Friday, August 10, 2018

A Week at Children's + the FAMOUS Annual Fishing Derby!

Hello trusty followers!

Some of the bait fish we caught!
This week I was placed at the Children's Museum with Ellen and our other JPAs. Tuesday, though, was a special day--SHSB's annual fishing derby event! At 8am, I headed on a boat with Eric and his friend, our boat's captain + his son, and another friendly man named David out on the water. We drove past Deer Island and the Brewster Islands to a nice area with calmer waters. We started off trying to catch bait fish, which involved moving the boat along to chase schools of mackerel and pollock when we caught sight of them. At first, it was hard to find any, but then suddenly we started catching them by the dozens! At one point, I caught five on my rod at the same time. It was incredible to feel the rush of a tug on your pole, and to reel it up with so many fish weighing it down! In total, I would say we caught over thirty-five pollock and mackerel!!

Eric with our first striper of the day!
We threw all of our bait fish into a tub on the side of the boat, where the fish swam around together and waited for their upcoming use. We relocated to a better spot for fishing--an area that our captain knew was great for catching large fish--and baited live mackerel on our rods. Unfortunately, we struggled to get any bites, so we moved to an area right next to Long Island. We could see the flags from Camp Harbor View very clearly; we were super close! We decided to chop up some of our bait fish: some was dumped into the water as chum to attract the fish and some was used to bait our rods. We cast our rods, waited a few minutes and voila--a bite! The first fish we caught, a striped bass, wasn't 28-inches (meaning it wasn't a keeper!). It was approximately 25-inches. We were very excited to catch a bigger, non-bait fish! However, as time passed, we suddenly began to catch many stripers! In total, we caught TEN striped bass! All between 22 and 27-inches (all just a little bit too small :( which was very disappointing!). I was so excited and happy that we were so unbelievably lucky! In total, I individually caught fifteen fish (11 bait fish and four stripers)!!! It was definitely one of my best fishing days, ever. By the time we returned to shore, most of the kids were gone because we arrived slightly late...
Fishing together!

The fishing derby was probably one of the biggest highlights of my summer. Just the thrill of catching one fish, let alone fifteen, was incredible. ESPECIALLY since I have only been catching spider and green crabs all summer! Wow, I still get super animated and happy thinking about this Tuesday...

Ashley + a new friend!

girls inc. checking out our touch tank!

First sight!

The rest of the week at Children's went well. Nothing as eventful as catching a bunch of fish, but still pretty nice considering the weather was all over the place. Many young kids visited us and were fascinated by the crabs. On Friday, we caught approximately 25 crabs, and at the end of the day, I allowed the children to help us release them back into the water (haul away together!!!). They were thrilled to be included in the fun, and also were able to learn a lot about the crabs: what species they were, how being invasive affects our local ecosystem, how to tell a male from a female, why we use catch + release protocols, etc. Unlike our other sites, Children's consistently has visitors who are extremely young and mainly under five years old. They're eager to learn, and there's something especially meaningful when you see their eyes light up with curiosity and their eagerness to learn more about what you are doing. We even had visitors who told us the whole reason they came to Children's was to fish with us--they saw us in the Boston Globe when we were featured there the other week! :)

Happy Friday!

Kaya M.

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