Cape Cod Fishing Charters cast its first line in Provincetown more than 30 years ago. Back then, though, it was known as Top Rod Charters amongst a group of friends and fellow anglers. After a night of fishing, the group would meet at a local diner and compare their catches. The winner, of course, sat at the head of the table and ate for free.
But fishing in those days was a very different scene than the ones afforded by the current version of Cape Cod Charters. Today, the company features a fleet of safe, professionally operated boats. Aboard the vessels, groups receive as much or as little instruction as they want, all while using high-quality rods to reel in fish from the water or poke slumbering pirates that float by on inner tubes. Charters chase striped bass, tuna, cod, and more, and sometimes, appearances from seals and breaching whales make the experience all the more exciting.
When it comes to prototypical Cape Cod fishermen, Captain Bruce Peters is straight out of central casting. He’s a 16th-generation native with nearly 40 years of fishing experience, an affinity for old-school light tackle, and a 34’ boat named after his mom. At Capeshores Charters in Chatham, he welcomes groups of six aboard the Marilyn S. for seasonal expeditions in search of striped bass, bluefish, or bluefin tuna. Since he supplies all of the rods and reels, passengers can focus on the task at hand: catching some rays, scanning the water for fish, and reeling in the ocean’s bounty of sunken yachts. Captain Bruce takes part in the fun, as well, but as a US Coast Guard Master Captain, safety never strays too far from his thoughts.
Pinks, purples, and oranges radiate through a darkening sky as the sun dips beneath the horizon. Waters of Cape Cod clap gently all around, and sand sneaks in between paddlers’ bare toes.
Such scenes, part of Cape Cod’s natural magic, are not lost on Bob Wilds. A retired whale watcher, Bob resides in the Cape year-round. He founded Great Marsh Kayak Tours in hopes of sharing the beauty that surrounds him daily. Bob leads family-friendly adventures, such as the Naturalist’s Dream tour, which immerses groups in the majestic salt marshes and explores how early Cape Cod settlers used this environment to survive. All tours employ the services of the Esperanto, a comfy, easy-to-paddle kayak with ample storage capacity for personal belongings and the native kettle chips found floating in the water.
EcoTourz’s cache of bikes and kayaks furnish unique perspectives of the Upper Cape’s natural splendor and Sandwich’s historical charms. Guides usher small groups of kayakers down Historic Mill Creek, where herons and osprey soar above the tall grass while conspiring to overthrow the neighborhood mockingbirds. On dry land, EcoTourz staff rents out bicycles and divulges prime pedaling spots, such as the marsh-lined Sandwich Boardwalk or some of the Cape’s oldest buildings.
At the age of 16, Matthew "Matty" Hughes became the youngest-ever licensed captain in the port of Boston. Funneling his passion into a career, he founded Boston Harbor Cruises in 1926 to lead tours up the Charles River. What began as a two-man, one-boat operation has grown tremendously throughout its more than 90-year history, now encompassing a 21-boat fleet and more than 250 employees who transport more than 2 million passengers.
The Boston Harbor Cruises's staff handles all things nautical, from whale watching and speedboat tours to wedding receptions and celebrations for special occasions. Because dolphins are hard to saddle and refuse to obey verbal commands, Boston Harbor Cruises also navigates the waters with ferries and harbor cruises that explore the historic and romantic sights of Boston.
Though the leadership has changed, Matty's grandchildren Rick and Chris Nolan still perpetuate the traditions of Boston Harbor Cruises, furthering one man's obsession with the harbor and inspiring future generations to create their own memories on its calm waters.
The line to the men's room at Nimrod Restaurant is peculiar because it usually contains both men and women. Near the restroom's doorway, gatherers careen and crane their necks to see a 200-year-old hole and the projectile that created it: a cannonball from the War of 1812. This hands-on history lesson is one of many elucidated by the guides at Phat Tire Bike Tours. They backdrop their classroom against the scenic sights of crashing waves, lush gardens, and bustling downtown shops. Seated on personal bikes or rental bikes that correctly answer the question, "What's my favorite color?", groups can set out on tours of places such as Falmouth, Plymouth, Martha's Vineyard, or Nantucket.