I went out on the Frances Fleet Ironman trip. Now I know why these trips got the name Iron man. We left dock at 8 due to a group of 12 thinking the boat sailed at 10. We set out looking for cod on open bottom. The ride out was gorgeous flat seas with a small spaced swell left over and a light wind on our stern. I slept at my favorite spot, outside behind the wheel house. As we neared our destination we were marking a lot of bait around which Capt. Don said its been a long time since he has seen bait in the area. We were all ready and fishing by quarter after 5. I had on a 12oz lav and blue/green fly. The current was a little strong so I had to up it to 14. Was slow here no cod yet. We made a short move to another spot. Same thing on the screen, marking life but no fish. This is pretty much how day one went. Two sculpins and a super small monkfish caught. There were a lot of geoduck like things caught and a few starfish caught. Don moved to some wrecks to drift but still nothing. This time current was slowed up so 12oz was sufficient. Don was getting very frustrated marking tons of life at each spot but no codfish. At sunset and later we tried fishing Phelps Bank for some haddock and still tons of life but no cod or haddock. We did have some Minke whales around. At night there were a few pods of squid on the surface. They were pretty small but I tried playing with them, had no takers.A pretty cool sight around 11 on a drift there were like only 4 other people on deck,we had a small minke about like 19-20feet come right up to the boat. The whale was pretty much rubbing the hull and you could pretty much take a rod and point it straight down and poke the whale. It was really cool. The whale hung around the boat until we steamed 40miles to the wrecks at midnight to be setup for 4 30. I thought the whale boat side was a cool sight never saw one that close before.
Day 2 we were fishing at 4 30 I only got 3hrs of sleep and started bait fishing as Capt. Don's advice some cod came up and we really had to weed through some mutant chargies, cunners, bergals what ever you want to call them. I can see where the Viking fleet got the inspiration for their chargie trip. We had a decent pick of cod and some pollock on this wreck. When we tried fishing just off the wreck we got dogged up pretty bad. I believe this spot would have been more productive if we had less monster chargies. We picked away here for 4or 5 hours. We had 2 cod in the 20range come in biggest was 24 which ended up being the pool winner. Weather again was absolutely amazing no wind no ripple no swell just flat calm seas 100miles offshore. We moved to another wreck just a couple cod and some monster chargies again. So off to another spot and the same. Capt. Don made a longer move to a different wreck that he said he was going to try drifting. I still was bait fishing and got a keeper and saw jigs were crushing them so I switched. Lots of doubles so Don made a few drifts then anchored up. Nothing so back to drifting and back to catching. Then a few drifts later it slowed down considerably so we moved on to another wreck. This one was not as productive. We made a 2 drifts and on the 2nd I got the only cod. It was a double keeper on jigs one was about 10lbs. So Don said we were going to make a move to a different spot on open bottom to a place that they haven't fished in a long time in between the wrecks and Phelps Bank. We had seen some good signs of life when we went over the area on the way to the wrecks. We set up and there was tons of life but no cod. There were 2 fluke caught on jigs one was 20.5inches and the other was a 19inch short. I got pretty excited being the fluke head that I am and was pissed I had no spros to try. I did catch some krill on my teaser hook. Don said it was so thick down there he was marking them 100feet thick and thought the machine broke. A little after sunset a 17 pound monkfish was caught in the stern. Again during the day we had whales and dolphins. Night we headed back to the wrecks for some night time hake. First wreck was slow so Don moved to another wreck and there was plenty of life. We were fishing on this one from midnight to 4am and had steady fishing. I got one real quick that was my biggest hake of the night at 15lbs then another hake soon after. I did manage 4 hake for the night and one cod. When it slowed up we let a little anchor line out and got into a pick of cod. We has squid around the boat again this time a little larger but none wanted to play. Then around 4 things slowed up and we picked up and went to the 1st wreck we hit on Sunday. Most hake were 8-10lbs with the largest going around 20.
Day 3 we were fishing again at 4 30 quarter to 5 and 1st fish to come in right next to me was a 20 pound pollock which was a porker. I quickly switched to a jig to see if i could play with some pollock. I had no one interest. A couple more cod and chargies come in and Don picks up and heads to that wreck where we did pretty good on Sunday.
The wind started to pick up a little and we started fishing again and got some more cod in the boat. I hooked up into a moose. Pole bends straight over on the up swing I reel a few cranks to see if I'm on wreck. No wreck just something heavy giving some headshakes and pulling drag back to the bottom I gain some more line and fish gives some more head shake and another run to bottom I start gaining line and pop off the fish goes. That was easily my biggest fish of the trip and if it was a cod biggest one I have ever hooked into. This was the last fish I was able to hook into. We picked away on cod and Don finally had to call it a trip at around 8 30 to start our 8hr ride in. We had a bumpy ride in as we were taking the waves to bow on port side It was a great trip I had a blast and no sleep but it was fun. Capt Don and crew worked hard. We covered over 50 miles of open bottom and 12 different wrecks but the fish just never really wanted to bite.
Sunset on Phelps
Sunrise on the Wrecks
My biggest cod of the trip