As it stands, the Sound saltwater fishing season ended ostensibly two months ago, and we have three months till the next one begins when migratory fish begin pushing into our rivers and estuaries. I’d say it was a good season, the conditions were fairly typical given my 6 years of ‘hardcore’ fishing, but I picked up a few tricks I think helped improve my success rate. On my boat we managed more of what I would call ‘quality’ bass than any other season, particularly more on topwater lures. For once, I caught a good number of albies. During the little bottom fishing I do, we usually did pretty well. The only downside would be the fluke, which stunk for me this year. All in all, not bad. I managed a learn a few things too, which I thought I’d share. Fishing, like anything, is a learning process.
Leader Strength Definitely Matters for Albies – My friends know I used to have a curse with these funny fish. Well, the curse has been broken in large part by learning one lesson: Leader thickness matters, a lot. Maybe not when it’s choppy and the water is churned up, but on those calm days it’s a difference maker. By switching to 10 Lb Yo Zuri line, I was able to nab a bunch of these speedsters. White albie snax and the usual assortments of metals are all you need. Tying direct is best too. You can tell a lot about a species by looking at them, and the size of the eyes on an tunoid species tells you all you need to know.
Early Incoming is a Killer Tide: Over the course of my fishing career, my preference of tide has shifted. Starting off as a shore guy, I was all about the higher tides, and preferred the outgoing. Once I got my boat, I did find a few spots that produced on the incoming, generally mid tide and up. Some of my best spots in fact. At the end of the 2016 season I found more spots that were producing really consistently on the early incoming. These spots have structure, and fast currents during this tide period, and this time only. We’re talking an hour window of really productive fishing. During this period, the moving water is ripping over the rocks and sandbars, with only a few feet or less for the baitfish to escape vertically. As the tide comes up, the current slows to a lazy pace, the baitfish have more room and the predators have less of an advantage. This is synonymous to a river, with deep slow moving pools, and fast rapids in shallower areas. The lower tide turns spots on, and I am officially a convert.
Try Something New Every time You go Out: As mentioned before, this fishing game is a learning process. We anglers can’t see what’s going on down there, so the only way to learn this game is trial, error, log, and repeat. A fishing mentor of mine a while back taught me to take logs of all my fishing. I try hard, and pictures really help. Another mentor taught me to try something new each time you fish. It’s really a fantastic idea. Most of the times you’ll strike out, but if you can find a new spot once every 5 tries, or 10 tries, it’s a success, and you’ll build your repertoire of fishy areas to a point where you know where to be, all the time.
The Herring Run is Real, in Fairfield County: Herring will swim upriver in all the major rivers of Fairfield County to spawn in the spring, generally in April. Big bass will follow. ‘Nuff said here really. I hadn’t witnessed it until this past year. I had some success, and will look to hone by repertoire of early season fishy spots locally this season. Realllllly slow retreives are needed, and I did best with swimmers.
Tight lines homies! See more of you come the spring season.