Overeat­ing cod bloated on caplin


The word on the wa­ter dur­ing much of the sum­mer recre­ational fish­ery was a fa­mil­iar one — the ground­fish were there, but they were of­ten too bloated on caplin to be tempted by an ar­ti­fi­cial lure or any other bait at the end of a line.

Dur­ing a re­cent late-morn­ing ex­cur­sion to the wa­ters off Burnt Head, near Cupids, aboard the Jenni-Kei III out of Port de Grave, the screen on the ves­sel’s fish sounder was filled with read­ings in­di­cat­ing the pres­ence of caplin, which are mem­bers of the smelt fam­ily.

“I had one cod­fish that I hauled up that was smaller than the caplin in its mouth,” quipped Randy Tucker, owner of the Jenni-Kei.

It ap­pears caplin are a tasty de­light for cod­fish, and many fish­er­men re­ported in­ci­dents of land­ing cod­fish with their stom­achs swollen with caplin.

This was a com­mon re­frain from most cod en­thu­si­asts: “ The govern­ment knows when to open the recre­ational fish­ery.”

The sum­mer recre­ational fish­ery opened July 24 and closed this past Satur­day..

The fall fish­ery is sched­uled for Sept. 25 to Oct. 3, and that’s when the cod will be hun­grier, peo­ple like Tucker say.

“ We won’t have any trou­ble catch­ing our quota than,” Tucker stated.

Tucker and mem­bers of his fam­ily spent more than an hour on the wa­ter one re­cent af­ter­noon, and re­turned empty-handed. The many boats in the im­me­di­ate area didn’t seem to be do­ing much bet­ter.

But the weather was ideal and the scenery was mag­i­cal, with whales feed­ing nearby on caplin and sail­boats slic­ing their way through the choppy wa­ters.

“ There’s no place like this,” Tucker said.

Sea gulls bat­tle for the cod en­trails in the

Randy Tucker of Port de Grave dis­plays a cod fil­let.

The screen on this fish sounder aboard the Jenni-Kei ex­plains why the cod­fish aren’t bit­ing. The sea is filled with caplin.

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