The 2019 Bunny Clark Guestletter

Annual Review of the 2018 Bunny Clark Fishing Season & the Plans & Outlook for the 2019 Season.

January 15, 2019

Dear Guests:

Welcome to my annual Guestletter, a summary of the events of the previous season, an overview of the highlights, a comparison of the great fish caught and angler accomplishments and a look at the upcoming season. In general, 2018 was a very different year as compared to the last five. The weather was different, the fishing was different, the size of the fish was different, our employee situation was different and the business was different. Overall it was a great year but it was different.

[The picture on the left is a shot I took of Steve Selmer (NH) holding his 54 pound Maine state trophy white hake, caught on an offshore trip in July. In January, the International Game Fish Association accepted this fish as the new All Tackle IGFA world record, the largest white hake ever officially caught by IGFA rules on rod & reel.]

The 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season started out much like the season before it. This was the fourth season in a row with declining ambient surface water temperatures. Last season was the coldest of the four. I'm not sure if there was a shift in the Labrador current or that the colder than normal late winter and spring temperatures were a factor. On April 30th we recorded a high surface water temperature 45°F, the lowest surface water temperature I can ever remember for that late in the season. On May 1st we usually see a 50°F surface water temperature. Last year we saw our first 50°F temperature value on May 21st! The first 60°F surface water temperature was recorded on June 22nd, almost a month late. March was windier with more big northeast storms than many previous years. April and May were just cold months, colder than the last few seasons. June was a colder, wetter month than what we expected. On July 1st, it was like someone threw a good weather switch. The air temperature got warm and a good Maine summer began. But July and August were not calm months. The wind wasn't horrible but we had many fewer calm days than many seasons before. By the end of July, all of August and part of September, the humidity index was off the charts, with more humidity and higher dew points than many in recorded Portland, Maine history. The oddest thing about this was that we had very little fog. Normally with a high dew point you also see fog. But the dew point was so much higher than the water temperature that we never did have a problem seeing our way to the fishing grounds. When we did have fog, it was mostly in the early morning and gone by 9 or 10:00 AM. The fall saw many windy days with very little influence from hurricanes. Even the hurricanes that did slide by us were so far offshore as to only be noticed here with a larger than normal swell. The air temperatures this fall were much colder than the fall the season before. Last fall was actually more normal (colder) than what I had hoped to see. All in all, I would say that the 2018 fishing season was a less comfortable weather season overall. It didn't keep us from fishing most days. It was just a little more harsh.

Angler participation, or lack there of, gave us the worst year we have seen in all the years I have taken anglers fishing starting in 1975. Last season, we still were not able to keep cod. We also couldn't keep haddock until April 15th, like the season before that. The haddock bag limit started at fifteen fish per angler on April 15 but then dropped to twelve fish on the 1st of May, the beginning of the Federal fiscal fishing year. That gave anglers more incentive to go fishing in April but not enough participation to make it any better than April in 2017. We ended up losing a few more anglers than we had in May of the previous season because, I believe, the bag limit was three fish less. The regulations are not conducive to "filling the boat" with anglers. And if we do become as successful as we were the first thirty years it will be because of regulation stability. Regulation stability is something those of us, who sit on the Federal Recreational Advisory Panel, are working to improve upon in the fishery management scene. The fall was not quite as busy because we could not keep haddock during the second half of September through until November 1st. Without the ability to keep either cod or haddock, our business suffered. Bottom line; we did well enough to look forward to another good season in 2019!

[The picture on the right is a shot of Bruce Fortier (NH) holding an 16.25 pound pollock that he caught on an offshore trip in mid-May. It was the largest fish caught that day as, the largest fish, a halibut, was lost by Alec Adams (ME) earlier in the trip!]

The good news is that, at the time of this writing, there is potential that we will be able to keep haddock from April 15, 2019 all the way through until the end of December 2019. There is also talk of anglers being able to keep one cod a person. This is, by no means, set in stone. And if we are able to keep cod we may be restricted to certain months. It also doesn't take into account the bag limit for haddock in 2019. Nor does it take into account the legal size limit. All these parameters need to be discussed before the new regulations come out on May 1, 2019. The regulations of last year will remain through the spring until that date of May 1, 2019. That is certain. The new regulations for fiscal fishing year 2019 are less certain. The partial government shut-down has delayed any talk of regulation changes in the near future and has eliminated the near future meeting dates to discuss these regulation changes. When I know anything new for future regulations or our fishery, I will post these changes on my web site at Until then, stand by!

The fishing in 2018 was very good overall. This is to say that there was rarely a time when any person aboard the Bunny Clark didn't catch anything, legal or sub-legal. In fact, there might have been one or two anglers who didn't catch a single fish out of all the trips, except our half day trips, all season long. And I can only remember one angler, for sure. On the half day trips, we didn't always have everyone catch a fish. But we did catch more fish per angler on the half day trips last year than we did during the last seven years. We also recorded the most successful haddock half day trip that the Bunny Clark has ever had. The fall weather and the regulations prevented us from exploring the offshore grounds as much as in the past. But the fishing was still very good closer to shore. All in all, it was a very successful year. If someone told me I would have to take one year away from memory, the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season would not have been one of them.

The pollock fishing was not very good early in the season. As mentioned above, the surface water temperature has been lower every season for the last four. In my world, when the water is colder, the good sized pollock (cod & haddock) show up later. And this factoid has been proven since I started taking anglers fishing. We didn't even see a fair show of pollock until May 8th last season. In order to find those fish we had to go offshore (outside of thirty miles). We had a total count of forty-two legal pollock that day. It wasn't until May 22nd that we had a trip with more pollock than that and, again, it was offshore. The pollock didn't strike offshore until the end of May. Inshore, our first good pollock day was the end of the first week of June, a stray school. After that day we never saw an inshore trip where we saw more than thirty good sized pollock until mid August. It reminded me of the late 1980's, early 1990's. Overall, the average pollock size was about what it has been for the last eight years. The Bunny Clark landed forty-five pollock over 20 pounds in 2018. That was better than 2017, 2016, 2014, 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2007, 2006 and 2004 but nowhere near the number of slammer pollock caught in all the years before.

[I took the digital image on the left during a marathon trip in early May. The subject is Nikki Bleau (VT) holding one of the bigger haddock caught last year at 6 pounds. Had it been just a tenth of a pound larger, it would have been our fifth largest haddock of the season. The 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season was the best season for numbers of haddock but not for large haddock.]

The 2018 haddock season was the best haddock season the Bunny Clark has ever seen. This even with the least number anglers she has ever taken fishing. Normally, with the ocean water so cold early, we don't see haddock until May. I guess when the population is as large as it is, the water temperature isn't as much of a factor, except maybe for the bigger haddock. From the first trip we took last season the haddock were everywhere, on every piece of bottom whether you wanted them or not. They bit on jigs, bait, teasers, flies and, on one highlighted occasion, bare hooks. We have counted every single haddock that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark since it was launched in 1983. From the 1986 season until the fall of 1994, it was unusual to catch as many as fifty individual haddock in a whole season. One season the Bunny Clark was responsible for less than twenty-five haddock caught! The big haddock come-back occurred in the spring of 1995. For the next five years the haddock numbers increased on the Bunny Clark. From the 2000 fishing season until the 2010 fishing season, the haddock numbers stabilized at around the 5,000 fish mark, more or less. The 2011 fishing season took a slight dip to under 3,000 fish. There was a dramatic increase in the haddock catch from the 2012 fishing season through the 2016 season. There was a dip in the haddock landings in 2017. Last year we caught almost twenty-five percent more haddock than we caught in 2016, our best, year and 2018's total count represented 14.33 percent of the total of all the haddock that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark since she was launched!

Last season we saw our first decrease in cod caught weighing 5 pounds or more since the 2015 season. The 2015 fishing was the first year of the cod prohibition, the worst cod year we had ever seen. Our second worse year was the 2018 fishing season. We didn't target cod last season because we couldn't keep them. So cod were an incidental species along with the other groundfish we caught. But we didn't see the cod over 5 pounds in numbers until late May, unlike last season. This may have had something to do with the water temperature but it also had something to do with the area we were fishing. Since 2015, the cod size has been increasing. Last year was no exception. However, we never caught a cod last year that I could, honestly, say was a new fish. All the cod we caught last season were resident fish. And most of the cod we caught were in the closed commercial fishing areas. We caught no cod to speak of to the west, or inside, of the Western Gulf of Maine closed area (WGOM). I also don't believe that it's a great sign that we have no cod recruitment from offshore into the region I know so well.

The cod average size was larger than any of the past six seasons. And I'm sure there were earlier seasons where we didn't have the average cod size as large as we saw last year. Considering cod over 20 pounds: In 2011 the Bunny Clark saw sixty-seven cod over 20 pounds. In 2012 that number dropped to ten! During the 2013, 2014 and 2015 fishing seasons there were only three cod caught over 19 pounds - for those three seasons combined! Not a single cod as large as 20 pounds! During the 2016 fishing season we caught only four cod over 20 pounds. During the 2017 fishing season we saw thirteen cod from 20 pounds to 28.25 pounds. Last year there were nineteen cod caught from 20 pounds to 28 pounds. I know we could have caught many more cod over 20 pounds had we been able to target them.

[Ian Keniston took the digital image on the right. It was taken during an extreme day trip on May 4th last season. The subject is Mike Graham (MA) holding his 1.5 pound lobster which he caught that day. It was the only lobster caught by rod & reel aboard the Bunny Clark in 2018. ]

Most certainly, the demise of the cod is largely due to the commercial Catch Share system of fishery management where commercial fishing sectors were given a quota of cod for all the commercial boats in each sector. So instead of giving each boat a small quota of cod as it was in the Days at Sea system, the program before the Catch Share system, now one boat could catch a sector's quota of cod if the situation presented itself. This, and the larger than necessary cod quota, brought the more effective larger offshore boats inshore to work on cod. Previously, it had not been cost effective for the larger boats to work on cod inshore. I believe the Catch Share system went into effect around 2008. In 2013, we realized we were in a cod crisis. So the commercial sectors were adjusted, the total allowable catch for New England waters was dropped precipitously for the 2015 fishing season and the recreational angler lost the ability to bring a cod home to eat. What sometimes really bothers me is that the recreational angler didn't create the problem. The recreational angler will not solve the problem if we never keep a cod again. But we are expected to take a huge hit. It certainly isn't fair.

Last season was another good year for catching barndoor skates, our second best. It was also the year we started catching them later than normal. To sum up the barndoor skate scene on the Bunny Clark: We caught ten barndoor skates last season, 2018. There were five caught on the Bunny Clark during the 2017 season. Considering that I had never seen a barndoor skate caught on one of my boats with rod & reel between 1975 through until 2008, five is a big number. It's not as if you can actually fish for them or can even see them on a sounding machine like you are able to do with most other groundfish. We caught the first barndoor skate in 2008, Rick Gelaznik (MA) was the angler who caught this fish on October 4th. Since that time we have caught one in 2009, none during the 2010 season, one in 2011, two in 2012, one in 2013, two in 2014 and fifteen in 2015 and nine in 2016. So, before 2015, we had caught eight barndoor skates total in the history of the Bunny Clark/Mary E, a span of over thirty-eight years! In the last three seasons we have more than tripled that number! How could this happen without the closed commercial fishing areas in the Gulf of Maine and Georges Bank or a decrease in commercial effort, particularly trawling/dragging? The answer: it couldn't have happened. The barndoor skate remains an interesting and fun addition to the compliment of groundfish species that we target on a regular basis.

In other areas of the world, similar skate species are almost extinct where they have no closed commercial fishing areas. In fact, the barndoor skate (Dipturus laevis) became listed as an endangered species in 2003 by the IUCN and remains so today. Although, there is talk within the New England Fishery Management Council of lifting that ban as I write. In my Guestletter written in January of 2016, I went to great lengths writing about the barndoor skate phenomenon, the status of barndoor-like skates in other fisheries around the world and how they have been exploited in those areas over the years. Here is a link to the 2016 Guestletter.

Our whiting year was one of the best. It was better still for larger than normal whiting. One of the whiting was the largest whiting that has ever been landed off the Bunny Clark, at 5.5 pounds (more on this later). We didn't start seeing the whiting until later on in the summer. But we don't target whiting. So this is typical of the time the whiting show up on the bottom where we fish for other species of groundfish. I'm sure if we targeted them, we might find them earlier in the year. To see more whiting being caught last season was indeed an extra bonus for anglers on the Bunny Clark. They are a very good eating fish with a delicate fillet and a flavor different than the other fish we catch.

[The picture on the left, taken by Captain Ian Keniston, is a shot of the largest halibut that has ever been landed from the Bunny Clark. The gentleman holding the fish is none other than strongman/deck hand Anthony Palumbo with the angler who caught the fish, Joe Balas (OH), standing behind him. The two largest halibut that were caught last year were exactly the same length but differed in weight by a pound and a half! ]

Our monkfish (recognized as a goosefish by the International Game Fish Association (IGFA) catch was up yet again, albeit, most were of the smaller sizes. They too are a great eating fish and much different in flavor than the normal run of groundfish we catch. Captain Ian Keniston was the monkfish man last season. His trips were responsible for, far and away, the most monkfish catches and landings. I don't know what he was doing that I wasn't doing as captain. But, whatever he was doing paid off in monkfish landings and barndoor skates caught. The monkfish is a type of anglerfish that is very sedentary and very camouflaged. It catches its food by lying on the bottom and holding out an evolved fin ray with a piece of its skin on the end that looks like a piece of "bait". When a fish gets too close, the jaws open and close so quickly that you wouldn't see it if you weren't paying attention. The mouth is lined with long needle like teeth curved inward so the prey can't escape. We have caught monkfish that have eaten whole cusk, a variety of flounders and other groundfish of all kinds and sizes. They are a very odd looking fish and certainly a bonus to catch when catering to a variety of anglers from different walks of life.

Our white hake count went up again last season. During the 2017 season, we saw an up-tick in our hake landings where, two seasons before, they had become hard to find. Last season was even better. We still didn't see the hake population as large as it was during the 2013 fishing season and seasons before. However, it was enough to increase the desire to range out and find new hake spots when the weather was good and we had more time to do so. As you might imagine, we get more time to look around on the longer marathon trips. However, we did see hake on the day trips and extreme day trips. We also caught the largest hake we have seen since 1985 (more on this later).

As for other species, we had variable success.

  • This was the first year in the history of the Bunny Clark that we did not catch a trophy redfish, or a redfish as big as 2 pounds. We caught a few that were 1.9 pounds. But not a single fish larger. Normally, we have several redfish of 2 pounds or better during a season. Redfish landings were not a common thing last year, as much as they have been in the past. And it might only be because we didn't fish the deeper hard bottom pieces we normally fish after May. There were many spots we never even looked at this summer either because of the weather or because we were more interested in other species where the redfish aren't as prevalent.

  • We had an even better year for the bigger cusk as we have in the last three years. And I really don't know why. I almost think that we just had better luck when fishing for them than other years. One of the cusk we caught, a 32 pounder, tied for the second largest cusk the Bunny Clark has ever seen (more on this later). Since the prohibition of cod, we have stayed away from some of the more productive cusk catching areas on all the trips but the evening half day trips. So, for that reason alone, our catch of cusk in general has been down. But we still saw quite a few cusk on the half day trips as we did in 2017 and 2016. And it was really exciting to see some of the bigger ones come aboard on the offshore trips in 2018.

    [The digital image on the right is shot of John Spignardo (NY) holding his 32 pound Maine state trophy cusk. This cusk ties our second largest cusk ever caught on the Bunny Clark . It was, certainly, the largest cusk that John had ever seen. And certainly a great surprise to me in this day and age! I was so happy to be there to see it! ]

    As I have mentioned before in previous Guestletters, I believe that the increased landings on the half day trips are largely due to lobstermen not being able to use float rope between traps (the push for "whale safe" gear). Without the float rope, lobstermen are reluctant to fish the really hard bottom areas for fear that the warp between traps will get caught in the rocks resulting in gear loss. And this is a very viable concern from a business standpoint. So lobstermen have been staying away from the hard bottom areas, where the cusk live. The cusk are largely territorial and tend not to go to the traps further away from their home turf. As lobstermen stray away from using herring for bait, less cusk will be caught in lobster traps in the future which will certainly help to bring the cusk population back. The inshore cusk population is just a fragment of what it was when I was making a living targeting them, tub trawling, in the late '70s during the winter.

  • We had another great mackerel year last year. Like 2017 and the season before, this was particularly evident on the half day trips inshore where there were times when you could not get to bottom without catching one or more. The first big showing of mackerel came during the 2015 fishing season. We caught less in 2016 but more during the 2017 season. Last year was pretty much the same as it was the season before. The spring mackerel helped in bringing the mackerel sharks (porbeagle sharks) around where we fish on a regular basis. Likewise, the mackerel brought the porbeagle sharks around when these sharks passed by again in the fall. The mackerel shark is caught on the Bunny Clark an incidental species.

  • Since 2015 we have seen a larger number of porbeagle sharks. As mentioned above, they show up with the mackerel. For this reason, they have the local name of mackerel shark. Indeed, when I was growing up I had never heard of the official common name; porbeagle shark. And like some of the best years for porbeagles, we hooked many of them all through the spring. The porbeagle is part of the Lamnidae family of sharks that also includes the mako and the great white. Unlike the other members of the family, the porbeagle is a more robust shark, not nearly as active or energetic, prefer the colder water (they usually can't be found in the summer months) but are one of the best eating sharks in the world. We hooked many of them last season. We lost all but one. Our fishing tackle really isn't big enough to handle most porbeagle sharks.

  • The dogfish were very manageable again last season. These are the annoying spiny dogfish that tangle lines and disrupt fishing for everyone. Some people call them sand sharks. We had just a few trips where dogfish limited our groundfishing success. But this amounted a total of two trips. During most trips, they were not a factor in decreasing groundfish landings. Indeed, they showed up much later, again, last season than they did the season before.

  • There were quite a few bluefin tuna around. Most were much too big for our tackle to handle. There were two instances where we might have landed one had we been a bit more fortunate. Again, "cod rods" aren't the best at catching bluefins!

  • We were bothered less by blue sharks last season, much like the year before. Last fall we took very few offshore trips. Most blue sharks are found when fishing offshore during that time of year. We do get bothered by them on the full day trips and the extreme day trips. Not last season.

    [I took the digital image on the left during the June 28, 2018 marathon trip. The subject is Bill Harding (ME) holding his 19.5 pound wolffish. This turned out to be our largest wolffish of the fishing season. It might also be Bill's largest wolffish ever. The wolffish is illegal to keep so it was quit a show getting it out of the water, held for a picture and released alive. But all was completed as if we had done it many times before! ]

  • We caught 141 wolffish last season, a huge increase (almost 50%) from the year before. This figure represents the most wolffish that have been caught on the Bunny Clark since the 2005 fishing season when we caught 172. In fact, last years catch also beat the 2001, 2002 and the 2003 fishing seasons. Since 2008 we have not been targeting them as they are illegal to keep. This makes the wolffish an incidental species (like the cod). Our best season for catching wolffish since 1996 (the first year I started counting them) was the 1998 fishing season when we caught 310. We caught too many to count in the '80s. Our best single day for wolffish landings was April 8, 1994 when 29 fish were caught. On that day we also broke an angler record for wolffish caught in a single day with a count of 9 by Al Turner (NY). The previous angler record was 8 fish held by Ray Hill (VT) on an overcast day in May of 1984 two miles from shore!

  • Last season was the best halibut fishing the Bunny Clark has ever seen. There were twenty-three halibut caught last year, a new Bunny Clark record for numbers of halibut caught. Only nine were of legal size (41 inches caliper fork length). But five of those fish, from 95 to 103.5 pounds, were the five largest halibut that have ever graced the deck of the Bunny Clark. We also lost a record number of legal halibut. That's normal as you usually hook into a halibut when you least expect it or when you are catching the smallest of groundfish! In comparison, there were twenty halibut caught on the Bunny Clark during the 2017 season, ten total on just two offshore trips! That year was our second best year for halibut landings. We also broke a record for the most halibut caught in one trip with a count of six! We caught twenty-eight halibut on the Mary E, my six passenger boat in 1979. But, that year, we also caught some on a longline (halibut trawl). Our third best halibut year on the Bunny Clark was in 2012 when we caught sixteen halibut.

    We don't normally target halibut. The reason is that the law states that a recreational fishing vessel can only keep one legal halibut per trip, regardless of the length of the trip. However, there were five times last year where we went to specific places to target halibut and were rewarded every time. That is definitely a first. Another first took place on one trip where, on a drift, we hooked up with three halibut all at the same time. Of the three halibut hooked, the first over the rail was a sub-legal 19 pounder caught by Dick Lyle (NY). The second was an enormous fish, hooked by Ray Westermann (MA), who lost the fish when another fisherman's line sawed his line off! [That was a heart breaker!]. The third was a 46.5 pound legal halibut that was caught and kept by Mark LaRocca (NY). We also had some other memorable halibut losses. Dana Decormier (NH) lost our first good one on May 8th. Alec Adams (ME) lost a keeper not two weeks later. When Adam got the halibut half way up, the fish made a run all the way to bottom. While bringing it off the bottom a second time, the halibut just dropped off the hook. One never knows where a fish might be hooked.

    We only made one new improvement on the Bunny Clark over the 2017/2018 winter, before the 2018 season, that would have been noticeable to anglers. This was the new inflatable life raft. The other one was on the way out because of the material it was made from. It was twenty years old anyway. The improvements that might have gone unnoticed included all the cosmetic work both around the boat and inside the different compartments of the boat. Lots of sanding and painting goes on when the Bunny Clark is in the heated barn in the winter. We had some mechanical repairs, some work on the casting that holds the cutlass bearing by propeller shaft, some dings in the propeller that needed to be repaired and some little things like replacing burned out lights and switches on the control panel console. We also installed a new radar system to replace the smaller of the two radars that we keep in service. So the only major repairs were to the propeller shaft system. We had all winter to get it right. When we hauled the Bunny Clark out of the water in November 2018, everything was just as good as when we launched it, maybe better; we had another season of proven successful service under our belts!

    [The digital image on the right is a shot of the only porbeagle shark that was landed on the Bunny Clark (NY) last season. The fish weighed 200 pounds and was caught by Dave Miller (MA), the angler in the center. Actually, if it hadn't been for Rodney Miller (MA), left, we never would have landed the shark. It was a team effort on a fish that was never meant to be landed on a cod rod! The other angler, also involved, was Steve Saunders (MA) shown right. Captain Ian Keniston and Ally Fuehrer were also instrumental in the boating of this great fish. Ally steered the boat as Ian and I tended to Dave, the gaffs and the shark.]

    As I write this here today, the Bunny Clark is back in it's winter work area. As we did last year, Ian Keniston is the project manager/painter/electrician/builder/emissary along with my son, Micah, who is working and learning the ropes of boat upkeep and repair. He has had a lot of practice over the last two years! There are no real big projects on the Bunny Clark this 2018/2019 winter season. We will probably be installing a new hydraulic hauler system. We use this hydraulic system to haul the anchor. The oil reservoir is leaking and the hauler motor is old. The least we have to do is take it apart, put pressure in the reservoir to see where it is leaking and check the motor and vane pump.

    We had no engine problems with the Bunny Clark during the 2018 fishing season. This was a wonderful thing. I love my Volvo.

    For a couple of years now we have been buying our jigs from North Atlantic Jigs & Tackle. I deal with Dennis Toubeau and Kristine Gavin, the proprietors. They have been very good to me, bending over backward, at times, to get what I need. They can be reached at I'm still working on a single hook setup on the Lav 16 ounce jigs. A couple of years ago we offered them. They worked great. The main purpose with using the single hook was to eliminate snagging fish. In turn, the idea is that someone would be boating a larger fish and spending more time fishing with less time taking small fish or snagged fish off hooks. The single hook accomplished that goal nicely in trials of the past. I have different ideas for the 2019 fishing. And I'm getting some great help from Dennis on this.

    As usual, two of the places I rely on most are Surfland Bait & Tackle, Newbury, Massachusetts and the Saco Bay Tackle Company in Saco, Maine. Kay Moulton, the proprietor and one of the most helpful people I've ever known in the fishing business, passed away last season. Her daughter, Martha, who was brought up in the business, runs it now. I have no doubt that she will do an exemplary job in her mother's position. And, actually, I have been working with Martha, for about five years along with her mother. I have had wonderful service from Surfland Bait & Tackle since the early 1970s. Both Surfland and Saco Bay have been responsible for building excellent rods to my specifications. Saco Bay Tackle Company specifically builds a deep water jigging rod that is second to none with the Bunny Clark logo and my explicit stamp of approval. I also buy specialized line from them. Both businesses are top notch tackle stores, the best.

    Since the 2016 fishing seasons, I have bought all my snelled hooks and leaders from Sea Wolfe Tackle. The hook/leader combination is made by them or by companies in the far east, making the pricing competitive. I find that Richard & Judy are very easy to work with. I'm working with them on coming up with a stronger leader material on the new snelled hooks.

    Our web site 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 our web site along with some of my previous Guestletters. Although I can’t personally answer all the email that comes in associated with the site, our staff does a great job with this while also answering reservation questions and scheduling fishing dates. At this time we are also considering a service that will work with us while also allow booking reservations by credit card on-line. This same company works with other passenger carrying vessels in the Cove with much success.

    [On the May 24, 2018o offshore marathon trip, I took a picture of Chuck Lennon (MA), shown left, holding the best double haddock catch (both fish caught on the same line at the same time). of the year. Chucks two haddock weighed 5.5 pounds and 5 pounds. The backdrop with the clouds, blue sky and calm seas made it a digital image worth posting. ]

    This is the sixth season that I haven't worked on my groundfish tagging program. I just didn't have the time. I plan to start it up again in 2019. I know I made the same statement on last years Guestletter. But I plan to be more vigilant about it this year. The proof is in the pudding. Right?

    We maintain a healthy Maine state trophy program in order to recognize larger than normal fish. Maine is very good in honoring those who catch great fish. It was a much better year for trophy fish last season as compared to the two seasons before.

    On July 5, 2018, Jayde Meader (ME) caught a 5.5 pound whiting, the largest whiting that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark. In fact, this weight was over the existing International Game Fish Association's (IGFA) all tackle world record of weight of 4 pounds 8 ounces caught by Erik Callahan (MA) aboard the Bunny Clark on August 8, 1995. Weighed officially, Jayde's whiting weighed 5 pounds 3.9 ounces. We went through the procedure of registration. Jayde went home, I finished up the documentation here and sent the forms to Jayde to be signed before a notary and sent back to me. My plan was to get the documents back from Jayde, package all this up along with digital images, etc. and send it to the IGFA. I never heard another thing from Jayde. He never sent the forms back. So I have no idea what is going on or if he is still interested in pursuing this. I plan to be in contact with him later this winter to see if I can help in any way. Stand by.

    Twelve days later, on July 17, 2018, Steve Selmer (NH) caught a big hake on an offshore trip. It looked like a big hake of 40 plus pounds. But it wasn't until I gaffed the fish and went to lift it out of the water by the gill plate that I realized it weighed much more than that. On the scale, moments after boating this fish, it weighed 54 pounds even, the largest hake that had been caught on the Bunny Clark since Tom Giorgio (NY) landed a 55 pound white hake with me in the summer of 1985 and well above the existing world record! I had to have Ian's help to hold the scale with me in order to get an accurate reading. White hake lose a lot of weight over time after caught. So I have never wanted to go through the motions of registering a big hake like that without the fish being significantly larger than the existing world record. Such was the case with Jim Mailia's (MA) 49 pound hake caught with me on November 3, 2003. The world record at that time (and when Steve caught his hake last year) was 46 pounds 4 ounces caught by John Audet (ME) aboard the Bunny Clark on October 26, 1986. That fish had weighed 51 pounds when first boated. Steve's fish was boxed and put on ice since we weren't going to be able to weigh this fish officially until the next day, more than thirty hours later! But it was well within the weight range to go through the procedure. As with the whiting, I helped Steve go through the motions the next day. I had to captain the Bunny Clark that day. Steve met me at the dock to complete the paperwork after the trip was over at 4:00 PM. The official weight was 48 pounds 4 ounces, exactly 2 pounds larger than the existing IGFA all tackle world record! On January 18, 2019, we were informed that Steve's fish had become the official new white hake all tackle world record! This is the Bunny Clark's forty-first world record. We have two others pending, including Jayde's whiting.

    There were eight trophy fish caught on the Bunny Clark last season that represented the largest fish of their respective species that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark. These eight fish included a 37 pound barndoor skate, the first Jensen's (shorttail) skate that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark at 4 pounds, five halibut from 95 pounds to 103.5 pounds and Jayde's whiting. We also scored a tie with the second largest cusk that has ever been landing on the Bunny Clark. This cusk weighed in at 32 pounds. I will write more about size relationships below with the accompanied trophy list. You may enjoy checking out all of our current and past world and state records by accessing the records link at or by going directly to

    At the time of this writing there are no regulation specifics available to inform you about for the 2019 fishing season. I have heard that one of the models that determines what we will be able to keep, shows that it could be possible to keep one cod per person. And, also, that we might be able to keep haddock throughout our season in 2019. The work on generating a model that would be more beneficial to us on a regulatory basis died with the partial government shut down. As of this writing, the government is still in partial shut down mode. I will post the new regulations on the Fishing Update section of my web site when I know.

    [The digital image on the right, taken by Captain Ian Keniston is shot of Rick Schwarz (NH) holding his 5 pound Maine state trophy whiting. This whiting ties with two other anglers for the second largest whiting ever caught on the Bunny Clark. The other two anglers were Eric Callahan (MA) in 1995 and Jason Collier (VT) in 2015. ]

    Since the fiscal Federal fishing season starts on May 1, 2019, the regulations will be the same as they were in 2018 when we start our season on April 11, 2019, a marathon trip. Haddock can't be kept until April 15, 2019. On that date, the bag limit will be twelve fish per person at a minimum size of seventeen inches. There will be no possession of cod. The haddock and cod situation could change after May 1, 2019, as mentioned above. There will be a 12 inch minimum size on winter (blackback) flounder, a 19 inch limit on pollock (with no bag limit), a 9 inch limit on redfish (with no bag limit) and a 41 inch limit on halibut. Halibut landings are limited to one halibut per vessel per trip on the Federal level The question on halibut take will be taken up during Council meetings in late January. There is no size limit or bag limit on hake (both white, red & silver hake), mackerel and cusk. There is a minimum size of 54 inches (caliper fork length) for possessing mako sharks, porbeagle (mackerel) sharks & thresher sharks. You will be able to land a bluefin or two or three or four (per vessel) of an undetermined size (to be established at the beginning of the season on June 1, 2019). It is illegal to keep barndoor skates, eel pouts and wolffish.

    I have changed the time in which reservations will be taken. Reservations for the 2019 Bunny Clark fishing season will start at 6:00 AM, February 1, 2019.

    As a suggestion, you might want to check out the previous Guestletters if you are interested in the history of the regulations within our fishery. I have not delved into my opinions of the regulatory process as much I have in other Guestletters in hopes that this will be a more interesting read. I tend to get bogged down in the minutiae of the subject.

    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 top five largest of each significant species during the 2018 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 (the same way it has been done since our first fishing trip on the Bunny Clark in May 1983). 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. This also makes the weight of every fish caught on the Bunny Clark comparable through all of the past fishing seasons.


    FISH - lbs.

    LENGTH X GIRTH (inches)


    [The picture on the right was taken by Captain Ian Keniston on one of his extreme day trips in June. The digital image shows Ron Neil (MA) holding his 4 pound Jensen's skate, also called a short tail skate. Thinking it was a small barndoor skate, Captain Ian had Ron release the fish alive. It was too small to be used for anything anyway. This is the only Jensen's skate that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark!]

    David Miller (MA)

    Porbeagle Shark 200



    Ron Neil (MA)

    Jensen's or Short Tail Skate 4



    Mike Graham (MA)

    Lobster 1.5



    David Smith (ME)

    Monkfish 23.5


    Rick Wixon (ME)

    Monkfish 21


    Dan Killay (VT)

    Monkfish 16.5


    Wilfred Vollmerding (NH)

    Monkfish 16.5


    Brian Walsh (NJ)

    Monkfish 13.5


    Bill Harding (ME)

    Wolffish 19.5



    Dan Killay (VT)

    Wolffish 17.5



    Steve Linn (PA)

    Wolffish 17.25



    Dale Jackson (ME)

    Wolffish 16



    Kevin Oldenburg (CO)

    Wolffish 16



    Dave Miller (MA)

    Wolffish 16



    Tim Rozan (ME)

    Wolffish 16



    [The picture on the right is a shot of Jason O'Connor (ME) holding his 1.75 pound redfish, one of the bigger redfish caught on the Bunny Clark last year. This picture was taken on the first trip of that season, April 12, 2018. We caught no trophy redfish that I know of last year. The angler closest to catching one had to be Steve Selmer during a fall marathon trip.]

    Chris Ramage (NY)

    Pollock 28

    40 X 23.25


    Ben Barzousky (MA)

    Pollock 27

    40.75 X 22.5


    Sean McMahon (MA)

    Pollock 26

    40 X 24


    John Baker (ME)

    Pollock 26

    41.5 X 20


    Zack Crocker (RI)

    Pollock 24.5


    Jeff Rickett (NY)

    Pollock 24.5


    Tom Nazzewski (MA)

    Pollock 24.5


    Steve Selmer (NH)

    White Hake 54

    49.5 X 32


    Lewis Hazelwood (MA)

    White Hake 47

    48 X 32


    Dan Killay (VT)

    White Hake 45

    48 X 30.5


    Tim Rozan (MA)

    White Hake 41

    44 X 29


    Bryan Lewer (FL/ME)

    White Hake 39

    46 X 28.5


    Leonard Singel (PA)

    Haddock 8.25

    28 X 16


    Andrew Kerns (MT)

    Haddock 7.25

    26.5 X 14.5


    Ed Vross (NY)

    Haddock 6.5


    Wade Will (MA)

    Haddock 6.5


    Jim Quinney (NH)

    Haddock 7+

    Lost at Boat!


    Bob Gorghan (NY)

    Haddock 7+

    Lost at Boat!


    [I took this digital image of Mark LaRocca (NY), right, holding his 46.5 pound halibut which he caught on one of my summer offshore fishing trips. This is Mark's first halibut. The time that Mark was fighting his halibut, we also had two other halibut on at the same time! This picture shows the underside of the halibut, a side of the fish we rarely show in a picture. ]

    John Spignardo (NY)

    Cusk 32

    42 X 24


    Tony Mazziotti (NY)

    Cusk 25

    39 X 20.5


    Bryan Lewer (FL/ME)

    Cusk 22.5

    38.5 X 21


    Jonathan Griffin (MA)

    Cusk 16

    32.25 X 22


    Dave Miller (MA)

    Cusk 15

    34 X 19.5


    Dimitar Pavlov (ME)

    Cod 28



    Rory Casey (VT)

    Cod 27.5



    Adam Towle (NH)

    Cod 25



    Leonard Singel (PA)

    Cod 24.5



    Dick Lyle (NY)

    Cod 24



    Steve Selmer (NH)

    Cod 24



    Don Johnson (MA)

    Cod 24



    Joe Balas (OH)

    Halibut 103.5



    Steve LaPlante (CT)

    Halibut 102

    60.5 X 43.5


    Brian Johansmeyer (ME)

    Halibut 100.5

    56 X 46


    John Baker (ME)

    Halibut 98

    58 X 45


    Jay Rowe (NH)

    Halibut 95



    [This digital image was taken on the same summer offshore trip that Mark LaRocca caught his 46.5 pound halibut. The scene shows Lewis Hazelwood (MA) holding his 47 pound Maine state trophy white hake. This hake ties with my son, Micah's, hake (caught in 2011), for the eighth largest hake that has been landed on the Bunny Clark in the new millennium since it began in 2000.]

    Sheri Fister (ME)

    Barndoor Skate 37



    Bill Weller (NY)

    Barndoor Skate 28



    Anthony Arria (MA)

    Barndoor Skate 27



    Steve Balevre (NH)

    Barndoor Skate 27



    Chris Tankred (OH)

    Barndoor Skate 27



    Jayde Meader (ME)

    Whiting 5.5

    26.25 X 12.5


    Rick Schwartz (NH)

    Whiting 5



    Dave Walden (CT)

    Whiting 4.5

    26 X 13


    Dave Bingell (CT)

    Whiting 4.25

    23.5 X 12.5


    Chad Johnston (ME)

    Whiting 4.25

    26 X 13


    Where there is a tie in fish size, anglers are arranged in order of the date caught.

    * Barndoor skates are presently on the endangered species list. All the skates listed were released back to the ocean alive after a quick picture of the angler with his fish.

    ** These fish (lobsters) were sub-legal or illegal to keep and released back to the ocean alive.

    *** Federal regulation has prohibited the retention of wolffish for a few years now. Federal regulations for the whole 2018 season also prohibited the retention of cod. All wolffish and cod were released back to the ocean alive.

  • Dan Killay and Dave Miller were the only anglers to appear three times in the top five trophy list for the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season. Bryan Lewer, John Baker, Steve Selmer, Leonard Singel and Tim Rozan all appeared twice in the top five last year.

    [The digital image on the left is shot of Sam Readinger (PA) holding the two cod he caught at the same time during an early spring marathon trip. These cod were both weighed and released alive immediately afterward. One of the cod weighed 8 pounds. The other weighed 9 pounds. It was the first big "double" of that trip. We caught many other doubles afterward that day. ]

  • The haddock that appear in the trophy list above were all the trophy haddock that were caught during the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season which turned out to be one of our worst years for big haddock during the "haddock years" from 1995 to the present. However, the largest haddock, caught by Lenny Singel, was the largest haddock we had seen in a few years. The last time we saw a haddock that big was on July 7, 2015 when Bryan Lewer (FL/ME) caught one just exactly that same size. The only other time we saw one as big or bigger was on April 29, 2013 when a 9 pounder and an 8.25 pounder were both caught on the same trip. Before 2013 we used to expect to see those bigger haddock.

  • The 2013 season was the first Bunny Clark season ever where we didn't see a cod over 20 pounds. In fact, it was the first season that we didn't see a cod over 30 pounds! And, because of that, I didn't take the time to list the top five cod in that Guestletter. After the 2014 fishing season I decided to list the top five, in keeping with every other Guestletter I have ever written. During the 2014 fishing season we did catch two cod of 20 pounds or better. During the 2015 season, Larry Kabat's 25.5 pound cod was the largest cod the Bunny Clark had seen since Liam Kennedy (NJ) caught a 32 pound Maine state trophy cod on May 15, 2012! Bryan Lewer's 45.5 pounder, caught in 2016, was the largest cod the Bunny Clark has seen in over five years! The 2017 Bunny Clark fishing season, last season, was the first season since the 2012 fishing season that the top five cod were all over 20 pounds. There were thirteen cod over 20 pounds caught during the 2017 season. In comparison, there were ten cod caught that were over 20 pounds during the 2012 Bunny Clark fishing season. Last year we saw nineteen cod of 20 pounds or better. Since 99.9% of all the cod we caught last season were resident fish, I believe these cod are just growing more every year (primarily in the closed commercial fishing areas). I suspect we will see more cod over 20 pounds during this season coming up. Maybe even more if it comes to pass that we can keep some cod in 2019.

  • We had an up-tick in the number larger monkfish in 2017. Last year, we caught even more. By no means were any of these fish considered "big" monkfish. The 24 pound monkfish that Kevin Gilpatric (ME) caught in 2017 was the largest monkfish that had been caught on the Bunny Clark since May 17, 2012 when Bob Foster (NY) caught a monkfish that weighed 34.5 pounds. Last season, David Smith's monkfish was a half pound shy of Kevin's the year before. The largest monkfish that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark was one that weighed 55 pounds, by Nancy Lee Regimbald (VT) on a full day trip on July 9, 1991. The official on-shore registered weight was 49 lbs 12 oz. It remained the IGFA's all tackle world record until it was beaten on April 12, 2008 by a monkfish caught off Gloucester, Massachusetts that weighed 51 lbs 4 oz.

  • Pollock sizes, on average still remain on the small size as compared to the pollock years before 1995. Technology is to blame, somewhat, as fishermen can find them much easier than they used to. But their behavior and schooling patterns also give their position away more readily than other groundfish. And since the New England Fishery Management Council (NEFMC or Council) made draggers fish with larger mesh sizes in their nets, fishermen are able to tow these nets much faster and can catch the larger faster swimming fish now where they weren't able to do so in the past.

    Chris Ramage's 28 pound pollock was a pound shy of the largest pollock that was caught in 2017. Last season there were forty-seven pollock of 20 pounds or greater with four trophy (over 25 pounds) fish. This was better, slightly, than other recent seasons. The "slammer" list included only thirty fish in 2017 with three trophies. Twenty-five slammers were landed in 2016 with one trophy. Forty-six pollock of 20 pounds or better were caught in 2015 with three trophies. Only sixteen slammers were landed in 2014 with two trophy pollock recorded, both 27 pounds. Thirteen slammers were landed in 2013 with two trophy pollock caught, both just over 25 pounds. Fifteen 20 pounders plus were caught in 2012 with one trophy, a 26 pounder caught by my son, Micah, forty-three in 2011 with one trophy and forty-one with one trophy in 2010. So under the present fishery management plan, the pollock population has not really been allowed to grow. And I can't believe that, in my lifetime, we will see a year where 996 anglers receive trophy awards for pollock over 30 pounds as it was during the 1986 Bunny Clark fishing season. In those years, I only recorded the pollock over 30 pounds, only one trophy award was awarded per species per year by the state regardless of how many you caught and, that year, Al Robinson (ME) landed over 100 pollock over 30 pounds himself! And he wasn't the only angler to catch many pollock over 30 pounds that year, our best big pollock year ever. Eight world record pollock were caught from the Bunny Clark in 1990, most being line class world records. The largest pollock we have ever seen was a 51.25 pound pollock caught by Linda Paul (ME) in 1990. Weighed officially seven hours later, it was just under 47 pounds and remained the all tackle pollock world record until it was defeated eight years later!

  • We caught more whiting this year than any Bunny Clark year previously. But, significantly, we caught more whiting over 2 pounds than any year. In fact, the majority of the largest whiting ever caught on the Bunny Clark were caught last season. This is the official lineup of the top ten Bunny Clark's largest whiting:

    Angler (State)

    Species - Weight

    Season Caught

    1. Jayde Meader (ME)

    Whiting - 5.5 lbs.


    2. Erik Callahan (RI)

    Whiting - 5 lbs.


    2. Jason Collier (VT)

    Whiting - 5 lbs.


    2. Rick Schwartz (NH)

    Whiting - 5 lbs.


    5. Jeff Gallatly (ME)

    Whiting - 4.5 lbs.


    5. Dave Walden (CT)

    Whiting - 4.5 lbs.


    7. Dave Bingell (CT)

    Whiting - 4.25 lbs.


    7. Chad Johnston (ME)

    Whiting - 4.25 lbs.


    9. Jonathan Griffin (MA)

    Whiting - 4.1 lbs.


    10. Nick Gatz (ME)

    Whiting - 4 lbs.


    10. Justin Hopkins (RI)

    Whiting - 4 lbs.


    10. Chris Porter (MA)

    Whiting - 4 lbs.


  • Our hake last season, for size, was right up there with some of the biggest hake we have caught over the years, although nowhere near the sizes of hake we caught in the early 1980s. I mentioned Steve Selmer's world record hake a few paragraph's earlier. And, I mentioned earlier in this missive, next to Lewis Hazelwood's digital image, that his 47 pound white hake is tied with my son, Micah's, hake for the eighth largest hake caught on the Bunny Clark since the year 2000. Dan Killay's hake was the same overall length as Lew's big one but two pounds shy. Had Dan's fish been in a better reproductive state it would also have been one of the top ten hake caught in the new millennium. Incidentally, the largest white that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark was caught by Bob Jorgensen (ME) in 1983. It weighed 63 pounds. Also, that year, Marie Gronczniak (NY) caught a 58.5 pound white hake. In 1984, on the Bunny Clark, John Pomainville (VT) landed a 58 pound white hake, Kevin Macia (VT) also landed a 58 pound hake and Duke Dam (VT) caught a 57.5 pound white hake. Those are the top five Bunny Clark white hake. We landed forty-seven white hake over 50 pounds in 1984, none of them ever attaining world record status because every one of them was involved in a tangle, disqualifying them from IGFA recognition. This was why Bob Jorgensen's fish never became a world record, as it should have become.

    [Steve LaPlante (CT) caught this 102 pound halibut (pictured right) on July 3, 2018. At the time, it was the largest halibut ever landed from the Bunny Clark. It is still tied for the longest halibut that has ever been landed from the Bunny Clark! I think it was only fitting that it was Steve. The trip was a regular eight hour full day trip. But it was a tribute trip for Ron Roy, an regular angler who passed from cancer a few years ago. He was a good friend of Steve's and almost everyone else on this trip. It was also appropriate that some of the anglers that day, Ron's friends, helped to boat Steve's fish. It was a wonderful trip even without the halibut. But the halibut made it so special! ]

  • Dick Slocum's 304 pound porbeagle shark, caught on May 17, 2015, is the largest porbeagle shark that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark. That's impressive when you consider that he was only using one of our "cod rods". The second largest porbeagle shark was landed on May 25, 2017. Caught by Phil Brown, this shark weighed 282 pounds. The third largest porbeagle ever caught on the Bunny Clark was Andrew Claehsen's 233.75 pound shark caught on May 10, 2016. The fourth largest porbeagle shark caught aboard the Bunny Clark weighed 217.5 pounds, caught by Jon Tesnakis (NY) on October 21, 2005. The fifth largest porbeagle shark ever caught on the Bunny Clark was Dave Miller's caught on June 7, 2018, last season. Dave's was the only porbeagle caught on the Bunny Clark despite over fifteen hookups last year. We have had many bigger porbeagle sharks on the line over the years, some as close as ten feet from the boat when the shark was lost. Any time you can boat a porbeagle shark greater than 150 pounds with a cod rod, it's a feat.

  • Last year was one of our weakest years for large redfish landings. As mentioned, to my knowledge, we never boated a trophy redfish, the first Bunny Clark season ever! We never really targeted the big redfish specifically. As mentioned, Steve Selmer might have landed one in the fall. But he was fishing on the bow alone. Since he rarely needs help with fish anyway, unless they require a gaff, he was throwing the fish in the box where he was fishing, bleeding the fish and going back at it. I took the box back, half full of fish, never realizing that he had some big ones until Ian showed me the frames after being filleted! Luckily I did get one good picture of a big redfish, but not a trophy redfish.

  • We did not land a bluefin tuna last season. We landed one the during the 2017 Bunny Clark fishing season. Before that we hadn't landed one since Jim Phelon (NH) caught one that weighed 176.5 pounds on June 8, 2010. The largest bluefin tuna that has ever been landed, by "cod rod", on the Bunny Clark was a 365 pounder caught on July 17, 2009 by Paul McCullough (NH). I harpooned one that weighed approximately 775 pounds off the Bunny Clark on the way to the fishing grounds in July of 1984 and two others that year in the 600 pound range. At least one bluefin was landed, via cod rod, every year on the Bunny Clark through the years starting in 2004 through 2010. We even had a trip during those years when three bluefins were brought to gaff all at the same time!

  • There have been forty-six barndoor skates caught on the Bunny Clark since we caught our first one during the 2008 fishing season. Our largest ever was the one caught by Sheri Fister (ME) last season at 37 pounds. However, five of the top ten barndoor skates ever caught on the Bunny Clark, including Sheri's, were caught last season! See the table below.

    Angler (State)

    Species - Weight

    Season Caught

    1. Sheri Fister (ME)

    Barndoor Skate 37 lbs.


    2. Wayne Statham (QC)

    Barndoor Skate 33 lbs.


    3. Josh Cabral (RI)

    Barndoor Skate 31 lbs.


    4. Bill Weller (NY)

    Barndoor Skate 28 lbs.


    5. Steve Selmer (NH)

    Barndoor Skate 27 lbs.


    5. Steve Balevre (NH)

    Barndoor Skate 27 lbs.


    5. Anthony Arria (MA)

    Barndoor Skate 27 lbs.


    5. Chris Tankred (OH)

    Barndoor Skate 27 lbs.


    9. Rodney Lensing (IA)

    Barndoor Skate 26.5 lbs.


    10. Mike Mokrzycki (MA)

    Barndoor Skate 26 lbs.


    10. Kate Cote (ME)

    Barndoor Skate 26 lbs.


    10. Jim Walls (MD)

    Barndoor Skate 26 lbs.


    10. Larry Lawrence (NY)

    Barndoor Skate 26 lbs.


  • As mentioned along side the digital image above, Ron Neil (MA) caught the first and only Jensen's skate (also called a shorttail skate) ever caught on the Bunny Clark. This is just another example why the closed commercial fishing areas are so important to fishery management.

  • Last season we caught the five largest halibut that have ever been landed on the Bunny Clark. The table below lists the top ten halibut caught on the Bunny Clark since her launching in 1983. You will notice that all the top ten were caught in the last three years, the top five caught last season, the next three caught the year before and the last two caught in 2016. The halibut seem to be getting more plentiful and larger every year. What will the 2019 Bunny Clark fishing season bring us?

    Angler (State)

    Species - Weight

    Season Caught

    1. Joe Balas (OH)

    Halibut - 103.5 lbs.


    2. Steve LaPlante (CT)

    Halibut - 102 lbs.


    3. Bryan Johansmeyer (ME)

    Halibut - 100.5 lbs.


    4. John Baker (ME)

    Halibut - 98 lbs.


    5. Jay Rowe (NH)

    Halibut - 95 lbs.


    6. Lewis Hazelwood (MA)

    Halibut - 86 lbs.


    7. Ron Worley (PA)

    Halibut - 83.5 lbs.


    8. Tim Rozan (ME)

    Halibut - 68 lbs.


    9. T. J. Jarvais (ME)

    Halibut - 66 lbs.


    10. Jack Rivers (ME)

    Halibut - 59 lbs.


    [The digital image above is a shot taken of the Bunny Clark's principle sounding machine with my iPhone while Steve LaPlante was fighting his 102 pound halibut. I run my sounding machine in split screen mode, the display split vertically. The images scroll from right to left. The left hand side of the display shows the first five fathoms expanded from the bottom up. This helps me to discriminate between the different species of groundfish on the bottom. The right side of the display is the area in the water column I view when looking for fish on a regular basis. The display is filled at thirty fathoms. The surface of the bottom is the upper part of the red band. The water column observed is the white area above it. I don't look just for fish as the bottom features and reflectiveness are also very important. On the left hand side of both views you can see where the fish made a run from a position just under the surface right back to bottom. You see the fish hold the bottom for a bit then see where the fish is being taken off the bottom again by Steve while fighting this fish. I have the gain (power) turned up just a bit to see the fish a little bit clearer so that I can discriminate between it being a single fish or a double and so I can see what kind of fish it is and where it might be hooked. If you could look closer, there are several individual shots where you can see the tail is definitely a halibut's tail. You only get this view when a fish is particularly big or a structure, like a shipwreck, is big and you are moving across the structure slowly. For identification purposes it's important that something is moving, either the fish or the boat. ]

  • Mike Graham caught the only lobster that we saw on the Bunny Clark last season. Every season we seem to get a few. They are always snagged, mostly while the angler is using a jig.

  • Bill Harding caught the largest wolffish of the season last year. What is interesting is that his wife, Marie Harding (ME), caught the twelfth largest wolffish at 15 pounds and lost one that was well over 15 pounds, right next to the boat. If landed, that fish would have been the fourth largest fish of the season, in my estimation, maybe second largest. It was lost on the same day that Dave Miller caught his 16 pound wolffish. These are all good sized wolffish but not close in size to many of the larger wolffish caught on the Bunny Clark in the first ten years she plied the Gulf of Maine.

  • John Spignardo's cusk is tied for the second largest cusk ever caught on the Bunny Clark at 32 pounds. As mentioned, I was so surprised to see a cusk that big in this day and age. We have landed three world record sized cusk over the years. The first was a 29 pounder caught by Ross French (NY) in 1987 that broke the existing world record of 24 pounds 9 ounces caught by a guy in Norway in 1983. Ross' cusk's registered weight was 26.66 pounds. It was beaten only seven days later by a cusk caught off Massachusetts that officially weighed 28 pounds 15 ounces! We captured the world record again in 1988 when Neil Morrill (VT) caught a 31 pounder. We were drifting off a deep peak on the way back from fishing Tantas west of the Portland Lightship. It was the last fish in the boat. So I steamed home, got the fish weighed immediately and came up with the official registered weight of 30 pounds 1 ounce, the new official IGFA all tackle world record. Eight days later, it was beaten again, by a cusk caught off the coast of Norway that officially weighed 32 pounds 13 ounces! It wasn't until October 11, 2002 that we had the chance to beat it again with a 36 pound cusk caught by Kenton Geer (NH/HI). At the time, the all tackle world record was just over 34 pounds. Kenton's fish was disqualified because he caught it with a jig with a cod fly above the jig and a tube hook on the jig itself. It came under the title of "gang hooking", a no no as it concerns the IGFA. Today's existing all tackle world record cusk was caught in July of 2008, again, off the coast of Norway. The present world record weight is 37 pounds 14 ounces, a hell of a cusk. The table below shows the top ten cusk caught on the Bunny Clark over the years:

    Angler (State)

    Species - Weight

    Season Caught

    1. Kenton Geer (NH)

    Cusk 36 lbs.


    2. John Madden, Jr. (MA)

    Cusk 32 lbs.


    3. John Spinardo (NY)

    Cusk 32 lbs.


    4. Neil Morrill (VT)

    Cusk 31 lbs.


    5. Tim Williams (CT)

    Cusk 31 lbs.


    6. Alan Coviello (NH)

    Cusk 30.6 lbs.


    7. Ray Johnson (NH)

    Cusk 30.5 lbs.


    8. Sean Grogan (NY)

    Cusk 30.25 lbs.


    9. Annette Curry (NY)

    Cusk 30 lbs.


    10. Ross French (NY)

    Cusk 29 lbs.


    10. Donald F. X. Angerman (MA)

    Cusk 29 lbs.


    10. Dan Kelley (ME)

    Cusk 29 lbs..


    Incidently, Dan Kelley's 29 pound cusk at 43 inches caliper fork length is tied for the longest cusk that has ever been caught on the Bunny Clark. Kenton Geer's (HI) 36 pounder also had a caliper fork length of 43 inches. In fact, Kenton's cusk spit out six big herring on the surface before the fish was boated. Had that not happened, that cusk would have been over 37 pounds.

    [The shot on the right is a digital image of FY '18 Jonathan "Griff" Griffin holding his 23 pound trophy barndoor skate, the sixth largest barndoor skate caught on the Bunny Clark last season. The picture was taken by Captain Ian Keniston. ]

    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 2018 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 and many seasons in the business. These special anglers and incidents are as follows:

    Fisherman of the Year (FY-’18): Jonathan "Griff" Griffin (MA) wins this award for the fourth time in as many seasons. He has been close for many years including fourth place in 2014 and third place in 2013.

    As most of you know by now, the FY award is based on a point system that relates to specific achievements during each trip for a season on the Bunny Clark. 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. Griff was the man again last season. Griff did very well in a number of categories that propelled him to the top.

    [In the digital image, left, FY '18 Jonathan "Griff" Griffin can be seen holding the fourth largest cusk of the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season, his cusk, weighing 16 pounds, a Maine state trophy by 4 pounds. ]

    He was the "fisherman of the day" (high hook and largest fish on the same trip) more than any other angler, he tied for the most boats pools last season, he caught the most trophy fish, he landed the fourth largest cusk of the Bunny Clark season, he was second place in the high hook category (only his dory mate, Ray Westermann, was high hook more often) and he played a part in almost every other category I count for this award.

    Griff is always one of our best anglers. His attitude is fantastic. He doesn't get rattled. The weather doesn't bother him. He's, technically, one of the best anglers I take fishing from year to year. He makes it fun for everyone who is in attendance on any fishing day. He's happy to get anywhere his captain takes him. And he has that luck. When Ray and Griff show up to go fishing in the morning, they make you want to do something special. As a captain, you might feel disappointed if they went fishing with you during a slower than normal period. It shouldn't bother you as they are the first to understand that "fishing is fishing". But the other side of the coin is that they can make a slow spot more productive just by being there. And, of course, Griff garnered the points to prove he deserved this title.Congratulations, Griff! Another great year in the books!

    Griff's total point count was 98, a few less points than he won with last season. Joe Columbus (MA) came in second place with a point total of 77. Dan Killay was third with 73 points. But Dan didn't fish the required number of days to warrant placement. I think if he had, he might have done much better. So Lewis Hazelwood was really third with 62 points. Shawn Rosenberger would have come in fifth/forth with 60 points had he fished the full ten trips required.

    Female Angler of the Year: We didn't have enough female angler participation to fill this category.

    [The picture on the right is a shot of Ray Westermann holding his 29.25 pound Maine state trophy white hake which he caught on an offshore marathon trip in November on the Bunny Clark. This hake was the Bunny Clark's fourteenth largest last season. It was a rainy day that day but the wind wasn't strong.]

    Best Bait Fisherman: Shameless Ray “The Pole Tossing Master Baiter” Westermann won again last season, his tenth season (out of the last eleven) taking this award. Everyone else who could have been tops in this category died of attrition! Ray is excellent with a rod & reel, one of the best. And he does take advantage of every situation. He works well with a jig. But he's the first one to switch over to bait if the situation warrants. And he's great at bait fishing, whether he's targeting hake, haddock, cusk or anything. Plus, he plays with the weights at different depths, something that only usually includes Griff, his dory mate. He was high hook, far and away, more times than any other angler. You just don't fall into high hook status, you have to work at attaining it. It isn't the luck that gets you there, although good luck helps. Ray makes his own luck. Ray was an easy choice for me in this category.

    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 was only one Ace landed during the 2014 fishing season, six Aces in 2013 and not a single Ace in 2012. The 2012 season was the first season that the Bunny Clark didn't see a single Ace. The 2015 season was the second! During the 2016 fishing season there was only one Ace. The 2017 season saw five Aces caught, three of which were "Double Aces" (the four largest fish caught on a trip). Last season there were two. The first one came in late August. The angler was John Baker (ME). To my knowledge, he only went on one previous trip before then. And on that trip, in May, he caught a 98 pound halibut. At the time, it was the largest halibut that had ever been caught on the Bunny Clark. On the late August trip his ace included a 20 pound white hake, a 22 pound white hake and a 26 pound Maine state trophy pollock, a tie for the Bunny Clark's third largest pollock of the fishing season! The second and last ace of the season came in mid October. This time the angler was Phil Lamb (MI). His fish included a 13.5 pound cod, a 12.5 pound cod and an 11.5 pound pollock.

    Most Trophy Fish (including hake over 15 pounds, cod & pollock over 20 pounds, redfish 2 pounds or more, haddock of 7 pounds or more and the fish seldom caught with rod & reel including monkfish, barndoor skates, whiting, torpedo rays, porbeagle sharks, bluefin tuna, wolffish & halibut) of the Season: Griff caught the most with a count of seven. Joe Columbus, Dan Killay, Steve Selmer and Shawn Rosenberger all tied for second with six trophy fish each last season.

    Top Five Largest Fish of the Bunny Clark Season: Dave Miller caught the largest with his 200 pound porbeagle shark. Joe Balas came in second with his 103.5 pound halibut. Steve LaPlante was third with his 102 pound halibut. Brian Johansmeyer was fourth with his 100.5 pound halibut. John Baker was fifth with his 98 pound halibut.

    Most Trophy Fish during a Trip: Shawn Rosenberger caught the most trophy fish during a fall marathon trip with a total count of six. Dick Lyle (NY) and Joe Columbus tied for second with a count of four trophy fish each. Chris Tankred, Steve Selmer, John Baker, Bryan Lewer and Tim Rozan tied for fourth place with three trophy fish each.

    Most Pools (largest fish of the trip): Jonathan Griffin and Bill Socha (NH) tied for the most boat pools during the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season. Their count was three pools each. Shawn Rosenberger took third place with a total count of 2.5 pools! You will have to ask Shawn about that one! I am to blame, by the way! There was a tie for fourth among two anglers with two pools each. Those anglers were Mike Horwitz (NH) and Art Kemler, Jr..

    [I took this digital image of Ally Fuehrer on the way back from an offshore trip in early November, our last trip of the 2018 season. I was trying to get a picture of her that I might use in the future but I couldn't get a shot of her face without a pose. Finally, I yelled out, like I was hurt. I was waiting with the iPhone when she turned around. She was an angling passenger that day but she was helping the crew clean the boat on the way in. Some habits die hard. She did a wonderful job for us last season.]

    High Hook: Ray Westermann was high hook (the most legal fish on a trip) on nine different trips, the most for an angler during the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season. Jonathan Griffin, Joe Columbus and Fred Kunz tied for second place with six counts each. Jason O'Connor (ME), Art Kemler, Jr., Dan Killay and Mike Horwitz tied for fifth place with three counts each.

    Largest Double: (The most combined weight of two fish caught on the same line at the same time.) The largest double of the year was caught on the Ultra marathon again, the same as it was in 2017. Last year, the double was caught by Mark LaRocca (NY) and included a 46.5 pound halibut and a 4.5 pound cod. The second largest double was caught by Shawn Rosenberger in late October. His double included a 17 pound white hake and a 25.25 pound Maine state trophy white hake. Chris Ramage was third with a double he caught with Captain Ian Keniston on a day trip at the end of July. Chris' double included two big pollock. One weighed 28 pounds, a Maine state trophy and the largest pollock caught last season. The other was a 12 pound pollock. Joe Columbus came in fourth with a double that included a 21 pound pollock and an 18.5 pound pollock on a full day trip, again with Ian, two day's before Chris' double was caught. Richard Morrell (ME) was fifth with a double that included an 18 pound pollock and a 17 pound pollock.

    Hardest Luck: The hardest luck of the year has to go to Butch Edgar (NH). Butch was late to the boat one morning, a day that I was the captain. I'm not sure if he thought he could get there at 7:00 AM, when the boat leaves? Or he got into trouble finding Perkins Cove? Or, whatever. At any rate, I didn't think he was going to make it. I was just about to start the engine when he pulled up in his truck above the dock. So I went up there, told him to park in the corral across the street from Barnacle Billy's and leave the keys in it. I would call someone to move the truck and keep the keys. In his haste, Butch took out the right corner post of the parking lot with the right side of his truck creating a large rent starting at the aft part of the wheel well forward of the passenger door on to the middle of the passenger side door. The truck had been immaculate. Dark Green. Beautiful. That wasn't all. He was tangled frequently on the trip and he threw back a 5 pound haddock, thinking it was a cod that couldn't be kept! I tried to call out to him before the fish went over the side but it was too late. I think the haddock turned in the water and winked at Butch before heading to bottom. I can't be sure of that last. And I think Butch felt worse about losing the haddock than he did about hitting his truck! And, yes, Butch got the shirt. He had no idea why I asked him what size t-shirt he wore when he got aboard the boat that morning!

    I think I should mention Richard Clark (CA) here as well. His hard luck happened during a Sunday extreme day trip with Captain Ian and Anthony. There were only five anglers aboard the Bunny Clark that day. Richard fought a porbeagle shark for an hour and fifteen minutes before losing it near the surface. It was a very big porbeagle. Had they landed it, it would have been the largest we have ever caught on the Bunny Clark. Richard's fishing set-up was not conducive to landing big sharks. He was fishing with a rig that included a sinker on the bottom and two cod flies above the sinker. He had hooked the shark with one of the flies. His leader was 80 pound test. Even then I wouldn't have expected the fight to last fifteen minutes with the monofilament so close to the hook. They had the fish to the leader twice but just could not get it close enough for the flying gaff. Nor could they have harpooned it effectively - had they had a harpoon.

    Should I mention the trip where Joe Sinkler (NY) was so tangled during the first three hours of one of my most successful offshore marathons [of 2018] that he couldn't take advantage of catching of the extra large fish that were being caught around him? Maybe I should leave that story for another day. I will tell you that Joe did finally catch a nice fish but it wasn't until we left the best spot of the day!

    Most Improved Angler: Maybe if Mark Weldon (NH) practices over the winter he can win in this category next year as he did in last year's Guestletter. It wouldn't take much as he got into a slump, of sorts, during the 2018 season.

    Best Team: The team of Ray Westermann and Jonathan "Griff" Griffin were the team in 2018, without question. I always seem to have two choices, one of those being the team of Brian & Marian "Merv" Murphy (NH). But last season it had to be Ray and Griff. The one time that Griff decided to go it alone, his vehicle broke down so he couldn't make the trip! Ray and Griff feed off each other, so much so that they have greater success together than they do alone. The same can be said about Brian & Merv. Last year was Ray & Griff's year. Enough said.

    [The image on the right is a shot of Jay Rowe's 95 pound halibut, the last halibut caught last season. Our fifth largest halibut ever, it was a surprise that we even landed it. Adding to the wonder of landing this fish, was that Miki Alroy was there to get the fish over the rail, in the bow where the lowest rail height is forty-four inches. Mike Horwitz and I can say that we helped get it over the rail. But, really, it was Miki who got this fish in the boat. Miki can be seen in the picture, left, a major reason that we also got a good picture of this great fish!]

    Exceptional Good Luck: Jay Rowe (NH) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 95 pound Maine state trophy halibut, in late August. It was the last fish in the boat! I was in the cockpit working on a tangle when I heard Mike Horwitz (NH) tell some of the anglers in the forward part of the cockpit to reel up. Curious, I finished the tangle and went to the bow to find Jay fighting a big fish, with a jig stick, butt of the rod in his gut and rod bent almost double. We had had a couple of blue sharks on the lines this trip. So, initially, I thought it was another blue shark. But it really wasn't taking any line. And when it did take line it didn't take a lot. Of course, I wasn't up in the bow when Jay first hooked the fish. Knowing what it could be (as a fish), I had everyone on the boat reel up their lines. After twenty minutes of fighting this fish, we finally got to the leader where I could see the color - brown! A halibut? It fought like no other halibut I had ever seen. I should qualify that. There were two halibut that have been landed on the Bunny Clark that fought like no other halibut I had ever seen. Both were foul hooked. This halibut was the same. But this one was hooked right in the middle of the back about four inches behind the pectoral fin. No wonder it took so long to reel in. If it were a six foot piece of sheet metal hooked in the middle it would have been not too much different. And, on closer inspection, the hook was just about ready to fall out when Jay brought the fish to gaff!

    Quotes of the 2017 Season: "I'm going to have to switch to a jig!"; a quote from Rory Casey (VT) after a full morning of catching haddock, one after the other, while only using a bare hook. I had never seen someone catch that many fish on a bare hook before. Captain Ian addressed Rory's remark and asked why. Rory's answer; "I'm catching too many fish!" Funny!

  • "Worst tangle in his own line." A quote from Barry Ano (NY) when asked why he received the hard luck award during a mid June extreme day trip.

  • Hillary Hanna (MA) was sea sick. But so was Frank Edmunds (NJ). This during a full day trip at the end of July. Frank spent the day in the Hotel Bunny Clark. Hillary told Ian that this was the "worst day of my life". In trying to decide who to give the hard luck award to, Ian asked Frank if this was the worst day of his life. Frank's reply; "Not even close." So the shirt went to Hillary!

  • "I don't know but it was caught on this boat, though." A quote from thirteen year old James Best (NH) during a day trip in late July. He had just told me that the 19 pound pollock was the largest fish he had ever caught. This statement was given from James after I had asked him; "Well, what was the second largest fish you have ever caught?" Good answer!

  • "I'm fourteen but I look like a nine year old." A comment from Colin Campbell (ON) during an afternoon half day trip. He was second hook. Plus, he caught a couple nice haddock. I wanted to know how old he was so I could post it on my web site the next day, in light of his fishing accomplishments. I really did think he looked younger than fourteen years old but I never would have told him that!

    [The angler in the picture on the left is Rick Wixon, once a deck hand for Captain Bob Liston out of Wells, Maine on the F/V Lethal Weapon, who was an angler on a day trip with me late July. He caught this 21 pound Maine state trophy monkfish that day, our second largest of the season. He thought he had an old net, as the monkfish is not much of a fighting fish. At the time, I told him you never know; "It could be a halibut, barndoor skate or even a monkfish." The rest is history. ]

  • "Someone on that side [of the boat] has got me!" A constant refrain from Dick Taylor (MA) who repeated it so often during a summer day trip that I awarded him the hard luck t-shirt for the annoyance of it all! Sometimes I'm over-sensitive.

  • "I felt bad when I looked around and found that I was the only one left fishing." A quote from a compassionate long time Bunny Clark regular angler, Rich Callahan (CT), after a particularly rough weather fishing trip. Everyone on the boat, except Rich, was seasick and wanted to go home. So Rich told Captain Ian that he was ready to head back to Perkins Cove. The quote came at the dock when I had asked him why he decided to call the day!

    Most Unusual Catch: Richard Morrell was fishing on in early October on a Sunday extreme day trip. His fishing rig of choice was a sinker with two flies above it. One fly was green. During the early morning pollock blitz, where all hell seemed to be breaking loose with a great bite, Richard broke this rig off. Ian re-rigged him with another setup very much like the previous one with a green fly above the sinker. After the bite tapered off with the drift, Ian moved the boat about a thousand yards from the original spot where Richard lost his gear and set up another drift on a different school of pollock. A little while into the drift Richard caught a pollock with a green fly, his earlier green fly, hooked into the corner of it's mouth. The interesting part was that he caught the pollock with the new green fly caught in the same side of the mouth as the other green fly, maybe a millimeter away! Without Ian knowing, when Ian set up the new drift, the current had changed and brought the boat right back to where Richard had lost the fly in the first place! It was not Ian's intention to drift back to the first spot but it certainly made a better story because of it!

    Unexplained Phenomena:

  • I think that having the opportunity to catch so many halibut was the most interesting part of fishing on the Bunny Clark last season. The Bunny Clark saw another year where there were many chances to land a halibut. We may have had these same opportunities in the '70's had I known what I know now or had we ranged further off shore. But the fact remains, in the last two seasons, the halibut fishing was the best it has ever been, in at least thirty years. I truly believe that this is the result of less commercial fishing pressure, dragging (trawling), in particular. And I can't help but be a little apprehensive about some of the future decisions that the Council will make in regard to closed commercial fishing areas. The Council didn't do the fish stocks any favor by opening up the one minute rectangle that used to be closed on the east side of the WGOM closed area. This was an area that was too deep for recreational anglers but rich in some of the more vital over-fished stocks of groundfish that we are trying to bring back to normal levels!

  • Neil Hickey (VT) lost one of the Bunny Clark's rod & reels overboard only to have Jim Vacchiano (ME) catch it later in the drift while he was fishing. When Neil initially dropped the rod, Captain Ian grabbed another rod with a jig in attempt to hook the rod and reel himself. As soon as Ian's jig hit the bottom, he caught a haddock instead! Thank you, Jim!
  • Did anyone see Marty Buskey (NY) last season? How could such a nice guy and such an excellent angler avoid the fish as much as he did last season. And to be the last person to catch a legal fish on a late April trip? That's not the Marty Buskey who I have come to know and love!
  • And how does that happen that Shawn Sullivan (MA) has to enlist the help of John Casey (MA) in order to bring home the bag limit of haddock?

    [Captain Ian Keniston took the digital image on the right during a full day trip he hosted at the end of July. The picture shows Joe Columbus holding the Bunny Clark's fourth largest double of the 2018 Bunny Clark fishing season. The two fish, both pollock, weighed 21 pounds and 18.5 pounds. With a little extra luck or two more good fishing trips, Joe might have been the FY '18!]

  • Griff catches the bag limit of haddock on a trip with fish all over 5 pounds but none as big as 6 pounds? He was the first and last angler to do this in 2018. Strange but wonderful!
  • Richard Bronder (ME) breaks a pole fighting a porbeagle shark! Well, a least he didn't break the pole fighting a jig stuck on bottom during a drift!
  • Greg Veprek; can you read me?
  • Charlie "Bo Tangles" Van (VT). That says it all.
  • Rumor has it that Daune Kilmer (TN) was a stowaway that September day.
  • Mike Stump (MA); is that a bird's nest in your hand or is there a reel in there somewhere?
  • Joe Columbus catches the three largest normal groundfish (all pollock) of the trip and gets aced by two barndoor skates? That just isn't fair. Actually, one of the skates was a 27 pound male and the other a 27 pound female, caught miles apart! Anthony Arria caught the female and Steve Belevre caught the male!
  • Bill Lewis (MA) and Rick Gurney (MA), both fishing on the bow, both get their reels stripped by big bluefin tuna, both broke off and both at the same time!
  • Tom Daigle (NH) lost a good size halibut because he asked me to take the glove off his reeling hand. I should have told him to wait until he got the fish in! How do you pronounce disappointed, Tom?
  • Griff loses a big fish at the same time the captain was fishing for himself off the stern? Yep, that was my fault, Griff. I suck!
  • Dick Carpenter (MA) caught the most dogfish on October 2nd while fishing in the bow, unfettered by other anglers and using a jig/jig stick. Amazing how well a piece of mackerel works when placed on the treble hook of a jig - for dogfish!
  • Bob R. LePage (MA) was high hook with the most legal fish on a trip in late May. In order to attain that lofty position, he had to abandon the jig and move to the dark side. Yes, readers, if you can believe it, Bob fished with bait all day! I couldn't believe it myself until his father, Bob (who was also on the trip) confirmed this for me. Young Bob was smiling on the outside. But deep down inside you know he regretted this transgression. He did catch the most haddock he has ever caught, though. But I wonder, when I see him next, if he will be able to look me directly in the eye? Hey, Bob, would you like a bait rig, a cushion for the bench and a warm glass of milk with your clams?
  • Bill Wallace (ME) catches a 23.75 pound white hake with 4 pound haddock that the hake had just eaten before Bill caught it!
  • Mark Konish (NC); another year with no sticker? He must have found a new girlfriend or something.
  • Bill Harding (ME) can be a fish recycling machine at times. But he can catch a haddock!
  • The Lighthouse Fishing Club has the two best big pollock fishing trips last season and they only booked two trips! It had to be the fishermen!
  • It was certainly a lounging day for Bob Bingell (CT) on that marathon trip in mid-June. And I thought Bob was excited about fishing!
  • Was it divine guidance or did the man have influence with the Man during the Ron Roy Celebration Charter? Steve LaPlante landed the longest halibut in Bunny Clark history (and our second largest halibut ever) and Sam Robichaud (ME) wins the boat pool for the second largest fish while using the rod that Ron gave him before he passed away.
  • Linwood Bridges (ME) jinxes the day with a bunch of bananas and then has the nerve to offer me a green one for the ride home. Life isn't fair.
  • Although Dave Miller wasn't on that trip, he must have been smiling when Scott Dobbs (NJ) broke that 20 pound cusk off when he tried to lift it over the rail by the fifty pound monofilament line he was using. After all, had Scott boated that fish Dave wouldn't have tied for the most trophy fish in the top five last season! When the fish hit the water, it was still hooked with a sinker and swivel, the sinker leading the fish back to bottom faster than you could say trophy cusk! Knowing Dave, it really wouldn't have bothered him one way or the other. "That's fishing.", he would have said.
  • Now Conrad Francis (NY) knows the power and speed of a small mako shark!
  • Connor Barrett (OH), out-fished by his mother?
  • How can so many people get sea sick on a calm, warm August evening? Over half were sea sick on August 9th last season.

    In Memoriam:

    On April 17, 2018, Chris Costa called me from WCSH, Channel 6, in Portland, Maine to do an interview; "Remembering Barbara Bush". That interview took place after noon. It was meant to highlight all the good times during which the Bush Family ate at our restaurant, highlighting Barbara. In the morning, Chris told me the time. In the meantime, I called my brother (who had other plans) and my two sisters, Meg and Cathy. The interview went well except for my being aware of me stumbling over words in the conversation. But I never did like hearing myself speak anyway.

    Later in the day we found out Barbara Bush had passed. The interview was timely and immediately put on the evening news. I didn't see it but I got calls from friends who said they did. At 8:30 PM, I got a call from reporter Eric Kane from WHDH, Channel 7 News, out of Boston to do a quick interview on Barbara Bush at the restaurant at 10:00 PM. I didn't really want to do it. But I saw it as an opportunity to tell the Bush Family how important and honored it was to know them. Eric had been referred to me by Boston TV reporter and substitute anchor, Dan Hausle, who eats at our restaurant frequently. He and his wife, Laura, have become friends of mine over the years. And it was the only link to Maine and Barbara that the station could come up with in such short notice. So I felt obligated to help. I was done by 10:30 PM, the piece airing later that night.

    It looks like I'm am taking license to call the matriarch by her first name. But she did tell me, twice, that I should call her Barbara, "please!" It was sad knowing that such a wonderful person won't be around anymore. A huge loss to me, my family and the country.


    On November 30th, I was informed by a person close to me in a newsroom in New York City that former President George H. B. Bush had passed away. I wasn’t supposed to mention this until the news broke. It broke a day later. A couple months earlier I was told that he was in hospice. I didn’t dispute this news only because I knew he was in pretty rough shape. I never did check this fact out. So I never said anything. Only a short time earlier, his daughter, Doro, told my sister, Meg, that he would never be coming to Barnacle Billy’s again.

    I first met Vice President George Bush in 1980, at sea, around Boon Island, eight miles from Perkins Cove, Ogunquit, Maine. I was taking passengers bluefishing on my charter boat, the Mary E. We talked boat to boat about the fishing and where might the best place be where he could have fishing success. I saw him a few more times before he became President. The first time I shook his hand was in Barnacle Billy’s. I don’t remember the date. But I had a wonderful first impression. That impression never wavered through the years. Indeed, it flourished and I developed a stronger connection with the man. It was easy. He was so gracious, easy to talk to, humble to an extent and very direct. I also learned that he never said anything that he didn’t mean. And that was tested early on when he told me that he would like to invite our whole family over to their compound in Kennebunkport. I deal with so many people every year. Ninety-nine percent of people who say something like this never come through. So I thought to myself; “An invitation to his compound? That will be the day!” A week later, we received the invitation. My father, Billy, my mother, my sisters and brother, my wife, all went. It was a wonderful time.

    I’ve only met two people in life who made me feel like I was the most important person in the room. One person was my father. The other was former President George H. W. Bush. That night, in his front yard, with probably 200 hundred other guests, he took me aside and made me feel like I was something special. I’ll never forget it. It was a very personal conversation. And it wasn’t the last time it happened. And I’m sure this was part of the definition of the man. I wasn’t the most important person on his property. But I thought that probably everybody else was having the same experience. They too were made to feel that they were the most important person or couple there. It was a quality that probably helped him become the successful man that he was.

    He spent many times at Barnacle Billy’s after he stepped away from the presidency. And there are many many good memories that I have of situations with him, conversations I had and things he did that I hope I will never forget. I’ve always thought that good memories are truly the real spice of life. There has never been a bad one when it concerns any of the Bush Family, I’m happy to say.

    The first day he ate at Barnacle Billy’s, my father offered to pay for his meal. The former President calmly stood up, walked away from the table, put his arm on my father’s shoulder and thanked him as he led my father away from the others. He stopped a distance away. “Billy,” he said “If you pay for our meal I won’t be able to come back here again.” I think this surprised my father until he had time to think about it. A moment later my father said; “Well, can we treat your Secret Service?” “Billy”, George said, “You can do anything you want with the Secret Service.” So that’s the way it went when the former President came to eat with us. The President would pay for his family and guests. We would treat the Secret Service. We weren’t even allowed to take money or a credit card from any of the former President’s guests. George insisted on always paying.

    I was saddened when former First Lady Barbara Bush passed. We learned about it later in the day. Two years earlier I thought she would out-live her husband. But things went south with her faster than I thought possible. And I was concerned about her husband because he was having health issues of his own at the time of her passing. Doro told me last spring that they were going to try to get their father to the restaurant. I kept waiting but it never happened. The year before, the summer of 2017, was the last time I saw the former President.

    In the end, I was asked if I mourned the President’s death. That’s not an easy question for me to answer. I feel very sorry for myself that I will never see the man again. I liked every aspect of the man as a person, as the leader of the free world, as a fisherman and as a friend. Every time I saw him he would ask me; “Hey, Tim. How’s the fishing?” I will miss that. I feel in my heart that his passing was all for the best. I don’t really believe that he would have wanted to live any longer. At 94 years of age, physically incapacitated, how much more can you ask? So I’m relieved of his having peace. Yet this feeling of loss persists. The man gave me much in the form of memories, as I mentioned. His political career should be lauded by those who understand that it’s not so much what you believe but the enlightenment of ideas that can be debated for a brighter future. That his hard work and the way he presented his beliefs should be a book that everyone can reference. I believe he was the most prepared individual to ever serve the presidency. It was made for him. As a family man, he was the same leader, a person you could look to as a good example. This is reflected in all his children and their children. So, yes, I miss him. But it was time. And he has left many wonderful people behind both genetically and influentially.

    When he came to Barnacle Billy’s, he always sat at the flag pole table on the deck overlooking Perkins Cove. I will never in my life ever walk by that table without thinking of George Bush, the man, Barbara, and their family. I will remember all the wonderful experiences and business that he brought here. George H. W. Bush gave me (us) a lot. His way will never be forgotten. His place will never be taken. And his memory will certainly be one of the highlights that I will cherish all my life, forever.


    On May 21, 2018, I learned that one of my best friend's son died of brain cancer after over a year fighting the disease. His name was Ben Weiner. He was thirty years old. Steve, his father, was one of my best friends growing up. On August 30, 1973, Steve and I caught ten giant bluefins together on my boat, the Mary E, one of the top five highlights of my life. We grew up fishing together in Ogunquit during the summer. My relationship with him and the way we fished was part of the foundation of being who I am today. Steve grew up in Andover, Massachusetts and raised his family there, although he always had a house in Ogunquit. Ben was a wonderful individual and was studying business in San Francisco when he was first diagnosed. This is what I wrote on the day Ben passed:

    A good friend of mine's son died of brain cancer early this morning. I didn't find out about it until I got back from a late morning bike ride (training for the PMC). Needless to say it's been a pretty sad day for his family and ours. It had been over two years since the initial diagnosis. One, of course, thinks of your own son at this time. And after all I have done to help in the [cancer] research, I would still find it difficult to know where to start if it were my son. And the whole thing brought me in close contact with my son this afternoon. A short conversation, a hug and truly being thankful that it isn't our turn - yet. Life is a very tenuous thing. Sometimes you just don't think close enough along those lines. It wasn't the best reminder for me today.


    Kay Moulton (MA), the owner of Surfland Bait & Tackle in Newbury, Massachusetts passed away on June 30, 2018. She was eighty-seven years old, a year older than my father when he died. I didn't find out about Kay's death until later in the year. I didn't even know she was sick. I did know that she had had cancer earlier in her life and had beaten it. Kay played a big part in my fishing life. When I partially broke away from commercial fishing in 1975, Kay was the person I found to help with me starting my charter business in 1976. She, and her husband, Ray, were always there. But it was Kay who showed me what to do, how to catch bluefish, groundfish tips and the like. She helped me with tackle from the very beginning. She would have stuff brought up to me in Ogunquit. And she always trusted me. She would do anything for me on my word. And I never let her down. I don't think I could have gone on living if I let her down! She was just a wonderful person. Ray died years ago. She stayed on to man the fort as if nothing had happened. Later in years, her daughters, Martha in particular, starting becoming more involved. Martha is the person with whom I deal with today. I hope she continues being as, or more, successful than her mother. Now that it isn't so hectic, I think of Kay from time to time. I will miss her dearly. When I think back on how I started my business, remembering Kay will be one of my fondest memories.


    On November 3, 2018, Nick Bowden (Albert W. Bowden, Jr.), passed away. He was my wife's brother. He was sixty-seven. Nick and I were both almost exactly the same age. He was a wonderful person. He was diagnosed with a genetic disorder called alpha 1 antitrypsin deficiency almost thirty years ago. The gene controls the cleaning of the lungs. The condition is like having COPD. The prognosis was not good. He wasn't expected to live but a couple of years. He started on an experimental program that kept him alive and happy for many years longer than expected. But, in the last year or two, he developed cancer. One wonders if his treatment had something to do with this. But, even if it did, it was worth the extra years he got from the program. I think that, in the end, the doctors dropped the ball on his cancer. He should have been checked out a lot sooner than he was, our opinion.

    I mention Nick here for two reasons. One, he helped Deb and I on many things. He was an expert cabinet maker and he was constantly helping us with the house including building the workroom where I designed and built the rods and worked on reels for the Bunny Clark. He and his father built the bedroom we added on to the house. He gave me a lot of ideas on improving the Bunny Clark and our house. This was very helpful in moving forward with my business. And he was so good to Deb over the years. Second, it's the cancer thing which is so high on my priority list of things to work on, a cure. So many of my good friends have passed through no fault of their own. I would like to know why!

    Of course, this was a big blow to Deb's parents, certainly a heart rending sorrow. Deb is still heart broken. I am sad as well. Good people should not die this young or so soon.


    Late on December 23, 2018, I lost a good friend and fellow commercial fisherman. He was 77 years old. The man's name was David Linney. He lived in York, the next town over from Ogunquit. I grew up fishing with and around Dave. Although he, initially didn't live around here, he married and settled down here many years before I got married. He was involved, mainly, in the tuna fishery. Was heavily involved in the tuna regulatory process. And he worked very hard on everything he ever did. He had two children. One of them, Chris Linney, passed away in a lobstering accident at sixteen years of age in 1984. He was working as a deck hand on the Bunny Clark with me and was also lobstering out of his own skiff at the time. That was a life changer for Dave and his family. But it also brought our family closer to his family. Deb and I weren't married at the time. Dave was only ten years older than I. And I have a lot of great memories of Dave. Dave died of a relatively little known form of dementia called Lewy Body Dementia. It was the same disease that Robin Williams died of (contrary to everything else the news media told us at the time). It is a fast acting form of dementia that left little time for some of us, including me, to say goodbye. I didn't realize that he had the disease when Deb and I left on vacation. In fact, Dave's wife, Becky, was just learning about the disease at that same time. By the time I got back, Becky told me that he wouldn't know me if I went to see him. So, to me, it was best that I remember him as the vital good person that he was instead of in a hospital bed staring blankly with me crying by his side. It turns out that I would have seen him two days before his death had I decided to go. At any rate, it's a terrible loss to the community and to people, like myself, who really knew him well. He's was the type of human being that communities need in order to survive, prosper and build. He was a representative of the good in mankind. And it's so sad. I will miss him and regret that I didn't see him enough in the last year of his life.


    On December 31, 2018, Les Eastman, Sr. passed away at the age of 78. A pioneer of party boat fishing in the New Hampshire/Maine area, he enhanced the Eastman's Fishing Fleet in Seabrook, New Hampshire. The business was first started by his father. Les took the business over while also raising a big family. Later, he son, Les Eastman, Jr., took the business over with his brother, Phil. Les, Sr. was an icon growing up in the fishery. He was a colorful guy with a strong personality. He continued a wonderful fishing business and raised a great family. When I first started taking anglers deep sea fishing, he was also fishing at the time. He was an excellent fisherman. Of course, this has been carried on through his sons, who run the best deep sea fishing business in our area. They were well taught. The era of Les Eastman, Sr. saw fishing at it's finest. If we only knew then what we know now! All things must pass, it has been said. And I'm sorry that the world has lost a good man. But he will live on through his family, taking anglers fishing long into the future.


    On January 20, 2019, one of my very good friends, my sister, Cathy's, husband, Michael Koppstein, died in Romania of a massive heart attack. He was hunting with a cardiologist and two other GPs. So there were no regrets that he didn't have the help he needed on the spot. Although, had he been near a hospital? Who knows. He was doing one of the things he loved to do. Mike was sixty-five years old. He had had ongoing heart issues and had gone to his cardiologist before taking the trip overseas. He was given a clean bill of health before leaving. But, as he told me, his heart was in a state that his health could be severely compromised at any time. However, this diagnosis had been given many years ago. No one thought twice about it. Except that it was a concern of Mike's.

    In 1980, the year Reagan was elected (I was at sea taking a sailboat delivery to the Caribbean when I heard that Reagan had won), I had told my sister, Cathy, to join me down in St. Thomas, as I was chartering a sailboat (taking people sailing on term charters around the Virgin Islands) and the sailing community might be something she would like. She got right into it, crewed on several boats and met Mike Koppstein in the process. The rest is history. She ended up crewing on the fifty-six foot ketch Mike was running, named Southerly, owned by racing skipper, Burt Keenan. I knew of Mike. But I never really knew Mike well until Cathy was with him. He grew to be a wonderful friend. He was, technically, the best sailor I have ever met. A ton of common sense, he had a brilliant mind for everything, including finance and economics. He and Cath went on to sailing larger sailing yachts for owners around the world. In four years they had sailed to every place most people just dream about. [Deb and I crewed on one trip with them from Singapore to the Maldives in the Indian Ocean] After he was done sailing yachts, Mike ended up working for one of the most prestigious yacht builders in the world, Royal Huisman Shipyard in Vollenhove, Holland. He commissioned new yachts for many famous people in the world and did very well for himself and Cathy. The last few years he was working as the United States' promoter for a German boat building company, Lürssen Maritime in Bremen-Vegesack, that employs a few thousand individuals, a builder of "superyachts", naval ships and specialty vessels. He was getting ready to retire when he passed away.

    Mike was more than just a good friend. He was very helpful with financial advice and we helped solve many family issues together in a very objective fair minded way that kept us as a unit in more difficult times. He was very funny and quite an entertainer when he and Cathy ran sailing yachts in the Caribbean together. This held him in good stead over the years dealing with customers, friends and business associates. There was no one I knew who didn't like Mike. When he and Cathy were getting married, he chartered the Bunny Clark to take his friends in the wedding party on a bachelor party of sorts before the big event. The passengers were, collectively, some of the best sailors in the world, many of whom were racing ocean sailing yachts and whom I never would have met otherwise. I told them at the start of that trip that I had dreamed of sailing with any one of them and that "now I have the rare opportunity of sailing with all of you at the same time!". I will miss Mike with all of my heart. I loved the man and couldn't think of a better individual to stand alongside my sister.

    As of now, Mike's body is in Romania, he is a citizen of Australia with an Australian passport (he was in the process of gaining American citizenship before he flew overseas) and he had a American wife. So it's a complicated situation. If he were an American citizen, by law, he would have to be autopsied. All this will be worked out.


    I want to take some time here to thank the crew, both those who physically run the Bunny Clark and those who are shore based.

    Ian Keniston: Captain Ian Keniston started with me in August of 1998, when Satch McMahon was still working with me as deck hand. And that was Ian's first position, as deck hand. Ian has worked for me every year since. The first few years Ian worked exclusively as a deck hand. As the need grew, he became my best captain. He remains my best captain today. He still works as my deck hand on the offshore trips, all but one. Most of the time he captain's the extreme day trips, a trip I really designed for him. Over the years, Ian has also worked completing all the cosmetic work on the Bunny Clark, repairing all the rods & reels and repair work on the Bunny Clark as well. At this point, Ian is my number one person in my fishing business, Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing, on the boat side of things. He is my sounding board on many issues, he's the one responsible for most of the winter work, all the cosmetic work, all the rods & reels and many other things. If I am known as being associated with the Bunny Clark, it's because Ian has been one of the big reasons that the Bunny Clark, as a party/charter business still exists. I couldn't have this business without Ian. I do so appreciate him and his talents. Thank you so very much.

    [Tom Daigle (NH), shown in the digital image, left, escaped from a shark attack with the part of the pollock he is holding in his hands in the picture. What was left was 13 pounds of a pollock that should have been over 20 pounds. We were surrounded by porbeagle sharks on this late October day. It took us twice as long to get home as well. With thirty knots of northwest wind and eight foot chops, Tom had a long time to lick his wounds before getting back to Perkins Cove!]

    Anthony Palumbo: This is the second year for Anthony as a full time deck hand on the Bunny Clark. He has been invaluable. Anthony took the place of Captain Jared Keniston, when Jared left. Anthony has been doing a wonderful job ever since. The year before last, he had never been a deck hand before. Last season, you might have thought he had been a deck hand all his life. Thank you, Anthony, for all your help, your wonderful attitude and your patience with me.

    Allyson Fuehrer: I had been looking for an extra deck hand all winter. During the early part, Ally had sent me an email expressing her desire to work as a deck hand during the seventy-five days she had off from being a third mate on a six hundred foot oil tanker in the Gulf of Mexico. I told her that I was looking for more permanent help but that, yes, I would love to have her as a deck hand if I couldn't find anyone. When she became available, I still hadn't found anyone despite auditioning seven individuals. The two biggest issues associated with hiring were sea sickness and passing a pre-employment drug test. Ally had neither of those problems. Plus, she had her captain's license for a vessel the size of the Bunny Clark (She is a licensed second mate), she was an excellent helmsman and she had been fishing with me on the Bunny Clark since the age of ten. She was really good and a quick study. Maybe not as quick as Anthony but her other qualifications made up for it. I loved having her aboard. And, in time, she became good in all aspects of her position. The only problem: She had to leave before August. While she was there, I was so glad to have her. Thank you, Ally. You were a good part of helping us complete a wonderful summer.

    Miki Alroy: Miki was disembarking from the Bunny Clark off an afternoon half day trip in late July when he overheard Deb, Ian and I talking about losing our deck hand. Miki had been a fishing patron that evening. He had also won the boat pool. He knew how to fish. Miki piped up as he was walking by; "I have a month off before my next job. I can help if you would like." I couldn't believe my luck. And he passed the pre-employment drug test. Miki had never done this before, never filleted a fish and never cleaned a party boat. I loved him! He might not have been good at everything but he was so nice to the customers, polite, honest and hard working. If he told me he was going to do something, it was as good as done. Plus, he was physically strong and just a wonderful individual. I was really sorry to see him go at the end of August. But he had done as promised and got us through the season! Thanks, Miki. Thanks so much for your help.

    Micah Tower: When we just needed an extra deck hand, after tuna season and in the spring, my son was there. I love having him on the boat. Plus, Micah worked with Ian on getting the Bunny Clark sanded, painted, repaired and launched. I probably would have had to cancel trips if it weren't for Micah. And it's been that way for a few years now. Thanks, Micah, for helping your "dear old dad", when he needed it most!

    Jared Keniston: Captain Jared Keniston skippered the Bunny Clark once or twice last season. It wasn't much but it helped. And it was nice to see him there. He was going to be there more often but his new position wouldn't allow it. Thanks for what you did do, Jared. It meant a lot!

    Mark Blaisdell: Mark made a cameo appearance as a deck hand in mid August. We had no one else for that day. Mark has worked for me before; eighteen years ago! I could have kissed him when he said he would help me out! Thanks, Mark. It was great to have you there!

    David Pease deserves a huge thank you as well. Dave was the person responsible for building the Bunny Clark finishing off the Bunny Clark after Young Brothers built the hull. Every year since she was launched, I have brought the Bunny Clark back to the barn where she was built. Dave has always been there for me. Dave can fix anything or figure out how to get it done. Thank you so very much, Dave.

    I wrote this about Debbie, my wife, in last year's Guestletter. I don't think I could do a better job today. So it appears in here again for this Guestletter:

    Most importantly, I have to give a very special thanks to my wife, Deb, for all her dedicated years of service. She has been standing by me since the Bunny Clark was just an idea. She encouraged me when I went to the bank to float a loan to have the Bunny Clark designed, the hull laid up at Young Brothers and all through the building of the Bunny Clark during the winter of 1982/1983 at Dave's Boat Shop in York, Maine. She comforted me when the Mary E sailed out of the Cove with a new owner. She dove head first into managing the business of the Bunny Clark from the beginning. As the business grew she also took over the reservations, managing the reservationists and helping me make decisions in a changing volatile industry. She brought our two kids into the world and helped me make the transition into my father's restaurant business. She fought my battles ashore when I was taking customers to sea. And she did the things, too many to mention, that allowed me to enjoy the life I had chose for both of us without a single complaint.

    [Boo Whitten (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 23 pound pollock in early September on the annual Larry Reed Marathon Trip Charter, with the fish she is holding in the picture on the right. The fish comes in as a tie for the eleventh largest pollock of last years Bunny Clark fishing season. ]

    Years ago when I was chartering my thirty-two foot six passenger fishing boat, the Mary E, the late Captain Lawrence Grant on the party boat, E-Z, used to ask me over the radio; "When are you going to get a bigger boat?" This conversation went on for three years. Often times it would be followed by a reference to Frank Blount (The Francis Fleet, Point Judith, Rhode Island), how his wife Christine was such a force in the business and how Frank was able to do wonderful things for us all by sacrificing his time in the fishery management scene. I didn't know Frank then. I assumed he was a seasoned fisherman thirty years my senior. Turns out I am eight years older than Frank. But the reason I mention this is that I was deeply interested in making fishing my life. I had not met Deb yet. And I could only imagine what life would be like with someone as dedicated as Christine by my side. Granted I don't have the large fishing business that Frank & Christine have. But Deb moved into the role like it was meant to be. She has put up with a lot, being with me. And not all of it was good. But through it all she is the engine of Bunny Clark Deep Sea Fishing and, certainly, the main reason that I can enjoy it like I do. Thank you, Deb, from the bottom of my heart!

    Jane Staples is the number one reservationist ashore. She takes over when Deb can't, all year round. A Godsend, she rarely says no. She grew up in the same neighborhood that I did here in Ogunquit. So she knows all the local individuals I see every day. That makes for a great business relationship with the town and with our customers who might need information that others just can't give. If Deb and I leave for any period of time, she pays bills and runs the show here. She has been there for us for many years now. Thank you, Jane, again, for all the wonderful work you do and the part you play in our business. You are such a great help and I certainly appreciate it!

    I ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge (PMC), an 192 mile, two day, cycling event that takes place the first Saturday of every August, to raise money for cancer research and care. Last year marked my twelfth season participating. For a detailed description of my treatment of the event, the money I have raised and the logistics, you can click this link.

    For the 2019 Pan-Mass Challenge ride, I have joined a team called Precision for Kids, the name of the team derived from the type of new age cancer research called precision cancer medicine. This is the first year I have belonged to this team. In the twelve seasons before, my money went to the general fund. I decided to go with the Precision for Kids team because they fund research with Dr. Katherine Janeway, a cancer survivor herself, who divides her time between working at Dana-Farber Cancer Institute and Boston Children's Hospital in genetic engineering. Her goal is to find the specific gene in the DNA sequence of the person with the cancer, use a localized drug that will switch off the gene (or replace the gene) causing the cancer and, thus, bypass the traditional use of chemotherapy and radiation, at the same time curing the patient. She has already had great success in real time with two children. This made me want to point my donor's money in her direction. Three years ago her research wasn't being funded at all! She has made these tremendous strides of success in just two years! And, of course, the same procedure will extend to adults once standardized. The team was created by Michael Parent, who, in his search for perfection, came upon Dr. Janeway and her work and found that she wasn't being funded for the innovative work that she was achieving. I hope to meet Dr. Janeway at the PMC event in August.

    This is my thirty-sixth Guestletter, my thirty-sixth season on the Bunny Clark and my forty-second season taking patrons on the high seas. I have always loved it. And I have always felt that I provide the common man with a link to the ocean and the oceanic environment that you wouldn't experience otherwise unless you had your own boat. In fact, we've done more than that with seventy-three world and state records and thousands of trophy catches over the years. This Guestletter highlights and compares those accomplishments since the Bunny Clark was launched in 1983. I've loved every minute of it. Never have I felt the business of the Bunny Clark as a job. But I think it would be a job if I didn't include anglers. Many of these anglers have become good friends. Those who aren't friends have, I hope, enjoyed the best experience I (we) have tried hard to achieve. The Bunny Clark is not as profitable as it once was. But it's still a business. With tougher fishery regulations, the change in groundfish populations and the bad press associated, it has become a great challenge to continue. My involvement in the fishery management process has helped somewhat. But I don't take much money out of the business for myself as I prefer giving that money as a bonus to the people who mean the most to me, the ones that make this business as unique and as special as I feel it is. None of this would be possible without your support. Thank you for allowing me to continue to do the thing I enjoy the most in life, taking anglers out fishing! As my father would have said, winter well! I am very much looking forward to having you all aboard in the coming season!

    A Day off to go Tunafishing/Harpooning with my Son

    On June 17, 2018, I took the day off to go tuna fishing with my son, Micah. It was a wonderful day. He had only been out a couple of times on our boat, the Petrel, before I joined him. It was his first year harpooning on his own. We had our chances that day. But it wasn't to be. He had a very successful year, through no direct help from his father. However, I couldn't have had a better day that day. The shot above is the only picture I took of that trip. It shows my son in the tuna pulpit (stand) over a bunch of pogies (menhaden) on the off chance that a tuna might go bursting through the school. Many a tuna has been harpooned in the pogies over the years. It didn't happen that day. But, while the boat was out of gear, just drifting, I took the opportunity of capturing a picture of my son. The picture leaves one with a sense of wondering what is going through the harpooners mind as most people might think of any fisherman plying his trade on the ocean.

    If you want to send me e-mail, the current address is My 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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