PLUM ISLAND — For local fishermen, having their photo placed on the big fish board at Surfland Bait and Tackle on Plum Island Turnpike is a big deal.
To make it on the board you have to catch a big striped bass, in excess of 50 pounds. On Friday, Salisbury’s Bob Roy Sr. became the first fisherman to be placed on the board since 2010, when he reeled in a 54-pound, 10-ounce striper outside the mouth of the Merrimack River.
Roy, 54, said he was drifting on his fishing boat around 9 a.m. just outside the busy river mouth with live mackerel as bait when the monster fish grabbed ahold of his hook.
“I knew it was big, but I’ve caught fish before,” Roy said, adding it took him about 15 minutes to reel the fish into his powerboat.
Roy, a longtime Salisbury resident originally from Amesbury, called live mackerel the best bait, as they are still swimming while hooked and reflect light off their scales, giving stripers the illusion they are not attached to a fisherman’s pole.
“Fresh live bait is better than anything,” Roy said.
Martha Moulton, daughter of longtime owner Kay Moulton from Surfland Bait and Tackle, called the striper the biggest the iconic business has seen in years. Roy’s photo will be added to the big board shortly, she added.
“Guys love to make the big wall,” Moulton said.
Not satisfied with his big catch Friday morning, Roy said he was back in the water Saturday and yesterday. Asked if he caught anything, Roy said he managed to snag a few more stripers, but none close to the size of the fish he said he was going to eat.
The largest striper ever caught in Massachusetts waters is 73 pounds.