This past Fall I had the pleasure of taking a trip with a friend Peter to Seabrook, New Hampshire for a deep see fishing trip.
We got up early and made our way to the Eastman's Dock Fishing Fleet for 4am. We started our morning by enjoying a delicious, freshly made breakfast sandwich and coffee from the restaurant on the dock. The perfect start, to the chilly morning.
The Eastman Fleet is a family run business, since 1946, of seven diesel powered boats. They do fishing charters, private charters, whale watching, and sightseeing trips.
We were there that cool fall morning to set sail on their marathon trip, a 12-hour fishing trip geared towards die-hard fishing fans. Peter had been on this trip previously, but this was my first time joining in on the fun.
|Black Water River|
We boarded the Lady Merrilee Ann III, a 90-foot Lydia vessel, capable of 20 knots and able to hold up to 70 people for fishing. She is equipped with satellite tv on both the upper and lower deck, outside benches for sitting and heated railing with built in rod holders. The marathon trip comes with custom rental rods with Penn 113H/3:75 gear ratio for deep sea fishing perfection.
We set sail with 50 on board and took the 30-mile trip out to sea, off the tip of Nova Scotia, to Jeffrey's Ledge in the Gulf of Maine, enjoying the beautiful sunrise on the horizon.
|The Beautiful sunrise|
The boat was full of comradery and excitement on the trip out to the fishing grounds. Everyone bringing abundances of food and drinks to share with everyone else on board. Tables filled with everything from sandwiches to crockpots full of chili. A real festive atmosphere, filled with the anticipation of what lay ahead.
|Rods at the ready|
After a two-hour trip out to sea, we arrived at Jeffrey's Ledge, the North East's most productive fishing grounds, that stretches off the coasts of New Hampshire, Massachusetts and Maine. Due to the relative inaccessibility, and limited recreational fishing allowed at Jeffrey's Ledge, the area is largely unspoiled. As a result of present regulations and limits that are now in place, this area continues to recover from overfishing in past years.
|The tip of Nova Scotia in the distance|
|Ready to start fishing|
As soon as we reached the fishing grounds, the lines started to hit the water. On this particular day we were trying our chances at haddock, pollock, and cusk, a cod like fish, with no limits on any of them. We were using squid as bait and had to fight off the sand sharks & sea gulls to allow the squid to do its job.
All the adrenaline flowing, and the anticipation of the first bite. Hoping that we are pulling up a keeper, and not a sand shark. They are abundant this time of year because of the warmth of the waters having baked in the sun all summer long.
|A seagull floats atop the water trying to get whatever he can being dropped from the boat; unaware he had competition directly below. |
Soon the fish started biting. People pulling keepers onboard as the two mates hustled around lending a helping hand wherever they could. The captain and two mates on board were very friendly and knowledgeable. A great group to spend the day on the water with.
Not long after the fishing started, we were interrupted by a low moan in the distance of a humpback whale. For a moment everyone paused to get a glimpse of the majestic creature that few get to experience this close. Just as quickly as he came, he disappeared beneath the dark water, and everyone turned their attention back to the task at hand.
The fishing was non-stop. I quickly realized why this is called the Marathon Trip, 12 straight hours of fishing is not for the faint at heart. Luckily for me, fishing is in my blood, so I enjoyed every minute of the day. Peter is the best fishing partner for such adventures because he is like the energizer bunny and keeps your energy going too.
As our day started to wind down, we had one more visitor. Hopeful to monopolize on the loose chum around the boat, a mako shark started circling. I watched in amazement as his jaws snapped at the pieces of squid and guts in the water. Another splendid creature that disappeared as quickly as it appeared.
As we started to head back in the two mates filleted all of our keepers and we packed the fillets in to coolers of ice for our three-hour ride back home. The only thing left to do was to enjoy our catch with the family. A little bit of Ritz crackers with butter for a coating, and a squeeze of fresh lemon is all that is needed to achieve perfection.
|A great day of fishing come to an end.|
This was a great trip. Great fishing, great company, and surrounded by the beauty of the ocean. A completed marathon.
The season for them opens back up this coming weekend...I think I see another Marathon in my future.