By Capt. Bruce Peters, Capeshore Charters
It is a bountiful ocean we all fish in, and I am grateful for the opportunity to see it every day. I am grateful that I have found an occupation in which I can support myself by sharing that bounty with you. From the start of our day when you are experiencing a pink and purple blossoming pre dawn sunrise, to seeing up close, the large colony of sunbathing grey seals on the sandbars of Chatham harbor upon our return, I will try to share all that our local waters can offer you. Somedays we catch lots of fish on our charters and somedays we may be lucky to catch one or two. But we always will have an experience we can enjoy and share.
The morning of July 4 started with an early morning tuna charter, and although we never caught a bluefin, we got to experience one of the best visual displays of the natural ocean’s bounty I have ever seen. As the sun lightened up the eastern horizon, we steamed eastward towards the tuna grounds. I began to see increasingly more bait on the fish finder as we reached the 175 foot level and an occasional whale spout could be seen to the east to where we were heading. The shearwaters were scattered here and there and would fly away from the boat as we steamed along. The bait balls were becoming more solid and higher in the water column, and it was looking increasingly fishy. A group of humpback whales spouted up in front of us and I slowed the boat down and turned slightly off into the tide and we proceeded to put our baits out to troll.
All morning long we were treated to an amazing show of Humpbacks, Finbacks, Minke and pilot whales all happily feeding on the dense top to bottom bait that we could see on our fish finder. Vast schools of dolphins in the hundreds were sporting about as well. It was as if we were in an ocean aquarium, just for our own private viewing. I expected a big bluefin to crash our rigs and snap the line out of the rigger clips at any moment throughout that morning, but it was not to be. We never had a bite. Not one.
By about 8:30 am, we were still seeing the whale show, but having viewed it for more than a few hours now, were not as excited about it as when it was new. My customer, Jack, exclaimed “HEY ! – There is an ORCA !” I looked back and discounted his observation and said “ No – I think thats a small humpy” as it was upside down with his pectoral fins up in the air. When he rolled over, I exclaimed in surprise, “ That is a KILLER WHALE !”
I have fished on both the east and west coasts most all my life and have only seen them twice. Once about 25 miles west of Bodega Bay in California in 1979 and then just recently here about 12 miles east of Chatham. A rare sight indeed.
The ocean is beautiful, vast, challenging, serene and offers many gifts if we are respectful and grateful for its offerings. I am grateful to share some of those with you should you choose to experience them. There are photos of our sighting on the Capeshores Charters Facebook page. Come visit us to see them.
Captain Bruce Peters & “Marilyn S”