Gary R. Soldati
...for the serious fisherman Plug Maker
A Fishing Night to
Two friends and I decided to do a commando night on Block on Friday, October 9, 2009. We heard there was weather coming in which made it all the better. To make the most out of the work day, and after a 3-hour drive with traffic J, I walked on the last Ferry at 7pm with Ted Archibald and Tom White. Being a holiday weekend, there were lots of kids and dogs, but not many fishermen. When people asked us if we were going for the whole weekend, we’d say “No, just for the night.” To a person, they looked at us funny.
Once on the Island we walked to the water and got into our wetsuits. We decided to take a few casts close by before we headed to our special fishing spot. There was not much wind and it seemed pretty calm -- not what we had in mind weatherwise. The night started off inauspiciously (that means "not very promising"… I had to look it up). No wind and flat calm. On Tom's second cast, he broke off the plug I had just given him to try out. Make note of this -- it will be important later: it was a Medium Diving SLIM in Purple Pearl. He can see it floating out in the water and asked me if he could swim out and get it. There did not seem to be any fish around so I said “Go for it”.
On his second attempt, he got the plug. At that point, Ted came up to us and said he had some hits and caught one small keeper. I had heard there were lots of small fish around so I was not surprised. You hate to leave fish, but we were looking for something bigger. I had also read a report that had said there were a lot of porgies (scup) on the side I wanted to fish. We got to our spot and Ted started swimming to his rock first. He later told me that while swimming, his Giant Pike came off his rod (still attached to his line) and floated 4 feet away from him, and a fish hit it! He had to hold his rod up and keep the plug out of the water to get to his rock. The fish took 2 more swipes at it.
By this time Tom and I are swimming out to my rock (I have fished this rock since the middle 80's so, like homesteading, I have claim to it). I yelled to Ted that if he had found his rock, it's easier for me to find mine – which is underwater. He yelled back that he found fish! I say “How big?” and he says “20”. I say ”Inches?” He says “Pounds”. Needless to say we swam faster.
Tom and I climbed on my rock, got situated, looked at each other and cast. We both made 2 turns of the reel and we were into fish. We looked at each other with big smiles -- and that started a night that fishermen dream about. For the next 2-1/2 hours I did not bring my Pikie back in without a fish on it. At one point, Tom brought his Pike back in after he lost a screamer and 2 hooks on his VMC 4/0's had been straightened. He asked, “What do I do?” I said “Bend them back and keep fishing”. He ended up catching more than 50 fish on that Medium Diving SLIM that he swam out for J.
My first 6 fish were 26, 26, 28, 33, 28, 36 – we’re talking pounds here! My wife had asked me to bring home a fish for dinner. She doesn't like to eat anything over 30 inches because she thinks the smaller fish are more tender. I was in trouble!!
I will pause here to say that this was not "stupid fishing". The fish would not take a Jointed Eel, and when the other guys used a needlefish they only got smaller fish and not as many hits. The vast majority of the fish came on my new SLIM Pikes (8" 3oz), but the bigger fish came on Giant Pikes (8" 4oz) and Troller Pikes (10" 7-1/2 oz).
I have been fishing for many, many years and have gotten as many smaller fish…and I have gotten big fish (1 or 2). But never in my life have I gotten as many big fish for over so long a period of time. The fish stayed through the tide until daybreak.
You say you don't walk away from big fish, but we did. We actually swam away L. There was a young guy fishing to the side of us so we invited him over. He had waded out as far as he could and casted with a needlefish for half an hour. No hits. He was in waders and I said “Too bad you don’t have a wet suit.” He said he had one in the car so I suggested he get it. We were laying in the rocks resting when he swam out to a rock right in front of us. He kept us awake with his light going on and off (fish) and his camera flashing (BIG FISH)! It turned out to be Eric S. and he caught 5 fish over 30 pounds while we rested.
We went back out for the last 2 hours before light for a few more fish and a 30 on a Troller. The tide dropped, it got light, and the fish finally moved off. Between the 4 of us, we had 11 fish over 30 pounds and numerous fish in the high 20s. We packed up and left on the 8:15am ferry, smiling all the way home. Truly, it was a night to remember!