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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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  #91  
Old 08-19-2013, 02:14 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Chris, the boat expense issue, along with cost of nets, is coming up in the next installment.

As for taxes, I lack expertise in government/taxes/legalities. Frankly, so often we have people who jump me -- because there is an anti-thesis to everthing -- I no longer feel comfortable talking about things which make me overly pedestrian. We need a government and that government needs to be supported by taxes. I was just telling the story because it sort of defined the time and life style.BTW, the boat/nets installment is coming up.

- - - - - - - - Back to the series/story:


"For instance, Mr. Daignault, we will permit you to deduct your boat and the cost of its operation from your taxable income."
"We don?t use a boat. We?re surfcasters."
"Well," the auditor added, "you can amortize the cost of your nets."
"We?re surfcasters, Ma?am, we don?t use nets."
Her impatience rising, the auditor slid further back in her chair, the squeak of its rollers breaking the sound of her otherwise quiet office.
"There has to be something about this operation of yours, Mr. Daignault, that I don?t understand. How does one take just under four tons of fish to the dock with neither a boat nor nets?"
The lawyer looked at me waiting for me to answer. However, by now, I had learned that the drill was not to answer whenever I was spoken to, so I waited for him to answer when the auditor asked me. I also knew that neither of them had any clue what we did so when he nodded the okay, I explained.
"There were five of us, but there used to be six, but Dickie grew up and is in the Coast Guard. What we do is go down the beach and spread out and cast plugs and sometimes flies, into the surf until we find the stripers. Once beached, we hit them on the head with a bat and throw them into the buggy. You have to know how to fish and hurry when the fishing is good. Your success is very dependent upon knowledge of the natural world, a willingness to work hard and an observation of the conditions that the fish like which make the fishing good. When the girls, our daughters Carol, Susan, and Sandra and my wife, Joyce, do real well we have a better load to take to the dock for sale."
"Ah," the auditor said, "a buggy? What is a buggy? Is this a vehicle utilized in your fishing?"
"Yes, Ma?am, I guess you could say that it is like a boat."
"Do you use this, this buggy, every night in your fishing?"
"It?s a must."
"How much gas does it take to run this vehicle?"
"About eight dollars per night on average."
"How many nights?"
"Eighty or ninety."
"We?ll use eighty-five."
"How long would a vehicle like this one last?"
Thinking ten years I started to say, "Oh, I would think" ??, I was nudged under the table as the lawyer interrupted.
"Three years."
"We?ll depreciate for three years. Let?s discuss equipment. Surely there is equipment involved in this, this commercial fishing endeavor." Her eyes rolled as though she had never been involved in anything quite like this.
Courtesy: Eastern Tides, a surfcasters life
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  #92  
Old 08-19-2013, 06:02 PM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is online now
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Chris, the boat expense issue, along with cost of nets, is coming up in the next installment.
Sorry - I swooped your story! I will say 10 Our Fathers, and 10 Hail Marys, and will beg for forgiveness....
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  #93  
Old 08-20-2013, 08:27 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

You don't have to do pennence. The flattery of readers who remembered my story is compliment enough. Funny, times like this I look back on how poor we were and how we coped with the issues of the time, and I am often both bewildered and impressed. It would have been so much easier on us both had we known things were going to turn out so well. The mortgages, the leaky roof, the bad buggies, the sick kids, the tuition, fear of pregnancy. Life was an obstickle course.

What did you think of the auditor? Did she let me off the hook or what?

Also, perhaps I failed to mention in the copy above, Seafood Packers the fish buyer in P-town, got caught buying some illegal Canadian swordfish causing Marine Fisheries to sic the IRS onto them. One of the ways they punished Seafood Packers was to screw everybody who did business with them -- Rodericks who warned me and of course Frank and Joyce. There were others fishing in P-town who got hauled in by the IRS, one was Gearge Carlezon. And of course, as usual, the phonies who latched on to the big scandal in order to strut with the real fishermen. Those who sold their fish to local restaurants and Matt Costa's Shankpainter Seafood shop got less money but were never hauled in for tax evasion. When we were getting $2.00/lb they were paid .50 cents, a compromise they were willing to accept to see the money quickly. I would and did gladly wait a week longer than these brain surgeons for four times the money. Dah!

Also, and this can be today's installment, remember that I got to drop any income that was given to the twins as bonus money. After all this was settled, the girls were sent tax bills at 17 years old for the bonus money paid them by their parents. I called the auditor, a different one, a guy, and told him that as students their income was below the tax threshhold and he agreed and dropped the tax liability. They were now in college -- Mass Maritime and USCG Academy.
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  #94  
Old 08-20-2013, 09:11 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

I think the auditor sized you up as a good guy and did what she could to help you out.

My Dad almost got screwed over by a former employer who had him sign some papers to issue payroll checks, while the guy skipped out without paying the IRS and they came after my dad. The papers made my dad a "principal" in the company, he was never told. I'm no business or tax guru but whatever the legalese was he was being held liable.

He lost 10 years of his life in 1 year, had to get a lawyer to get out of that one.
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  #95  
Old 08-20-2013, 10:08 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is online now
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

I'm a card-carrying cynic, so this shouldn't be a surprise, but the tax system is a joke. Frank got a nice lady, who sees that yours was a sin of omission, and that you were not trying to cheat, so she takes it easy on you. But another guy in the same position gets a guy whose wife pissed in his Cheerios this morning, and gets the book thrown at him.

And one more thing I remember from reading the stories: You mean I have to pay taxes on the fish money? I wish we had a picture of what your face (and your shorts) looked like when you made that realization. I'm sure you can look back and laugh now, but it must have been an exercise in keeping clean underwear when it happens. Having to go up against Uncle Sam is not a pleasant proposition.
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  #96  
Old 08-20-2013, 12:36 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

This seems like a good time to mention that while we paid taxes for those good years when fishing was good, this made Uncle Sam a partner. Then, when the sheet hit the fan in the early 80s striperwise, Joyce and I kept trying to catch stripers racking up the same expenses under the rules predicated in the audet. Same expenses but no fish. What does that mean? Ready? The years of loss! Now I was submitting Schedule Cs with red ink and all that profit I paid taxes and penalty on came right back. A smart IRS would have left us alone but they apparently wanted to shaft Seafood Packers. Either that or they just failed to anticipate the outcome. Either way, it ended up costing nothing. Oops, I forgot to include the $1500 the attorney charged for three hours work. But even that got written off in subsequent filings.
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  #97  
Old 08-21-2013, 10:46 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

..... recall we are meeting with the IRS auditor and have just negotiated write off of the buggy ...


"We buy about one surfrod per season, and what I do is sell a pint of blood -- I?m a professional donor -- to the hospital for twenty-five dollars. Then we buy a Penn 704 reel which costs about $25 with what we call the blood money."
"I would just as soon not get into that. Let?s call that one a wash," said the auditor.
"I also have the girls -- well, not my wife -- on bonus which acts as incentive when they get tired."
"Bonus? Incentive?"
"Yes," I pointed out, "nights when the fishing is good and I want to keep them in the surf, I put them on bonus so that they get credit for everything they catch. The first hours I give them twenty percent of the fish money. Later, when they begin to sag from the hour and the work, I put them on double bonus. By the end of the summer, the girls have a pretty good nest egg, close to a thousand."
"Do you have any record of this?"
Leafing through the log, I stopped at a back page where there were a bunch of entries, a listing, of the twin's names with amounts which were equal at about $690 each and pushed it across the desk for the auditor to examine. After seeing the figures, she wrote something and looked up at me.
"That is not your income. It is theirs."
"Yes, Ma'am, you're right."
"Let me have a minute with this," the auditor said.

Members: Why buy Eastern Tides when you can read it here for free!
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  #98  
Old 08-22-2013, 02:10 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

The auditor asked me to leave the office and apparently put her head together with my attorney. Later, he told me that bonus money paid to the girls would be deducted from the original amount and that we were getting gas money and 33 percent depreciation on the buggy, a '77 Blazer, which had cost $6000 new. The $25 I got for selling my blood to the hospital was income but that never went any further. We agreed to the same set-up for '78 and the auditor used the same figures that came out largely the same. Here is what I received a few weeks later:

Explanation of Adjustments ? Tax Year 1977

Income fishing -- $6121
Expenses -- $3188
Adjustments $2933
Increase in tax because of adjustments -- $1164
Self-Employment Tax -- $220
Penalty* -- $58
Interest -- $210
Amount owed -- $1652
* "Since the underpayment of tax is due to negligence or intentional disregard of rules and regulations, a penalty of 5 percent of the underpayment is added to the tax."
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Old 08-23-2013, 10:08 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

We had some small hits of fish that came no where near paying the bills. On a moon tide mid summer a few bass came through Chatham Inlet. Convinced that the pod was heading into Pleasant Bay on the rise in tide, I whistled Joyce in and we went around the back of a gaggle of buggies at the end of the beach, fast water passing on our left, in an effort to get ahead of them, two decent bass around 25 pounds still bouncing in the fish box. Our buggy lights were out because I knew they would spook the fish, if there were any; and, with a high-liner image to maintain, the last thing I wanted was to leave the impression with regulars there that I couldn't navigate in darkness. Also, a chance to set an example. Near the end, water on three sides, we suddenly lurched to the right side while the hiss of hot auto announced we were in the water -- deep water, eleven feet.
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Old 08-24-2013, 01:49 PM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Water poured in Joyce's window first and my first thought was to lead her out but with two of us in the window, there was a strong chance we might be stuck. Opening the buggy doors was out because water pressure had them welded shut. There was barely time for me to say, "I'll see you on the top!" She was on the buggy roof when I got there. Black as a closet, we stood on the roof wondering where the dry shore was. No lights on the beach, my concern was that we might get picked up by the current sweeping into Pleasant Bay which, if we did, sinking would be even more dramatic forcing us to swim, but in what direction? While we sought to orient ourselves, find shore for one last ditch effort to escape, Joyce and I stepped out of our waders while on the buggy roof and I trained my neck light in a circle hoping to find something, some place for us to go before the buggy sank. Then I spotted a dark weed that was not moving which was clear evidence of it laying on the wet sand. Someone had to go to it with the option of coming back. I sent her while she held on to the tip of a surfrod, instructing her not to let go until sure she was safe. If the weed was an illusion Joyce could still come back to the roof.
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Old 08-26-2013, 11:46 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

"I have it, its the beach." With her clearence, I dropped the surfrod and dog paddled the 12 feet back to the shore to join her. The buggy was gone but we were both alive. Guys fishing Chatham Inlet didn't know a thing about what had happened to us.
A regular took us in to his buggy giving us dry clothes and we sat, me in his wife's sweater, drinking hot coffee until dawn. Never had Joyce and I felt more alive than those hours in their buggy ? safe. By dawn, the tide low, the buggy stood on the flats in what seemed a surreal ending for what might have been.
One Chatham Inlet regular asked about what I was thinking to have driven into the water. And I, straining to be polite in the face of certain further embarrassment, told him my lights were out because I had concerns about scaring the fish. And he, unable to let it go, said, "running them over with your buggy would have scared them anyway." I guess!
The following night we steamed a lobster that had been taken by a diver in the Race and knocked down a bottle of Portugease Rose and slept in the dark for the first time in months because without a buggy it was all we could do. Next day, 20 hours after sinking our rig, I was writing a check to the P-town Ford dealer for a left-over Bronco, planning another set of depreciation years with my new partner, Uncle Sam.
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  #102  
Old 08-28-2013, 10:25 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Around 1990 a local group of townies fighting the Park Service asked me to testify at a meeting with the Head Ranger to discuss continued beach access. They apparently thought I could say something in my testimony that might soften all the regulations now imposed on oversand-vehicle use. I went but I knew that the Park Service was just paying lip service to the group because these rangers, having broken every promise they ever made to anybody, obviously sought to make beach use less attractive to the public. Many of us got the feeling that it was a game and nothing really changed.


Bass fishing was awful, a moratorium was imposed on striper fishing so the entire purpose in going on the beach with a buggy had lost its relevence. For Frank and Joyce, the storm clouds of access and striper decline having exerted their influence, the Cape Cod we once had known was a memory shrouded in the mist.

End of series re Twenty Years on the Cape and Eastern Tides, a surfcaster's life

I invite your remarks, questions and further discussion .....
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  #103  
Old 08-08-2018, 03:34 PM
Francis Daignault Francis Daignault is online now
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

Mention of the moratorium in this thread reminds me that all the time when the rest of us were forbidden from selling stripers they were mow-hawking the daylights out of bass on Block Island, illegally shipping them to Fulton Street. I'm told that with no exception all there were doing it. Joyce and I, exiled from the striper surf because of that moratorium, were Atlantic salmon fishing in Maine and the Maritimes.
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  #104  
Old 08-20-2018, 02:45 PM
JoeG@Breezy JoeG@Breezy is offline
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

When they show up just ask them to provide an itemized list of what they plan to do with the tax money. I'm sure that would be no problem.
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  #105  
Old 08-21-2018, 07:27 AM
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Default Re: eastern tides @20 years

really amazing (and sad) confluence of events that shut down the beach commercial lifestyle.


Did you know anyone else even close to your family summer commercial experience throughout the years? I know there were other rod and reel commercials, but your particular situation seemed unique.
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