The 2007 Bunny Clark Guestletter

Tim Tower's annual primer on the 2006 Bunny Clark fishing season

January 18, 2007

Dear Guests:

I can't believe we will be starting our twenty-fifth season on the Bunny Clark this year! Welcome to my twenty-fourth guestletter where I recount the highlights of our successes and failures during the 2006 Bunny Clark fishing season.

[The image on the left is a shot of Shawn Rosenberger (PA) with one of his largest rod & reel cod caught while on the October 16, 2006 marathon trip. This fish, at fifty-one inches caliper fork length, may be the longest cod he has ever caught. This fish was also the largest tagged fish caught last season.]

The season's weather was certainly one of the most discussed features of the year. We started with April being one of our calmest, driest and least windy Aprils in many years. The combination of May and June gave us the most precipitation I have ever seen in my lifetime. By mid May, seventy roads were declared impassable in York (our) County and many bridges were washed out; some bridges still haven't been repaired with the roads closed as of this writing. This may have changed our fishing and it certainly seemed to keep the lobsters further away from shore last year - as my son, Micah, and I experienced on our other boat, the Petrel. As bad as May and June were, the rest of the season was just the opposite. From July through November, we had relatively few trips canceled due to weather, it was one of our least rainy summers and air temperature values were higher than normal. November itself was the warmest November on record and December finished off the year with more temperature readings above normal making it feel more like spring. Also, to my knowledge, there were only five Atlantic hurricanes last season and only one got close enough to the U. S. mainland (Florida only) to have any influence. The year finished off with over fifteen inches of rain more than normal (for Portland, Maine - more than that in York County), the second year in a row with precipitation values well above normal after (2005 ended with a precipitation value twenty inches above normal) many years in a row with rain fall deficits.

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.

The fishing was good to very good overall with some very excellent days for numbers of legal fish and for big fish, particularly in the late fall. April and May were our haddock months, our biggest day occurring on May 8th when three hundred and twenty-one haddock were landed for nineteen anglers [Oddly enough, our second best trip occurred on July 4th when half as many haddock were landed on a day trip for twenty-two anglers.]. Early April and June were our best cod months, our two best trips for numbers of legal cod occurring on April 10th and April 19th. We landed two hundred and twenty-five legal cod for nine anglers on the 10th with Ken McLaughlin (ME) recording his fishing career high of almost seventy keepers that day. Jeff & Justin Philbrick (NH) didn't count their fish that trip but had to have had about the same each. On the 19th, sixteen anglers caught three hundred thirty six legal cod. Of course, most of these fish were released alive on these two days and I had to leave these fish early (on both trips) as it seemed just too much at the time. It does show you, though, how excellent these two fishing trips were.

The pollock arrived in mid May and stayed straight through until the end of the season in numbers we haven't seen since our big pollock year of 1986. There were well too many times where we could have bailed the medium sized pollock (8 to 15 pound range) from the start of the trip until the end had we stayed on these schools. It was really amazing. Wolffish, on the other hand, were down in numbers and size. They aren't a very common fish to catch anyway but our total season's count was only ninety-five, fifty percent less than last year and only four percent of the total count for the last ten seasons.

White hake were also down as compared to the last four seasons but not by much. Actually, I was delighted in our white hake count and also delighted in the fact that most of them were caught on the open bottom away from the hangs that we usually associate with this fish. I suspect that this is a behavioral pattern change associated with an adaptation to the dwindling herring biomass; we caught these fish out foraging for food.

We didn't catch any big monkfish last season but our count was normal. We caught our token small halibut (two actually - for the last two seasons all the halibut have been caught with Captain Ian), landed our first large striped bass and landed so many cusk on some trips that we had to get away from them. Small bluefin tuna entered the fishery in September and we were lucky enough to land four of them and lose a few. We ran into some of the biggest redfish we have seen in years. We also discovered a spot (and it was only good on one trip!) that produced more big redfish than we have seen since 1986 - over four full fish totes! Where these fish were hiding and where they went after that day, God only knows. We saw the largest number of dogfish landed in the fall last year than during any previous season with the Bunny Clark - bar none! Thankfully, they are easier to deal with in the fall and dogfish populations moved to the near shore areas earlier than normal this spring leaving us pretty much unfettered for the early months and the summer. We hooked four to six porbeagle sharks but never did land one last season. Blue sharks were much less prevalent last year than many other seasons. Sizes on most of the fish in general last season were normal with some specific boat records I will refer to individually later in this newsletter.

The argument could be made that the cod average size was down this year and I do believe this is true. There is a good reason for this. The previous (2005) season started with a Federal legal minimum size of twenty-three inches that decreased to twenty-two inches by May 1st that year. Starting in May of 2006 (last season), the Federal legal limit went up to a minimum of twenty-four inches. We effectively fished our base level stock of resident cod down the season before. We saw many trips where large numbers of cod were caught but where most were released because they just didn't meet the Federal limit. Also, since the herring collapse in the Gulf of Maine (and less herring last season than the previous season), there was very little bait around to bring in a good recruitment of the newer larger transient cod from offshore. My point is that I'm less inclined to believe that our lack of legal codfish was due directly to a decrease in the cod population and that there were plenty of sub-legal cod around last season. I'm looking for a boost in this seasons legal cod population.

We started the season last year with some new gear improvements that surprised me in their effectiveness. I introduced the McLaughlin series jig stick during the 2005 fishing season but added more of these rods last year. Our most popular rod, the Merv series jig stick (introduced a couple of years previously) and the McLaughlin series jig sticks are built to my specifications by Saco Bay Tackle Company in Saco, Maine. I had already had much success with the Merv series sticks but the McLaughlin seemed to allow anglers to be more comfortable while fishing the deeper waters where the Merv sticks were more effective in shallower waters. Also, this was our second year with the Surfland jig sticks, also built to my specifications from a graphite composite blank built at Surfland Bait & Tackle, Newbury (Plum Island), Massachusetts. Last season we enhanced the effectiveness of these three new rod designs by including eighty pound test Spectra (a braided, no-stretch, thinner - than Dacron - line) on all the reels that were used with them. We did not use any Dacron/Micron line as we had in previous seasons. We found that anglers could "feel" the bottom better, had much more control while fishing and casting, had far less tangles than previous years and eliminated the idea that anglers had to make a choice between favored lines. We also modified our Penn 113H (Thank you, Nixon Machine) jig stick reels to make them more effective with the line and the jig sticks.

Other than tweaking our jig stick system, the two biggest fishing gear improvements were the introduction of the Penn Baja Special for use with the jig sticks and making the new Lavjigs available on a regular basis. The Baja Special (Penn 113HN) is a reel you can buy off the shelf with the modifications we have been machining into our Pro Gear reels (my preferred reel) and Penn 113H reels for years. Plus, the handle is the most comfortable on the market, the reel incorporates three more bearings than our modified reels and they have an opposing dog system much like the much more expensive International series (big game) Penn reels. As an added bonus, we found out by using them last season that they last longer than most reels and their design is such that less water gets into the internal workings of the reel making it easier than expected to maintain. I believe it is the best cod reel on the market for both price and function.

[The shot on the lower right is a picture of twelve year old Micah Tower holding his 5 pound haddock taken during the July 11, 2006 full day trip. This is the largest haddock he has ever caught ]

The Lavjig opened up the groundfishing world for us last season. Made in Massachusetts and purchased by emailing:, they were easily obtainable and they worked great. The features I like are the choices between the plated or unplated variety, the swivels incorporated at both ends (like the much touted Angerman jigs) and the consistency in their manufacturing. I am particularly impressed by the sixteen ounce jigs as they are physically the same size as a bigger jig but they cast like a smaller one. Indeed, our three best anglers of the 2006 fishing season, Tim Williams (CT), Dick Lyle (ME) and Fred Kunz (NH) used them on a regular basis and, I believe, was a good part of the reason for their greater than normal success last year.

This season we will be adding three more McLaughlin series rods to the line-up, I have already included more Baja Special reels and I have contracted with Dennis LaValley to keep us supplied with the Lavjigs in three different sizes. Other improvements for 2007 include extensive work on the existing engine, adjustments in the side curtains and adding more back-up reels for the regular boat rods. Other than that, the normal cosmetic upgrades and Bunny Clark "winter work" will go on as planned in order to launch a more efficient and cleaner vessel for our first scheduled trip on April 1, 2007.

I have to say that I was more comfortable last season than any season since I started hiring captains to share the fishing experience on the Bunny Clark. The primary reason for this is the trust I have in my primary captain, Ian Keniston, to represent me (in his own individual way) in everything Bunny Clark. Right along with Ian is Jared Keniston who is one of the best and most unique deck hands I have ever had. Both of these individuals know what I want and how to deliver it with something extra. They also represent the best team I have ever had on this boat and I feel fully confident that things will go as they should when I am working ashore. No worries, the ability to sleep at night and knowing that everything will go the way it should - priceless! Thank you.

Tom Corbett, my swing captain, working Sundays in the summer, did a better job for me last season than any previous season except when he worked for me full time. I think our communication was better and his desire to catch fish and make anglers happy was right up there where it usually is. Me being able to take a shift as captain on Tuesdays during the summer, my captaining the Bunny Clark on most of the marathon trips, having Tom as my Sunday captain and being able to rely on Captain Ian and Jared gave me the best situation I have ever had. But you know what's even better? I'll tell you; we're all going to be back together to do it again this season! Now that's just great and I'm very thankful for it as well as you, my anglers, all should be.

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 still 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.

Last season was the first season since the Bunny Clark was launched that I didn't tag a single groundfish for our own tagging program. Part of the reason for this was the smaller number of cod landed (more legal cod went home with the angler), the increased work load while running the deck, recording information and the fact that the New England Cod Tagging Program (NECTP - on the Web at or contact Pat Foote at 207-228-1645 or was doing such a great job. Indeed, processing tags caught with cod that had been previously released by the NECTP took up a lot of the extra time we use for other things while fishing. I believe the time spent was well worth the effort for the following reasons. Anglers had the possibility to win sums of money by returning the tag ($100.00 for a blue tag - there were six blue tags caught on the Bunny Clark last season, $500.00 for a green tag - this is found on haddock specifically and we didn't see any of these last season or $200.00 in a monthly raffle). Anybody who returned a tag with the information required could receive their choice of a coffee mug, a t-shirt or a cap. All the information goes into a data bank that is available to the public and to researchers who can use the data to better discern migration routes, growth patterns/rates and habitat. This is sure to help the fishery in the future.

[The shot on the left was taken on the marathon trip of October 4, 2006. The angler in the pulpit is Steve Guilmet (MA) with deck hand, Jared Keniston, who has just gaffed Steve's 18 pound pollock. The fishing was excellent that day and the weather was flat calm and perfect; these are the days you think about during the cold winter months before the next season.]

Also, just because we didn't release any of our own tagged fish last season doesn't mean that we didn't get any great tag returns. We did. In fact, there are probably a viable twenty-five percent of Bunny Clark tagged fish at large just waiting to be caught.

The best Bunny Clark tag return we received last year came from a cod caught on January 12, 2005. The information was sent to me by Anne Magoon who was involved in a research project for the Cape Cod Hook Fisherman's Association. At the time of her research they were experimenting with baits that would be conducive to catching haddock but would exclude the hooking of cod. Since she was unfamiliar with my tag and unfamiliar with my business specifically, she had a hard time tracking us down and ended up stumbling across us in the winter of 2006. Her information arrived at my desk on March of last year. When the cod was caught on that day in 2005, it weighed 46 pounds and was forty-eight inches long. She witnessed the catch and weighed the fish herself. She told me it was one of the largest cod fish she had ever seen. This fish was landed on long line by the F/V Cabaret IV out of Gloucester, Massachusetts in a location fifteen miles directly east of Cape Ann, Massachusetts. What makes this the most interesting return of the year was the cod's growth during its time at liberty. Regis Jauvin (QC) had this fish tagged after catching it with a jig off the Bunny Clark on April 11, 2000. At the time of the catch this fish weighed 12 pounds and was thirty-four inches caliper fork length. This means that during the fifty-seven months (4.75 years) that this fish was at large, it grew fourteen inches and added 34 pounds to its weight! It must have had a heck of a food source! The fish was caught for the last time fifteen miles directly south from where it was tagged almost five years earlier.

Even though we didn't tag and release many groundfish last season, we did release a lot of legal sized cod back to the ocean alive. I've always encouraged the release of legal sized fish, particularly cod of 20 pounds or better as they are the better breeders. This is an unselfish act on the part of the fare paying angler and something that doesn't get as much attention as it should. To promote the release of big fish, we have a unique Tag & Release t-shirt that is given free to the angler who releases (tagged or not) alive a cod over 30 pounds. We stopped this practice of giving away shirts after November 1, 2006 when the federally imposed no cod possession limit went into effect. Still, after November, some our largest cod of the season were released including the 67.5 pound cod caught by John Watson (NH), Ron Roy's (NH) 54 pound cod, Dennis LaValley's 50 pound cod and Dave Gray's 48 pound cod, all cod in the top ten. Before that time, however, we had some great releases, particularly in the fall. The largest of these releases was a 46 pound cod caught by Dick Lyle (ME). The second largest released cod was a 41 pounder caught by Tim Williams (CT). The third largest was a cod of 40.5 pounds caught and released by Dick Lyle. All three fish were caught on the same day in early September.

Among my regular anglers, there are many who release legal fish (mostly cod) back to the ocean alive on a regular basis. I would be remiss if I didn't acknowledge them and print their names here. I may not have everyone's name but these are the heavy hitters who are consistent in this practice. They included: Dick Lyle, Tim Williams, Jason McGee (ME), Rebecca Hammer (NH), Dave Gray (VT), Sean Devich (NH), Dave MacDonald (MA), Don Johnson (MA), Charlie McGee (ME), Dennis LaValley (MA), Jeff Hansen (ME), Brian Murphy (NH), Marian "Merv" Murphy (NH), Gardner Murphy (NH), Fred Kunz (NH), Jim Gray (VT), Mike Horwitz (ME), Dominic Bruno (NY), Eric Pysar (NY), Tom Miller (NH), Steve LaPlante (CT), Steve Shugars (ME), Norm Herrick (MA), Robert Herrick (MA), Ken McLauglin (ME), Karl Day (ME), Matt Day (ME), Micah Tower (ME) and Ryan Keniston (ME). Thank you all so much for your unselfishness. Recreational anglers, of all the fishing groups, are noted for their conservationism but, on my vessel, you are the cream of the crop! Thank you very much!

Of special note, I have to mention Bob Nixon's name, the most altruistic of all my anglers. Bob always releases legal fish (big fish particularly) and would probably be right up there with Dick Lyle on count had he sailed on as many trips. I mention Bob's name here because through the years he has also been most helpful to me with his advice on improvements in my fishing business. He owns and runs Nixon Machine and, through this, has modified many of my reels (including all the jig stick reels), build me complete reels to try, passed on hot information that might be of use and has provided the Fisherman of the Year award free of charge (I have always offered to pay for this!) after every season. Although I can't possibly mention all the good things this man has brought to the Bunny Clark, I thought some kind of recognition was in order - at least. Bob; thanks for your selfless pursuit of the perfect fishing world and, specifically, all the good you have done for my business and anglers in general.

[The digital image on the right is a picture showing John Warden (ME) holding his 2.75 pound Maine state trophy redfish caught on the marathon trip of October 16, 2006.] This was a very good year for "counters" (fish considered special on the Bunny Clark because of their size or uniqueness) and a special year for big fish in general. It was a very good year for Maine state trophy sized fish. However, world records and state record sized fish avoided us. We came closest with the extra large redfish we found in the fall but not close enough to make a claim.

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

We settled into our most onerous of Federal fisheries regulations starting May 1, 2006. The minimum size limit on cod jumped from 22 inches to 24 inches. Also, we were hit with a no cod possession limit starting November 1, 2006 to April 1, 2007. This was the first time the recreational angler was not allowed to keep any of the cod that they caught off the coast of Maine, New Hampshire and most of Massachusetts. When November did strike, the deep sea fishing boats to the south disallowed cod for their boat pools and indeed, had anglers try to shake them off while in the water. We took a different approach (primarily because our anglers fish closer to the surface of the water). We allowed cod to be part of the boat pool, weighed the fish if they were pool contenders or trophy sized fish, took a picture of some of our larger trophy fish and released them as quickly as possible. The vast majority of these fish lived.

Regulations for the 2007 season are expected to remain exactly as they were after May of 2006. Along with the 24 inch minimum size on cod and the no possession limit of cod after October, we will still have the ten cod bag limit, a minimum size of nineteen inches on haddock and pollock, no bag limits on other groundfish species (except for halibut - one per boat per day) and no size limit on cusk, wolffish and hake. Also, the recreational sector is not supposed to be put in a position to defend itself this winter against further regulations as it has during most previous winters.

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 seven largest of each significant species during the 2006 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


J. D. Willison (SC)

Bluefin Tuna 42


Al Hanson (MA)

Bluefin Tuna 41.5


Fred Kunz (NH)

Bluefin Tuna 38.5


Duane Thomas (PA)

Bluefin Tuna 38


Tim Shorey (ME)




Jim Searles (ME)

Halibut 6


[Ian Keniston took this picture of Tim Shorey (right) and his 12 pound halibut just before the fish was released back to the ocean alive.]

Tim Smith (ME)

Redfish 3.5

17.75 X 13


Rich Spies (ME)

Redfish 3.4

17 X 12.5


Ken Kist (ME)

Redfish 3.25

17.25 X 13.5


Shaun Chute (FL)

Redfish 3

17 X 13


Tim Smith (ME)

Redfish 3


Art Kemler, Jr. (PA)

Monkfish 18


Angelo Magri, Jr. (MA)

Monkfish 12



Barry Juhasz (CT)

Monkfish 11.5



Tim Williams (CT)

Monkfish 11



Ken Carter (ME)

Monkfish 10.5



Dale Hager (PA)

Wolffish 19

35 X 20


Gary Gilbert (CT)

Wolffish 17.5

37.5 X 22


Roman Krichevsky (MA)

Wolffish 17.5

36 X 20


Brian Patten (MA)

Wolffish 16

38.5 X 18


Jack Judge (CT/ME)

Wolffish 14.5


[The angler on the right is none other than that singing fisherman, Dennis Grabauskas (CT) holding the largest woffish of his life, a 12 pounder, caught on the marathon trip of April 26, 2006. Handsome devil, isn't he?]

Joel Clark (NY)

Pollock 33

40 X 25


Mike Barrows (PA)

Pollock 32

42.5 X 25


Danny Kelley (ME)

Pollock 32

44 X 25


Fred Kunz (NH)

Pollock 31

42 X 24


Rob Alden (NY)

Pollock 30.5

41 X 24


Dick Lyle (ME)

Pollock 30.5

41.5 X 24


Justin Philbrick (NH)

White Hake 42

47 X 31


Dan Malesiewski (ME)

White Hake 40

50.5 X 27


Tim Williams (CT)

White Hake 39.25

49 X 29


John Provoncha (VT)

White Hake 37

49 X 25


Jeff Philbrick (NH)

White Hake 33

46.5 X 27


Fred Kunz (NH)

White Hake 32

45.5 X 28


Justin Philbrick (NH)

Haddock 8.5

27.5 X 17


Rob Wojciak (CT)

Haddock 8

29.5 X 18


Bob Hadley (ON)

Haddock 8

29 X 15


Ron Godin (CT)

Haddock 7.5

25 X 16


Jerry DeToro (NJ)

Haddock 7.5

27.5 X 17


Ed Martin (ME)

Haddock 7.5

28.5 X 15


Mike Naipawer, Jr. (NJ)

Haddock 7.5

28.5 X 16


Tom Miller (NH)

Cusk 27

40 X 22


Dominic Bruno (NY)

Cusk 20.25

35.5 X 26


Darren "Arb" Wilder (ME)

Cusk 15.5

33.5 X 19


Scott Karlen (VT)

Cusk 15

35.5 X 18


Wade Kearns (ME)

Cusk 14.5

31 X 21


[A very happy Alex Dalis and his 30 pound striped bass can be seen in an Ian Keniston picture - right.]

John Watson (NJ)

Cod 67.5

55.5 X 36 (released)


Tim Reidsema (NH)

Cod 59

51 X 33


Dick Lyle (ME)

Cod 54

48.5 X 31


Ron Roy (NH)

Cod 54



Tim Williams, Jr. (CT)

Cod 50

49 X 30


Dennis LaValley (MA)

Cod 50



Tim Williams (CT)

Cod 49

48 X 31


Bob Cook (NJ)

Cod 49



Steve LaPlante (CT)

Cod 48

46 X 30


Dave Gray (VT)

Cod 48



Alex Dalis (NY)

Striped Bass 30

43 X 24.5


Bruce Jackson (OH)

Lobster 1.5


[Bruce Jackson and his lobster can be seen on the right just the way it was caught!]

In the list above, almost every fish (shellfish) represented was the angler's largest fish of that particular species caught in their life, always a good thing.

  • In particular, John Watson's 67.5 pound cod is his largest cod and the Bunny Clark's largest cod in fourteen years. John's brother, Don (VT), had fished with me a few times previously last season and landed his largest cod ever, a Maine state trophy of 39 pounds, less than a month before John's arrival. John's first words the day before he caught his big fish were; "I would really like to get a cod as large as Don's". The two largest cod caught off the Bunny Clark were 83 pounds each, one caught by Marjory Kerr (VT) in 1984 and one caught by Neil Downy (MA) in 1992.
  • Alex Dalis made Bunny Clark history during an afternoon trip with Captain Ian when he landed a Maine state trophy striped bass of 30 pounds. The fish was caught near the bottom on a cod fly in one hundred feet of water. This is the largest striped bass that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark and only the second one that has ever been landed on any of my boats. It was the first time that Alex had ever been deep sea fishing!
  • Tim Smith and Rich Spies caught the two largest redfish we have seen on the Bunny Clark since 1986!
  • Also, we hooked four lobsters this season (a Bunny Clark record) but only Bruce Jackson came up with the whole item. I believe Jeff Philbrick came up with a claw on two occasions last season.

    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 2006 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 and/or statistical fact 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-'06): Tim Williams (CT) takes this award for the third time in as many years making him the first "hat trick" recipient of this award in Bunny Clark history. Not only that, he won the award with the fourth most points ever accrued by a Fisherman of the Year winner. Fred Kunz is the most frequent winner of this award after attaining the title for six different seasons. Also, Dick Lyle, this years FY "runner-up" (for the second time) accrued the fifth most points ever garnered by an angler on the Bunny Clark, meaning, obviously, that had he attained the same number of points on any previous year other than last season and three others, he would have been the Fisherman of the Year for that season! The three other highest point gatherers (listed in order of most points attained) include Donald F. X. Angerman (MA - FY- '91), Linda Paul (ME - FY- '90) and Al Robinson (ME - FY- '89).

    [Tim Williams can be seen on the right holding his 39.25 pound Maine state trophy white hake. Below, left, he is holding is Maine state trophy cod of 49 pounds.]

    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 Fisherman of the Year. Tim has always been one of my top regular anglers and has also been very close to winning this award on two other occasions. Last season his large number of trophy fish, his consistency for catching the most fish in a trip, the large number of largest and second largest fish for a trip, his "triple ace" and his efficiency as a fisherman in general were the areas of expertise that put him over the top and ahead of everyone else. This season was particularly fun for me because, with Dick Lyle so close in the mix, no one could have known the outcome, even when the competition was over after the last fishing day. Indeed, it took me two full days (with the undying help of our behind the scenes computer girl, Renée Stevens) - including a lot of background research and using comparative value points (something I haven't had to do for a few seasons) - to find the winner! I want to congratulate you, Tim, on what could be (considering the times) the most salient achievement in Bunny Clark history. And, I want to thank you both, Tim and Dick, for making this year so much fun for everyone on the outside!

    Tim's total point count was 533. Dick Lyle (ME) took second place with a point total of 499. Fred Kunz (NH) was third with 131 points (He fished the minimum of ten trips only!). All three anglers fish with jigs and jig sticks and, almost exclusively, do not fish a cod fly over the jig - meaning their accomplishments are even more impressive when you consider that they have the potential to land only one fish at a time!

    Female Angler of the Year: Gloria Gennari (MA) wins this award hands down. In fact, she had such a good year last season, there wasn't another woman within sight of her. Specifically, her ability to be high hook or close to it, her affinity for catching bigger than normal fish, her ability to move around the boat and adapt to all types of fishing and weather conditions and her never-say-die attitude, all contributed to her tremendous success on the Bunny Clark. Gloria, thank you so much for choosing the Bunny Clark for your fishing platform!

    Best Bait Fisherman: This continues to be the toughest award to give out. The results of last years fishing makes this years award no exception. I don't actually know who the best bait fisherman is but I do know that, during the 2006 fishing season, all the best bait fishermen came from New Jersey and they all came up here as a single group! These excellent anglers who also won this award in 2001 (with the exception of one) include: Tugboat Fred Frabel, Brian Dubreuil, Mike Mrozowski, Andy Dzikowicz and Jerry DeToro. For the life of me, I could not tell you whom was the single best angler - particularly since they pool all their fish and they all fish as a unit on the stern! The key to their success is their consistency; they always catch a lot of fish when it's time to go to bait! This year they did it better than anybody.

    Most Aces: For those who don't know, an angler scores an ace when he or she lands the three (or more) largest fish during a single trip. There can be no ties in fish size with other anglers in order to achieve true "ace" status. There were an unheard of five aces landed last season. The best one of the year was a triple ace (the five largest fish during a trip) caught by Tim Williams during the marathon trip of October 20, 2006. His five fish included a 40 pound Maine state trophy cod (which he released back to the ocean alive), a 30.5 pound Maine state trophy white hake, a 26 pound Maine state trophy cod (which he released back to the ocean alive), a 24.5 pound pollock and a 23 pound steaker cod (which he released back to the ocean alive). Dana Decormier (NH) lost two fish that day that would have spoiled Tim's ace! The key word is "lost"! The second best one of last season was a double ace (four largest fish) caught by Captain John "J. D." Daley (ME - former principle Bunny Clark captain) during the July 26, 2006 half day trip with Captain Ian Keniston (J. D.'s former deck hand on the Indian II out of Portland, Maine!). His fish included a 5.5 pound cusk, a 4.5 pound cusk, a 3 pound cusk and another cusk of 3 pounds. He also landed the fifth largest fish, a 2.5 pound cusk, but Phillipp Fischer (QC) also landed a 2.5 pound cusk on that trip. The third best one (some would argue that it was the second best because of fish size) was the one Fred Kunz caught on the October 9, 2006 marathon trip with Captain Ian ("You never did this for me, Tim"; Oh, please, give me a break, Fred!). His three fish included a 46.5 pound Maine state trophy cod, a 28 pound Maine state trophy white hake and a 26.5 pound Maine state trophy white hake. These three fish were the only three Maine state trophy fish caught on the boat that trip. Fred also caught the two largest pollock of that trip at 15.5 and 16.5 pounds and he tied for the largest haddock with a fish of 6 pounds! The fourth best ace was one caught by Francis "Fran" Valez, Jr. (CT) during the full day trip of July 19, 2006 with Captain Ian. His fish included a 12 pound pollock, an 11.5 pound pollock and an 11 pound pollock. The fifth best ace was one caught by Kevin Littlefield (ME) on the August 10, 2006 half day trip with Captain Ian. Kevin's catch included a 6.75 pound cusk, a 6.75 pound cod and a 3.5 pound cusk.

    Most Trophy Fish (including hake over 15 pounds, cod & pollock over 20 pounds and monkfish over 10 pounds) of the Season: Dick Lyle came out on top with a total count of sixty trophy fish. This is the most any angler has caught in recent years (Captain Kenton Geer, holding the previous title with his fifty-four trophies during the 2003 fishing season) and the most by a single angler since 1991. Tim Williams was second with fifty-five trophies, also, except for Dick, the most an angler has landed since 1991. Fred Kunz was third with twenty-three trophies. Dave Gray (VT) was fourth with seventeen trophies. Justin Philbrick was fifth with nine trophies.

    Most Trophy Fish during a Trip: Dick Lyle is the first person in Bunny Clark history to record a royal flush. In other words, out of the top five times where anglers landed the most trophy fish for a trip, Dick was included in every one! In order to reach "royal flush" status each following figure has to be consecutive with the one before including (and most importantly) the first. Dick Lyle and Tim Williams shared the most trophies for a trip with eight each. Dick Lyle and Fred Kunz shared the second most trophies for a trip with seven trophy fish each. Dick Lyle and John Warden (ME) shared the third most trophy fish with six each. Dick Lyle (twice!) and Tim Williams (four times!) along with Angelo Magri, Jr. (MA), Don Johnson, Eric Pysar, John Porvoncha and Justin Philbrick shared the fourth most trophies for a trip with five each. Dick Lyle (twice!) and Tim Williams (three times!) shared the fifth most trophies along with Andy Dzikowicz, Bob Withee (NH), Fred Kunz, Jared Keniston, Jeremy Berger (NY), Shawn Rosenberger (PA), Steve LaPlante, Tim "T" Williams, Jr., Wade Kearns (ME), Wayne Herring, Jr. (PA) and Wobby Barnes (MA) for four trophy fish each.

    Most Pools (largest fish of the trip): Tim Williams landed the largest fish of the trip nine times. Ken McLaughlin landed the second most pools with a count of seven. Dick Lyle landed the largest fish of the trip on five different occasions.

    High Hook: Tim Williams was high hook (the most fish on a trip) thirty-five times, almost every trip he attended! Dick Lyle was second in this category with twenty-three counts. Ken McLaughlin was third, recording eleven times where he landed the most fish on a trip.

    Most Legal Fish Released: Dick Lyle released the most legal fish (for a single angler) back to the ocean alive last season. The picture on the right shows Dick holding his 46 pound Maine state trophy cod, the largest released cod during the open season (before Nov. 2006). This fish was released very much alive on September 6, 2006.

    Hard Luck: On August 24, 2006, Captain Ian Keniston was taking a cusk off the line when the angler pulled on his rod creating tension in the line, throwing Ian off balance, catching the line around Ken McLaughlin's ear and flinging his prescription glasses off Ken's face and into the water - never to be seen again. Only a month earlier, Ian had put his expensive sun glasses on his hat only to lose them when he looked overboard! Ken did win the boat pool that day with his largest fish of the year, a 29 pound Maine state trophy cod. However, Ian's luck was decreased when he got back to the dock late because of a detour he was forced into when the Secret Service made him go a few miles further around Boon Island so as to avoid a conflict with President George W. Bush who was fishing in the area.

    Two days before the Ultra Marathon trip, Bob Withee was headed out of Perkins Cove on the Bunny Clark at the start of an afternoon trip, when his rod, stored in a rod holder on the tip of the pulpit, hit the footbridge on the way out. He chipped the rod that had been his favorite for years. During the trip, he broke his reel, parted a jig off while casting, caught lots of dogfish and caught nary a keeper. On the day trip the next day, Bob did okay but not as I would have expected of him. He opted out on his following afternoon trip engagement so he could get plenty of sleep for the Ultra. The next day, on our biggest trip of the year, he got sea sick and never really recovered, fishing for a wee bit but spending most of the trip in the bunk. Needless to say, he is considering declining if presented with an invitation for this year's Ultra! All this wouldn't have been so bad had he not been such an amazing fisherman in the older days!

    Along the same line, Ed Jeter (MA) showed up a week early for the Ultra Marathon thinking he had arrived the day before! He did the same thing for the Ultra the year before last!

    Most Improved Angler: Ron Roy & Dana Decormier have to share this title. Ron went from an angler who I would have a hard time remembering in the beginning of last season to an angler as regular as the helm I use to steer the boat. He went from an angler used to catching a few fish to one who would be disappointed if he weren't high hook. He was also an angler whose largest cod used to be a fish in the teens to an angler who ended the year with the third largest cod of the season, a Maine state trophy of 54 pounds!

    Unlike Ron, Dana had gone very many fewer trips but, because of his winning personality, I knew him like my brother after the second one. This made it easy for me to know what went on in Dana's deep sea fishing world as it concerns the Bunny Clark. Dana started off the season on April 26th with the largest cod of his life, a 41 pound Maine state trophy. It was the first trophy cod of the Bunny Clark season and the only trophy cod caught that day and for another week! He was also second hook right behind Tim Williams that day. Except for trophy fish, it only got better. Normally tentative about leaving the dock with bad weather approaching and of ill health in rough seas in the past, he was the first one to say; "Let's go", and never appeared to be sea sick last season. Of the few times he went, he did better than most, won the boat pool decisively twice and would have won another time had Tim Williams not been in the way.

    Also, watch out for Zach Latimer (VT). He's coming on like a freight train!

    Best Picture: The one on the left showing Fred Kunz holding is 38 pound bluefin tuna, the first tuna he has ever landed on a jig stick.

    Missing: Steve Benoit (MA), after losing one of the Bunny Clark rods overboard and paying $100.00 for the mistake. He disappeared after that and we missed one of our favorite anglers.

    Best Team: As was the case in 2004 and 2005, last seasons winners are a splinter group of New England's favorite contemporary singer/song writers (a folk band) collectively called: Aquahtenang ( and company. Last year the individuals included Brian Murphy (NH), Merv Murphy (NH) and Dennis LaValley (MA). However, very much a part of the team, Gardner Murphy and Rebecca Hammer also made a few appearances. These anglers love fishing, are very conservation minded and really make the trip special when they are aboard.

    Last season, another team became established. This was the team of Steve and Alec Levine. Out of the five trips they attended this summer, one of them won the boat pool on four of these trips. Plus, they were high hook on occasion and they landed some special fish, including one of our largest wolffish of the season at 13.5 pounds.

    Exceptional Good Luck: Shawn Rosenberger fits this category well. He was able to go out fishing with us on at least half the fall trips he planned last year and caught some beautiful trophy fish and lots of fish besides. The first year he tried, in 2005, he got weathered out for over a week and never did sail with us on a fishing trip! This year he lands what might be the longest cod of his life at fifty-one inches, the largest tagged cod of the year at 41 pounds and the largest hake he has ever seen. How do you like it now, Shawn?

    Most Unusual Catch: Dennis LaValley lands the largest cod of his life at 50 pounds, a Maine state trophy by 25 pounds, alone without any representative of the Aquahtenang crew as witness and wins the boat pool on the last day of the season. This fish is larger than any cod Dennis' group has ever caught. Special Note: Merv is now in second place with her 47 pounder. We'll have to fix that this year but until then we are probably going to have to substitute Aquahtenang crew for Lavjig crew! Ouch, that has got to hurt!

    Biggest Double: Wobby Barnes landed the largest double keeper catch (two fish caught on the same line at the same time) on September 19, 2006 when he successfully landed a 24 pound cod with a 27 pound Maine state trophy pollock! The second biggest double was a 16 pound pollock caught with a 24 pound cod by Gloria Gennari on September 25, 2006. The third largest double keeper catch was a 24 pound pollock caught with a 15.25 pound pollock by Rich Carlson (NY) on October 23, 2006. The fourth largest double keeper catch was a 15 pound cod caught with a 24 pound cod by Craig Davenport (NH) on September 13, 2006. The fifth largest double keeper catch was a 16 pound pollock caught with a 21 pound pollock by Ray Morrell (ME) on September 20, 2006.

    Quotes of the Year: On his September 18, 2006 chartered marathon trip, Jim Bendzunas (NY) came up to me and said; "In all the years I have been fishing with you [and he has fished with me a lot of years - including the fateful day of September 11, 2001!], I have never seen a dogfish". The moment the words came out of his mouth, I wished he hadn't made that statement. By noon, he had already caught four dogfish and ended up getting more before the trip was through. Besides that he had some hard luck with the equipment: parting a jig off after a backlash while casting, losing jigs on the bottom and breaking his line ten feet away on a huge pollock that ended up floating into the blue with yet another of his jigs. In all, he lost five jigs, didn't catch many groundfish (had a lot of dogs), wasn't prepared to fish when the bite was on and, in the end, won a hard luck award t-shirt that didn't fit. I had run out of his size the day before!

    [Below right is a shot taken by Captain Ian showing seven year old McKenna Cox (MI) holding the 3 pound cusk she caught on the afternoon trip of August 14, 2006. A great shot, I thought.]

    Unexplained Phenomena:

  • Did Chris Heilman (ME) put too much WD-40 on his reel or was it the fact that he was turning the star counter-clockwise. I have never seen a fish fight like that 5 pound cod you took so long to reel in last April!
  • Rod Wood (PA) didn't cut himself or hurt anyone while fishing on the Bunny Clark last season!
  • Ed Jeter vanished as if into thin air after the Ultra.
  • Was that one of the Bunny Clark's top five haddock Dave Gray or was I just seeing things that day?
  • You know, I could feel the presence of Paul Revels (NH) when Tim Reidsema caught that 59 pound cod. Of course, that doesn't make up for the fact that Paul didn't sail with us last season. But, it's a start!
  • Tony Connors (ME) declined a fishing trip in favor of going to a Jack & Jill bridal shower? Obviously, he forgot his "man card" when he got out of bed that morning!
  • Speaking of which, when does someone listen to the ocean waves breaking on the rocks to make a decision on whether to go fishing or not? I'll have to ask Gary Kern (ME) to see if he knows.
  • You know, Dave, we could have had many bigger cod had Rodney Miller (MA) attended more fishing trips.
  • A word of advice for Eric Abrams (NH): get those big wolffish in the boat before you start to untangle the lines. Believe it or not, I would have loved to have seen your name on the "top five" list.
  • The future of fantastic fishing women is definitely in jeopardy if Allyson Fuehrer (ME) doesn't go fishing often enough with us. Even the best get sloppy, like losing some good fish on the surface, without practice. I hope, Rob, we aren't having boy problems already!
  • I should talk; Halley hasn't been out with me for two years! Okay, once last season.
  • James Fowler (VT), only one fish? I'd think about changing to a Boston Red Sox cap!
  • Sparkling Jig Feather can not be Jim Brown's (ME) real tribal name, can it? I'll thank Jared for you myself.
  • Keith Borkowski (ME) denied his cover shot for 2006 due to a weather event!
  • Paul Saracco (CT), the only person I have met to become incapacitated with sea sickness in the morning and recover enough to have fun fishing in the afternoon! Indeed, unusual.
  • May I suggest to Scott Karlen (VT) that he do a few more push ups and sit ups if he is going to tackle those big pelagic monsters again.
  • Congratulations to our newcomer, Wayne Herring, Jr. (PA), who, on November 8, 2006, landed four Maine state trophy fish from four different species. These fish included a 40 pound cod, a 26 pound white hake, a 2.5 pound redfish and a 14 pound cusk. Wayne was the only angler to do this last season. Closest was Justin Philbrick with three Maine state trophy fish (including the largest haddock of the season) of three different species.

    In Memoriam: We missed a wonderful person and an avid angler in Chet Potyrala (MA) when he lost his battle to cancer late in 2005. I didn't realize he was gone until after the previous newsletter was printed. Chet was one of my top fishermen. I chose him to be a member of the Ultra Marathon invitational for the last two seasons because of his love of fishing, his luck and his skill to land a special fish when presented over some of my best fishing spots. He never let me down. Chet liked the sport enough to sail on his last Ultra even though he had an important doctor's appointment concerning his condition on the very same day that this trip was scheduled. I remember asking him about it and in his matter-of-fact way told me that there would be other times for appointments but "only one trip like this". I appreciated that comment but never really appreciated the sacrifice until later. Chet was missed last season and will always be held in the highest regard on the Bunny Clark.

    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 has also become a person whom we could not do without. My neighbor since we were kids, Jane has always been available to do things that need to be done to keep this business going. I appreciate her good humor and all her good work.

    Of our reservationists, I couldn't have been happier with the wonderful individuals who worked for us last season. Aside from Jane, Anne Louise Wagner was our most dedicated reservationist of last season. She was wonderful to have on board and did a great job. Right behind her was Alison Carey (MA), who completed her second season with us on an almost full time basis. It was very good to have her back with us again. I was delighted to have Meghan Masi work for us yet again. Our sweetest voice on the phone for many years, she only worked on a part time basis as she had to take time to tie the knot last summer. She is now partners for life with a most wonderful individual. We wish her the best of luck and much success and hope to have her back on any basis for this season. We'll see. 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.). Also, making her début into the world of angler scheduling was my daughter, Halley. She did a great job and I felt a special closeness. I can't say enough good things about these girls and their dedication to the business. Thank you all very much!

    Finally, and most importantly, I want to thank all the anglers who make the Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing a most wonderful business to be in. You humble me with your presence and excite me with your catches. It has changed the world of fishing to something more important. I appreciate that very much and shall never forget all that you have done for me specifically, and to the business. Thank you so much and I am very much looking forward to seeing you all this season!

    Our Largest Fish of the 2006 Bunny Clark Fishing Season

    The digital image above is a shot of John Watson (NJ) holding his 67.5 pound Maine state trophy cod which he caught on the November 3, 2006 marathon trip. This is John's largest cod, the Bunny Clark's largest cod of the 2006 fishing season and the largest cod caught on the Bunny Clark for the last fourteen years!

    If you want to send me e-mail, the current address is The general email address is

    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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