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LOOSE LIPS SINK SHIPS
#1

Posted on July 16, 2012 by Captain Jeff Jones

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Back in the late 90′s I was running a 6-pack charter boat and happened upon a new spot of seabass nobody knew about. Around lunch time we pulled into a spot we call “Eagle Pocket” so the passengers could catch a few bass while the deckhand and I cooked up some lunch. This particular charter boat had a less than ideal galley, and that days burgers were going to be made on a George Forman Grill. The appliance had to be held over the sinks edge so the grease would not end up on the counter, or the floor. I really hated when the owner booked a charter that included us cooking for the passengers. I thought I had put the passengers where we would not catch any more seabass, because we already had limits. Boy was I wrong.

Next thing I know, I see a set of legs through the starboard side window, running up to the bow. I’m thinking bat ray and send the deckhand out to make sure the client is taken care of. Then, I see two guys hooked up on the stern. Definitely not bat rays. I unplugged the George Foreman Grill and tossed it into the sink. Lunch was over before it even started. It was “FULL RACK” seabass fishing. Every bait was an instant bite, and a quick trip up to the bridge revealed seabass under and all around the boat on the up and down, and sonar.

We played careful catch and release for about 45 minutes, wishing we had found this before we kept limits of smaller seabass. These were all 25-40lb fish. ”Damn!” When we left there was not a single boat in sight. I was thinking about the next days charter already, and had dreams of quick limits and the possibility of getting home early for some much needed sleep.

The next trip I was filled with anticipation. We had plenty of squid leftover in the tanks so I skipped the bait grounds and headed straight for Eagle Pocket. We had left the dock at 10pm as always, and I expected to be set up and fishing by midnight. Heading across the channel I noticed a lot of boats pointed for the West End of Catalina, straight for where my “secret” bite was. I was getting nervous. I rounded the West End and my first reaction was shock and horror. There were no less than 30 boats on the spot!

It seems another charter boat sat in there after I had left, and wailed on’em good. Instead of keeping it quiet they decided to tell the whole world about it. I wanted to vomit. Not wanting anything to do with it, I headed for where we had limits of smaller fish the day before, and I knew we could fish alone and drama free. The small armada of boats put a huge damper on the fishing, and only a handfull of fish were caught in Eagle Pocket while we were up the back catching 18-20 pounders. Later in the morning I ran past the fleet, and had my passengers hold up our limits of seabass and a couple big halibut we had fishing away from the crowd. As if to say “look at what finding your own fish gets you!”

Recently a good fisherman found a spot of seabass on the coast, all by himself. He took out friends and passengers to enjoy a wide open bite on bigger fish. The talented fisherman has a license and and runs legitimate trips on his boat, and obviously explained to them the importance of keeping things quiet. It did not last forever, and through circumstances beyond his control the bite ended due to too much boat traffic and keyboard anglers. It still stands, in my mind, as the new record for a bite being kept quiet and producing big fish for so long.

Too bad there isn’t a better way to handle these things. Imagine a world where every angler found their own fish, and didn’t rely on fish counts or internet reports. Not only would fishermen learn to be more productive with that experience of learning how to “hunt” for fish, but the ones that found their own fish could enjoy good bites without a crowd. If a guy told me he found a spot of fish that are biting and that I could fish it myself without telling anyone, I’d protect that information from getting out. I make it a point to do so, whenever I can. If I find a spot of fish that want to bite, it’s up to me on how to handle it. I can give the info to a guy that wants to catch his first ever seabass, or a charter boat that is struggling. Each time I tell someone about a bite that I find, it comes with the “and don’t tell a soul” policy.

What if I found a spot of biting fish that someone else found before me? Happens all the time. It’s the keeping it quiet that leads to the lack of communication and me thinking I found it first. Obviously, it goes both ways, as stated in the beginning of this article. There must be a way to share bite information between guys, an keep it quiet at the same time. I don’t have any ideas right now. Hopefully someday, somebody will.

So, do Loose Lips Sink Ships? Or, does a lack of respect and communication cause this whole thing to be a complete nightmare? There are some that I trust, and some that trust me. Between us we communicate what we know honestly, confidentially, and without worry that they will alert the media about a killer bite. We can control what we know. When one of the guys in my code group does not tell the others what they know, that’s when things so sideways. In the beginning of this article I referred to finding a spot of fish in Eagle Pocket by myself without a boat in sight. Had I shared that with the other boat that fished after I did, and asked them to keep it quiet, they would have. So which is the right way to handle this? I have no idea, so we’ll stick with “Loose lips sink ships”, and hope it goes as well as it did with one lucky Captain on the recent coastal tanker seabass bite.



For more information visit Captainonboard.org for more great reads!

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#2
so true man so true
Let God lead the way!
Give a man a fish he eats for one day, teach him to fish he eats forever!
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#3
I recently started to follow him.
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#4
find a great spot or lure, keep it under the lock and key. it only takes 1 person to blast it out there.
No as for the PSI Lures its a double edge sword for us.
Let God lead the way!
Give a man a fish he eats for one day, teach him to fish he eats forever!
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