Bass-ically we had a Whale of a time…

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Summary: We caught 4 big striped bass, spotted seals and humpback whale. We loved it.

More detail: Our six strong family (offspring ages 6, 11, 20, 23 plus us two parents) ventured into the open sea, after ratcheting up our fishing experiences from duck boat, then Capn' Kids to this one - the Shark Shark Tuna charter. We were a little apprehensive to be honest - we had an email from Captain Shane in the morning saying that the seas were choppy, and if we were not keen, he very graciously offered to take us the following morning instead, After a family meeting at which we decided we could tough it out, we stuck to the afternoon schedule and left at 1pm on our 5 hour trip.

When out in the open sea the weather was as rough and choppy as promised. The boat sped through the water, and bucked and soared over the waves, with the spray crashing over the front and sides of the boat. It was an adrenaline fueled ride, and made us feel something like crew on the deadliest catch. It was funny at first but after a while it did get scary - and even though Captain Shane made us feel totally safe and protected we were glad to get around the protected spit of Monoscoy Island where the swell calmed and we could get the lines out.

Within the first 5 - 10 minutes we were catching fish: striped bass. First Mate Max taught us how to let out the lines and reel them in - and soon all of us caught multiple fish - some too small to keep, two ugly Skate that Max hastily threw back, and four magnificent 30"+ fish that we could take back and eat. We bobbed around on the ocean for two delightful hours and the action kept coming for all of us.

On our return trip we saw seals basking on the sands of Monoscoy, and then Shane cried out "Whale!" - we saw the telltale blow of water, and then the body and fins of a whale, slowly going down the coast. Coming to within 10 metres of the boat, we were close enough to marvel at the huge mouth and teeth of these beautiful animals. That was a magical family moment.

The way back was rougher than going out, and the boat crashed down violently into the waves. With the wind at 26Mph, twice the seasonal average, the smaller kids were quieter now, a little scared by the power of the sea. We were distracted thankfully by the heroic filleting skills of Max, who was able to prepare the fish on the open back deck while we rode the rough waves. It's fair to say that some of our party felt nauseous by the time we pulled into the calm river again - and very glad that the hour long final leg was over.

Back on dry land we felt exhilarated by the trip. We'd caught enough fish to feed us and our extended family for several nights - in fact we BBQd it straight after and all agreed it was the most delicious fish we'd ever eaten. No one was actually sick, so again, we succeeded on that that family challenge. We were salty, and had the boat-rocking movement in our bones that make you sleep soundly. Nearly 24 hours later I'm still feeling the boat movement!

Anyway, highly recommended for a great family or a team adventure. We felt very much looked after by our hosts. Equipment and boat are top notch.

Some tips:
- On a day when the wind is up, age 6 is about the youngest I would take. Also, if you not of a strong stomach - maybe ensure it's a calm day. Or recognize that sea fishing maybe is not your bag.
- Take plenty of food and drink. You get hungry out there.
- warm clothes and a spare t-shirt a good idea.
- don't wear your best sneakers (as I did)
- be ready to embrace a certain amount of controlled danger - your family will bond around it, and you'll have those memories forever.

Thanks Shane and Max for a great trip.

Adam D. August 3, 2018

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