were made at Surfland Bait & Tackle, Plum Island (Newbury), Massachusetts. All these rods use the stock Penn 113H spooled with fifty pound test monofilament line. They are our combination-rod which can be used for bait fishing or jigging. The new rod gave the average angler more versatility. In fact, we used them with our better reels to make up the special bait rods too. We also improved the jig sticks by adding a new line of graphite composite eight foot rods also built by Surfland and called the Surfland series (thank you Mike Horwitz). These proved to be a lighter more responsive rod with a more flexible tip designed to be used with the Spectra braided lines. We found that anglers had a better chance of landing their big fish using these low stretch lines and could fish longer when using this rod (less weight). Many of our regular anglers purchased these rods for themselves. For the purists, Saco Bay Tackle Co., Saco, Maine came out with a new rod of my design based on the very successful Merv series rod which has become the most popular jig stick in our line and is still offered. This rod, the McLaughlin, was patterned after the rod that Ken McLaughlin (ME), one of our best regular anglers, has had so much success with over the years. Many of our regular anglers embraced this rod as their own including but not limited to Dave MacDonald (ME) and Phil Wilson (NH). Phil even had one built for himself. We also added the Lavjig, a jig patterned after the famous Angerman jig but much more available. The Lavjig was a very successful addition. You can order these jigs yourself at

This season there will be other improvements in gear but the concentration of most interest will be in the jig stick reels. Two years ago, we had the Penn 113H reel modified by Bob Nixon's wonderful machine shop in Wilton, New Hampshire. This became the standard jig stick reel and was very user friendly and easy for us to repair in-house. Since that time, Penn came out with their Baja Special or the Penn 113HN. This reel matches and improves some of the modifications we built into the Penn 113Hs but is lighter, has a much more comfortable handle, includes five bearings instead of the three we put in the 113Hs, has an opposing dog system like some of the more expensive (International series) trolling reels and has a narrower spool for prevention of the dreaded over-wrap that so often happens with less experienced anglers. My crew and I took this reel apart this fall and liked what we saw. Since then, we have been trying it out on our commercial jig fishing boat, the Petrel, and have had much success. I plan to introduce this reel on the Bunny Clark this season in limited quantities. If it works out as well as planned, they will be replacing the Penn 113Hs. If not, the Nixon modified Penn is still a wonderful reel. By the way, our Nixon modified Pro Gear reels will always be available upon request. They are still my favorite jig stick reel of all time.

Other improvements have and will be made, mostly to the boat but some are gear modifications. There is too much detail to bore you with the minutiae here.

Ian Keniston was back as the principle captain again this season. During the time he wasn't skippering the Bunny Clark, he was my best deck hand. I am happy to say that he will be returning in the same capacity as he was last season. This will be his eighth season with me. That and the fact that he is extremely considerate, honest, easy to work with and the best at what he does makes him the best captain I have ever had on the Bunny Clark. As you might imagine, I am very pleased and excited to have him back.

Jared Keniston, often referred to this winter as "The Man" will be starting his third season with us. Equal to Ian as a deck hand, he will be the primary mate this season. More outgoing than both Ian and I combined, his personality makes the trip for our guests and makes doing our captain's job easier. I am also excited and pleased to have him back as part of the team.

My Sunday captain, Tom Corbett, will be back again this season. The kindest and most pleasant skipper I have ever met, he has been my swing captain or principle captain for four years now and recorded our third best trip of the season during the short time that he was here with us. He has more offshore experience, mostly in commercial fishing, than all of us combined. I am very much looking forward to having him aboard this summer.

[The picture on the lower right shows our most successful "One Day a Year" regular, Nebraska Dick Smith (NE). He is holding his 6.5 pound haddock caught in early May 2005. ]

Our website at continues to be the location where you can get information about the Bunny Clark operation on a daily basis during the season and off-season. We have a schedule and rates section, a photo section, a world records section and more. Our fishing update section provides anglers with up to date information on the daily catch, fish sizes, daily weather, angler deeds and fishery management information. This guestletter resides on this web site along with some of my previous guestletters. Although I can't personally answer all the e-mail that comes in associated with the site, our staff does a great job with this while also answering reservation questions and scheduling fishing dates. We are not planning to use the e-mail as a direct source of making reservations as the phone serves as a better means to take care of anyone on an equal basis. Also, unless you specifically ask for a hard copy (see the attached coupon), this guestletter will only be available via my web page. From there, you can download it to hard copy. If you sent in a coupon last year, you will not be required to send another this year in order to receive your guestletter through the U. S. Postal Service.

Our groundfish tagging program has slowed down considerably primarily because so much more is expected of us during the day now with the detailed recording of landed fish weights, notes for our Internet fishing update site and Federal paper work, not to mention doing our jobs. In fact, this is the first year that we didn't tag a single fish, a first since I started my own internally funded tagging program in 1983. We still process tag returns and are now sharing some of our information with the New England Cod Tagging Program (NECTP) out of the Gulf of Maine Research Institute, a federally funded program based out of Portland, Maine.

Our best tag return involved the NECTP when a recreational angler, Alvin Herling (MA), sent one of our tags to them. They, in turn, sent the tag to me. Al had been fishing in his twenty-one foot boat on the northern end of Jeffery's Ledge when he boated a cod of 28 pounds or more (43 inches long) with my tag in its back. The date was August 23, 2005. I had tagged the fish on July 28, 1999 after it was caught by a young deck hand of mine, Kenton Geer, who had been out fishing on a bus man's holiday. He would become one of my best captains during the 2002 and 2003 seasons. Kenton wasn't interested in keeping the fish at the time so he was giving them to me to tag. On that date, the fish was 24.5 inches long and weighed 5 pounds. In the six years and twenty-five days it was at liberty, the fish grew 18.5 inches in length and added approximately 25 pounds. The fish had been released less than a mile to the northeast of the position where Al caught the fish for the final time!

The NECTP has a much more expansive program than mine. The program is very well run primarily because of the diligence and intelligence of three key people. Shelly Tallack does an excellent job managing the program. Sarah Whitford is the wizardess behind all the database input and investigative integrity research. Pat Foote is the program assistant in charge of all the coordination and phone work. Plus, she organizes all the rewards that are mailed to anyone who catches a cod with their small yellow tag in its back. You will receive a nice t-shirt, coffee mug or cap if you return one of these tags. Many of my customers have been thus rewarded. Also, these tag numbers are automatically added to a lottery that is drawn once a month, the winner receiving a check for $200.00. As an added bonus, if you find one of their light blue tags, you will receive a check for $100.00 automatically! Anglers off the Bunny Clark landed five cod with blue tags during the 2005 fishing season. These anglers were Scott Anzalone (NJ), Tyler Joseph (NH), Steve Linn (PA), Michelle McCutcheon (ME) and Chris Mackey (NH). In general, I like the program because they don't make a secret out of the movements (migrations) of the cod. On their informative website ( you can find all this and more.

Regardless of the fact that we don't tag as many fish as we used to, we still encourage the safe release of cod back to the ocean alive. We are particularly interested in the release of cod over 20 pounds as they are, potentially, the better breeders. There is nothing like watching a big cod swim away. The largest released cod of the season weighed 39 pounds. It was caught by Fred Kunz (NH) in July. Dave Gray (VT) and Dennis LaValley (MA) tied for the second largest cod release of the season. Dave released a 38 pounder in July while Dennis released a 38 pounder in August. Dennis also released a 35 pound cod on the same day! Dave released the most legal cod for an angler during the 2005 season. Some of his other releases included cod of 27 pounds, 26 pounds, 24 pounds, 22 pounds, 20 pounds and more cod in the teens that I wouldn't have space to mention here. The third largest released cod of the season was a 37.5 pound cod released by Steve LaPlante (CT). Some honorable mentions for released cod of 30 pounds or greater include Brian Murphy (NH) for releasing a 30 pound cod, Captain Ian Keniston for releasing a 30.5 pound cod, Jim Feeney (MA) for releasing a 36.5 pound cod, Tom Miller (NH) for his release of a 32 pound cod, Tim Williams (CT) for releasing a 31 pound cod (on that same day he also released cod of 25.5, 26 and 24 pounds), Don Johnson (MA) for releasing a 35 pound cod, Sean Devich (NH) for his release of a 32 pound cod and Marc Bellaud (MA) for releasing his 35 pound cod. Many other anglers released cod under 30 pounds including Dick Lyle (ME), Dom Bruno (NY), Bill Devon (VT), Merv Murphy (NH), Dave MacDonald (MA), Bob Nixon (NH) and others too numerous to mention. Thank you for your efforts in conservation. I believe that the act is noble but the idea is divine and will pay future dividends.

We were shy in the world record department last season. However, one angler got close in the Junior Angler category and we had several honorable mentions for our young anglers of the year. During the Captain Ian Keniston full day trip of October 20, 2005, ten year old Zack Latimer (VT) successfully landed an 18.5 pound pollock. The existing International Game Fish Association (IGFA) Junior Angler world record in the Small Fry category (anglers up to but not including 11 years of age) for the pollock is 17 pounds 3 ounces held by 8 year old Micah Tower and caught on November 29, 2002. Micah's pollock was almost 19 pounds when it was first caught and we were able to haul anchor and go right back to get it weighed with minimum weight loss. Zack's pollock, which was slightly smaller to begin with, had to wait until the trip was over which would have been too long a time to either tie or beat the existing world record. Even if they were to have gone right back, it still wouldn't have made the grade. However, Zack was proud of his fish and if he wants to say that he tied the Junior Angler IGFA world record, I will certainly back him up on it!

I also want to mention some of the other great angling moments for some of our younger anglers twelve years old or under. Ten year old Zach Jones (PA) won the boat pool for the largest fish of the trip on July 4, 2005 with a 22.5 pound cod. This is the largest cod that Zach has ever caught. A day later, eleven year old Ben Siegel (ME), on the first deep sea fishing trip of his life, landed an 18 pound pollock, the largest fish of his life. Nine year old John Cadorette, Jr. (MA) caught a 24 pound cod during the full day trip of July 12, 2005. This was the third largest fish of the trip and the largest fish of his life. On the full day trip of July 22, 2005, twelve year old Jayden Perreault (AZ) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish of the trip, a 26.5 pound Maine state trophy cod, the largest fish of her life. [Incidentally, the female IGFA Junior Angler (11 to 16 years old) world record stands at 26.5 pounds, caught by thirteen year old Rebecca Ranta (NH) aboard the Bunny Clark with Captain Adam Bissell on July 9, 2000. Needless to say, Jayden was very close.] Eleven year old Ryan Keniston, Captain Ian's son, landed the largest cod of the season for the junior anglers during a full day trip August 9, 2005. His fish was a Maine state trophy cod of 37 pounds, the largest fish of his life and the largest fish of the trip. [Incidentally, Ryan holds the male Maine state Junior Angler record for the white hake with a fish weighing 26 pounds 13.7 ounces caught on the Bunny Clark August 19, 2004. He was ten years old on that day.] Fishing beside Ryan, eleven year old Micah Tower (ME) landed a 21.5 pound cod, the second largest fish of the trip and the largest cod he had ever caught unaided. Micah did a step better when he landed a 33 pound Maine state trophy cod to beat his previous record on August 30, 2005. This catch after landing almost twenty large pollock from 10 to 19 pounds including some double keeper pollock catches.

You can check out all of our current and past world and state records by accessing the records link at or by going directly to

Federal fishery regulations didn't change from last year. Haddock were again excluded from the cod bag limit while the cod bag limit of ten fish remained. There was no bag limit on any other groundfish species except the cod. Legal possession size limits remained for haddock and pollock at 19 inches, cod at 22 inches, redfish at 9 inches and no legal length limit on cusk, wolffish or white hake. New Federal regulations for the 2006 will start in May, the beginning of the Federal fiscal fishing year, and will only affect the take of cod (other species regulations are strongly expected not to change). Those new regulations have yet to be seen and won't even be decided upon until after you have read this newsletter. I expect the cod size limit to go up (maybe 24 inches), a cod season for taking cod (there has been talk of closing the season for cod from November until April) and a potential area closure for recreational anglers. What form these regulations will take exactly remains to be seen. I expect them to be less onerous than expected. However, I do believe that more needs to be done in the conservation of our most favorite groundfish, the cod.

As I feel that the greatest achievement in angling is the ability of a person to hook and land a trophy fish on their own, I have listed the guests who caught the five to eight largest of each significant species during the 2005 fishing season. Keep in mind that all the represented weights of these fish were taken aboard the Bunny Clark using a registered scale shortly after capture. I feel that this is the fairest comparison between the angler's fish since weight loss is proportional to the amount of time the fish is out of water.



FISH WEIGHT - in pounds

LENGTH X GIRTH - in inches


Tim Williams (CT)

Bluefin Tuna 25


Ken McLaughlin (ME)

Halibut 8



Ed Baisley, Jr. (NY) with his 2.5 pound Maine state trophy redfish.

Mike Elwell (NH)

Halibut 5


Ed Baisley, Jr. (NY)

Redfish 2.5

16.25 X 11


Andy Dzikowicz (NJ)

Redfish 2.5

16.5 X 14


Dave LeFevre (FL)

Redfish 2.25

15.75 X 12


Dick Lyle (ME)

Redfish 2.25

16.5 X 11.5


Steve LaPlante (CT)

Monkfish 27

41 X 28


Ben Bucci (ME)

Monkfish 21.5



Steve LaPlante (CT)

Monkfish 17.5



Bill Hazlett (MA)

Monkfish 15



Dan Haq (MA)

Monkfish 10



Steve Wiater (MA)

Wolffish 21

39.75 X 19


Greg Shannon (NH)

Wolffish 20

38.5 X 21


Bill Herchenroder (NY)

Wolffish 19

35.5 X 21


Jim LeMay (ME)

Wolffish 19

36 X 24


Robert Green (MA)

Wolffish 19

38 X 24


The digital image on the right shows Mike Chambers (NY) holding his 17 pound Maine state trophy wolffish caught during the June 2, 2005 marathon trip.

Rob Fuehrer (ME)

Pollock 31

42.5 X 26


Rod Wood (PA)

Pollock 31

42.5 X 24


Tom Campbell (PA)

Pollock 30.5

44 X 26


Bob Dorsch (NH)

Pollock 29

42 X 26


Richie Hajduchik (NY)

Pollock 27

40.5 X 22


Kirk Graham (NY)

Pollock 27

41 X 22.5


Walter Riddick (CT)

White Hake 38

46 X 29


Ron Krause (MA)

White Hake 36.5

47 X 30


Pete Daige (MA)

White Hake 35

47 X 30


Jared Keniston (ME)

White Hake 33.5

47 X 29


Dick Carlson (NY)

White Hake 33

47 X 30


Andy Dzikowicz (NJ)

White Hake 33

45.5 X 27


Dave Gray (VT)

White Hake 32.5

47 X 30


Russell Mott (ME)

Haddock 10

30 X 19


Scotty Johnson (NY)

Haddock 9.5

30.5 X 17


Duane Holmquist (VT)

Haddock 8.25

27.75 X 15


Rob Wojciak (CT)

Haddock 8

27.75 X 16


Ed Martin (ME)

Haddock 8

28 X 16


Dan Payne (ME)

Haddock 8

27.25 X 15


Joe Falkowski (PA)

Haddock 8

28 X 16.5


Dale Lee (NY)

Haddock 8

27.5 X 16


. Ben Bucci (ME - shown right) holds his 21.5 pound Maine state trophy monkfish in a Captain Ian Keniston picture taken on the full day trip of May 29, 2005.

Rob Pylman (NY)

Cusk 27

42 X 23


Dennis Grabauskas (NH/CT)

Cusk 27

38.25 X 25


Ben Barzousky (MA)

Cusk 22

39 X 22


Jared Keniston (NH)

Cusk 17

36.5 X 20


Adam Winslow (ME)

Cusk 17

35 X 20


Ken Kaulfers (NJ)

Cod 53

50 X 32


Fred Kunz (NH)

Cod 52

50 X 33


Chip Chiapponi (CT)

Cod 49

48 X 32


Terry Cardin (MA)

Cod 48

47 X 32


Carl Provost (NY)

Cod 45.5

50.5 X 29


The shot on the right was taken during the October 21, 2005 marathon trip. It shows Tim Williams (left), Ian Keniston and Jon Tesnakis (right) holding Jon's 217.5 pound porbeagle shark.

Jon Tesnakis (NY)

Porbeagle 217.5

76 X 44


Frank Cafaldo (NY)

Porbeagle 22


Noah Lewis (CT)

Porbeagle 17


In the list above, over ninety percent of the fish listed are the largest fish of that species ever caught by that angler. Some exceptions to this norm include the anglers: Fred Kunz, Dave Gray, Rod Wood, Tom Campbell, Richie Hajduchik, Dave LeFevre and Steve Wiater. These anglers have landed larger fish than the species represented in previous seasons on the Bunny Clark and elsewhere. Fred has landed five other cod over 52 pounds and up to 62.5 pounds on the Bunny Clark alone. On the other hand, Chip's 49 pound Maine state trophy cod beats his previous largest cod of 44 pounds caught on the Bunny Clark in 2003. Jon Tesnakis' 217.5 pound Maine state trophy porbeagle shark is the largest porbeagle shark that has ever been landed on the Bunny Clark. The largest one previously was a 93 pounder caught by Donald F. X. Angerman (MA) on May 20, 1993! The porbeagle is one fish where we have had many opportunities to land one over 200 pounds but have always made some mistake to lose it (Twice with the fish already gaffed!) until now. Thanks, Jon! Tim's tuna was the only tuna landed on the Bunny Clark this season. Steve LaPlante had never landed a monkfish in his life until his last trip of the year on the Bunny Clark. That day he caught two, the largest of the year and the third largest of the year! All in all, it wasn't the best year for larger than normal trophy sized fish but it was a very good year for large fish in general.

Before I end this Guestletter, I want to cite those anglers and experiences of note that deserve an honorable mention for their uniqueness and/or fishing prowess during the 2005 Bunny Clark fishing season. I realize that this is a value judgment on my part but I believe that my conclusions are recognized as a popular opinion among my crew and fishing guests and are based on many fishing trips. These special anglers and incidents are as follows:

Fisherman of the Year (FY-'05): Tim Williams (CT) takes this award for the second year in a row by one of the largest margins we've seen on the Bunny Clark in over ten years, excluding Ken McLaughlin's win for the 2003 fishing season. He becomes only the second angler in Bunny Clark history to ever win this title more than once. The other angler to do so is historically the Bunny Clark's best angler, Fred Kunz. Fred won this award an unprecedented six times. As most of you know by now, the FY award is based on a point system that relates to specific achievements during a trip and during the year. Each achievement is worth a set of points. The individual with the most points at the end of the season wins. In order to compete in this category, you have to have paid for and completed at least 10 different trips on the Bunny Clark. I have had many excellent anglers who fish with us on a regular basis every season, any one of whom has the potential to become the FY. Tim has always been one of my top regular anglers and has been very close to winning this award on two other occasions. This season his large number of trophy fish (almost twice the number of his closest rival), his consistency for catching the most fish in a trip, the large number of largest and second largest fish for a trip and his efficiency as a fisherman in general were the categories that put him over the top and ahead of everyone else. Like all excellent fishermen, Tim is one of the easiest anglers to fish around but he is also one of the nicest and most considerate people to have aboard. This is the highest honor we have to give on the Bunny Clark and it is with the utmost pleasure that I present this award to you. Thanks, Tim, you have indeed made this a special year for all of us - again! [The picture on the left shows Tim with his 13 pound Maine state trophy cusk caught during the marathon trip of June 21, 2005 while the picture below shows Tim holding his 25 pound bluefin tuna which he caught with Captain Ian Keniston during the August 31, 2005 full day trip.]

Tim's total point count was 212. Dick Lyle (ME) took second place with a point total of 112. Ken McLaughlin (ME) was third with 80 points. All three anglers fish with jigs and jig sticks almost exclusively but are not afraid to fish with bait if they have to.

Female Angler of the Year: Linda Paul (ME) wins this award. Does this name sound familiar? Linda used to fish with me in the early days until traveling complications forced her to fish closer to home. She fished with us this year more than many years since, of course, she had stopped fishing with us as a regular angler. In 1990, Linda became (and still is) the only female angler to win the Fisherman of the Year award. She has won the Bunny Clark's Female Angler of the Year award ten successive years (in 1989 through and including 1998). There has never been a female angler to catch as many trophy fish in a day as Linda has (I think the count was thirty over thirty pounds but correct me if I'm wrong, Linda.). She also held the IGFA All Tackle pollock world record for eight years. When this fish was landed on the Bunny Clark, it weighed 51.25 pounds, the largest pollock I have ever seen. After getting this fish ashore, it weighed 46 pounds 10.9 ounces on a registered scale. She currently holds two other world records with fish she caught off the Bunny Clark. This year she fished with us enough times to show me that she is still a wonderful angler and the best female angler of the year. On her best day, September 22, 2005, she landed the most legal fish (high hook) and she won the boat pool with the largest fish of the trip, a Maine state trophy cod of 33 pounds. She also landed the third largest fish of that trip, a 25 pound Maine state trophy cod. It was really great to have her aboard but I have to say that her fishing partner, the "Sledgehammer", was sorely missed. Congratulations, Linda!

Best Bait Fisherman: Fred Kunz (NH) wins this award hands down and by unanimous decision. You can take all your New Jersey and Long Island fisherman aboard this year and you can stuff them because Fred was the best. I thought that Mark LaRocca (NY) or Tugboat Fred Frabel (NJ) would do it but they weren't as consistent overall as Fred was. I was surprised at the figures that brought me to this conclusion but the numbers don't lie. I've often said that the great ones know when to go from bait to jigs or back and, thinking back, Fred was the best at it this season. He also came up with the great landings including a day where he landed twenty-seven legal haddock (the most he has landed in years) on bait and was still high hook because of his fishing prowess with a jig! Congratulations, Fred! You may not appreciate this title as much as the rest of us do but you sure deserve it! Oh, did I mention anything about his influence on some of our regular jig fishermen in the spring?

Most Aces: For those who don't know, an angler scores an ace when he or she lands the three largest fish (or more) during a trip. There were three aces and one false ace (an ace that is not exclusive - size sharing) this season. Eleven year old Ryan Keniston (ME), Captain Ian's son, landed the first and only false ace of the season, on the afternoon trip of June 12, 2005. He landed the largest fish of the trip with a 14.5 pound cod. He shared the second largest fish of the trip with eight year old Mitchell Bourisk (ME). Both he and Ryan landed a 10.5 pound cod each. Ryan also shared third largest fish status with ten year old Micah Tower (ME), my son. Ryan's fish was a 10 pound cod while Micah's was a 10 pound pollock. None of the grown-ups did much, if anything, that evening!

Pat Pisiello (NH) landed an ace on the September 26, 2005 marathon trip. His three largest fish included a 28 pound Maine state trophy cod, an 18.5 pound pollock and a 17 pound pollock. Pat won the boat pools for the first and second largest fish of the trip. Bob Piotrowski (NH) landed a double ace (the four largest fish) on an August 19, 2005 afternoon trip. His fish included a 9.5 pound cod, a 6.5 pound cod, a 6 pound cod and a 5 pound cod. Out of the thirty-one anglers aboard that evening, there were only seven legal fish caught for the whole trip including the four that Bob caught! Wayne Closi (PA) landed a triple ace (five largest fish) on the June 18, 2005 full day trip. His fish included a 21.5 pound cod, a 16 pound cod, a 14.5 pound pollock, a 14 pound cod and a 13.5 pound pollock. No one else was even close! Makes you wonder what these guys were doing differently, doesn't it?

Most Trophies (including hake over 15 pounds) of the Season: Tim Williams landed the most trophies last season with a total count of 26. Dave Gray was second with 16 trophy fish. Dick Lyle was third with a count of 15 trophy fish. Fred Kunz was fourth with a count of 13 trophy fish.

Most Trophy Fish during a Trip (including hake over 15 pounds): Dave Gray landed the most with a total count of seven trophy/steakers caught during a marathon trip in the fall. His fish included a 32.5 pound Maine state trophy white hake, a 29 pound Maine state trophy white hake, a 20.5 pound pollock, a 19.5 pound white hake, a 16 pound white hake, a 21 pound pollock and a 19 pound white hake. Tim Williams, Jeff Philbrick (NH), Mike Rygiel, Jr. (MA) and Mike Rygiel, Sr. (MA) tied for second with five trophy/steakers each, all caught on marathon trips. Art St. Cyr (MA), Dave Gray, Dave MacDonald (MA), Ian Wood (PA), Jim Feeney (MA), Jim Gray (VT), Mike "Hollywood" King (RI), Paul Griffin (CT) and Tim Williams all tied for third with four trophy/steakers each, all caught on marathon trips.

Most Pools (largest fish of the trip): Tim Williams landed the most pool fish with a total count of four. No one else landed more than two pool fish last season.

High Hook: Tim Williams recorded the largest number of trips where it was very obvious that he landed the most legal fish per trip. His count was twenty-one trips. Dick Lyle was second with fifteen trips. Ken McLaughlin was third with eleven trips.

Hard Luck: The first person that comes to mind is Lori Angell (VT). She is a good target because she, and her husband, Chris, have been fishing with me for years and have always done well. They usually make a couple of trips or more on the Bunny Clark a year. On Lori's first trip, a good fishing/weather day in April, she set a new mark in her fishing career by not landing a single fish, a first for her on the Bunny Clark! On her second trip, early November, the Angells picked a day that started calm but continued in very rough water for the rest of the trip. It was excellent fishing for pollock. Lori arrived with a knee problem, the extent and origin of which I didn't pursue. She got bounced around all day, caught some fish and was sea sick the whole time. When Captain Ian asked her how it was going, Lori replied; "This is the worst trip of my life!" Knowing her as I do and hearing this comment, I couldn't resist mentioning Lori's luck here.

The bigger they are the harder they fall. So it was on October 28, 2005 that Fred Kunz (NH) recorded the worst day of groundfishing in his life. The boat landed just shy of a thousand pounds of legal fish on that trip including a 33.5 pound Maine state trophy white hake, a 30.5 pound Maine state trophy cod, a 23 pound cod, a 37 pound Maine state trophy cod, a 19 pound cod, a 31 pound Maine state trophy hake, quite a few cod in the teens, a 27 pound Maine state trophy monkfish, a 17.5 pound monkfish, a 30 pound Maine state trophy cod, forty-one legal redfish, fourteen cusk and seven legal haddock. Fred caught two small haddock and a half a redfish. He would have had a whole redfish but he put one of these redfish fillets on a jig in hopes of catching a big fish and ended up hooking a dogfish - and calling for a gaff on the dogfish (before he saw it) besides! Never has Fred caught so few fish on a trip where so many good ones have been landed. And just think, on that same day in 1996, he landed a 62.5 pound Maine state trophy cod, a pile of steakers and big fish to win the boat pool and propel him to the Fisherman of the Year award for the second year in a row. What a difference a day makes!

Yours truly captained the afternoon trip of August 2, 2005 with twenty-five anglers where not a single living thing was landed during the trip - not a sea anemone, not a sponge, not a fish - legal or sub-legal. It is the first time I have taken anglers out groundfishing on any boat and not caught a single fish and it adversely affected my feelings much more than I thought it would. I felt terrible and I tried harder than normal to find fish. In order to have a winner for the boat pool that evening, I ran a raffle and had nine year old John Emmons (ME) pick a ticket number out of my hat. The winner was thirteen year old James Emmons (ME), his older brother!

Most Improved Angler: Steve Benoit (MA) was the most improved angler for 2005. He started fishing with us a year or two ago as an obscure angler fishing in the cockpit with a boat rod. He never did anything very spectacular. Even if he was improving then, we didn't notice it. This year, he bought his own rod and reel (a Penn 113H), fished in the bow, added jigs to his fishing arsenal and did very well. He never landed the trophy fish he was hunting for but he got within a half a pound when he caught a 24.5 pound cod (a tie for the third largest fish of the trip) while on the August 11, 2005 full day trip with Captain Ian.

Best Team: As was the case in 2004, 2005's winners are a splinter group of New England's favorite contemporary singer/song writers (a folk band) collectively called: Aquahtenang and company. This year the individuals included Brian Murphy (NH), Merv Murphy (NH) and Dennis LaValley (MA). They mean a great deal to me because they love to fish so much (and it shows), they are wonderfully conservation minded and release many legal fish (more than anyone collectively and second individually to Dave Gray), they are excellent anglers and everybody who has ever fished with them enjoys the experience tremendously. Fishing on "The Bunny", as they call it, just wouldn't be as much fun without them.

Exceptional Good Luck: For all the fishing Dick "Uncle Cheap" Lyle had done with me, with all the trophy fish and his all but legendary high hook accomplishments, two things happened that no one expected. First, after predicting a week in advance that he would do so, gave Fred Kunz the worst drubbing in a buck-a-fish contest that Fred has ever seen with the possible exception of an earlier contest in the early '90s when the old man squeaked in a spoiler. A week later, while attaining high hook status on yet another of his many exceptional marathon trips, Dick landed his first Maine state trophy redfish, a 2.25 pounder. Unusual in and of itself, the strangest part was that the head of the fish looked just like the face of Fred Kunz! There was talk that Dick brought the fish home whole and that it now resides in a bottle of formaldehyde on the shelf above his desk. I don't know, though. Dick never forgets a face - or a sound beating, for that matter!

[The digital image, below left, is a shot of that New York Yankee's fan (yes, another one!), Walter Riddick (CT), holding his 38 pound Maine state trophy white hake caught while fishing on the marathon trip of September 30, 2005.]

Most Unusual Catch: On the full day trip of June 30, 2005, Ken McLaughlin landed the first halibut he has ever caught. It weighed 8 pounds. On that same trip, Mike Elwell (NH) landed a 5 pound halibut. These were the only halibut caught on the Bunny Clark last year. Not only that, it is only the second time that two halibut have ever been caught on the same trip. The last time it happened was in the fall of 1992 during an offshore marathon trip. Dave Wilmarth (PA) landed a 4 pound halibut in the morning that day. With a boat policy explanation from me, he happily released this fish back to the ocean alive. A couple hours later, he caught a 21 pound halibut that he was able to keep!

Biggest Double: There was a tie for the best double keeper catch of the year (two fish caught on the same line at the same time) last year. During the August 30, 2005 marathon trip, John Ellis (NY) landed a double that included a 19 pound cod and a 31 pound Maine state trophy white hake, the largest hake he has ever caught. A month later during the September 30, 2005 marathon trip, David Gervais (VT) landed a double that included a 15 pound cod and a 35 pound Maine state trophy cod to tie with John. Rob Fuehrer (ME) was second with a double that included a 14.5 pound pollock and a 31 pound Maine state trophy pollock, Rob's largest pollock, on the full day trip of September 20, 2005. Jim Lennon (NY) was third with a double that included a 16 pound cod and a 28 pound Maine state trophy cod, on the marathon trip of September 16, 2005.

Quotes of the Year: As Tom Miller (NH) walked off the boat after Captain Ian's first marathon trip of the season on April 18, 2005, I asked him how his trip went. He told me that he caught three more fish than he did on an earlier marathon trip with me. Ouch! Since most of our fish at that time had been caught by using the mighty clam, I referenced this as maybe he had changed fishing styles to accomplish his place as high hook that day. His reply; "Bait is a four letter word!"

"Honest, it was the Dramamine!" a quote from Jessica Bulla (NC) during the June 17, 2005 afternoon half day trip after she was caught sound asleep with her head on the rail and her line out tending the bottom. Not a single fish was caught on that trip - one of two "dead zone" trips of the season.

"I've got this shark by the balls!" a quote from Arnie Buza (NJ) during the September 28, 2005 marathon trip as he initially hooked a seemingly sluggish blue shark. The shark proceeded to strip all the line off Arnie's reel and, in so doing, almost yanked Arnie out of the pulpit after he tightened his drag. He ended up losing his jig and a lot of line during this one sided fight!

Most Asked Questions: By far the most asked question during a season is: "How deep are we?" Of course, the logical answer to this question is: "Most of us are two feet above the surface." Some anglers immediately rephrase the sentence; others realize I am kidding. The second most asked question is: "Has anyone ever fallen overboard?" The appropriate answer has always been: "Not this week." followed closely by: "Actually, no one has ever fallen overboard during a fishing trip." In fact no one had fallen off the Bunny Clark into the water during a trip until the afternoon trip of August 1, 2005. On that trip, near the end, Captain Ian Keniston was swinging in off the davit after a trip from the bow with both hands full, lost his grip and went head first, backwards, into the sub-legal cod infested waters of that particular fishing area. I still might be able to use the answer; "Not this week!" but my follow-up is going to have to change!

Most Missed: Bruce Ebbeson (MA).

[The picture on the lower right is a shot of eleven year old Ben Siegel (ME) holding is 18 pound pollock caught on his first deep sea fishing trip on July 5, 2005.]

Unexplained Phenomena: Why is it that a certain captain would not count his haddock when Justin Morton's boat record of 49 legal haddock was available to him like the girls in his younger days? Is there such a thing as the "unofficial" haddock record holder? Speaking of which, did you know that the longest outstanding IGFA All Tackle World record is held by Jared Keniston with a haddock just under 16 pounds? The first ever Bunny Clark killer whale sighting occurred during the afternoon trip on September 3, 2005. Eddie Jeter (MA) was there on the day he was supposed to be there for every trip he showed up for during the 2005 fishing season. During the afternoon trip of August 16, 2005, I was teasing Niko Skourtis (MA) about not getting in the boat pool and landing the largest fish of the evening with a pollock of 10 pounds. In fact, he caught this fish as a double keeper catch with another pollock of 7 pounds! After the teasing, he told me he would like to get into the boat pool. Since half the trip was already over, I told him that, yes, he could get into the boat pool but his previous fish didn't count. Agreeing to the arrangement, he paid the money and shortly after, caught a 9 pound pollock to win the boat pool. He ended up winning the boat pool with one fish and receiving the "Largest Fish of the Trip" sticker with the other! Times are tough when a high line gill netter captain has to go out on a party boat in order to bring home some cod fillets. How about it, Jamie Morgan (VT)? Is there anyone in the world who can fish as well and as hard as Forrest Woodruff (VT) and still be so sea sick? Shannon Grover (NY) set a new Bunny Clark record by taking the longest time (over ten minutes) to get a cod fly out of a cod's mouth. In fact, he failed in the attempt as I had to go over there and complete the task for him! However, Art Hosley (MA) would have had the record had Shannon missed the boat. Art was caught worrying his fish to death for a period of time under ten minutes. He succeeded in finishing the job himself! Roscoe; is Joe Eadie the best fisherman you've ever met or what? Leon Schrecengost (NY), how about another casting lesson from your old buddy, Tim? Keith Borkowski (ME), fall/winter Bunny Clark poster boy again?

In Memoriam: Another great party boat captain passed away last season. His name was Captain Al Voorhis. When I was growing up as a little boy, he had a party boat in Perkins Cove called the Marion. It was the first deep sea fishing boat I ever went out on. After over fifteen years in the Cove, he spent about thirty years fishing out of Kennebunkport with his new boat, the Captain Al. Later he had the Miss K-Port and other Captain Als. He loved to fish but his real love was taking anglers fishing. He was a lucky (good?) son of a gun with some of the largest fish of the Maine coast coming off his boat. I learned a lot from him and have many memories I will cherish about the man. He was a legend right to the end. While in his death's bed, he wouldn't allow the nurses to take his boots off even though they tried. His mate of over thirty years, Tom Cressey, was by his side the moment he died. His last words were; "God Damn it to Hell, let's get this thing over with!" his favorite expression. He died two seconds after these words were uttered with his boots on. Tom brought his ashes out to Jeffrey's Ledge, the place he loved to fish the most. I will miss Al a great deal as will all those who knew him.

Before I end this letter, I want to thank those behind the scenes individuals who keep the business going while we are out fishing. I am talking about our shore captains and the Admiral herself, my wife, Debbie Tower, without whom I could not do this. Renée Stevens, our second in command, works for us in the winter, helps us keep the computers running, crunches the numbers for the newsletter and the books, works the phone and is certainly our best asset behind Deb. Jane Staples moved up into our top reservationists spot. She also does a lot of computer work, desk work and completes this for us year round. Great! Our best on the phone, Meghan Masi was back with us again for the summer months - perfect! She teaches in the winter. Alison Carey (MA) made it through her first summer with us. She did a wonderful job. We also had a short stint from one of our favorites, Jamie Bean. Other's, who worked on a part time basis, helped us tremendously. These fine human beings included Beth Hutchins (with daughter, Lindsey) and Kaleigh Chase (ME - Renée's niece.). I can't say enough good things about these girls and their dedication to the business. Thank you all very much!

Finally, I have to thank the most important people last - our angling guests. Thank you so much for fishing with us last year. You honor me by your presence and delight me with your many achievements. Without you, I would just be commercial fishing, never realizing how much better it is when you add the wonderful customers I see on a daily basis. I truly believe I have the best anglers and best people of any party boat business and no one is going to convince me otherwise. Thanks so much for your support and your attendance. Have a wonderful winter and I am very much looking forward to seeing you again this season. Let's hope for a good one!

Best Fishes, Tim Tower

Our Largest Cod of the 2005 Bunny Clark Fishing Season

The digital image above is a shot of Ken Kaulfers (NJ) holding his 53 pound Maine state trophy cod which he caught on the May 18, 2005 marathon trip. This is Ken's largest cod, the Bunny Clark's largest cod of the 2005 fishing season and only one of two cod caught during the season that weighed over 50 pounds.

If you want to send me e-mail, the current address is Most individuals have better luck with this address on their own e-mail softwear programs.

With this web site in general, I hope to keep you current on all of the fishing particulars on the Bunny Clark and include updated information on fishery management decisions that could potentially affect us. For a current report go to the Fishing Update section from the link located on the index page of this web site. Thanks!

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