The 2008 Bunny Clark Guestletter

Tim Tower's annual primer on the 2007 Bunny Clark fishing season

January 17, 2008

Dear Guests:

Welcome back to another heralding of the New Year and our twenty-fifth primer to the 2008 fishing season ahead. If someone had asked me twenty-five years ago if I were going to be running the Bunny Clark for this long, my reply would have been; "Hell, yes!" However, I probably would have assumed that the fishing would have been fairly similar and, indeed, a lot has changed in that amount of time.

[The image on the left is a shot of Dan Kelley (ME), the Bunny Clark's runner up in the 2007 Bunny Clark's Fisherman of the Year award. He is holding his 81 pound bluefin tuna caught with conventional - actually, nothing is conventional with Dan - cod fishing gear on the last stop of the October 24, 2007 marathon trip. This was the second largest fish of the 2007 Bunny Clark fishing season. It was the largest tuna, of four, that were caught on the boat in 2007.]

No discussion of the 2007 fishing season would be complete without a mention of last year's weather. As most of you can remember, April weather was horrible after a somewhat normal, if not a calmer, March. Our first trip in April was flat calm. It was so calm, in fact, there wasn't enough drift to catch the fish that were showing up on the sounding machine. We ended up with a fair catch, Tom Miller (NH) winning the boat pool with a 12 pound cod. It was all down hill after that. In the next eighteen days of April, we canceled twelve days (trips) including the now infamous Patriots Day Storm. The Patriots Day Storm started during the afternoon of Sunday, April 15th and continued with northeast winds in excess of forty knots (during the height of the storm) until the afternoon of April 19th. This storm brought a lot of rain and coincided with an astronomically higher than normal tide. That much wind pushing the water toward the shore at that particular time with all that rain and very high tides caused a lot of flooding damage. Barnacle Billy's restaurant, near where the Bunny Clark resides had water in the building a foot above the dining room floor from the rising tide alone. Large floor plugs had to be pulled in the floor and all the windows had to be opened to allow the water in and out so as not to carry the building away. The second and third worst Aprils occurred in 1996 and 1987 when we lost nine days/trips to weather related events in each year.

The rest of April and May, noted as rainy months, were about normal. We had a slightly dryer than normal June with normal winds. July was very nice and warm with calm weather throughout. It would have been considered normal except for the greater number of thunder storms. One storm in particular on July 9th took a tree down (at 3:00 PM EDT) at the head of the Cove and eliminated electrical power in Perkins Cove, closing down all the businesses there for the rest of the day and canceling our evening trip as well. August went down as the calmest August we have seen since the 1983. And I don't think I have ever seen a calmer, warmer and dryer combination of September, October and November in my life. It was unnatural, it seemed so nice. We only had strong winds from the after effects of one hurricane (Noel - on November 3rd and 4th) and, other than that, never missed a day of fishing since June 4th (that due to a one day brush from the very fringe of Tropical Storm Barry). There were fewer hurricanes formed in the Atlantic than many other years. It was an excellent advertising summer and fall.

The fishing was very similar to last season for total pounds and numbers of fish we could keep. The numbers of sub-legal cod were higher by a larger margin than the previous two years. The numbers of legal cod landed were down to the lowest level we have ever seen (only 3.1 percent of the total gross landings from the seasons 1996 through 2007, or more than half a percent less (1,051 cod less) as compared to the previous season's percentage - the best year being 1996 with 13 percent of the gross total). However, the numbers of haddock landed were our highest since 2001 and very similar to the previous six seasons. Considering the fact that we don't target haddock, the numbers show a much healthier haddock population. Numbers of pollock were way above the last few seasons. Many more trips last season would have taken big numbers of pollock had maximum landings been our goal. On a given trip, we took what was needed and moved on to target other species. In some cases this took less than an hour. We had a normal year for monkfish, caught slightly more wolffish than we did in 2006, caught five halibut with our first two keepers in years (and lost three others that we know were halibut) - double the norm, caught the normal number of cusk and didn't see as many mackerel as in previous years. We got a boost in the white hake population around the northern area of our fishing grounds, most associated with the open bottom, an unusual phenomenon as compared to the last ten years (not so thirty years ago when hake "areas" were established). The hake could be coming back.

The herring situation improved this year. Mid-water trawlers were banned from Area 1A (basically the area from Provincetown, Massachusetts to Eastport, Maine from shore out to fifty miles - including Jeffrey's Ledge) from June until October and the positive results were immediate. We saw more marine life on the surface than we have seen in years. Many more whales were observed on a regular basis enhancing the quality of our fishing experience. However, we also saw bait fish schools on the surface, many more tuna, an incredible display of bird life (particularly the fulmar) and groundfish located by the presence of herring schools showing up on the sounding machine. I sincerely hope that in the herring industry, the move will be to eliminate the mid-water trawler completely in favor of the much more environmentally friendly purse seiner.

Although we saw many bluefin tuna schools throughout the season, mostly of the small variety, it wasn't until August that we hooked a few. It wasn't until late September that we landed one. In all, we boated four bluefins (See the following trophy list.). The last two bluefins were caught on October 25, 2007, the latest in the season (by a month) that I have ever seen bluefins caught off the coast of Maine.

Blue sharks were not as prevalent as they have been in previous years. They bother us particularly on the offshore grounds in September. We might have lost ten jigs on one occasion and had two other equally bad days on other trips. Considering that we lost sixty-seven jigs to them on our worst trip in the past, this year's "attacks" were barely notable.

Our first good (if there is such a thing) run of dogfish occurred on the June 17th day trip with over seventy-five hooked. From then on, we saw the most dogfish we have seen in many seasons. I would like to say that we saw more of these unwanted critters than any other season but I do not have the means to qualify that statement.

Our best months for fish this year were May, August, September, October and November. I wasn't surprised that September, October and November were good months. We depend on these months for bigger fish and our best fishing. We weren't disappointed. I was very surprised that May was as good as it was. In the last twenty-five years, it ties as the best May that we have seen on the Bunny Clark. We caught most of our big cod then and our pollock showed up in May, our first pollock blitz occurring on May 15th. This also coincided with the time of our most abundant herring schools. When the herring left, it seemed that all the good cod moved with them. We continued to catch pollock after that but, initially, not as many. June was only above normal in one aspect; we saw a "school" of halibut and ended up hooking two at the same time and maybe a third. Watching these fish chase the jigs up and down via the sounding machine was certainly a treat for me. July gave us normal fishing; some days were very good and others were not. August wasn't a stand out but it is usually our slowest month (as is May) and that wasn't so last year. April was a wash (normally our best haddock month) because of the weather.

Improvements introduced last year, I am pleased to say, all worked as well as planned. Maybe better than planned. We included the new Penn Baja Special (113HN) reels with some of our jig sticks along with the Nixon Machine modified Penn 113H jig stick reels. Like the Nixonized Penn reels, the Bajas stayed on the jig sticks instead of being taken off, brought home, washed, taken apart and dried (as was the case during the 2006 season when we first introduced them). At the end of the year we only had one that went down for repairs! When Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston pulled them apart last fall, they found the reels totally sound with the only parts needing replacement being the dogs, eccentric springs and some side plate screws. This is a simple repair with parts that cost pennies. So not only does Penn produce a wonderful reel that doesn't need to be modified to be a wonderful jig stick reel, the reel doesn't need any special requirement to remain sound. Plus, they are one of the best casting reels and one of the most comfortable reels to fish with on the market.

[The shot on the lower right show thirteen-year-old Micah Tower (ME) holding his 23 lb. white hake (left) with thirteen year old Ryan Keniston (ME) holding his 32 lb. white hake. Both fish were caught at the same time on the same trip in August. ]

The Lavjig became the Bunny Clark's standard lure for jig fishing. We provided these jigs to anyone who wanted them. All my big guns used them on a regular basis and had better success. They were the jig of choice last season (We provide three quality brand jigs). They come in four different sizes but the sixteen ounce jigs worked the best. They are available as a lead colored jig or as a shiny jig, each kind having the preferred time of use. They are also an easy jig to buy yourself by emailing

We added the Extreme Day trips last season for the first time replacing twenty-six of our Full Day trips. These trips leave the dock at the same time as our day trips but they are two hours longer and we take a third less anglers, opening the boat up and allowing more fishing room. They became our most popular trip of the year.

We are also going away from the 80 pound test Izorline Spectra line used on the jig sticks and replacing it with Cortland's 65 pound test Master Braid. This is another Spectra line as thin as the Izorline 65 pound test but with more of a weave making it a rounder line (for better casting, thumbing and less twisting), improving durability and handling. The Cortland Company has also found a way to bond different colors into the line allowing the line to be more visible without fading over time. We will have this line available in three colors including high visibility yellow, aqua marine (light) green and white. This will help you see the line better and help distinguish your line from the lines of other anglers. If this weren't enough, Cortland has added a unique hydrophobic coating to the line which will make it run through the guides better (further casts), allow it to cut the water better than other Spectra lines and will come back to the reel dry without feeling like wire. We have tried it and think this line will improve fishing quality and be more sensitive for fishing in current conditions.

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.

We did not tag and release any groundfish last season. Instead, we released a lot of cod without allowing them as much time out of water as in previous years. 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 provide a unique Tag & Release (Tag Team) 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 during November when the federally imposed no cod possession limit went into effect.

[The shot on the left was taken on the marathon trip of April 25, 2007. The happy angler is Mark LaRocca (NY) holding his 38.5 pound Maine state trophy cod. This was the second largest cod released off the Bunny Clark during the cod possession season (Apr. 1 to Nov. 1). It is also the largest cod that Mark has ever caught. Right after this one picture was taken the cod was released and we all witnessed it swim like a shot straight down, actually tracking it's decent to bottom via the sounding machine.]

Among my regular anglers, there are many who release legal fish (mostly cod) back to the ocean alive on a regular basis. Ron Roy (NH), Marian "Merv" & Brian Murphy (NH), Tim Williams (CT), Dan Kelley (ME), Dave Gray (VT), Gardner Murphy (NH), Rebecca Hammer (NH), Dick Lyle (ME), Sean Devich (NH), Norm Herrick (MA), Robert Herrick (MA), Don Johnson (MA) and Dave MacDonald (MA) released the most legal cod consistently last season.

The anglers who released the ten largest cod back to the ocean alive appear as follows. Fred Kunz (NH) released a 49 pound cod and Travis Dressel (ME) released a 41 pound cod, the two largest released fish of the season. Dick Lyle released the fourteenth largest cod at 26 pounds. However, these three fish were caught in November when it was illegal to keep them anyway. The following anglers released big cod during the cod possession season. Ron Roy released the largest at 41 pounds and the fifth largest at 32 pounds. He also released cod of 19, 19.5, 15, 12 pounds and many others to keeper size. Mark LaRocca (NY) released the second largest fish, a cod of 38.5 pounds. Tim Tower, the great guy that he is (I'm being facetious), released a 38 pound cod and a 29 pound cod, the third and seventh largest of the season. Dan Kelley released a 33 pound cod (the fourth largest) and a 22 pound cod plus many in the teens and below. Merv Murphy released the sixth largest cod at 31 pounds. Tim Williams released a 28 pound cod and a 25 pound cod, the eighth and twelfth largest fish to be released during the regular season. Willy Vollmerding (NH) released a 27.25 pound cod, the ninth largest. Carl Vanderwood (NY) released the tenth largest cod weighing 26 pounds. Tim "T" Williams, Jr. (CT) released the eleventh largest cod (caught later than Carl's) at the same size, 26 pounds. All of the top twelve cod released during the cod possession season qualified for trophy status (25 pounds or greater) in the state of Maine as did the other three caught in November.

Tim Williams (CT) would have released one of the largest cod of the season at 33 pounds. However, it was double tagged by a group associated with the Northeast Regional Cod Tagging Program out of Portland, Maine and we felt that the information this fish yielded (dead) was more important than it swimming off alive. There were also two other tagged fish caught that day including a green NRCTP tag on a haddock caught by John Fisher (NY). This is the first tagged haddock we have ever caught on the Bunny Clark and is worth up to $500.00 if returned. John did return the tag but I didn't get notice on his financial outcome. I believe there was only one other tagged fish caught last season, a new low since the NRCTP program was first started a few years ago. You can find out more information on this program by going to on the Internet.

We got very near a new white hake all tackle world record with Dan Kelley's 46 pound hake (see trophy list and following discussion) caught in November. However, we did break the male Junior Angler (males of 16 years or younger) Maine state record for white hake. The previous record was held by (then) ten year old angler Ryan Keniston (ME - note the more recent picture of Ryan just before the preceding picture in this monolog) with a 26 pound 13.7 ounce white hake caught aboard the Bunny Clark on August 19, 2004. The new Maine State Junior Angler record is now held by thirteen year old Alec Levine (ME) with a white hake of 35.2 pounds caught on July 4, 2007 (a picture of Alec with his state record hake taken by Captain Ian appears on the right). When it first came out of the water, this fish was unofficially weighed at 36 pounds even. Less than an hour later on that same trip, Alec also caught a white hake of 32.5 pounds. Had he not caught the larger hake earlier, this also would have qualified him for the new Maine state record. These two fish were both Maine state trophy fish for size (of course) and were the two largest fish caught on the boat (Captained by Ian Keniston) that trip. The third largest fish caught on that trip was a 25 pound Maine state trophy white hake caught by Mark Tittemore (VT).

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

When President George W. Bush signed into law the Magnuson-Stevens Reauthorization Act of 2006 on January 12, 2007, none of us realized how much different the new Act would be and how far reaching it's implications. We are just coming to grips with it right now. The Act was designed, basically, to end overfishing and rebuild fish stocks to manageable levels. To do this, the Act asks the Regional Councils (ours is the New England Fishery Management Council referred to as the Council here) to set Annual Catch Limits (ACLs) and to adopt Accountability Measures (AMs). This presumably will be done by sectors. Our sector (the recreational sector) includes the recreational angler in general and the party/charter industry. To the best of our Council's knowledge, the recreational sector is responsible for 21 to 22 percent of the cod catch (the stock of most concern right now) and it is reasonable to assume that this sector will become responsible for that percentage in the future (the question of future allocation is one of great debate right now). In order to stay within the bounds of this limit or Total Allowable Catch (TAC), the Council is adopting management tools. They almost have to do this because it has got to be impossible to know when the TAC has been reached - and it's more important, this time around, not to exceed the limit. The tools they have adopted include the ability to adjust the fishing season, the fish length limit and the bag limit.

Along with this, the new Magnuson-Stevens Act mandates improving the heavily flawed Marine Recreational Fishery Statistics Survey (MRFSS) - the Council doesn't trust the figures coming out of the present day MRFSS. The Act also mandates a "new angler registry". Whether this takes the form of a national saltwater fishing license or some kind of accountability measure is anyone's guess. However, I think you can see the writing on the wall.

This whole mess will be driven by the third Groundfish Assessment Review Meeting (referred to as GARM III - the present state of the stocks) due out in August 2008. If the results of the GARM are as onerous as one could expect with respect to the cod stocks, the wheels of government progress won't be able to come out with new regulations supporting this assessment until 2009. So, from our standpoint, the 2008 fishing season will embrace the same regulations we had last season: A cod season from April 1 to November 1 (you can catch cod after November but you can't keep them), a minimum size limit on cod of 24 inches and a ten cod bag limit. There is no bag limit on any other groundfish species except halibut at one fish per boat per day. All the size limits that have been in place on the other groundfish species for the last few years with remain the same for 2008.

Regardless of what regulations are implemented in the future. My fervent hope is that the goal of decreasing overfishing on the cod stocks can be attained, that the fish stocks in general don't decrease any more than they have already and that we can maintain a viable recreational fishing industry that serves the public well and affords a platform for all the citizens of the United States.

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 2007 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


Dan Kelley (ME)

Bluefin Tuna 81

50.5 (length)


Rick Slater (PA)

Bluefin Tuna 78

51 (length)


Dale Hager (PA)

Bluefin Tuna 69.5

48.5 (length)


Soren Spring (PA)

Bluefin Tuna 67

49 (length)


Rodney Worley (NY)

Halibut 83.5

54 X 40


Randy Rivette (NY)

Halibut 14

36 (length)


Russell Mott (ME)

Halibut 8

released alive


Doug Timberlake (ME)

Halibut 7

released alive


Jared Cochran (ME)

Halibut 7

released alive


[I took this picture of Randy Rivette (right) and his 14 pound halibut, our first keeper halibut in years, on May 9, 2007.]

Ron Roy (NH)

Redfish 3.25

16.5 X 14


Tim Williams (CT)

Redfish 3

16.25 X 13


Joe Columbus (MA)

Redfish 3

18 X 13


Fred Kunz (NH)

Redfish 2.75

16.75 X 12


Art Kelley (MA)

Redfish 2.75

16.75 X 12


John Watson (NJ)

Redfish 2.75

16.5 X 13


Chris Bergier (MA)

Redfish 2.75

17.5 X 13


Joe Columbus (MA)

Monkfish 25

38.5 (length)


Greg Litvinchuk (SC)

Monkfish 19.5



Jim Morrell (ME)

Monkfish 18.5



Bob Mochnaz (NJ)

Monkfish 18



Tim Williams (CT)

Monkfish 16.5



Al Hanson (MA)

Wolffish 17

35 X 18


Mike Canarozzi, Jr. (CT)

Wolffish 14.75


Cliff Hurlburt (CT)

Wolffish 14.5


Brian Kinghorn (CT)

Wolffish 13.5


Ryan Raffia (CT)

Wolffish 13.5


[The anglers on the right are Dean Wolf (NJ-left) holding his 12.5 pound wolffish next to Mike Canarozzi, Jr. holding his 14.75 pound wolffish during the full day trip on August 21, 2007. ]

Jared Keniston (ME)

Pollock 32

41.5 X 26


Thomas S. Bruno (CT)

Pollock 28.5

44.5 X 23


Dick Lyle (ME)

Pollock 27

41 X 24


Jerry Vitiello (NY)

Pollock 26.75

43.5 X 23


Joe Feeney (MA)

Pollock 26

40.5 X 23


Dan Kelley (ME)

White Hake 46

50 X 34


Bob Rook (CT)

White Hake 42

49 X 31


Dan Kelley (ME)

White Hake 40

50 X 32


Chris McHugh (NY)

White Hake 38.25

47 X 30


Dan Kelley (ME)

White Hake 38


Ron Roy (NH)

White Hake 37

46.5 X 30


Brian Murphy (NH)

Haddock 9.5

released alive


Tim Williams (CT)

Haddock 9

29 X 17


Bob Roy (MA)

Haddock 9

27.5 X 17


Ken Selmer (NH)

Haddock 8

28 X 17


Scott MacDonald (MA)

Haddock 8

27 X 16


Bill Otto (PA)

Cusk 23

39.5 X 22


Dave MacDonald (MA)

Cusk 22

38.5 X 24


Tim Williams (CT)

Cusk 21.5

36.5 X 25


Ed Clark (NY)

Cusk 19

39 X 20


Keith A. Hill (NY)

Cusk 19

36.5 (length)


[Jim Morrell (shown right with his catch) holds his 18.5 pound monkfish which he caught on the marathon trip of September 12, 2007.]

David McCusker (MA)

Cod 58.5

52 X 34


Rick Rozell (NY)

Cod 52

52 X 35


Fred Kunz (NH)

Cod 49

released alive


Jeff Bennett (MA)

Cod 47

48.5 X 32


Kevin Gleason (NY)

Cod 45

49.5 X 30.5


Tom Perry (NY)

Porbeagle Shark 40.5

54 (length)


Nathan Kruszyna (MA)

Lobster 6

released alive


[Don "Manly Number Twelve" Stancil (PA) and his long thin pollock of 20.5 pounds caught on April 25, 2007 marathon trip - right.]

  • Kevin Gleason's cod was the only cod caught on the afternoon (4PM - 8PM) trip that day on June 8th and it remains the largest fish caught on a Bunny Clark half-day trip in quite a few years.
  • Ed Clark's cusk was the earliest large trophy cusk that has been caught on the Bunny Clark (May 9th) since Dan Vermette (ME) caught his 21 pounder in April of 1994.
  • " Brian Murphy becomes the first angler in Bunny Clark history to release the largest haddock of the season back to the ocean alive. This was the second largest haddock he has ever caught.
  • Dan Kelley becomes the first person in Bunny Clark history to appear three or more times in the top five trophy list for one species. A white hake specialist last season, he caught five trophy hake out of the top twelve landed. His 46 pounder is the largest hake that has been caught on the Bunny Clark since Jim Mailea (MA) caught his 49 pounder in 2003 and it remains the fifth largest hake caught on the Bunny Clark since 1986. The existing IGFA all tackle world record for the white hake at this time is 46 pounds registered on shore weight and caught initially as a 51 pounder by John Audet (ME) on the Bunny Clark in the fall of 1986.
  • Al Hanson was the only angler to catch a Maine state trophy wolffish on the Bunny Clark last season. This is the least number of wolffish trophies for a season in thirty years caught on a party boat of mine.
  • Dan Kelley's 81 pound tuna is the seventh largest bluefin tuna caught by conventional groundfish tackle on the Bunny Clark. There have been a total of fourteen bluefins caught in that manner since 1983. The largest bluefin caught via "cod rod" was one of 208 pounds landed by Emile Gallant (ME) in 2001 with Captain Adam Bissell during an afternoon half day trip.
  • Rodney Worley's 83.5 pound halibut is the largest halibut that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark and a half pound larger than the largest groundfish that has ever been landed from the Bunny Clark. This fish drops Marjory Kerr's (VT) 83 pound cod (caught in 1984) and Neil Downey's (MA) 83 pound cod (caught in 1992) into a tie for second place.

    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 2007 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-'07): Tim Williams (CT) takes this award for the fourth time in as many years making him the first to win so many in a row since the inception of the award. Not only that, he won the award with the third most points ever accrued by a Fisherman of the Year winner. This mark attained without the extra benefit of taking into consideration the addition of comparative value points (CVP). CVPs come into play when the next closest angler is within thirty points. Points are then compared in a system when both anglers were fishing together on specific trips during the season. The result is an addition of extra points to one of the two anglers. In Tim's case, there was no one within more than three hundred points! Fred Kunz is the most frequent winner of this award after attaining the title for six different seasons with consecutive wins two years in a row for three different times. The Two other highest point gatherers (listed in order of most points attained) include Donald F. X. Angerman (MA - FY '91) and Linda Paul (ME - FY '90).

    [Tim Williams, shown right, can be seen holding his first Maine state trophy haddock weighed 7.25 pounds, caught on April 11, 2007. A half hour later, he caught the Bunny Clark's second largest haddock of the year at 9 pounds. Below, left, he is holding his Maine state trophy cusk of 21.5 pounds, the Bunny Clark's third largest cusk of the season.]

    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 the largest number of trophy fish caught by one angler since 1990, his consistency for catching the most legal fish during a trip, the large number of largest and second largest fish for a trip, his consistency and his efficiency as a fisherman in general were the areas of expertise that put him over the top and ahead of everyone else. I want to congratulate you, Tim, on what is (considering the times) the most salient achievement in Bunny Clark history. It is a supreme honor to have you fishing aboard the Bunny Clark and a great compliment to those of us involved. It would be impossible for me to explain how much I appreciate your attitude, angling ability and participation in the Fisherman of the Year program.

    Tim's total point count was 567. Dan Kelley (ME) took second place with a point total of 208. Ron Roy (NH) was third with 190 points. Dick Lyle (ME), with only thirteen or fourteen trips under his belt, came in fourth with a total of 181 points. All four anglers fish with jigs and jig sticks and, almost exclusively, do not fish a cod fly over the jig. Dan Kelley prides himself on the fact that he never fishes with a fly. These accomplishments become even more meaningful when you consider that they are limited to only one fish a drop (with rare exceptions). It certainly makes it that much harder then to reach high hook status on a given day and almost eliminates you from the points that could be gathered by landing one of the top five double keeper catches of the season.

    Female Angler of the Year: Gloria Gennari (MA) wins this award again. She is simply the most consistently good female angler that sails with us on a regular basis.

    Best Bait Fisherman: This is the toughest award to give out. Lacking the consistency needed to attain this title, I am at a loss for naming a recipient - so I didn't. I could qualify the best "artificial bait" fisherman in one angler who's name is Fred Kunz but to do so would initiate something I don't want to pursue. Also, Gary Rothermel (NY) was the most notable bait fisherman for two days in the fall but got blown out of all his spring trips.

    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 three anglers who qualified for an ace last season (this is about normal for a season). The first was caught by Ryan Groat during the annual Gary Hammond, Jr. (all New York) full day trip charter on June 1, 2007. His three largest fish included a 16.5 pound cod, a 13 pound cod and a 12.5 pound pollock. The second ace occurred during a June 23, 2007 half day trip. On that trip, Cliff Hurlburt (CT) caught a 14.5 pound wolffish (the third largest wolffish of the season), a 10.5 pound wolffish and a 5 pound cusk, the only three legal fish caught on the trip that afternoon! The third ace was caught by Colin Robertson (ON) during the half day trip of August 22, 2007. With twenty-nine anglers aboard, he was the only person to catch any fish (legal or sub-legal) at all! His three largest fish included a 6 pound cod, a 5 pound cod and a 4 pound (barely) sub-legal cod.

    Most Trophy Fish (including hake over 15 pounds, cod & pollock over 20 pounds and monkfish over 10 pounds) of the Season: Tim Williams caught the most with a count of eighty-two, over twelve percent of the total trophy count caught on the Bunny Clark last season. Dan Kelley was second with a count of forty-five. Ron Roy was third with forty counters.

    Most Trophy Fish during a Trip: Tim Williams and Dick Lyle tied for the most trophy fish for a trip with a count of nine each. Tim Williams went further and became the second person in Bunny Clark history to record a royal flush (Dick Lyle was the first in 2006). An angler scores a royal flush when he or she catches the most trophy fish for a trip, the figure remains the most for any trip of the season and is followed successively with four more trips where the trophy count per trip decreases by a factor of one. In other words, Tim also caught the second most with eight, the third most with seven trophies, etc., etc. - but, more than that, Tim's count continued down successively to a figure of one trophy or a total of forty-five trophy fish for nine trips sequentially. The closest anyone else came to Tim was three matches in a row (at the lower end) and only one other angler to tie for the most. Tim stood alone with the second most trophy fish (eight) for a trip. Tim tied with Dan Kelley, Dick Lyle, Fred Kunz (NH), Jim Feeney (MA) and Ron Roy for the third most trophies for a trip with a seven count.

    Most Pools (largest fish of the trip): Tim Williams landed the largest fish of the trip eleven times (not including three other times when he would have landed the largest had not the captain and crew been fishing). Thirteen year old Ryan Keniston (ME) landed the second most pools with a count of four. Ken McLaughlin (ME), Ron Roy & twelve year old Sam Robichaud (FL) landed the largest fish of the trip on three different occasions. A picture of Sam appears on the right. The shot was taken on July 31, 2007 and shows him holding his double keeper catch of pollock (at 6 pounds and 10.5 pounds) that he caught on the afternoon half day trip that day.

    High Hook: Tim Williams was high hook (the most fish on a trip) at least forty-one times that we know of. Dick Lyle was second in this category with seven counts. Ron Roy and Fred Kunz were third tying at five counts each.

    Hardest Luck: During the April 27, 2007 marathon trip, Ray Westermann (MA), attempting a longer cast from the bow pulpit, hit the butt of his brand new jig stick on the rail and launched his rod, new reel, jig and all his expensive Spectra line overboard, never to be seen again! I was near the stern of the boat at the time. All I heard was a loud "@#%&", the word "gaff" loudly and then a barely audible "Tim". We got a lot of mileage out of this incident during the rest of the season!

    During the October 17th marathon trip, Terry Robinson (MA), a favorite angler of ours and a damn good fisherman, got totally skunked. I mean he didn't catch a single living thing! He caught nary a legal fish, any dogfish or any sub-legal fish, nothing! This is the first time, unless incapacitated due to sea sickness, that an angler of at least fair ability has caught so little on a fall marathon trip!

    Most Improved Angler: Dan Kelley improved more dramatically than any other fisherman last season, bar none. In 2006, Dan was noted as a potentially good fisherman who caught a couple of nice fish, was very respectful to all and was able to fish by himself without involving other anglers in tangles or in the fish he caught. During the 2007 season, he was all of that again plus much, much more. He finished second only to Tim Williams for the Fisherman of the Year award! There was some talk of juicing but, knowing Dan as I do, steroids were not the issue here! It was wonderful to watch him fish.

    Missing: Dennis LaValley (MA), the originator of the Lavjig, never made it on the Bunny Clark this year and was sorely missed. He had too many things going on at home and with business to do any deep sea fishing at all last season. However, he was my biggest donor supporting my ride in the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge. Hopefully, we will see him as an angler this year!

    [The picture on the left shows Ron Roy holding his 41 pound Maine state trophy cod caught during the September 24, 2007 offshore marathon trip. This was the largest cod released alive during the cod possession season. That same day he also released a 14 pound cod, two cod of 12 pounds each and one 10 pound cod.]

    Best Team: We had two. The well established team of Marian "Merv" & Brian Murphy (NH) was one. Noted for only taking the fish they need, many legal cod were released back to the ocean alive. Excellent fishermen as well, they caught many trophy fish together including some of the largest fish of the year. You can find probably the more enjoyable side of the Murphys in real time by going to The other team of note included Steve Levine and his son Alec. They were very successful, mostly in catching the largest fish on a given trip, catching a lot of fish and winning boat pools together. Alec went that one step further by landing the new Maine State Junior Angler white hake record.

    Exceptional Good Luck: Rick Rozell (NY) fished with us for the first time this season during a marathon trip in the fall. Near the later part of the day, Rick thought he had his jig caught on bottom. He released the eccentric lever on the reel like you would if you were trying to loosen a lure stuck in the rocks. Then he started dancing his pole around at different angles. This was about the time that I noticed him. Knowing that this was a gravel edge where we never lose any jigs, I ran up there and asked him if he was sure that it wasn't a fish he had on the line. I actually took the rod from him only to find that, indeed, he did have a big fish. I gave the rod back and, after quite a period of time, he reeled in the largest cod he has ever seen at 52 pounds! Why he never lost that fish I will never know.

    Most Unusual Catch: Jon Tesnakis (NY) hooked a cod in the later part of September on an offshore trip. Part way up, the line stopped and then started to go the other way. We all knew it was a shark of some kind and, most likely, a blue shark. Sure enough, we got a visual and our original suspicions were confirmed. Near the surface, the shark bit off an end of the cod and was gone. I figured that that was the end of some great fillets off that fish. Not so! The shark took the head instead! This is probably the only time I have seen a blue shark bite off a part of the fish we don't use!

    Biggest Double: Fred Kunz (NH) landed the largest double keeper catch (two fish caught on the same line at the same time) of the 2007 fishing season when he landed a 49 pound Maine state trophy cod and a 7 pound cod on the November 9, 2007 marathon trip. Dan Kelley landed the second largest double keeper catch with a 22 pound white hake and a 27 pound Maine state trophy hake. The best part was that he caught both on a single jig! The third largest double was caught by Tim Mooney (NJ) in November. His were also both hake, one of 18 pounds and the other of 20 pounds. The fourth largest double included an 18 pound pollock caught with another pollock of 18 pounds. The angler was Brian Smith (VT). Bill Otto (PA) came in fifth with a 24.75 pound cod and a 10.5 pound cod caught on the same line at the same time. The sixth largest double was Bob Robinson's (VT) 13.5 pound pollock and his 15 pound pollock.

    There was also a triple keeper catch caught in October on a full day trip. Chris Franklin (ME) caught a 13.5 pound cod on the fly above the jig and caught a 10 pound cod and another 13.5 pound cod on the treble hook of the jig!

    Quote of the Year: "Oh, my God! Help me!"; a direct quote from Mike Rahalewicz (NJ) after he hooked a 7 pound cod in the side. He proceeded to lay the rod on the rail to make it easier on his body to reel the fish in. At the same time, I noticed his difficulty and snuck up behind him and grabbed his rod, literally, lifting him off the bench while trying to make it seem like the fish was much bigger than it was. The two big cod that were landed just prior only added to his imagination. Needless to say, he was very surprised that the fish was so small for the fight!

    [Above is my favorite picture of the year. Taken during the June 26, 2007 marathon trip, it shows three of the top five Bunny Clark anglers holding Maine state trophy redfish, some of our biggest redfish of the season. From left to right, Fred Kunz holding his redfish of 2.75 lbs., Tim Williams with his of 3 lbs. & Ron Roy with his 3.25 lb. redfish, the largest redfish of season. ]

    Over and Above: And, as if the fall wasn't exciting enough with all the pollock, big fish, and the excellent weather, Dick Lyle and Ron Roy decided to try to stimulate more interest in the Bunny Clark experience by displaying their rendition of today's fastest growing sport; cage fighting. Frankly, I appreciate the idea but I don't think it will sell.

    Caught: It was only a matter of time. They have made fake Rolex watches, Gucci hand bags and put brand names on some of the cheapest materials to pass them off as the real thing, hoping to dupe an uninformed public. So it was that Gary Kern (ME) was caught with a cheap Lavjig imitation, the first of its kind found on the Bunny Clark. And like any fake, the quality just wasn't there. In Gary's case, he lost the biggest cod of his life because the split ring broke part way up from bottom. Well I suppose it's nothing to get sick over, Gary. But, oh, you could have had a Lavjig!

    Unexplained Phenomena:

  • My cell phone rang at the same time I was entertaining former President George Bush at Barnacle Billy's restaurant (late May 2007), my other job. Seeing that the caller was Bunny Clark regular angler Fred Kunz, I passed the phone to former President Bush and asked if he would answer the call, which he was happy to do. After the former President's introduction to Fred was completed, a disbelieving Fred answered with; "Yeah, Yeah, just tell me where you were fishing yesterday!" Former President Bush put his hands up in dismissal and I took the phone back, telling Fred that he had just missed his chance and I had to go. "Oh, (pause) @%&*!", was the reply. [The shot on the right is a picture of the author and former President Bush at the former President's boat on the dock in Perkins Cove taken in the spring of 2006.]
  • What was Don Prior (MA) thinking between the time that he was standing dry on the pulpit to the time that he was laying in front of the wheel house windows in a pool of salt water? Rogue wave, perhaps?
  • What would cause such a faithful, good fisherman like Greg Rothermel (NE) to oversleep before his marathon trip after flying half way across the country to get here?
  • Mike "The Human Trawler" Rygiel, Sr. (MA) getting skunked on the Bunny Clark? And he had just gotten through telling me how he had just gotten skunked on another boat the trip before! Certainly a mystery to me!
  • Tim Tower hosted the slowest Ultra in B. C. history? And he completed the task with some outside help to boot. Ouch, that did hurt, believe me ("Three Dory sucks!", Bob Lo circa 1990)!
  • Bill Van Slyke (NY) never saw that little 30 pound halibut as it swam away. I bet he would have, had he not stopped to take just the briefest rest.
  • On the September 17th marathon trip, a school of bluefin tuna surrounded the boat while the boat was stopped groundfishing. Dan Provoncha (NY), at the ready with jig & jig stick poised, managed to cast his jig a foot in front of a bluefin's mouth. Without the slightest hesitation, that fish bit onto that jig only fifteen feet from the boat and in sight of all on the bow. And I bet he would have caught that 40 pound fish if his drag hadn't been so tight. It certainly adds injury to insult when you land on your tail after the line breaks, doesn't it Dan?
  • A serenade on kazoo from Francis Mandola Murphy himself on the ride in; Jared, you are a lucky man.
  • And I found out what it's like when you really know that Marc Pagnozzi (CT) lost a truly big fish. You'd have to be there but I wouldn't joke with him about it if I were you!
  • Was the fishing that bad that you would want to wrap up the trip an hour early that November day, Captain Ian, or were you just staying with Eastern Daylight Time for old time's sake?

    In January 2007, I signed up for the Pan-Massachusetts Challenge, an 192 mile two day bicycle ride to raise money for cancer research with the Jimmy Fund, the fund raising arm of the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute, Boston, Massachusetts. I used my web site, word of mouth, Barnacle Billy's restaurant and the Bunny Clark as a promotional platform to generate donations. Out of the 33 million dollars that was raised from this event, I collected a total of $20, 204.25. The event took in more than twice the amount of money ever contributed to a charity by an athletic fund-raising event in the United States. Additionally, one hundred percent of all the money donated went directly to the Jimmy Fund. Usually, part of a percent of any donation goes to administrative costs. Last year, the cost of producing the ride ($3.3 million) was underwritten by corporate/foundation sponsors, registration fees and sales - making it the best place to put your money to help find a cancer cure. This year's event will take place on August 2nd & 3rd. I have decided to be a part of this 2008 PMC drive. I hope you will support me through this ongoing endeavor. Thank you very much for your support in 2007.

    The nuts and bolts of running the Bunny Clark day in and day out has been a big task since I launched the boat in 1983. I ran the boat every day until 1996 when I elicited help by sharing the captaincy. Then my concerns changed to include my children who were born in 1993 and 1994. I decided to also work as a manager at my father's restaurant in Perkins Cove, Barnacle Billy's, Inc. This gave me the time to work the boat and run the Bunny Clark business, help our family business and have some time to be with my own family and kids. The Bunny Clark business became more proficient without me as the primary captain and mate's position became more refined. At this point, I have established a level of consistency I never thought I would attain without my direct involvement. To this end I have to thank, with all my heart, the efforts of Captain Ian Keniston (my right hand), Jared Keniston (my best mate) and Captain Tom Corbett, my summer Sunday captain. With them, I have a business I have become very proud of with many successes every year. Without them, it would be just another fishing boat. Thank you very much, my great crew, you are the very best!

    [The picture on the left shows seven year old Josie Fulton (NC) with her first cod, weighing 4.5 lbs., just before releasing it back alive. She caught this cod during the August 14, 2007 half day Bunny Clark fishing trip.]

    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 spends more time than anyone on the phone, talking to customers and there to meet the boat most of the time - as well as working on the business computer at home. My neighbor since we were kids, Jane has always been available to do things, seemingly, at a moments notice. I appreciate her good humor and all her good work.

    Of our reservationists, we welcomed Alison Carey (MA) and Kaleigh Chase (ME - Renée's niece) back, Alison for her third season and Kaleigh for her second. My fourteen year old daughter, Halley Tower, after making her part time début with us the year before, also worked on a full time basis last season. We were very happy with these special ladies, their work ethic, their trustworthiness and their ability to work well with our customers. Thanks so much.

    Katie Graichen (ME) and Abijohn Wagner (ME) were inducted into the legion of Bunny Clark reservationists last year. Both seemed a good fit and very natural with the customers on the phone. We hope they will be back with us this coming season. Thank you.

    I am happy to be able to report that Renée, Jane and Halley will be on board (and continue to be on board) this upcoming season ready to welcome the guests and help us run the business. The other girls will let us know if they will be coming back by March 1st.

    I am always sad when another season ends. Usually the fishing is good and I realize I am not going to see you all again until next year. This year was even harder as time seems to go so much faster and the weather was so warm and calm. I enjoy this business very much. I would be lost if I couldn't take the wonderful people I have aboard every year out into the ocean to look for groundfish, hoping we see something special. I hope you all realize how much you mean to me and the Bunny Clark and how much I am looking forward to seeing you all again. I want you to know that I will always be striving to make the Bunny Clark a better place to fish and will always try my hardest to bring you to where they live. Thank you all for a wonderful fishing season last year. We'll be waiting here with bells and whistles when you come back!

    The Bunny Clark's Largest Groundfish

    The picture above shows Rodney Worley (NY - left) with Captain Ian Keniston holding Rodney's 83.5 lb. halibut caught during a marathon trip in June 2007. This is Rodney's largest halibut, the Bunny Clark's largest halibut and the largest groundfish ever caught on the Bunny Clark!

    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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