www.bunnyclark.com

Bunny Clark Fishing Update

Written & Edited by Tim Tower

April 19, 2014, 9:30 AM EDT



All Dressed Up and Nowhere to Go & a Late Snow

The picture above shows the Bunny Clark on April 16, 2014 tied to the dock. It was a picture taken by my wonderful sister, Meg, from the deck of Barnacle Billy's at 9:00 AM. The air temperature was 30F and we had received an inch of snow during the early morning hours, revealed at daylight. I had canceled this days trip do to unsafe driving conditions, northwest wind gale warnings by the National Weather Service and the colder than normal conditions. The black hulled boat in the background is our lobster boat, the Petrel.




Monday, February 17, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 12F, the wind was blowing out of the northwest at twenty to twenty-five knots, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent. The air temperature might have got up to 25F. It seemed colder for some reason. The sky remained clear all day. The visibility was excellent. The wind blew out of the northwest at twenty knots for the day and on into the night. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 25F (with a low of 7F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 29F (with a low of 14F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 23F (with a low of -4F) today.

Manic Monday. Once I got this entry up, I worked on proofing the Guestletter (and recruiting others to do the same) and some on the web site. The last two hours of the morning were spent at the office in Barnacle Billy's, Etc. After lunch, I had errands to do in and out of town. I check on some new electronics due to arrive any day. I also stopped at the Bunny Clark to see if the bushings that I had made (and were with me) fit as they should so I could put them away. From there I went to Portsmouth to pick up a few things before heading home.

At 6:00 PM there was a Maine Coast Cycling Club meeting. The Club has come up with a new design for the new Club kit. So we were trying on different kits to see exactly what clothes we were interesting in putting the new designs on. I was back home at 8:30 PM.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 5F (the air temperature was 2F a couple of hours earlier), the wind was light out of the southeast, the sky was partly clear and the visibility was excellent. By 7:00 AM, the air temperature had risen to 12F, the sky was almost completely overcast and the wind was out of the southeast at ten knots. The air temperature labored out of the cold until it reached a high of just under 29F at 2:00 PM or a little later. The sky was overcast by noon. The first snow started to fall at 1:00 PM. By 3:00 PM, we already had three inches of the fluffy stuff on the ground. By 5:30 PM, we had seven inches of snow. The wind hauled out of the south mid morning and then back to the east and northeast by mid afternoon. At 5:30 PM, the wind had already backed out of the north. Wind speeds never got over twenty knots to my knowledge - unless it was later at night. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 25F (with a low of -2F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 35F (with a low of 14F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 24F (with a low of -7F) today.

After this update, I started working on the Guestletter. I continued through the morning with it. At one point, I had to take a break to write a reference letter for one of our former employees who is trying to get into the Peace Corps. That took about an hour. I posted the completed Guestletter at approximately 2:00 PM. For the rest of the day I worked on getting ready for the Recreational Advisory Panel (to the New England Fishery Management Council) meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts tomorrow. That is going to be an interesting meeting.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 22F, there was no wind, the sky was mostly cloudy, we had ten inches of snow on the ground and the visibility was excellent. The sky was overcast all day. By late afternoon, it was snowing again. It stopped snowing around 7:00 PM. The wind was light out of the southeast most of the day. After sunset, the wind hauled out of the northeast and blew up to fifteen knots. It was blowing northwest by 9:00 PM. The air temperature made it to the freezing mark. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 34F (with a low of 10F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 36F (with a low of 21F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 30F (with a low of 3F) today.

After shoveling snow for an hour and a half, putting this entry up and having breakfast, I headed to Danvers, Massachusetts for the Recreational Advisory Panel meeting. It was a sloppy drive in but still only took me an hour to get there from Ogunquit. I had a second breakfast there (all the bad stuff that I don't make for myself at home).

It was a tough meeting. I went in there knowing in my heart that the recreational anglers did not catch the numbers of fish the statistics portray that we did. I don't believe the catch rates were that high for a number of reasons. We are a long way from getting significant true data on a number of fronts, we never seem to be given enough tools to work with (slot limits, etc.) and we have no way to know what the private recreational sector boats are landing (the numbers they are giving us are very inflated). The methods for collecting data are very flawed. Having said all this, we had to use this flawed data to craft a meaningful motion that would keep the recreational angler in the fishery. We also had to present a motion to the Council that they would accept. And we had to try to insure that the landings for fiscal 2014 would be low enough so that we don't have to go through the same thing again next year or lose our ability to go fishing in the future.

The first motion on the floor was to maintain the status quo. I agree with this in principle but not in process. That failed. Another motion split recreational groups into the for-hire fleet and the private boats. No one really wanted this. I ended up crafting a motion that I didn't like but that I thought complied with the Science Center's determination on the best way to get landings reductions. This was to increase the cod limit to a minimum of 22 inches or less, raise the haddock minimum to 22 inches or less and put a prohibition on landing haddock during the "second wave" or March/April. This, I felt, was the minimum reduction we could take under the recommendations. I was not keen on including the two closed months (it would hurt our business tremendously) but there is going to be a benchmark haddock assessment in July. I'm banking on the fact that they come out of that meeting with higher ACL numbers for haddock on both the commercial and recreational sides so that we can go back to opening these months next year.

The months of March and April are only affected for 2015. So this isn't something we will have to worry about for this season.

We passed several other motions that will go to the full Council meeting coming up next week. The other motions were basically saying that we approve the status quo with respect to the closed areas of the Western Gulf of Maine, the Cashes ledge/Jeffrey Bank closed area and the closed areas I & II on Georges Bank. We also pushed a motion to the Council stating that we are in total disagreement with the number of fishing trips in the private sector recreational fishing fleet as presented to us in the MRIP data.

The Council has to accept these motions in order for the new regulations to take place. We hope they do. That meeting is on Tuesday. The National Marine Fisheries Service have to embrace the motions as well after they are accepted by the Council. So who knows what is going to happen. There is still a bit of wiggle room and a platform available to express your opinions on the motions presented. I am going to the Council meeting on Tuesday to defend our position on the poor data we had to work with and to defend our motions. We'll see what comes of it.

Thursday, February 20, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 32F, there was no wind, the sky was clear, we had a couple more inches of snow on the ground and the visibility was excellent. The sky stayed clear all morning and the early part of the afternoon. After that, the sky quickly became overcast. The air temperature was the salient feature of today's weather. We got a warm break today with air temperatures in the 40s. I looked at the air temperature at 4:00 PM, albeit, a little late, and I saw a reading of 45F. The wind blew out of the southwest at fifteen knots or better off shore. On shore, there was hardly any wind at all, more so in the afternoon. Running on the beach at 5:30 PM, there was hardly any wind at all. The visibility was good or better in haze for the day. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 47F (with a low of 20F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 48F (with a low of 33F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 45F (with a low of 19F) today.

I took a little extra time to write up the this entry yesterday. From there I headed to Ocean Graphics to go over the new "Tackle Breaker" shirts for this season and the new PMC shirts with the new design. That took about an hour. The rest of the day was spent shoveling snow. I had all the shoveling I missed because of the meeting the day before. And I had the extra shoveling due to the three inches of snow on the day of the meeting. Except for a few business decisions, that's about all I did.

Friday, February 21, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 34F, the wind was light out of the east, the sky was overcast, it was raining and the visibility was good. It rained all day but never hard for more than ten minutes or so and not hard at anytime during daylight hours. We had thunder and lightning with some heavier than normal rain between 5:30 PM and 6:00 PM. The wind blew out of the east at fifteen knots all day with higher and lower wind velocities. The wind died down a bit around 6:00 PM after the thunder and lightning went by. The air temperature was very mild again today. I did see 40F at one point but it might have been higher than that. Most of the day the visibility was poor in fog. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 38F (with a low of 32F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 44F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 37F (with a low of 25F) today.

After posting the update, I spent the rest of the day printing day sheets, POB manifest sheets, emergency check list sheets and stocking order check lists. This along with Barnacle Billy's meetings and the like. I drove down to Navtronics to pick up the new sounding machine that I had ordered earlier. I brought this to Dave's Boat Shop with verbal instructions from Tim Greer on installation - the common sense things with this new type of transducer. I also spent some time organizing snow shoveling. And a fair amount of time was spent with the retaining wall project we have going at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. I also had to set up a fire inspection for the boats and compile all our fire extinguishers.

One of the other problems I had was that I heard that our RAP motion the other day didn't reduce haddock landings enough. In other words, there was a good chance that the New England Fishery Management Council (and the National Marine Fisheries Service) was not going to accept the motion. So I spent the day talking to my contemporaries about what they would accept and how we could go further. And I put in calls to the Science Center to see if they would run other models for us. And this they did. The huge problem that the for-hire (party/charter) industry faces is the lack of true landings statistics. They are telling us we landed well more than we did. So the frustration of knowing we really didn't go over the limit and still having to give up more brought out the worst in some who I talked to. And why shouldn't it. That took a lot of my time today. And it shouldn't have. There should be three RAP meetings a year with the first one set up so we can tell regulators what we need for tools to work with. Without all the tools (the scene now) we can't come up with viable options for our industry.

The last thing I did before I gave up work for the day was to talk to Phil Eastman (Eastman's Docks). He had been giving me ideas all day and took on the task of talking to others in the industry while I worked on everything I could. Anyway, our conversation ended a little after 5:00 PM. I cleaned up the office area where I had been at Etc and went home to get ready to go for a run on Ogunquit Beach. It was pouring rain at the time. By the time I got to the beach the rain had slowed to a sprinkle and the fog wasn't as thick as it had been. There was still a little easterly wind blowing. I started running (at 5:45 PM) in the dark and fog down a beach that had softer sand than I expected and not much area because of a nearly high tide. I ran up the beach in the fog but kept noticing flocks of black ducks at the wave line as I went. On the way back these flocks of ducks would take off into the wind, except one that ran across my path wings flapping with the wind up to the snow line. So I ran after this duck and caught it just as it hit the snow. I kept running on my way with this duck in my right hand/arm when the thunder and lightning started up. I was going to take a selfie but I thought better of it and put the duck down. As the rain started up again I wondered if I was going to get hit by a bolt of lightning for my actions. All I got was a soaking downpour just as I got back to the truck. Weird. But that's been my life this winter - weird. Just another example.

Tom Bruyere & the Saint Lawrence River Rats (NY) were thoughtful enough to give me another donation (they donate every year) to support this year's ride in the Pan-Mass Challenge, a bicycle ride to solve the cancer problem. Their donation was a very generous $250.00. The money goes to the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute in Boston, Massachusetts where they have been doing wonderful work under the fund raising arm called the Jimmy Fund. Thanks, all you River Rats, I really appreciate the support!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 32F, there was no wind, the sky was clear with a half moon hanging well over the eastern horizon and the visibility was excellent. The wind picked up later in the morning from the southwest. We had gusts to twenty knots at times but it was mostly above fifteen knots. The sky was clear all day. The air temperature was very mild (I didn't look at the thermometer). The visibility dropped with the increase in southwest wind to a value of good in haze. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 46F (with a low of 26F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 50F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 48F (with a low of 19F) today.

I spent the day running around getting things completed. I worked on recreational measures to some degree, as much as I could. I was over at the Bunny Clark setting up the sounding machine with David Pease and going over the items that have been completed on the work order. I spent some time researching exhaust flaps (It's near impossible to find one for an eight inch exhaust). I called in a monofilament order and stocked a line order that came in yesterday. I hauled the skiff up to Ian Keniston's house so he can work on getting it painted as he and Jared did last winter. And I worked on the retaining wall project at Barnacle Billy's, Etc.

I didn't have any desire to watch the hockey today. I did hear the results.

Sunday, February 23, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 32F, there was no wind, the sky was clear and the visibility seemed very good. It was another mild day in vacationland today. I didn't look at the thermometer until about 3:00 PM but, at that time, the air temperature was 46F. It certainly could have been higher earlier in the day. The wind blew out of the southwest at ten knots or less most of the day. The sky was clear in the morning and mostly overcast in the afternoon. The visibility was very good at best in some haze. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 47F (with a low of 28F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 52F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 47F (with a low of 19F) today.

I stayed in and worked on fishery management issues, the computer and book work. I never left the house except to get a cup of coffee and to run on the beach later this evening. I didn't see a duck this time!

Monday, February 24, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 35F (it was 37F at 4:00 AM), there was no wind, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent. By 8:00 AM, the air temperature had dropped to 31F, the wind was blowing out of the northwest at twenty knots with gusts to twenty-five knots and white caps covered the oceans surface. The wind blew hard out of the northwest all but never really "over blew". Still the wind ushered in colder air. The high temperature might have made it over the freezing mark but I wasn't looking and it really felt cold after four fairly mild days. The visibility remained excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 38F (with a low of 18F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 45F (with a low of 24F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 35F (with a low of 17F) today.

It was manic Monday again today. I ran around, was on the phone all day and at both offices (it seemed continuously). I did find time to go to Portland (NEDDA) to pick up oil and filters for the Bunny Clark's engine.

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

At 5:00 AM EST the air temperature was 18F, the wind was blowing out of the west northwest at seventeen knots, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent. The wind blew out of the west or west northwest all day at about twenty knots more or less. After sunset, the wind came up stronger and then dropped to fifteen knots by 8:00 PM. The sky was clear all day, the air temperature stayed below freezing and the visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 24F (with a low of 14F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 29F (with a low of 22F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 24F (with a low of 14F) today.

I spent the day at the New England Fishery Management Council meeting in Danvers, Massachusetts. It was a long session and not much fun. The motion set up by the Recreational Advisory Panel went forward but the actual regulation for fishing year 2014 (starting May) will be determined by the Regional Office of the National Marine Fisheries Service. And I suspect the rules will be different. I would expect a higher size limit on cod (maybe 23 inches) and more strict measures on haddock.

As far as the habitat questions went, the Western Gulf of Maine closure (Jeffreys Ledge closed area) was voted to continue as is. This recommendation will be forward to NMFS as the most preferred alternative of the selections offered in that area. I spoke for this. Whether this had anything to do with their acceptance of this alternative, I do not know. Probably not much.

The other important question, leaving the Cashes Ledge closed area the way it is, failed. The Council adopted a new set of plans, opening up all of Fippennies and most of Cashes Ledge to commercial fishing. I spoke to keep it the way it is. But those words fell on deaf ears. To me it is such a short term gain for long term damage to the fish stocks there, particularly the halibut population. All isn't lost yet as this has to go through the public comment period and won't be implemented until fishing year 2015. But I was not encouraged by the NMFS regional administrator, John Bullard, giving his nod to the Council on the acceptance of Alternative 4 instead of the status quo. I really don't care if no one is allowed in there. I don't want to see the Cashes Ledge closed area opened to mobile gear.

Tomorrow, they will discuss Georges Bank and areas 1 and 2. And they will probably open those up as well. We have this wonderful year class of haddock that have moved in everywhere, all due to the closed areas. We will surely be wondering where the haddock went in the future. Again, short term gain for long tern short fall.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

At 3:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 10F, the wind was light out of the northwest, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent.

Saturday, March 29, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 43F, there was no wind, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent. The wind started to blow out of the east or northeast late in the morning. But the wind never really picked up until close to sunset. The sky became overcast before noon. It seemed like it was going to rain from about 1:00 PM on. But our first drops of rain started to fall at 6:00 PM. And this was right about the time we started to see northeast winds of fifteen knots, the first significant wind of the day. The wind never got much stronger than that. The visibility was very good all day. I never did see the highest air temperature of the day. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 50F (with a low of 32F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 52F (with a low of 39F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 48F (with a low of 32F) today.

Deb and I arrived back from vacation on Thursday night. We were supposed to come back on the same flight a day earlier. However, we received a flight alert for that day so we moved our arrival time up a day. I hate flying anyway. And high winds aren't fun for even the most seasoned passenger. And it looked like the flight was going to be canceled anyway. But I never did check to see if it actually was.

The Bunny Clark was launched yesterday before noon. The engine started right up. Ian Keniston, Jared Keniston and I spend the rest of the day working on getting the Bunny Clark ready for inspection. At 7:30 AM today, Ian met me at the house where we loaded both trucks up with equipment we needed for the Bunny Clark. Once loaded we brought all of it to the Bunny Clark at the dock. Ian and I spent the rest of the day cleaning the Bunny Clark, working in the engine room and putting her together. By the time we had quit at 3:00 PM, she was much closer to being ready.

The fishery management scene remains a mystery to me for now. Part of this is because I have been out of touch with the public hearing on the closed area situation. So I don't know if the National Marine Fisheries Service has asked for public comment yet. And the recreational fishing regulations for fiscal 2014 (starting May 1, 2014) have not been adopted yet. NMFS rejected the motions put forward by the Recreational Advisory Panel at the last meeting. This left the NMFS to propose their own regulations based on the same data the RAP was given but with newer models to work from. I've heard all kinds of proposals but the fact remains that nothing has been cast in stone yet. When I get more free time I will delve into the closed area situation. When I know anything about the upcoming recreational fishing regulations I will post my comments here.

During the time I was gone I received some very generous donations supporting my work with a cancer cure through the Pan-Mass Challenge. The most significant one was a donation of $1,000.00 through my mother, Bernice (Bunny), representing the Tower Family in loving memory of Dawn Stevens Baston. Dawn passed a few days ago from a cancer she had been fighting for a couple of years. She was one of the most significant individuals working for us at Barnacle Billy's, Inc. She was our book keeper who was more like our resident CPA. No financial situation got by Dawn in the office. She was a genius, a wonderful person and a tremendous business associate. I was hoping for the best this winter but knew things were going to be tough. We were all very unhappy that she passed and that she passed so quickly. The good thing is that her suffering time was limited. That was the only good thing.

I also received donations from Barbara Curran (MA) for $25.00 in memory of my father, Billy Tower; Paul A. Kostopoulos (CT) for a generous $250.00; Mark & Maureen Larocca (NY) also for a generous donation of $250.00. Thank you all so very much for your contributions to cause. Most of you have supported me in this project since I started eight years ago. I certainly appreciate the support!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 37F, the wind was blowing out of the northeast at twenty-five knots in gusts, the sky was overcast, it was raining significantly and the visibility was poor. At 10:00 AM, the air temperature was still 37F, the wind was blowing out of the northeast with gusts to thirty-five knots and seas were at least ten feet. The wind continued to blow out of the northeast until about noon. Gusts continued to thirty-five knots until that time. After noon, the wind backed out of the north and backed off a bit in strength as well. Northerly winds continued at twenty-five to thirty knots on into the night. The rained almost stopped after noon with showers here and there. We never did see any steady rain after that except in intermittent showers. The sky remained solidly overcast. The air temperature never reached the 40 degree mark. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 38F (with a low of 33F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 43F (with a low of 36F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 38F (with a low of 35F) today.

Normally, I take part of Sunday morning off. Not today. I had too much to do today. And do I did. Three hours of the day was spent going over all the life preservers (PFDs), changing lights (most were outdated), tying up whistle lanyards with rubber bands and examining each one for imperfections. The rest of the day was spent emailing, paying bills, sending letter and signing documents. I was done at 6:30 PM. Tomorrow Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston will meet me at the house so we can get all the final items to the Bunny Clark and prepare for USCG inspection at 10:00 AM.

Monday, March 31, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 34F, the wind was blowing out of the north at twenty knots, the sky was overcast, it was raining lightly and the visibility was poor. It rained on and off all morning and into the early afternoon. By about 1:30 PM, the rain had stopped for the day. It was cold but I did not look at a thermometer. It did stay well above freezing. I'm just not sure if we ever saw 40F or not. The wind was strong out of the north to thirty knots in morning and fifteen to twenty knots in the afternoon. The sea was rough but much better by sunset. There was a strong current in the Cove due to the Josiahs River pouring in the back. The visibility had improved to very good by sunset. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 39F (with a low of 32F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 42F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 42F (with a low of 32F) today.

I spent the morning running around and loading the truck. Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston showed up at 7:30 AM. We finished loading the trucks and headed to the Bunny Clark. At 10:00 AM, Lt. Nate Robinson showed up to do the topside inspection on the Bunny Clark. This went smoothly until it came to the anchor light where we had forgotten to hook it up! But five minutes later that was all set. The inspection ended with a man overboard drill where we had to leave the dock and go through the procedures retrieving a fairly heavy manikin. They are making these things more realistic it seems every time we have to do this drill. We were back at the dock after noon with a new Certificate of Inspection from the U.S.C.G. We need to complete a couple more maintenance items which we didn't do today with the weather being what it was. Once those are done we will be heading back to Perkins Cove. I suspect that will happen on Wednesday. Ian and Jared finished for the day after Lt. Robinson left.

The rest of the day was spent on the phone, at the restaurant (working on getting the water turned on) and running around in the truck.

We are still working with the regional National Marine Fisheries Service office on the upcoming cod and haddock regulations. As soon as some decision is reached, I will let you know. Public comment on the proposed opening of the closed areas will take place this fall. Again, I will keep you informed.

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 34F, the wind was blowing out of the north northeast at twenty knots, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The wind blew out of the north with gusts as high as twenty-five knots early. By noon, the wind had dropped substantially and had hauled out of the northeast. The wind was about ten knots at that time. There was barely any wind for the rest of the day. Seas were still in the six foot range. Surfers were out all along the coast in the afternoon. The air temperature got up over 50F. The sky stayed almost cloudless all day. The visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 50F (with a low of 28F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 47F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 54F (with a low of 29F) today.

I ran around picking up supplies for half of the day. Some of my stops included Surfland Bait & Tackle in Newbury, Massachusetts, Saco Bay Tackle Company in Saco, Maine and Navtronics in York, Maine. I had a lot of work to do at the restaurants. And I was at the Bunny Clark quite a bit.

Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston worked on the Bunny Clark all day. Their worked included getting every thing on the boat and ready except for the fishing equipment.

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 32F, the wind was very light out of the northeast, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The wind blew out of the northeast with gusts as high as fifteen knots in the morning. Sustained winds were about ten knots. By noon, the wind had already hauled out of the southeast but only very light in velocity. There was just enough southeast wind to give a direction for the rest of the day and on into the night. The sky was clear most of the day. The air temperature as a bit cool today. I didn't look at a thermometer. The visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 42F (with a low of 25F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 46F (with a low of 37F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 56F (with a low of 24F) today.

Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston met me at the house at 7:30 AM. I had already gathered what I needed and had it in the truck. We left together to drive to the Bunny Clark at Kittery Point Yacht Yard in Eliot, Maine. Once the boat was warmed up and I had thanked the crew at "Patton's", Ian and I took off down the river to head to Ogunquit. Jared took my truck back to Ogunquit. It was a nice ride to Perkins Cove. The wind blew up to fifteen knots in gusts but it was mostly fairly calm with a small chop over sea swells of four to six feet. The boat ran well. We pulled into Perkins Cove at around 10:00 AM.

Jared and Ian spent the day getting the Bunny Clark ready for fishing. I worked for just a little bit of time in the engine room. Mostly I was in the office at Barnacle Billy's, Etc. until noon. At noon, Tim Greer (from Navtronics) met the three of us on the Bunny Clark to go over the specifics about the new CHIRP sounding machine. He spent the better part of an hour with us. Afterward, we took the boat three miles off shore to test the new machine out. By the time we were done we had a good understanding of the machine, its capabilities and how to get the most out of the sounding machine part of it (it also had a GPS and track plotter associated with it). We still need to craft sounding selections in a preference order for those who use it in certain ways. That will come a little later.

We quit for the day at 5:00 PM.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 28F, there was no wind, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The wind stayed light and variable in direction all day. The wind never broached the ten knot mark and the ocean was flat with light wind ripples all day. The sky was clear or nearly so all day. The air temperature topped out over the 50F mark. The visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 50F (with a low of 25F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 54F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 51F (with a low of 21F) today.

I spent the day running around, getting things completed for both the boat and the restaurants. And it took me all day to do it. I finished at about 5:30 PM.

Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston worked on getting the Bunny Clark ready for fishing. That took most of the day as well. They were done at 4:00 PM.

So, as it stands right now, the Bunny Clark is ready to go except for the immediate essentials. Barnacle Billy's restaurant, the original one, will open at 11:00 AM tomorrow morning.

Meanwhile, Phil Eastman (Eastman's Docks) tells me that there are plenty of haddock out there right now. They are bigger fish, for the most part, than last year. This is good as we are starting off the season with minimum size limit of 21 inches. I can't wait to get out there myself. If it weren't for the restaurants, I would try to get out fishing with Phil!

Friday, April 4, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 29F, the wind was very light from the north northeast, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The sky stayed clear all morning and part of the afternoon. Late afternoon saw overcast skies. It started to rain between 6 and 7:00 PM. The wind was light northeast all morning. By afternoon the wind had hauled out of the southeast. By 6:00 PM, it was blowing about fifteen knots out of the southeast along the shore. I don't believe the wind ever got any stronger than fifteen knots. The air temperature got into the mid 40s. The visibility went from excellent in the morning to fair/poor around sunset (in fog and haze). The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 43F (with a low of 25F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 44F (with a low of 37F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 49F (with a low of 24F) today.

The whole day was centered around the opening day of Barnacle Billy's restaurant. I worked in the office during the morning, took a break and then came in before noon to start working in the restaurant. It was "old home week" this day with many many regular customers. It was busy but not so busy that you were worried something was going to get out of hand. We didn't break any opening day records in either sales in general or for specific items but we were close. I ended up leaving at 9:00 PM. My brother, Court, closed. He ended up getting out of there at 11:00 PM.

The nicest surprise was seeing my sister, Meg, working. So many customers love my sister. I just think we do so much better when she is on the floor. When she isn't there a lot of what I do is answer questions directed about Meg (where is she, how is she doing, how is her daughter's young son, etc.)! So it's nice to have her there for many reasons, not the least of which being that it's just nice to have her at Barnacle Billy's. I'm much more comfortable when she is.

Saturday, April 5, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 39F, the wind was light out of the east, the sky was overcast, there was a drizzle going on and the visibility over the ocean was fair in haze and offshore fog. We had overcast skies, hazy wet conditions (but no rain) through most of the morning. Clearing skies were evident by 11:00 AM. However, air temperatures remained on the cool side. The wind hauled out of the northwest by mid-morning but the stronger winds didn't arrive until after noon. We started seeing the westerly winds around 1:00 PM. Before sunset, westerly winds were blowing at fifteen to twenty knots. The visibility ranged from fair to poor in the morning to excellent over the ocean in the afternoon. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 53F (with a low of 36F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 54F (with a low of 38F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 50F (with a low of 34F) today.

This was the second day where it was all Barnacle Billy's restaurant for me. The Bunny Clark lay idle at the dock all day.

Sunday, April 6, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 34F, the wind was blowing out of the northwest at fifteen knots, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. The wind blew out of the west northwest at fifteen to twenty knots all morning and into the afternoon. By 2:00 PM, the wind was already backing off. By sunset, there was hardly any wind. The sky was clear all day. The air temperature broached the 50F mark. The visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 53F (with a low of 31F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 59F (with a low of 35F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 53F (with a low of 28F) today.

I spent the day at the restaurant. I only worked on a couple of Bunny Clark items.

In the meantime, Lester & Phil Eastman (Eastman's Fishing Fleet) supported my cancer fund raising with the Pan-Mass Challenge by donating a very generous $500.00. Until this year they supported another cyclist in the same event for many years in a row. I understand that that individual in not participating this year. But they wanted to keep supporting the Dana-Farber Cancer Institute. I am honored that they chose me to do so. They are a good group, the Eastman's and a top notch operation providing anglers so many fishing opportunities that it makes it difficult for any other party/charter operation to compete. Thank you very much for you help. I appreciate it very much!

Monday, April 7, 2014

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 35F, there wasn't a breath of wind, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. Later in the morning, high thin clouds changed the sky from bright blue to a milky blue color. By noon, the sky was overcast. The sky remained overcast into the night. There was no wind for almost all of the daylight hours. The ocean was flat mirror calm until about 3:00 PM when a light breeze from the south started to ruffle the surface. But there was no wind of any strength until well into the night (my night ended at 8:00 PM). The air temperature was mild with air temperatures in the low 50s.The visibility was very good to excellent all day. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 55F (with a low of 28F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 59F (with a low of 38F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 59F (with a low of 26F) today.

I spent the day working on the engine of the Bunny Clark (completing all the pre-season stuff like filter changes, oil, zincs, etc.) and getting things ready for the beginning of the season. I would have completed all this yesterday but there was an 80% chance I was going to cancel Tuesday's trip by the Sunday morning so I held off and spent my time at the restaurant instead. And some of the Bunny Clark stuff I was going to defer until next week as there wasn't a dire need to work on this right away. The rest of the day was spent working on Bunny Clark orders, day sheets, picking up the satellite phone (had to update the software) and cleaning up a bit. I was done by 6:30 PM.

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and I were supposed to run the first trip of the season today, a marathon trip. Yesterday, the National Weather Service issued gale and heavy precipitation warnings for last night into this morning and afternoon. The rainfall total was predicted to exceed 1.5 inches. And the inshore marine forecast was predicting southeast winds of twenty-five to thirty knots with gusts to forty knots and seas of eight to eleven feet. This isn't too bad if you start with a calm ocean morning with a wind picking up out there. If it did blow you would have the wind on your tail coming home. However, with big seas on the nose at the onset, heavy rain in the dark getting here and a very slow ride to the grounds, it didn't seem worth it to me. So I canceled the trip early yesterday morning.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 43F, the wind was blowing out of the southeast at twenty to twenty-five knots (seas at the closest weather buoy - 8 miles off shore - were six feet every five seconds), the sky was overcast, it was pouring rain and the visibility over the ocean was fair to poor in precipitation,haze and some fog. The fog rolled in and out all day. At 4:00 PM, the fog rolled in for good and was so thick along the coast (with zero wind at the time) that I would have been afraid of riding a bicycle on the same road with approaching cars. The wind remained light and variable after 8:00 AM with a good sized sea crashing up on the rocks all day. Off shore it blew twenty to thirty knots out of the southeast until after 8:00 AM with seas of nine or ten feet every eight seconds. By 10:00 AM, the wind had dropped to just about zero. By noon, the wind had hauled out of the southwest and blew up to twenty knots. The sky was overcast (or appeared so with the fog) all day. The visibility remained poor until I went to bed at 8:00 PM. The air temperature was mild all day. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 53F (with a low of 40F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 65F (with a low of 45F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 61F (with a low of 41F) today.

I worked at the restaurant all morning but left at 12:45 PM. At 1:00 PM, I met Ian Keniston and Jared Keniston to work on the Bunny Clark to finish the boat up for tomorrow's trip. This included changing fuel filters, topping off the gear oil, topping off the reservoir for the hauler, going over the new sounding machine again, labeling the breaker panel with the new changes, finishing the engine cleaning, loading bait and ice, going over procedure s and making sure all the fishing gear was in order. We ran out of hydraulic oil for the hauler so I had to take a trip to NAPA. We finished at about 5:00 PM. From there I worked on orders and order sheets for Barnacle Billy's. I went home around 6:30 PM and stopped working for the day. My brother, Court, closed the restaurant.

And regulations for recreational groundfishing for fiscal fishing year 2014 (starting May 1, 2014 until April 31, 2015) still remains up in the air. In fact, regulations may not be ready by May 1. To my knowledge, the talk is centering around a higher minimum size for cod, a 21 inch minimum size on haddock, lower bag limits for cod and a bag limit for haddock. Also, it seems inevitable that there will be a closure for cod and haddock retention from September 1 through the end of October. This actually means that you won't be able to keep cod from September 1 until April 16. Again, this is a proposal and not the new regulations. It is something that is very real and could happen. Honestly, with the state of the cod at this juncture, I don't believe there should be any directed cod fishery (commercial or recreational) on the east coast until the spawning population builds. Also, I have to tell you that I fought all winter to bring in better regulations that would allow the party/charter business to thrive into the future. But it looks like most of my ideas are going to be rejected. I'll let you know when I know for sure.

The new orange PMC shirts came out yesterday. My mother donated $25.00 to get one today. She didn't have to; she has already donated more than her fair share this year already. But she insisted. So another $25.00 was added to the donation list for my Pan-Mass Challenge ride in early August. We both agreed that it's a wonderful cause.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and Captain Jared Keniston ran the extreme day trip today, our first trip of the 2014 fishing season. This was the first time in thirty-one years that I have stayed ashore for the first Bunny Clark trip.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 40F, the wind was light out of the west northwest, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. On the fishing grounds, the wind blew lightly out of the northwest all morning. There was no chop but sea swells were three to five feet. After noon, the wind blew up to ten knots. Fifteen minutes before heading home, the wind freshened to about twenty knots, more than that about ten miles from shore. Seas were chops of two to three feet but would have been larger had they had the wind offshore that they had closer to shore. The sky was clear all day. The air temperature was mild. The visibility was twenty miles or better. The surface water reached a high temperature of 38.9F on the fishing grounds. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 53F (with a low of 31F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 59F (with a low of 41F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 52F (with a low of 25F) today.

The fishing was excellent overall, good to very good for legal landings. Had the same regulations applied this year as they were last year (at this time), many more haddock would have been brought home by anglers. As it was, there were still plenty of haddock brought in. But the ratio of sub-legal haddock (haddock under 21 inches) to legal haddock was about 2 to 1. That was our average over a whole Bunny Clark season in 2013. I'm sure the average would have been higher last season if haddock was the only groundfish that we targetted. Most legal fish landed today were haddock. They were the target species (cod retention starts on April 16 this year). Legal landings also included one redfish. They anchored once but drift fished most of the day. All terminal gear worked well.

Alec Levine (on a bus-man's holiday), Jackie Paskal (ME) and Jason Peters (MA) tied for high hook with eight or nine legal haddock each. Jackie caught the most haddock overall. This really means that she caught the most sub-legal haddock of anyone. And she does know how to catch haddock! Jackie fished with bait but I believe Alec and Jason fished with jigs almost exclusively.

Mario Jesus (MA) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 5.75 pound haddock. The second largest fish was a haddock of 5.25 pounds caught by Jeremy Cross (ME). Russell Mott (ME) and Adam Cross tied for the third largest fish. Both anglers caught haddock of 5 pounds each.

Other Angler Highlights: Jason Peters caught the first legal fish of the Bunny Clark fishing season with a haddock of 4 pounds. He was fishing on the pulpit on the bow. Mike Brothers (MA) caught a 4.5 pound haddock that Ian weighed. Ken McLaughlin (ME) landed a 4 pound haddock. Ken didn't fish much in the afternoon as he left his extra clothes ashore. No one is ever prepared for the colder than normal conditions on the ocean during a Maine spring. It's always best to bring more layers. Tyler Cross (ME) boated a 4.75 pound haddock as his largest fish. Jackie Pascal landed the hard luck award for losing two rigs.

My sister, Meg, donated a very generous $1,500.00 to my involvement in the Pan-Mass Challenge cancer fund raising cycling event. The donation was given is special memory of our father, Billy, and the daffodils. My sister is always so very generous to me in everything she does. It's a status I could never attain in reverse. Thank you so very much Meg. I appreciate this more than you know.

Thursday, April 10, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and I ran the marathon trip today.

At 3:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 28F, the wind was blowing out of the west at ten knots or better, the sky was clear and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. It was a cooler than normal ride out to the fishing grounds. I found myself putting on gloves and taking them off for the whole ride out. When we got to the grounds my hands were substantially warmer as, I'm sure, the influence of the surface water temperature took hold. The wind blew out of the west up to fifteen knots closer to shore on the ride out, died once we got to our first fishing spot and then hauled out of the west southwest by 8:00 AM. As the day progressed, the wind direction moved counter-clockwise until the wind was out of the south southwest quadrant for the ride home. The last two hours of fishing saw south southwest winds of twenty knots and three foot chops. These chops increased to about five feet on average for the ride home. Sustained winds on that ride were about twenty-five knots. The sky was clear all day. The air temperature was cool (40s I'm sure). The visibility was just about twenty miles. The surface water reached a high temperature of 40.6F on the fishing grounds. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 50F (with a low of 26F) today. In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 60F (with a low of 34F) today. Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 63F (with a low of 21F) today.

I covered a lot of ground today. We spent the first hour or more looking for pollock in the deeper water. We found none. In fact, during that time we did not put a thing in the boat. Once we got to the shallower water we found haddock. And we seemed to find them everywhere. I also spent another hour looking around in some new (for me) territory with very little success.

The fishing was very good to excellent overall, good for legal landings. And one spot was an absolute fishing-fest on the haddock. For one hour, you could not get to bottom without getting a haddock or two as soon as you got there. The only problem was that most were sub-legal (under 21 inches). Most legal fish landed were haddock. However the ratio of sub-legal haddock to legal haddock was almost exactly 4:1. That is a very high average when you consider you have to catch five haddock to keep one! But that's what it was. Most of our sub-legal haddock were caught in the afternoon. The ratio of keepers was much better in the morning. Legal landings also included two redfish. There were about thirty sub-legal cod caught. Not a one of these cod were big enough to make the 19" inch minimum size limit. We also caught a sub-legal pollock and a couple of sculpins. We drift fished, used the sea anchor and anchored. Anchoring worked the best for us. All terminal gear worked well but bait caught the most haddock today.

I believe that Tom Murphy (VT) might have taken the boat record for most haddock caught during a single trip on the Bunny Clark yesterday - if we had kept track. The record is forty-nine by Justin Morton (NH) the first year Jared Keniston started working for me. I believe Ian Keniston beat Justin a couple years later but we lost count after forty-six. I know he had over fifty that day. And I believe Tom had over fifty today. But we didn't start counting in the morning. I do know exactly the total count of legal haddock and sub-legal haddock caught. But I can't officially say that Tom beat the record. Suffice it say, Tom caught the most fish by far. And most of these fish, by far, (almost all) were haddock. Tom won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 6 pound haddock. This is the largest haddock of the Bunny Clark fishing season so far. I took a picture of Tom with his long lean fish (which should have been a trophy had it been filled out more). This digital image appears on the left.

Scott Cross (ME) was high hook with the most legal fish of the trip. His count total was eight, all haddock. He also won the boat pool for the second largest fish with the second largest fish, a 5.25 pound haddock. Adam Cross (ME) and Tyler Cross (ME) tied for the third largest fish of the trip. Both anglers caught one 5 pound haddock each. Frank Noble (ME) landed the hard luck award for fishing all morning on the stern (jigging) for not many fish. As soon as he started fishing in the bow, he caught fish. And he caught a lot. I gave Frank the hard luck award for his poorer than normal showing in the morning. There was really no good reason to give anyone a hard luck award today but Frank was the closest!

I believe that the majority, if not all, of the haddock we saw today over-wintered in the general area where we caught them. Since the haddock have come back, there has been a local stock of fish that seems to always be in the Western Gulf of Maine closed area. These fish are thinner than the spawning stock of haddock we normally see a little later in the year. And some have worms, which is a good sign they are staying put in some moderately hard spot. Also, almost all of our haddock were caught on the bottom hook which is very typical of resident haddock. The reason I write about this now is that I am wondering if we will see recruitment of the spawning stock of fish into this area as well. If we do, I suspect the fish will be of a later year class and larger as well. I guess we will see but I'm hoping for the best!

Tom Murphy did me a solid today by donating $40.00 to my Pan-Mass Challenge cancer cure bike ride. Tom has always been good about this over the years and I certainly appreciate his help. Thanks so much!

Friday, April 11, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and Captain Jared Keniston ran the extreme day trip today.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 43F, the wind was blowing out of the south at seven knots, the sky was overcast and the visibility over the ocean was very good. On the fishing grounds, the wind blew out of the southwest at five to ten knots with seas in chops of a foot or less over long sea swells of two to four feet. The air temperature was mild (the air temperature got up to 70F in Ogunquit, a new high for the year). The sky was clear. The visibility was very good. The sky became overcast at 6:00 PM with light rain following afterward. The rain was so intermittent it was as if there was no rain at all (except the roads were wet). The sea water surface temperature reached a high of 39.4F. The air temperature stayed mild all night. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 69F (with a low of 42F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 69F (with a low of 48F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 72F (with a low of 43F).

The fishing and catching of legal fish was excellent today, one of our best Bunny Clark haddock trips ever. Most legal fish landed were haddock, by far. The sub-legal haddock to keeper haddock ratio was about 4.5 to 1, or very high. Legal landings also included two redfish. There were also seventeen sub-legal sized cod and two sub-legal pollock returned to the ocean alive. They drift fished all day. Everyone used bait.

I believe Tom Murphy (VT) was high hook with twenty legal but I'm not one hundred percent sure of this. He did, however, break the Bunny Clark record for most haddock caught during a single trip. His count was over double the previous record! Steve Shugars did the same on the haddock count but caught ten fish shy of Tom's total. In fact, I believe that every angler (but one) aboard today beat the old Bunny Clark boat record. So it was quite a day.

Nick Marchant (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 5.75 pound haddock. The second largest fish was a 4.25 pound haddock caught by Steve Shugars (ME). Steve Shugars tied for third place with Tom Murphy. Both anglers caught a 4 pound haddock each. Brian Bartlett (ME) landed the hard luck award for being the sole hurler on the trip. He did recover in the afternoon to take part in the fishing.

Saturday, April 12, 2014

Captain Jared Keniston and Alec Levine were supposed to be running the full day trip today. We couldn't go because we had not a single angler sign up for the trip! Ouch! I had to give Jared a hug when he walked off the dock this morning, explaining that it was really me, not him, that was the real reason.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 45F, there was no wind, the sky was cloudless and the visibility over the ocean was excellent. There was no wind in the morning. The afternoon gave us westerly winds ashore and southerly winds at the closest weather buoy eight miles off. There wasn't much wind in either place. The sky remained clear all day. The visibility was very good. The air temperature reached 65F in Ogunquit (at least). The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 66F (with a low of 45F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 69F (with a low of 49F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 68F (with a low of 33F).

I spent the day working at Barnacle Billy's and completing some much needed office work. I worked on the Bunny Clark engine chasing down a fuel leak for part of the morning. I had been trying to find it the last two days. I found it today. It had been bothering me until today, wondering if it had potential serious implications - I always think the worst. Luckily, it did not.

The NCAA National D-1 Men's Hockey Championship was a great game tonight. I only was able to watch the third period because of work. But that last period was a really fun game to watch. And to see Union win it's first title (against the number one seed, Minnesota) was special. One of my best friend's son went there and played hockey for Union a while back. So I was mentally invested in Union from the start. They seem to have a good system, the right coach and the right attitude.

Sunday, April 13, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and Captain Jared Keniston ran the extreme day trip today.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 47F, the wind was light out of the east, the sky was overcast and the visibility over the ocean was just shy of excellent. At 9:30 AM, it started to rain, the air temperature dropped to 38F and I was getting soaked riding with seven other riders on bicycles on puddle filled roads, the water wicking off the wheels of the riders ahead of me putting road muck, grime and dirt on this old face. The rain had ended at noon. And, except for the part I was riding in, was intermittent at best. The remained overcast for the day. The wind blew out of the northeast up to fifteen knots making it raw along coastal Ogunquit.

On the fishing grounds, the wind never blew more than five knots. At times there was no wind at all. When there was wind it was light from the southeast. The sky was overcast all day. They did have some rain but it came in the form of light sprinkles. There wasn't even enough rain to don oil gear. There was a long rolling sea swell of about two to three feet. The air temperature was mild. The visibility was very close to excellent. The surface water temperature reached a high of 41.0 F. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 48F (with a low of 39F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 63F (with a low of 45F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 52F (with a low of 37F).

The fishing for haddock was the best it has ever been (in the modern era, circa the last thirty years). We may have had trips in the past where we caught more haddock. There have been trips where we caught more pounds of haddock. But for catching haddock, it couldn't have been any better. From start until finish it was a fish a drop, sometimes two. Most haddock went back. There was a return ratio of over four sub-legal haddock before you could keep one. So out of 5.5 haddock caught, one of those could be put in the boat to bring home. Most of the haddock were nineteen to twenty inches in overall length (minimum legal size is 21 inches). Along with the haddock were three redfish to bring home. Sub-legal fish, besides the haddock, included twenty-eight cod, three pollock, a sculpin and two wolffish. They drift fished for the trip. Bait, jigs and flies all worked well.

Ian or Jared could not tell me who was high hook. Nor could they give me an exact figure on the release count on haddock - a good problem to have I guess. No one counted their fish either. Although the crew did keep a weather eye on the individual haddock count for boat record purposes. It's a fact that had the record not been broken on the Steve Shugars trip on Friday, it would have been broken today. Lauren Saracina (ME) won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 6.5 pound haddock. This is also the largest haddock of the 2014 Bunny Clark fishing season as well (so far). Ian took a picture of Lauren with her haddock. This digital image appears on the right. The second largest fish was a 5.5 pound haddock caught by Lynn Tandy (NH). Matt Puffer (ME) and Joe Saracina, Sr. (ME) tied for third with several 5 pound haddock each. And I was told to give Matt an honorable mention.

Other Angler Highlights: Jake Longley (ME) caught a 4.75 pound haddock. Tony Saracina (ME) caught a double haddock catch that Ian recorded and weighed. These two fish weighed 4.75 pounds and 3.25 pounds, both fish caught on the same line at the same time. Gene Breault (NH) landed the hard luck award for getting a touch of the mal de mer.

Another wonderful person was added to the donation roster today supporting my upcoming ride for a cancer cure with the Pan-Mass Challenge. Steve Keegan (ME) was the donor. His contribution was $25.00. Thanks so much, Steve. I hope you enjoy the shirt!

Monday, April 14, 2014

The trip for today never got off the ground. With not a single inquiry about today's trip, the Bunny Clark remains in Perkins Cove with the wooden anchors out.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 44F, there wasn't a breath of wind, the ocean was flat calm, the sky was clear and the visibility was very good over the ocean. There was no wind until noon. After noon, the wind blew out of the south to twenty knots, from nothing to twenty knots. That hasn't happened in a few years. It kept blowing out of the south with gusts up to twenty-five knots along the shore. The sky was cloudless early in the daylight hours, a milky clear sky after noon and a mostly cloudy sky for the rest of the day. The sky never did become overcast. The air temperature reached the 70F mark and was even warmer away from the ocean with some readings to 80F, our warmest day of 2014. The visibility was good in some haze over the ocean. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 65F (with a low of 37F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 75F (with a low of 57F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 79F (with a low of 38F).

I spent most of the day in the office at Barnacle Billy's. I had decisions to make on staff, future orders and financial issues. Nothing bad. Just things that needed to be dealt with today. I did spend an hour on the Bunny Clark getting part numbers off the fuel pump so I could make sure I was getting the right part to fix a minor fuel leak tomorrow. And I did spend quite a bit of time dealing with normal restaurant operations and the customers who dined there (the best part of my day). I worked straight through from 5:00 AM until 6:30 PM.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

We never did have to cancel today's marathon trip. It died of attrition. In fact, no one signed up. And why would they? Gale warnings and lots of rain. I wouldn't want to go either. And I'm glad we didn't. Inquiries? Yes. Committments? No.

We are canceling Wednesday's trip as well. Gale warnings are up for winds out of the north and northwest, the direction we would be heading on the way back to Perkins Cove.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 55F, the wind was blowing out of the south at eighteen knots, the sky was overcast and the visibility was very good over the ocean. The sky stayed overcast all morning with a feeling of rain. By mid morning we had fog rolling in and out. It was gone from Perkins Cove before noon. It was misty damp around noon but started to rain at 1:00 PM. Light at first, the rain became steady by late afternoon. The rain continued into the night. The wind was out of the south all day but was gusting up to knots by 4:00 PM. Southerly wind gusts were common until about 6:00 PM. The air temperature stayed in the 50s all day. The visibility was mostly poor. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 55F (with a low of 41F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 68F (with a low of 41F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 64F (with a low of 33F).

Most of the day was spent working at Barnacle Billy's restaurant. We weren't very busy so it gave me another opportunity to complete projects in the office there.

An hour of the day (besides the calls back and forth to Power Products in Portland), was spent fixing the fuel leak. The problem was the pressure equalizer on the Bosch fuel pump. There was a pin hole leak in the diaphram that would drip fuel at an idle to the tune of a drip every four or five seconds. This wasn't something that would hinder taking anglers fishing. But you always wonder if it will get worse. And you have to take precautions to contain the fuel. So, besides oil pads in the engine room, I had placed a low plastic fillet box along the oil pan to catch the dripping fuel. That was until Skip Dunning (from NEDDA, Portland, Maine) showed up with a new pressure equalizer. It took Skip about fifteen minutes to replace the item. And the old one was clearly rusted in the place near where I saw the drip originating. This item was on the block side of the fuel pump where I couldn't even get a mirror in to see exactly where it was leaking. And I could have changed the piece myself except that I wanted the opinion of a professional. And if it turned out to be fuel lines as well, I didn't have the copper washers or the expertise to be confident enough to complete the job properly. Anyway, another problem solved. We will take another look during and after tomorrow's marathon trip to make sure.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014, The First Day of Cod Possession by Recreational Anglers

There was a trip planned for today but I canceled it yesterday because of poor driving conditions getting here through the night and because of the gale warnings up for this morning. We are having a hard time getting this fishing business off the ground this year. But it reminds me of the earlier years on the Bunny Clark. And it certainly isn't the windiest start to a Bunny Clark season by a long shot. It's just not as good a start as we have seen in the last five years.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 30F, the wind was blowing out of the northwest at twenty-five knots (more or less), the sky was overcast, there was an inch of snow on the ground and the visibility was excellent over the ocean. The sky cleared before 7:00 AM and remained cloudless most of the morning. The afternoon gave us mostly sunny skies. I didn't keep track of the clouds. The wind blew out of the northwest or west northwest up to thirty knots all morning. By the afternoon, it had backed off somewhat to fifteen knots or so which remained into the night. The visibility was excellent over the ocean. The air temperature reached at least to 41F but it seemed colder most of the day with the wind. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 41F (with a low of 27F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 45F (with a low of 31F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 39F (with a low of 25F).

Except for cleaning up the engine room a little bit, running the engine, shoveling snow off the ramp and clearing the Bunny Clark's deck of snow, I spent all day at Barnacle Billy's restaurant dreaming about going fishing tomorrow.

Thursday, April 17, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and I ran the marathon trip today.

At 3:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 30F, the wind was blowing out of the northeast at twenty knots (more or less), the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent over the ocean. The air temperature dropped to 27F, I was informed, at around 6:00 AM. It was raw along the coast with high temperatures only reaching about 40F. The sky was clear all day. The wind blew on shore at twenty knots or better all day.

On the fishing grounds, after a comfortable ride out, the wind picked up along with the seas. The wind was out of the northeast with a lilt from the east. Seas were chops of about seven feet or more during the day. We did have one queer one that showed a twelve foot difference on the sounding machine. Needless to say, the wind and seas restricted our mobility and kept us in the same general area all day. The air temperature was cold with the wind and the lower than normal air temperatures. I only took my gloves off to untangle lines. A difficult tangle was hard on the fingers to say the least. The sky was clear all day. The visibility was excellent. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 40F (with a low of 22F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 40F (with a low of 32F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 46F (with a low of 18F).

The fishing was tough with the wind and seas. We had no problem getting on the fish. We had no problem finding fish. Most anglers had a problem stabilizing themselves during the fishing. And it was hard to hold a rod still while bait fishing. The catching was excellent, not quite "as good as it gets" but close. Most fish caught were haddock. In fact it was almost all that we caught. Because of the new size limit (twenty-one inches minimum Federal limit), we released 6.8 sub-legal haddock before we were able to keep one. This is the biggest difference overall for a trip this year so far. And I truly believe it's because the water temperature isn't a couple degrees warmer. The haddock were everywhere. However, we didn't stop until we found a column of spawning haddock. This gave us a better catch rate and, I was thinking, bigger fish. I still can't believe how many haddock can be found where there were none just a few years ago - or it seems like just a few. Legal landings also included six cod. We released a few small pollock, three small redfish and three wolffish. We anchored for every spot. All terminal gear worked well but bait gave the angler the edge on the haddock.

It was the Ray Westermann (MA) show today. If you had ever wondered why Ray has been the Bunny Clark's Bait Fisherman of the Year for so many years in a row, you would have surely figured it out today. He officially broke the Bunny Clark boat record for the largest number of haddock caught by a single angler on a trip. It had only been broken less than a week ago by Tom Murphy (VT), more than doubling the previous record total. Today Ray beat it with a total count of 119 fish. That is going to be hard to best. Ray also took our first "Ace" of the year. An "Ace" occurs when an angler catches the three largest fish of the trip. These three fish included a 6 pound haddock, a 5 pound cod and a 4.5 pound haddock. In most Bunny Clark seasons it is unusual to record three, four or five Aces in total. During the 2012 Bunny Clark fishing season, there wasn't a single angler who landed an Ace. To get an Ace so early in the season (his first trip) when there were so many similar sized small legal fish being landed on a trip is pretty amazing to me. With his two biggest fish he won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, the 6 pound haddock. And he also captured the boat pool for the second largest fish with his cod. Ray was also high hook for the most legal fish for the trip and for any trip this year to date. To top if all off, he brought the best lunch aboard as well! It was definitely a good day to be Ray (or anyone who was offered one of his sandwiches)!

Other Angler Highlights: Bob Mayer (ME) caught his biggest haddock, a 4 pounder, late in the day. Daisy Britt (NY), on her maiden voyage aboard the Bunny Clark, also caught a 4 pound haddock, almost the first fish in the boat! Gerry Gauthier (NH) landed the only double keeper catch of haddock today. His double included a 3.5 pounder and a 3.75 pounder, both fish caught on the same line at the same time. Quentin Tonelli (ME) caught his first wolffish today. Jon Griffin (MA) and Paul Smegal (MA) also caught a wolffish each. And all but two anglers caught the most haddock they have ever caught on a deep sea fishing trip. One of the exceptions was Dave Martin (NH) who booked a room in the Hotel Bunny Clark for the day during the early part of the fishing and never appeared on deck until we got back to the dock. What he did land was the hard luck award in the high hurler category. Ouch!

I was complemented today with three angler donations supporting my cancer fund raising drive with the Pan-Mass Challenge. The anglers and their donations included Ray Westermann for $50.00, Patrick Fama (NY) for $25.00 and Jon Griffin for a generous $100.00. Thank you all for the continuing help today and over the last few years. As time goes, I think I appreciate this more than I ever did before.

On the left is a shot of the guy who was supposed to be fishing with us today but who (I was told) thought it might be a little too rough. There was a time......

Friday, April 18, 2014

Captain Ian Keniston and Captain Jared Keniston ran the marathon trip today.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 28F, the wind was light out of the northeast, the sky was clear and the visibility was excellent over the ocean. The wind breezed up to fifteen knots or better out of the northeast by 8:30 AM. After that the wind died out to a very light easterly breeze for the rest of the daylight hours. The air temperature was cool/raw all day. I don't believe the air temperature ever made it over 45F. The sky became partly cloudy by late morning, overcast after noon.

On the fishing grounds, the wind blew out of the east at five to ten knots. Seas were swells of two to four feet under a chop that ranged from much less than a foot to a foot. The sky was overcast for the whole period of time spent on the grounds. The air temperature was milder than the trip yesterday but it was still cool. The visibility ranged from fifteen to twenty miles. The surface water temperature reached a high of 39.2F on the fishing grounds. The high air temperature at the Portland International Jetport, Portland, Maine was 42F (with a low of 24F). In Boston, Massachusetts the high was 42F (with a low of 31F). Concord, New Hampshire's high temperature was 47F (with a low of 19F).

The fishing and catching was very good to excellent today. The haddock was the target species today. And, like it has been, there were plenty of them and plenty of them were under the legal size limit of twenty-one inches. Ian estimated a cull of six or seven short haddock for every legal fish in the boat. I believe Ray Washburn (VT) caught over forty haddock and kept nine, which was by far the best average of any angler today. On the other hand, it was either Guy Hesketh (CT) or Jim Feeney (MA) caught thirty sub-legal haddock before they finally boated a keeper. They would have caught as many fish as we did on the marathon trip yesterday if they had had the same amount of time. It was a very similar day in all aspects (except the weather). Of course, most legal fish landed were haddock. Legal landings also included two cod and two redfish. Sub-legal fish (not counting the haddock) included about twenty-six cod, three pollock and a handful of sculpins. They anchored and drift fished. Bait, jigs and flies all worked equally well today. Jim Feeney fished with a single jig today and caught just as many haddock as anyone else.

Ray Washburn was high hook with twelve legal, nine of which were haddock. His largest fish was a 4.5 pound haddock, the second largest fish of the trip. My old friend, Clive Roberts (NH), won the boat pool for the largest fish with the largest fish, a 6 pound haddock. [Clive used to go fishing with me when I ran the boat every day, many moons ago. In many ways I wish we had those days back. For one thing, we had many more fish. For another, knowing what I know now (of course this is fantasy), I would have railed against the system that was allowing the fishing to go down hill. Would I have done any good? Probably not, the system is too mired in politics. But I would have been able to predict the future which might have turned some heads. Like I said, fantasy.] Matt Bonsant (ME) boated the third largest fish, a 4 pound cod.

Other Angler Highlights: Jeff Divers (NH) caught the only double keeper catch. Each fish was a haddock. They weighed 3 pounds, both caught on the same line at the same time, double hook rig. Gavin Bell (ME) landed the hard luck award for the double whammy, high hurler and not a single fish because of it. Double ouch!

Two wonderful people/anglers came forward today to help me on my cancer fund raising drive with the Pan-Mass Challenge. Both anglers, Ray Washburn and John Lambert, Jr. (NY) sponsored my bike ride, each donating $50.00 toward the cause. Every year the same people come forward to help me with this. Ray and John are two shinning examples. I really do appreciate it very much. Thanks!

Saturday, April 19, 2014

Captain Jared Keniston and Alec Levine are running the marathon trip today.

At 5:00 AM EDT the air temperature was 32F, the wind was light out of the west, the sky was overcast and the visibility was excellent over the ocean. By 6:15 AM, it had started sprinkling rain. The rain was over before 6:45 AM and the sky cleared by 7:30 AM. More later.

We have plenty of open fishing spots on the upcoming Bunny Clark fishing trips. The full day trip of Saturday, April 19, has five spots available, the extreme day trip of Easter Sunday is not available unless it is chartered and the next available opening is on Saturday, April 26, the full day trip - seven fishing spots are available. I would suggest you go before the new regulations kick in. We may not have the advantage of being allowed to keep as many haddock after May 1. And there are a lot of haddock out there now.









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