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09/30/97
Groton, CT - Hel-Cat II
Mark Coppala, Jeff Boggess, me
Low 60s to low 70s

Mark, Jeff, and I took off for a little blues and striped bass fishing on board the Hel-Cat II between Connecticut and Long Island. Weather has been cold, rainy, and windy but you gotta fish!

The Hel-Cat II pulls out and 9:00 am and returns at 3:00 pm. We pulled into Groton with 10 minutes to spare thanks to some NASCAR-like driving by Mr. Coppala. Tackle and bait are provided for $32 - not a bad deal. We settled into a ride complete with 8-foot waves and Dr. Jeff quickly got sick. We baited up using 6 to 10 inch baitfish and had absolutely no idea what to do. One of the deck hands told us to fish deep and explained how to count off - 35 seconds for 130 feet.

Mark hung on the bottom on his very first drift - $3 to re-rig. Mark then struck first with a nice blue on our third or fourth drift. I hit next drift with a 20 inch blue. What an amazing fish, strong, powerful, and fights all the way up. A couple of drifts later I got hammered and knew something different was going on. The fight was incredible and I was a winded, tired fisherman. The fish kept diving down and the rod butt was digging into my side. My arms were burning by the time I got the fish to the side of the boat. When he surfaced, it was a 31-inch striped bass. The right side of my chest was bruised from the fight.

A drift or two later Mark hung up solid. The deck hand came over and started reeling in Mark's rod and, in a beautiful moment of realization, Mark asked if a fish was on. The deck hand replied to the affirmative and Mark said, "Give me the rod!" The deck hand replied, "You couldn't reel it in the first time, what makes you think you can reel it in now?" I almost peed my pants laughing. Mark grabbed on and fought long and hard and landed a bonita! What at stunning, beautiful fish, shaped like a football and all power.

I landed another nice blue and then Mark picked up three in a row. The key, we learned, was getting to the bottom. Jeff had a couple hooked and lost them both. All in all, it was a great day. We brought home over thirty pounds of filet and had a feast of epic proportions. I'll definitely go back.

Summary
  1 striped bass
  2 blues

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