Quarantine Angling Report #2

Quarantine goes on, the first round of the pandemic is supposedly waning slightly, and fish are still chewin’. Weird times is all I can say. As I said in my last post, we are lucky this hobby of ours can be done safely while distancing, just make sure to use common sense.

Onto the fishing. We had a burst of really good fishing (big fish for this early too). Bass are still around but the big ones have eluded me for a few weeks. The weather has cooled down. This was the first morning on my boat ever that I was breaking a thin layer of ice pulling out of my slip. Per usual stripers are in the rivers, marshes etc. Find fast current and/or some kind of structure in these environments, and work the water column. Three essentials you need are an unweighted soft plastic (slug O, albie snax, hogy), a weighted soft plastic on a jighead (1/8-3/4 oz depending on depth), and a swimmer (bomber, mag darter, crystal minnow etc). On Fly rod, a clouser or streamer on intermediate or sinking line. Pics below.

For those of you who do some bottomfishing, I put one day of blackfishing in. I fished a handful of spots from 40-70 feet, the deeper water (60-70) is where I found fish, and even then they were a little reluctant. I managed one quality fish. Those who I talk to have said the same, shallow water has not been producing. The mouth of the housatonic river and new haven have been producing in shallow though, due to warmer water temps outside the river.

Thank you to frontline workers and particularly healthcare workers. If any of my readers are in that category or know an angler who is, please reach out to me directly.

A Spring we will not Soon Forget

Well, it’s a sad time as we’re living through a pandemic of a magnitude our country hasn’t experienced in the last hundred years.  Theres no two ways about it. I hope all my readers and their families are healthy although I know it’s unlikely the COVID hasn’t touched some of you or your friends/family.  

I’ve tried my hand at fishing the local trout rivers, and fishing for holdovers in March, Without much luck on either front. I’m not experienced in either of those fisheries so it’s not much of a surprise I didn’t do well, and frankly It doesn’t excite me much.

The good news is the bass have arrived in Western CT. Cormorants, ospreys, egrets and a variety of waterbirds are are starting to filter in.  Herring have been making their way upriver to safe spawning grounds for weeks, and small baitfish/shrimp are filtering in as well. I caught my first fish on Saturday the 29th, the earliest I’ve ever gotten a local (non holdover) fish. This couldn’t come any sooner in these trying times, and I’ve welcomed the opportunity to get fresh air with a purpose. If you’re wondering if it’s time to start fishing in the saltwater, the answer is yes. Way upriver on incoming rides for bass chasing herring, and in the estuary mouths on the outgoing. If you read my stuff you know the story.   The warm days/nights are best right now, but by all means get out there, and let me know what you’re seeing. This time of year in Fairfield County you’ll have equal opportunity from shore and vessel.  The bite under dock lights, bridges and drain culverts at night is going to heat up soon too.

It may go without saying, but guided trips with me are on hold for the time being. Please keep your distance to fellow fisherman, and it’s best to ride alone or only with others you’re isolating with. If you need to buy gear, have it shipped or shop beforehand online and pickup at Fisherman’s world. My heart goes out to those affected by this terrible disease, hospital employees, first responders and others with essential jobs on the front lines.

James

Spring Run Recap And Summer Strategies

As usual this time of year, I’ve had a long lapse between posts due to the amount of fishing I’ve been doing.  It’s been a weird spring/early summer.  We started off with water temperatures a bit cooler than last year, then we had some extreme heat.  I’ve concluded The striper population in the Norwalk Islands this year has less fish, but generally larger fish.  The endless amount of schoolie bass we usually have to fish for just aren’t around this year, which is slightly concerning to me.  Perhaps they are just somewhere else because of lack of bait prevalence.  The funny thing is that this year there is an influx of what I think are really tiny sand eels.  The only fish on them are really tiny snapper blues, an early arrival this year, but that’s starting to change.  Those small bluefish I mentioned also grow and eat at an extremely rapid pace.  They make an excellent quarry of larger cannabalistic blues, as well as bass and even fluke, so that’s something to think about when selecting lures…

My season was characterized by a really good chunk bite in the shallow island spots I like to target.  Many trips I had multiple fish over the 30 pound mark.  I had a few good trips plugging after dark too, with plenty of action on keeper bass.  However, the topwater / plugging game for me before dusk was weak since May.  Friends of mine have done much better, particularly full time guide Mike Platt, who is solely an artificial and fly guy targeting Bass, blues and Albies.  Mike covers a lot of water and has had a stellar season.  He reports that the fish this year are in the same spots, but often different tides.  He says the bass were basking in the really skinny water after gorging on bunker.  Often times they react and hit the lure not for feeding purposes but almost out of anger or defensive purposes.

Slightly east of us in Fairfield some friends are also reporting a generally stellar season, and a good bounce back from last year which was off.  In that area The fish seem to be coming in waves, where for a few weeks they’re chewing good and then it gets real quiet for awhile. 

I hope that gives everyone a good idea of this season to date.  My fingers are crossed for a good late summer bite, and as I’m typing this I’m getting reports of blitzes in the islands on small bait.  Fingers crossed this keeps up, and we are setup for a good albie season.