One of the most important aspects of boating is safety. Whether it’s myself and a few buddies fishing for an afternoon, or having guests on board, safety is the number one priority. Being a licensed charter fishing boat, the State of Massachusetts requires a number of safety items. I carry more in addition to those requirements; it’s tough for me to justify spending $1,000 for a rod and reel combo, but not extra safety gear. Below is a list of things I carry, some required, some not.
All life jackets onboard are Type I (required by state), with whistle and strobe light attached to them. I carry six adult sized life jackets on board, and three children sized ones that meet the requirements. I do not require my guests to wear life jackets, but children under the age of 12 are required to while the boat is underway.
The boat has 2 VHF radios. One is to always monitor channel 16 and the other is used for talking to my fishing buddies. In addition, there is a handheld in the Ditch Bag.
We carry the full range of commercial classified flares, medical kit, fire extinguishers, throw able flotation device, as well as having extra water stored on the boat. Two bilge pumps are equipped on the boat, one with a float switch and another with a manual switch in the event of water entering the boat below the waterline.
A Category II EPIRB is onboard as well. For whatever reason we would need to activate the EPIRB, it provides an accurate GPS fix to your exact location, broadcasted to the Coast Guard. Additionally, the boat is equipped with an Inflatable Buoyant Apparatus in the event of the boat ever sinking.
The boat is fully compliant with all Coast Guard requirements and I think that’s very important aspect. Our main goal is to have an awesome time on the water, and being prepared for all situations that might arise, helps ensure that goal.
Oh early mornings! Have to be an early morning person. Fortunately, I am, and it’s my most favorite time of the day. Particularly, that grey light time, where the day is just getting started, but the sun isn’t just up yet. It’s so quiet and peaceful. It gives me time to mentally prep for the day, and take everything in. The birds are just starting to chirp and the air is a bit cool, compared to the 85-degree day we just had previously.
Alarm goes off typically around 4:00 AM, depending on what time my trips are. Usually, I like to depart the dock around 5:30-6:00 AM. I’ll make a cup of coffee and mix up some breakfast. I’m a big breakfast guy, so will make a plate of bacon to start, then bring some hard boiled eggs for later on in the morning.
After getting all the rods and gear in the truck, I’ll head over to Dry Dock Marine where the boat is stored on a trailer. The folks over there are awesome and can help you with boat storage, trailer repairs, and maintenance. Once I grab the boat, I head down to the boat ramp in Barnstable Harbor. I’ll load all the gear in the boat, launch it, and park the truck.
Once I go over the engine and ensure everything is good, I’ll fire the boat up and head over to the loading dock back in the harbor. Typically, I like to leave 25-30 minutes prior to when guests arrive to get everything settled. If I have some rods to redo, I’ll do that then. If not, I’ll walk over to the other charter captains and have some coffee and discuss game plans.
After the guests arrive, we go over all the safety aspects of the trip, what to expect, and what the game plan is for the game. Next, we’ll head out and catch some fish! The most common trip is the four-hour CCBO offers. So, we’ll catch some fish, have a great time, bring a couple keeper Striped Bass home for dinner and back to the dock around 10:00 AM (assuming we left at 6:00 AM).
Pretty regularly, I’ll have two trips a day, and will schedule the next one at 11:00 or 11:30 AM depending on what works best for my guests. In between trips, I’ll re-rig gear, wash down the boat, and maybe grab some lunch if I haven’t brought any.
Once the guests arrive, we’ll leave the dock, after repeating the safety aspects, what to expect, and game plan for the day is. Again, we’ll go out and catch some fish!
If it’s another four-hour trip I have, we’ll be back at the dock around 3:00-3:30 PM. Once everyone is off the boat and takes all their belongings, the day is almost over. If it’s a beautiful afternoon, I’ll head back out and go for a swim and relax for an hour or so.
Finally, I’ll pull the boat out of the water around 4:00-5:00 PM and head back to Dry Dock. I’ll wash the boat down with soap and clean her up and put all the gear back in the truck.
Around, 5:45-6:00 PM, I’ll head back home and fix up something for dinner. It’s an amazing day; something I am so greatful for being able to do daily.
Bedtime by 8:30-9:00 PM; the days are long and the nights are short, but it’s something I wouldn’t trade for anything else. On top of fishing and entertaining guests, I’m fielding calls and emails for potential trips throughout the day. Sometimes, it can get quite chaotic, but that is the life I live; and life I love.
Launched the SeaCraft yesterday for the first time this year. She ran like a champ and it felt awesome to get back on the water. Went through all the systems and everything seems to check out perfectly. Can’t wait to start fishing!
On the rare occasions where all my buddies and myself have the same time off, we’ll take an afternoon and take one of our boats over to Wellfleet Harbor for afternoon of cocktails and some good food. The run from Barnstable to Wellfleet via boat is around 12-14 miles give or take. Sometimes, we’ll hug the shoreline and take a slow cruise.
There’s a handful of places that the Wellfleet Harbor area has to offer which makes for a fun afternoon. For food, there’s The Pearl, Mac’s On the Pier, and Mac’s Shack, which is a 5-minute walk from the harbor. If you end up at Mac’s Shack, make sure you get their Pain Killer. It’s a perfect summer afternoon drink, with some of their sushi as well.
After filling up on some food and drinks at Mac’s Shack, we’ll walk back down to the harbor and stop in at The Pearl for one more. Typically, there will be some live entertainment, but times change depending on which time of the season it is.
Finally, we always make it appoint to stop into the Frying Pan Gallery to check out what’s new in the shop. They have some really cool and interesting pieces of art that are all locally made. They make for perfect gifts for family and friends.
Typically, we head to Wellfleet a half dozen times or so throughout the summer. If weather permits, our last trip via boat will be during the Wellfleet Oysterfest in October. It is an absolute blast of a time, with tons of oysters, people, and partying to go along. I highly recommend going if you’re around during the dates it’s being held.T
Fishermen have to eat, right? When not fishing, you can typically find myself and my other fishing buddies hanging around the local watering holes for some delicious cocktails and sustenance for the next day. Right in Barnstable Harbor, Mattakeese Wharf is a convenient favorite of ours. The food is good, atmosphere is great, have a great drink menu, and the views are top notch.
When we’re feeling adventurous, we’ll head to the South Side of Cape Cod over to Hyannis Harbor and go to Baxter’s. They’re right on the water, provide a great atmosphere and a great place to unwind after a day on the water. One thing to note is that in the summer, it can get pretty busy in there, especially Thursday and Friday evenings while people stop in before taking the ferry to the Islands.
If Baxter’s is too busy, we’ll head over to Tugboat’s and head upstairs to the bar overlooking Hyannis Harbor. Garth makes a mean cocktail and is always in good spirits. This is a bit of a ‘secret’ spot upstairs and you can typically always find a table or a seat at the bar.
Another favorite of ours is the Black Cat Tavern where we sit outside at their Shack Out Back for the raw bar. All the seafood is very good, typically there is a band playing and has some fires going if it’s on the chillier side.
If we haven’t had enough fish and seafood in our life for one day, another place we like to go to is Misaki Sushi, over on West Main Street in Hyannis. I would say that it’s a bit of a hole in the wall place, but the sushi is unbelievable. Typically, they can get busy, so it’s best to make a reservation during the high season.
A spot that we either travel to via boat or car is Sesuit Harbor Cafe located over in Dennis. The picnic table styled atmosphere host views of the entrance to the harbor as well as Cape Cod Bay. They have an awesome raw bar as well as good seafood plates. Best of all, it is BYOB.