Yesterday, I woke up at 2:00 in the morning and headed down to the Jersey Shore to go after some ling with the Paramount, which was due to leave at 5:00 in the morning. Shockingly, I was only one of two to show up, and we didn't sail. I was sad, because it's such a nice boat and I knew it would've been wonderful, given my recent experiences with the Jamaica 2 (which doesn't sail Tuesdays) so, on the recommendation of the captain, I hit 35 south and drove a few minutes to put my gear on the DAUNTLESS (I think the Ergeter family, which runs this boat, are cousins of the Bogans). It's a very comfortable boat and has a very nice crew of three; two captains (father/son) and a mate who looks like something straight out of EASY RIDER (They have more on deck during summer hen the crowds are bigger, but for a group like this you probably only need one mate).
The boat certainly lived up to its name. A small group of 12 fares went out at 7:30 and were greeted by the MOST WONDERFUL, FLAT sea conditions that one could ever hope for; let alone in the middle of February.
And the fishing was JUST AS GOOD! I finished with 18-20 ling (along with some other bottom dwellers), and this actually put me among the lower hooks. I just started fishing for ling regularly (though I've always gotten a few on cod and offshore seabass trips). The real seasoned sharpies caught them left and right, using 3" gulp swimming mullets and bergall strips that were provided by the boat! The DAUNTLESS is, thus far, the ONLY boat I've ever seen do this. I probably would've gotten more fish had I not stuck with the clam for too long (I eventually made the switch and it worked for me)!
Today, the bergalls were thick as fleas, ripping the clams apart, and some ARE HUGE (a few days ago a 3 pounder was taken on a nearby boat)!!! Switching to fish strips helped calm them, and it also worked for the ling. Dogfish (though manageable) were around, too, but they weren't so much interested in the clam as they were in trying to steal some of our ling (one of mine got chased to the surface on the way up)! I'm not sure what it is, but those ghastly ocean pouts ("congers") seem to love me! I've been getting them every trip. They taste a lot better than they look and they put up quite a good fight!
So there you have it, a very (point) pleasant surprise courtesy of the Dauntless. TIME TO BUY SOME GULP(!)
bergall strips+gulp=LOTS OF LING!
Dinner for Y/T