Riptide: A Toothy Busman’s Holiday


Many people wonder what charter captains do on their days off. Well, we go fishing, of course.

On a recent day off, Capt. Jeff Smith of Fin Addiction Charters, good friend Big Scott Pillsbury and I decided to take advantage of the weather window and do a little easy shark fishing south of Martha’s Vineyard. It turned out to be a lot more work than we bargained for.

We met at my house at 0500. The Contender was the boat of choice for the day, and it was gassed up and ready to go. A quick trip over to see the guys at Falmouth Bait and Tackle set us up with some killer bluefish chum and a few of the odds and ends we needed for shark rigging. It’s always nice to have a well-stocked tackle shop open at five in the morning.

In less than 30 minutes we had sharks in the baits, and for the next 6 hours we landed fish as fast as we could re-rig the rods and get baits in the water.

After we did our shopping, we splashed the boat in Falmouth Harbor and headed out to make bait. A few birds on the Raymarine HD radar put us on some bluefish, and Capt. Jeff and I took turns setting up on the fish. In a short time we had plenty of bluefish in the live well and were on our way.

We had planned on heading to a spot southeast of Martha’s Vineyard, but a VHF call from a buddy boat let us know that the cold water had covered our target area, and it was going to be far too chilly for what we had in mind. Since Jeff and I are both on Navionics Pro Staff, plan B was an obvious one.

We took a look at the Sirius Satellite Temp Shot on the Raymarine E-Wide and overlaid it onto my Navionics Fishin’ Chip. We found a great temperature break that was sitting on some excellent structure. With a new destination dialed in, I reset the autopilot and in no time we were on site.

Photo courtesy Jeff Smith

After a short power chum, we killed the motors and set up our drift. In less than 30 minutes we had sharks in the baits, and for the next 6 hours we landed fish as fast as we could re-rig the rods and get baits in the water. I can’t count how many times one of us was counting down a bait only to have the line ripped from our hands by a hungry shark.

After landing a half a dozen nice blue sharks, Scott hooked into a fish that acted quite a bit differently. Although it was smaller than the previous fish, it made some searing runs and a huge jump. When he got the shark close, we identified it as a nice mako of around 100 pounds. Not a monster for sure, but just the right size for the grill. A quick gaff shot and he was in the fishbox.

Photo courtesy Jeff Smith

The rest of the day was spent baiting hungry blue sharks and making rigs. Although it was an enjoyable day, it was a ton of work for a couple guys on a day off 😉 When the chum was finally gone and the bait exhausted, we fired up the big Verados and flew home at a comfy 40 knots.

Final tally was around 20 sharks for the day, all of them blue sharks, except for the mako we kept for the grill. All of the blue sharks were released. The bait of choice was fresh bluefish fillets drifted in high-quality bluefish chum. The weather was sunny and clear, with seas 2 to 3 feet. The drift was a fairly fast 2.5 to 2.8 mph drift. Overall it was a great day with some great friends.

Follow New England Boating:

Like New England Boating on Facebook. Follow us on Twitter. Receive our Daily RSS Feed.

Planning for a fishing trip to one our New England states:

Fishing around New England