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TWENTY YEARS ON THE CAPE - STRIPER SURF - STRIPER HOT SPOTS - THE TROPHY STRIPER
EASTERN TIDES - FLY FISHING THE STRIPER SURF
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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #61  
Old 07-30-2013, 12:17 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Ten times nothing is still nothing and that what it was during the days people today call walking on the backs of fifty-pounders. If you found stripers it was like a gold strike. Some friends told friends but most kept it pretty quiet. You could go to the dock where they bought stripers and if you found any fish on the floor, be asssured there was no sand on them. I recall Jack Townsend, husband of Kay who held the Ladies World record striper, would commonly drop a load taken with his boat at Billingsgte Shoals but they were the only ones and they must have brought a King's ransom in fish price. Anyway, and I hope I not taken too long with this, Joyce and I had begun to fish with one in the water and the other listening to oldies or talk radio in the buggy. Some stops we both stayed in the buggy. Then one night I had a rub at a spot we called the Refrigerator Hole just south of Pochet and Joyce was out the buggy door like they were handing out prime rib on the beach. Having bagged four fish, all over 30 pounds, we saw a buggy going past that was headed off the beach. I know that our all-abiding dictim was to not cooperate with anybody but this was the guy with the broken nose who had bled all over Joyce the year before. This apparently caused some fit of sensitivity in me, which was a thing I had always prided myself in controlling before I would ever help anybody. I whistled and waved and he jacked up right there. Once he understood what was happening with us, he joined in and caught a few himself. We sat around a few minutes once action dropped off and I reminded him as he was leaving that the bass might be back tomorrow night at the same stage of tide. "Well," he said, "I can't come tomorrow night disco lessons."

Fighting a grin, Joyce walked around to the front of the buggy to keep him from seeing her uncontrolled response. Here we were trying to kill the last striped bass in the Atlantic, having found them after weeks of waterhauls, and this guy has disco lessons.
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  #62  
Old 08-01-2013, 11:28 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

For the rest of our years on the Cape, and there were not all that many left, we laughed and made jokes about ?Disco Danny?. One night over dinner in a favorite restaurant, I advanced my proposal to Joyce that I give up my teaching job for the striper surf. I told her that we only go this way once, then I gave her a chance to express her opinion on it.
"Let me see if I have this right, Frank. Now that you are tenured in the top step in teaching, have a Master?s Degree in Education which you have held for six months and which you spent eleven years acquiring, you have decided to become a full time commercial fisherman. Let me finish. You are going to fish for a species which most people believe is becoming defunct, a species for which they are considering closing the season in most states. Don?t answer! Have I got that right? You are going to play with the boys on Cape Cod while I wipe the noses of his, hers, and theirs here at home. Have I got that right? Be quiet and don?t answer. And who are you going to be married to while engaged in this romantic profession? You will have a wonderful life. You can fish with Swede and hunt deer with PWB. They have a lot of deer in Pennsylvania. And?you?can?stay?there."
"It was just a thought," I said, sheepishly, trying to hide the emotion and regret that I just knew had to be coming through, the whole time thinking it was probably not a good idea in the first place. Alone now, our little girls, the fish box fillers, were off to college.

Here is Sue, one of our fish box fillers of back in the day thelast year before college.

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  #63  
Old 08-01-2013, 12:31 PM
Jon006 Jon006 is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Great picture Frank, thank you!
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  #64  
Old 08-02-2013, 01:00 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

I've been reading this..and I don't know if you felt as though you were typing for yourself as there is very little interaction. But it is a great read and I think stories can't be told with internet discussion board one or two-liners. It's your forte and where you really shine in my opinion.

Reminds me of some years of my life. I am reminded of that novel they made us read as a very young student in High School A Tale of Two Cities. You know how it began,..."It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,.."
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  #65  
Old 08-02-2013, 07:14 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

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Originally Posted by Montauk Surf View Post
I've been reading this..and I don't know if you felt as though you were typing for yourself as there is very little interaction. But it is a great read and I think stories can't be told with internet discussion board one or two-liners. It's your forte and where you really shine in my opinion."
Ditto.
Please don't perceive our lack of participation as a lack of interest. This thread is my very first stop, every morning. Bravo, Mr. Daignault!!
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  #66  
Old 08-02-2013, 12:13 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

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Originally Posted by Montauk Surf View Post
I've been reading this..and I don't know if you felt as though you were typing for yourself as there is very little interaction. But it is a great read and I think stories can't be told with internet discussion board one or two-liners. It's your forte and where you really shine in my opinion.

Reminds me of some years of my life. I am reminded of that novel they made us read as a very young student in High School A Tale of Two Cities. You know how it began,..."It was the best of times, it was the worst of times,.."
Thanks, guys. I always was bored to tears in Lit classes. The Literature teachers all took the same courses and rely upon the same classics for examination in their classes. I wonder when something new is going to be examined literarily. Here Goes:

- - - - -


July 1979, United States Coast Guard Academy, New London, Connecticut. "Swab" summer.
Letter from CG Cadet, Sue:
Unlike civilian colleges, where people file through a "chow line," meals at the Coast Guard Academy are "dining" with a distinct set of protocols. After opening announcements by the Cadet Duty Officer of the Day at the Head Table, followed by Grace, cadets at the dining hall are brought their food in large platters. A "Firstie" or senior sits at the head of each table with fourth class cadets (4/c) along the left side and upper classmen on the other side. Platters are placed in front of the first 4/c nearest to the head of the table who hands it to the first class cadet to begin the meal. Food goes down the upper class side first where it is quite depleted by the time it gets to the "swabs." The fourth class wait in silence, using no more than the front four inches of their chairs and speaking only when they are spoken to, with four seconds to chew and swallow their food when addressed. They sit "braced," "eyes in the boat," for up to 15 minutes during dinner until the head table grants "leave at will" when those of the upper class can depart. Fourth class are permitted to rise at least a minute later after requesting, "Sir/Ma'am, permission to shove off." After "leave at will" is granted, 4/c are permitted to scrounge for more food with permission from the 1/c Head of the Table. This is usually for desserts, but where steak, lobster, or some other favorite is concerned the dining hall can become a madhouse of 4/c running around scrounging for their entire table. Returning with a full platter of the best can be very good for a 4/c cadet?s day.
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  #67  
Old 08-03-2013, 12:37 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Letter from the U. S. Coast Guard Academy, New London:

Dear Mom and older-than-a-chief Dad,


Life here has settled in to a dismal, scary period. I know that I will graduate some day, perhaps in another life, but I still worry if this is the kind of existence that I can both do and want to live with. It is a little bit like getting married in that it is such a total commitment. It seems as though we are being prepared for some sort of metamorphosis wherein I will be placed into a mold that I am unsure is what I am or what I want to be. I sense that it is happening to me, that I want to protect myself from being lost to it. Yet, there is a part of me that becomes more committed each day. There is a kind of relentless transition finding its way into my soul where each day that passes I am becoming more committed to the mission of someday being a worthy officer. There are times, maybe when at colors, and I am so proud; during others I am afraid that I will fall through the cracks.


Today we had etiquette training in the dining hall, and we were all braced and serious with upper classmen doing their thing. I was in total control, and a form of creamed chicken was being served. Seeing it brought me back to the Cape Cod beach like a time machine. The cadet opposite me at the dining table was staring because he apparently saw my lips move as I thought, chicken-a-la-king. The serving took me back to when we had all been together, and the wind blew through the buggy, and Mom always looked for a fresh apology when she served it. My eyes welled up in tears when I thought about how much we had then, and how simple life had really been. As the cadet stared, I am sure he thought I was disappointed with dinner. If the truth were known, what I would give to be eating Chicken-a-La-King again at Nauset Beach. It was but one of many lonely thoughts which seem to visit my mind without warning. If you get the chance, spread some Cape sand into the blustery sou?west with me in mind.


We are being given liberty this weekend, which will give us a good chance to ?splice up the main,? as they say in nautical lingo.
Love and miss you, Mom and Dad,
Cadet Sue


- - - - - -
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  #68  
Old 08-04-2013, 10:28 AM
CharlesT CharlesT is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Happy Birthday US Coast Guard! Congratulations and thanks for service to the nation since August 4th 1790 .... and a salute to all who have served us.
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  #69  
Old 08-04-2013, 04:52 PM
Tin Boat Tin Boat is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

That's powerful stuff. The writing apple didn't fall far from the tree! Is she still in the CG?
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  #70  
Old 08-05-2013, 07:38 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

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That's powerful stuff. The writing apple didn't fall far from the tree! Is she still in the CG?
No, she retired as a Captain with 30 years in the CG Reserve this June. Susan is 52.

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Here she is shown at CG Portland ME mustering out through an Academy classmate, Admiral D. B. Abel, Commander First Coast Guard District. In his presentation speech Admiral Abel said that Captain Sue's first duty station in Alaska she went fishing and while there, she did a few things for the Coast Guard.

The above letters were momentos that I later included in my book, Eastern Tides, a surfcaster's life.
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  #71  
Old 08-05-2013, 07:51 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

This concludes the chronalogicly accurate part of the thread. I'm finding it difficult to recall with accuracy when things happened and here on will treat it as an epologue. This will be a simpler approach for me to just tell the stories of the time from the hip without any real digging for precise timing details which don't serve readers here all that much. Your complaints, input, hugs, and questions are welcome.
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  #72  
Old 08-05-2013, 11:25 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Mr Daignault,

I enjoy your posts, but this thread has really showcased your style. I'll be ordering your books tomorrow.

This evening, Hemmingway's "Fairwell", Chrichton's "Next", and of course the entirety of the WW interweb took a backseat to this, the best thread I've read in quite some time.

Thanks, and dont misinterpret silence for apathy or indifference!
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  #73  
Old 08-06-2013, 01:26 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Frank - something I've never understood. When you were eeling in Charlestown, did you guys walk the whole length of east beach each night or bring the buggy along with you?
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  #74  
Old 08-06-2013, 03:37 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

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Frank - something I've never understood. When you were eeling in Charlestown, did you guys walk the whole length of east beach each night or bring the buggy along with you?
We did both depending upon the time of year. We had no chase vehicle but in fall once the front beach was open, we might utilize the big camper. Summers we walked the beach. With about four miles of beach we only worked about half of it, depending upon the level of action. The policy was to fish it more closely whenever we had some action. We believed that any evidence of bass implied that there had to be more so we tightened our efforts with any promise; and we hunted them harder, and longer on the beach, if it was slow. Charlestown Breachway was more likely to be fished on slow nights but we sort of kept one eye on it. Our big campers were usually parked about half mile west of the Breachway. The bulk of our action was between the camper and Breachway but that was the easiest to fish.

As I have said about writing many times, readers are not going to hear much about the slow fishing when it is slow. But we had our dead nights and I remember that we were always dog tired. Night on night for weeks was a grind but the money fueled the gears of the bass machine.
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Old 08-06-2013, 04:06 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

I can imagine how tiring that must have been. Walking all night on the sand and then dragging the bass out.
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