ne of the by products of the winter show season is that striper fishers often meet at the many winter shows for the first time since last show season. For me it was a chance to see Charley Cinto for the first time in over 30 years. Who is Charley Cinto you might ask.
In 1967 Cinto caught the biggest striper since Charles Church's 1912 All-Tackle World Record tying that fish with a 73 pounder. It was trolled up in the Cuttyhunk rips aboard the late Captain Frank Sabatowski's June Bug on a Googoo Eyes swimming plug. The fish never made the IGFA record book as it had to be disqualified because it was taken on wire line and on treble hooks. Fifty-five years is a long time between 70 pounders.
I met Cinto around 1963 when we were both members of the now defunct Intrepid Striper Club of Franklin, Massachusetts. I can tell you if there was ever a striper fisher who deserved that monster it was he because he was in the habit of
chasing bass in all the right places. First he had a large camper which was used over sand in Provincetown where he would push off in a 14 foot tin surf boat. He had to have some kind of option when unable to book a charter for Cuttyhunk with either Smith, Haig or Sabatowski -- all highliners of the day. Charley Cinto did everything in striper fishing except fly fish.
For instance one October in the sixties, before he got the big fish, he was taking his camper back from P-Town for the winter and stopped off at Nauset Beach. It was a thing that a lot of the gang were in the habit of doing to end the season. My late brother, Norman, and I had been chasing a school of bass north along the beach. The classic fall situation: a million birds whirling and diving, buggies running up and down the beach. Charley was just fixing breakfast when he looked outside and saw all the commotion of a school of linesides blasting the wash right there. So he ran out and cast a seaworm into it all and hooked a 49-pounder. We saw him fighting the fish and watched him land it. Then we preceded north up the beach to stay with the birds and bass. A little while later, on the way back, we gasped at the sight of his second fish, again on a worm that was over 50 pounds. The rest of us had bass, all school fish, but nothing like what he had taken on two casts fishing bottom. Charley did anything that it took to catch a striper. That was the last time I saw him.
In the early 90s I saw a picture of his 73 pounder on the wall of a gun club where I took it down with permission and photographed the photograph. I then proceeded to do a lot of detective work finding him for permission to use the picture in my book Striper Surf. I lost track of him after that as he apparently moved to California then Florida. In the last year he has moved back to Massachusetts and is fishing stripers and making bucktail jigs as a part-time venture in retirement. Seeing him at the Massachusetts Striped Bass Association show in Braintree late March was both a thrill and pleasure. Now in his low 70s Cinto looks great and could still tackle a moby striper. I told him that I needed a great picture of a great fish for my new book that only Charley Cinto could provide. It was in my mail within the week. The striper show was a huge success with just about every striperphile in Massachusetts present. Charley just walked around talking to people here or there and when I saw him through the crowd of faces I couldn't help but wonder how many, how few, people really knew they were in the company of a striper legend.