DAY 2 — Who’s better at fishing—girls or guys?
“Sometimes the girls have more patience,” acknowledges Capt Bruce Hebert, known for his stint on the National Geographic Channel’s Wicked Tuna reality show but here in Kennebunkport for his Libreti Rose II fishing charters that cater to families and is named for his wife and three daughters—Lisa, Brie, Tiara and Rose.
Fishing, of course requires patience but Capt Hebert tells us—my husband Andy and our 14 year-old friend Enesi Domi, who is from the Bronx, is along—is you’ve got to keep the kids busy. “If they’re not catching fish, they are bored and they get whiny. That’s why I start catching fish as soon as I can.”
That starts with catching strings of mackerel—five or six at a time—that will serve as bait. Enesi is all smiles; so is my husband. We’re just off the shore of Kennebunkport in southern Coastal Maine where we are staying in the just opened Lodge on the Cove the coolest motor in I’ve ever seen with original art in the rooms, a “tiki” bar serving lobster sliders and a hip big octagonal lounge—comfortable and unpretentious.
From the fishing boat, we can see Walker Point where the Bush family has vacationed for six generations. We see families playing on the beaches, fishing off the big rock jetties, sailing, stand up paddle boarding and kayaking.
To keep the kids amused, Hebert offers a 2-hour charter ($225 instead of three hours $300 or four hours $375). All the bait tackle is provided and no fishing license is needed here.
And if the fishing is slow, he‘ll take the kids and haul up his own lobster pot where they will see not only lobster but all kinds of other critters—sea urchin, crabs that are caught in them too.
“Little girls like to fish as much as boys,” he promises. “It’s all about amusing them.”
Hebert has been fishing, he says, for more than 50 years, serving as crew on his dad’s charters in Massachusetts when he was kid. He was a professional tuna fisherman before he started the charter business.
But don’t think you can just bring the kids and not pay attention to them. “This isn’t babysitting. I work hard to make sure we get fish …. I can’t babysit and get fish! “
After we get plenty of “bait” –dozens of small mackerel—we head over to a spot near the rocks where Hebert thinks the Striped Bass will be. He’s right– within minutes, we’ve caught several “keepers”–between 20-26 inches long. Legally, you can also keep them if they are over 40 inches but we don’t catch any that big — Andy had to release one that was about 30 inches.
When there’s a lull, he promises, “I know they’re there!” He helps Enesi bait his hook and teaches him to cast.
The bass, he explains, can’t resist the mackerel—when they’re hungry. It’s just like us sitting down to a big dinner when we’ve just finished one. “You’re not going to eat if you’re not hungry,” he explains.
By the end of our time, we’ve caught three good sized fish that Captain Hebert filets for us so we can bring them home to cook.
“It’s worth the wait because it’s so fun when you get the fish,” Enesi says.
We keep the filets on ice and Enesi brings them home where his mom cooks them up. He emails us later “They were delicious!”
Who knew there are so many life lessons to be had in fishing….