Blue Water meet in Rhode Island report
All camping spots were taken. So, we decided to go directly to the dive shop where the meeting was to take place Sunday morning. There, we were heartily welcomed by the owner, Mr. Charles Walpole, and his lovely Canadian born wife, Suzette, who promptly offered us to camp in his backyard. Then, the organizer of the event, Mr. David Sipperly, invited us to supper and had us spend the night in his place instead, as we would all wake up at the same time, not to be late for the morning reunion, at 7:30.
I'm telling you, these people are warm and so friendly.
We then decided to go for an exploration dive, half a mile from the dive shop, on Hazard Rd. Since we were not camping anymore, we would only spear striped bass. René got a nice one: 30".
Next morning, we were at the pier by 7:15. After the registration and the briefing, David suggested one of two spots for us (we had no kayaks or boat): the light house at Point Judith or Beaver Tail. We decided on the first one, since we had dove Beaver Tail often before.
Ata Bilgili and Tom Campbell joined us at the light house. They speared one striped bass each, 15 minutes later. I decided to swim against the current, towards Point Judith beach, so that I enjoy the free ride back afterwards, right? WRONG! Little I knew about the currents in that area! Never try to "discover" a spot on the competition day! The currents reversed later on, and they even got stronger, making my come back a lot more exhausting.
I saw many stripers. Many were above the legal size. I didn't shoot, not to spook them, as I knew I had discovered their "passage" spot. During two hours, I was surrounded in more than half of my dives, with dozens of them. No winning fish though. I preferred not to shoot at all, although that was my first time really hunting stripers. I found their behavior to be a lot similar to the Mediterranean grey mullet; the biggest are always the closest to shore, in the wave-breaking section, and the shallowest waters. I loved learning them.
When I finally made it back, I found a note on my windshield from René and Ata, telling me to join them at Hazard Rd. I went there, but was too tired to dive; anyway, it was almost 3:00 p.m., and the weigh-in time was at 4:00 pm.
Ata got a second striper. Sewon Park was also there. Tom Campbell lost his 110 cms Picasso with a reel gun; it fell from the floater as the hooking clip went loose. We never found it back.
At the weigh in, you already know the story... It was
a great day though, for me. It was my first real striped bass hunting day.
It was a very hot day! It also was a mosquito night. We slept in the camping next to Beaver Tail. I chose the back of my van, and René his good old tent. He insisted on opening the van's passenger window, to keep me from carbon monoxide poisoning. I was too tired to argue with him (the engine was off, of course!). When I woke up at 5:00 a.m., the mosquitos were having a ball on me... My whole body was swollen.
We dove Beaver Tail at 9:00. Visibility was way less than
Hazard Rd or Point Judith. But the big stripers were definitely there.
12:30 p.m., we drive back to Point Judith. René wanted to visit the "stripers passage" I had told him about. He got a 29" almost immediately. Then a big tog. I got two big togs. The boats traffic was so heavy, we didn't dare exploring further that great spot.
So, we went to Hazard Rd. René got his 5 tautogs limit, and called it a day, having had sinus problems since morning.
I stayed for an hour, and got one pollocks "doublé" skill shot, 3 more tautogs and.... YES! My first striper... 31"... As I came back to shore, where René was sun-bathing, I was in less than 5 feet of water, trying to unload my gun, another striper just sneaked under me. I barely had the time to re-hook the band, swing the gun downwards, aim and shoot... a beautiful 32.5" !
We arrived back to Montreal at 4:15 a.m. this morning.
I spent 2 hours cleaning the fish, had a long hot shower and drove to my
office to tell you the story!
It's Canada's Day, today... Beautiful hot sunny weather
outside. I want to go back to the WATER!....
Roger Yazbeck, July 1st, 1997
Would you like to see the striped bass I speared?