New Boat, Killer Start to the Season

Norwalk Islands fishing has officially upgraded to a larger vessel, to make guided trips as well as personal use more comfortable, accomodate more anglers, and increase my range. I am running a 21 Seacraft Open Fisherman this year-I’ve looked for one of these for over a year now due to the seaworthiness, and layout which includes maximum fishable space as well as storage. The Seacraft brand (no longer manufactured) is known for the variable deadrise design hull that attracts a cult-like following, made famous by early designer Carl Moesly who built his early Seacrafts for open-water racing. I am still learning how to optimally run this boat but I can say 5 trips in that the new vessel meets expectations and has already put some quailty fish in the boat… Onto the report.

The full moon in April provided some excellent fishing, with a few slot fish each trip despite some cold and windy weather. We actually had blitzing fish on the surface right in the river mouths, reminscient of scenes you’d more typically see in October or November. The bait du jour continues to be a mix of peanut bunker and silversides mixed in, but herring are around too I’m told. Baitfish are really thick in the harbors where the water bodies terminate or end at drain culverts. Don’t be afraid to go up the river as opposed to out into the sound sometimes…

Water temps have ranged from a truly wild, balmy 70 degrees (!!) on Friday to a few areas that are still holding out in the high 40s. Bass are trickling into the islands but most of my success has come in river mouths and the shoreline thus far. Funny enough the bite has been better generally in the colder weather but that may have been more due to the timing of the full moon. The fish are consistently staged up on flats and on a few occasions now I have had a slow trip until sunset when things lit up. They are definitely eating topwater plugs as well, quite early for that tactic.

I have put one day of bottomfishing in for Tautog. The bite was inconsistent, but really hot at times. Although there weren’t a ton of fish caught, there were some really high quality specimens to 22.5″ which probably places that fish around 7-8 lbs. I have focused on shallow water in my single outing, but may expand to deeper structure before the spring season ends. I have made it a practice to only harvest male fish, which can be distinguished by the more pronounced, whiter lips and chins, and larger teeth and mouths as a whole. The females tend to be darker and have more ‘kissy lips’ as I like to say. Pictures below.

Enjoy the spring, tight lines !

Female Tautog
Male Tautogs
Close up of male ‘whitechin’

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