An Aquinnah resident caught two bluefish by hand at the end of the day last Saturday. Wilde Whitcomb, 31, was out walking with his sister, Gabrielle Whitcombe, in front of Zacks Cliffs at about 6 p.m., when they noticed a bluefish swimming in the surf.
Mr. Whitcomb stepped into the water and grabbed the fish by the tail. They continued to walk along the beach and found another. Mr. Whitcomb grabbed that, too.
In all his years on the shore, Mr. Whitcomb said he’d never caught a fish like that. He said it was quite an experience, as he had been fishing often throughout the summer with a rod and reel and hadn’t caught a fish.
Mr. Whitcomb said his sister had come down for the weekend for his birthday, which was Tuesday. “It was a quiet walk. We saw a whole family standing along the shore. They were all looking at the water, looking at the fish. I saw two fins. I thought at first it was a dogfish. I walked closer and realized the fish was a bluefish. It was bleeding a little, I carried it out of the water.”
“We walked along another 300 feet and found another. My sister said, ‘Hey, look. There is another one.’”
The two were not alone.
Alan Dworsky, a Chilmark resident was out walking with his wife, Suzanne. “I saw a rod-less young man walk into the surf and pull out a live bluefish with his bare hands,” he said.
Mr. Whitcomb said that later on the walk he ran into Michael Stutz, who relayed a similar experience a year earlier. Mr. Whitcomb said he learned that the bluefish he held may have become stunned by being hit or caught by a seal.
Mr. Stutz, another resident of Aquinnah, told the Gazette that a year ago his experience was similar to Mr. Whitcomb’s. But earlier in his visit to the beach he had watched a seal swimming just offshore from the beach. Mr. Stutz said he took the fish home and wondered whether to eat it. He said he cut fillets and discovered that the back of the fish had been broken. He concluded that the seal had caught the fish while attacking a school of fish and hadn’t gotten back to eat it.
Mr. Whitcomb said he took the fish home and put the fillets in a smoker, adding that it was delicious.