Chatham Pier & Fish Market is an ideal destination to watch fishermen bring in their day’s catch. It is a quaint and vibrant fishing community that lies on the southeast tip of Cape Cod. Chatham, which initially was known as Monomoit, was settled by the English in 1664. In 1712 Chatham became a full-fledged town and thrives today.
My name is Anthony S. I am a travel writer, photographer and videographer. I heard that Chatham was a picturesque seaside community with an active fishing pier. It supposedly serves up one of the best Lobster Rolls in the area. So we decide to take a road trip and see if the rumors were true. Come to find out, they were. It also provided a rare opportunity to witness the unloading of various fishing vessels. The following photos and videos will provide some amazing visuals as well.
When we first arrived, it really didn’t appear to be all that much. That is until we went out onto the pier itself. From the upper-deck there are beautiful views of not only the harbor, but Tern Island and Aunt Lydia’s Cove. As I was admiring the sites and taking in the scent of fresh sea air, the seagulls decided to grab my attention by landing next to me. This is when I noticed several fishing boats coming into port.
When I first glanced down at one of the boats, I couldn’t believe my eyes. There on the back stern were 4 huge Atlantic Blue-fin Tunas. These beautiful fish can weigh up to 1,500 pounds. I heard one of the deckhands mention that the scale tipped in at around 5 hundred pounds each. I remember the time I pulled in a 4 foot Black Tip shark which weight approximately 30 lbs. I couldn’t imagine hauling in a 500 lb tuna. It makes me sore just thinking about it!
I studied how the deckhand decisively carved up the fish in preparation to be transported. He remove the head, gills and the caudal fin before the main torso was packed in ice. From my advantage point, it took approximately 30 minutes to take these monstrous fish from the boat to a shipping crate. If doing this every other day, you would have this down to a science. Having the freshest seafood is the key to a perfect meal.
A few more boats powered their way into the unloading docks. However they weren’t bringing in tuna. Instead, their bins were filled with Spiny Dogfish – also known as Spurdog. Its a species of shark but much smaller in size. Its white-pinkish meat has a soft and delicate texture. This very tasty fish is used for several popular dishes like fish-n-chips and seafood tacos. It’s suppose to be an ideal fish to deep fry.
Unlike having to unload several five-hundred pound Blue-fin Tunas, this particular boat was filled with hundreds of pounds of Dogfish. I watched closely as they shoveled miniature like sharks into a bucket that hoisted them up to a chute that dumped them into a box. From here they go to a stainless steal table to be filleted and shipped out. The next time I have fish-n-chips, I will remember the crates of Dogfish.
Besides all the hovering seagulls, there were plenty of seals waiting for a free handout. When the fishing vessels arrived, they begin to congregate around the boat’s stern. It was interesting to watch them – watch the deckhands unload their catch.
After awhile, we started to get pretty hungry. All this fresh seafood floating across our view created quite an appetite. One of the main reasons we decided to visit the Chatham Pier & Fish Market was its reputation for great food.
We walked up to the three-by-three window and ordered two lobster rolls – one mixed with mayo and the other in melted butter. The baskets include french fries and a side of coleslaw. The reviews given to this seaside-deli type snack shack are absolutely outstanding. And believe you-me, they are spot on!
All in all, this particular day trip offered a fun filled experienced in so many ways. Not only did I get the opportunity to taste some ‘good ole’ North Atlantic Lobster, but witnessed several fishing boats unloading their day’s catch. My love for the ocean and its bounty made this adventure a very memorable one. I hope you enjoyed this short blog-article with its visual assets. Both videos will tell more than words could ever explain!
Author: Anthony Scopel
Photography: Anthony & Maureen Scopel
Article Creator & Formatting: Anthony Scopel
Video Production: Anthony Scopel & Matt Kemper
Associate Editor: Maureen Scopel
Technical Mastering & Web Support: Matt Kemper
Publisher: You, Me and The Dock