As surface water temperatures are now in the mid 40s to low 50s, and most of the big open-water fish have made their way south, I think I am calling it a season. The boat is high and dry, and the gear is stowed away. Truth be told there are more stripers out there in the western sound, the tog are still biting and the weather is fine; but with weddings coming up and other ‘real life stuff,’ I’m afraid I have to call it a season. No regrets though, we went out with a bang this weekend and it was a hell of a season all in all. Even with lots of ‘real life stuff’ getting in the way, I have to pat myself on the back and say I made it happen with limited opportunities. I think the fishing was just so stupid good this year It was really happenstance. Anyway, here’s a limited report:
11/5: Good action on stripers in the islands. Got my personal best bass on the fly at a modest 28 inches on a white and blue mushmouth. While drifting through the rip I thought I had a snag, then line started peeling. The fish went full 360 across the rip and around my boat while I got my legs free from the line. Got her into the boat for a quick pic, not before snapping my Temple Fork Outfitters 9 weight. Oh well, great warranty. And restored my fly rod confidence. Big flies work and I need to throw them pretty much all the time.
11/6: Heavy wind in high teens. Searched for bass in the morning and found topwater action early AM In a very shallow harbor. Landed a few fish on topwater and made the stupid move to leave fish to find them. Got slammed around in a tight chop and got nothing else. Time to switch to tog. First few spots in the nearly 20 mph wind I got slammed around a lot with no quality fish. Nearly lost my anchor twice when the flukes went deep in some gnarly structure, but a little tricky boatmanship and some muscle got it free. Moved to my most weather ‘protected’ tog spot tight to shore out of the wind, sort of. Took awhile for them to show up, but they did. Managed two nice keepers and a ton of shorts. Fun way to pass the day.
11/25: First time out in 3 weeks. Zipped around and checked things out in middle of outgoing. No birds, got the skunk off with one schoolie in a rip outside of the Norwalk River. Merely a scouting missing and one to run the boat. Nice day on the water too.
11/26 Part I: Went out in the morning 8:30-11 with three dozen green crabs, tog on the mind with stripers on the back burner. Made three drops, the first two (exploratory in new spots) yielded nada. Third spot in 20 ft of water the fish started chewing hard. It took probably 10 minutes for them to show up, but they showed up in force. I got three keepers in about a half hour, more than enough to make some quality meals for my whole family, so I called it a day to go in and do end of season boat work. Two at 17 inches, one big old whitechin at 21 inches. Pretty typical blackfish day for me with mostly fish around the legal limit and always a few big ones to challenge my light tackle. Still no 10 lb true togzillas for me.
Part II: Went out around 2 after lunch/boat work to switch the game up and hunt for my last stripes. Rumor has it there were some fish breaking off Southport, so I was eastbound and down. Didn’t make it to Fairfield and there were birds going nuts and my fishfinder was lit up. Upon closer inspection there were herring getting annihilated by stripers. I’ve never fished a herring bite before. They were Frantically speeding on the surface and it seemed like the bass were just playing with them. I got in on the action and it was fish on every cast: poppers, flies, and soft plastics, in order of least success to most success. All small fish. So I got bent for awhile, then got bored and sought out some more big tog (unsuccessfully) before heading back to safe harbor. Good times.