Summer Report

It’s mid August, and we’re in late summer mode.  Weather wise, we had a really hot stretch a few weeks back, and it’s sort of stabilized.  The ‘spring run’ ran pretty late this year into mid to late July.  Bunker schools getting whacked and fish being really aggressive.  That has subsided for now though.  It doesn’t meant there aren’t fish to be caught, you just have to modify your tactics.  There’s a few things you can do.  You can wake up early and fish sunrise when the water is coolest, and plug the shoreline and islands, throwing anything from flies to topwater to jig/soft plastic combos.  At the very least you should find schoolies, small annoying blues, and maybe even big blues.  We had a stretch of big blues (like 15 pounds and heavier even) in the middle of the sound since late July/early august,  ‘tailing’ around on calm hot days, and if you throw a plug in front of their nose they would whack it.  Sight casting to these bruisers was really, really fun.  Some say they’re digesting food.  I observed some groups of 2 fish swimming in circles together; hard not to assume they were mating but I don’t pretend to be a fish biologist.  Blues of the same size can be found eating small bait in the middle of the sound this past week, really aggressively.  They were pretty much eating anything you would throw at them.  A lure With single hook is recommended for ease of the release and health of the fish (as well as your hands).  Another tactic you can do is throw swimming plugs (think Bombers, SP Minnows, Yo Zuri mag darters) at night amongst the same shoreline / island shallow structure.  Things can really turn on at night.  Keeper bass can be caught all summer this way.  It’s an old school technique and it works.  You can always Chunk morning or night too.  Shallow or deep.  You can also drift sandworms over structure, with a long 6 ft leader. This is another old school really productive technique that’s fallen by the wayside amongst fishing circles.  Or you can skip fishing for bass and bottomfish.  Fluke are in deeper water (50+ feet), and there’s less of them, but bigger ones.  Porgies are always abundant and are tasty.  And keeper sea bass are generally on deeper wrecks.  Or, you can give up on local fishing and go to montauk / the Race for generally better fishing.  Tight lines 

Spring Run Wind Down, Dog Daze of Summer Begin

Well the water is warming up finally, although it’s still a good bit behind average (hovering about 64 compared to July avg. of 69).  The amount of bunker around is starting to get to a normal level for this time of year: They’re plentiful behind the islands.  We have had some good bites on these bunker schools the last few weeks.  All the way out in the middle of the sound, usually around sunset, or an hour beforehand.  The bite on artificials in the islands has been spotty for me, but there’s been a few good days, and some nice keeper size bass inside have been taken.  When it’s on, it has generally been a visual sight fishing bite for me.  And the sand eel thing has wound down unfortunately.  Guys west of us in Greenwich to Pelham and the New York Bight are still catching quality fish, and so are we in the eastern part of the county.  I’m hopeful for this summer, I think we may have a mid to late summer strong bite with lower water temps and (finally) good big bait presence.  When It gets really hot the bunker will start to move into the islands and eventually the rivers I believe, after their spawning rituals.  This is going to get the bass really fired up, and give them an opportunity to ambush in the local rips.  Get out there and see for yourself.  Let me know how you’re doing, and tight lines ! 

 

Weird Year, Good Things to Come

I like to tell is how it is on this blog.  With the nature of social media these days and the ‘sharing/liking/upvoting’ culture, good news tends to get shared/posted more often than bad.  And fisherman tend to share more pictures of fish than of sunsets for a reason.

That said, this has been a slow start to the season, at least for me and across the board with guys in my ‘fishing network’ locally.  The worst I’ve personally had in my last 7  years at least.  Inconsistent, and the usual quality stripers, I’m talking 30+ inches, have been really hard to come by.  The little guys are also in less numbers, and less spread out than usual.  My usual spots that are generally producing two weeks ago, are for the most part dead.  Some folks attribute water temperature, others point to the heavy rain this year.  My sister works at a farm, and she tells me this is the most rain we’ve had in 5 years, and also one of the warmest.  Generally colder temps bring drier air, which means less moisture in the soil and in the trees and plants.  This winter was warmer and wetter, meaning more freshwater in the soil, trees, and also the water bodies from ponds, lakes, tributaries, streams, larger rivers that flow to the sound, and of course the sound itself.  For a farm, this really hurts their crops by over-saturating them.  I think in the sound its hurt our fishing by infusing more brackish, stained, coffee-colored water.  Water clarity has been pretty poor in the early season spots, surprisingly clear in open water behind the islands.  And we are 2-4 degrees behind average temps for this time; not a huge margin, but not insignificant either.   To add to all that not-so-great news, there’s also a noticeable decrease in the amount of bunker/pogies/menhaden this year.

But I’m not here writing to tell you to hang up your rod and reel and take up golf.  It’s not all doom and gloom.  We have a unusual arrival this year, sand eels.  The last time I can remember seeing them in numbers was 2011.  This is triggering an open-water bite that feels like fall fishing.  Terns diving, small fish on the surface and some nicer ones lower in the water column.  And a good fluke bite!

The fishing in general, and weather, is looking up big time.  I’ve had my best outings over the last week.  Wind is laying down and sun is coming out.  They’ve had a good bite in North jersey/new York Bight, and guys are still catching big fish way upriver in the Hudson.  This means a lot of the fish have not left their spawning grounds or wintering grounds.  There have also been fish up to 40-50 pounds caught in the western sound, off Fairfield County.  Jamaica Bay has had a killer run of big bluefish.  So we’re probably just a few weeks behind schedule and dealing with murky water.  If I could offer any advice, it would be to find clean water, keep your eyes and ears open for visible signs like bait and birds, and don’t be afraid to fish unusual, lower tides when the water isn’t running as fast and is cleaner.  Get out there and find out for yourself.  And send me a report telling me how you’re doing at norwalkislandsfishing@gmail.com .  Tight lines Sheeple.

Our Striped Friends Have Arrived

Well the fish showed up! And damn it felt good to bend a rod after 4 months (minus some vacation rod bendage).  There are some really quality fish too for this time of year.  After work Monday afternoon I hurriedly threw a few plugs and plastics in a bag, and rushed to an early season spot I fish in the Norwalk river.  The spot felt a lot different then it did on Saturday when I last did some exploring.  Most notably was the amount of egrets stalking and gulls hovering above the marsh.  A few casts in and I see my plug being followed by a quality ‘keeper’ sized fish (although I don’t ‘keep’).  A few more casts and I land a smaller fish.  Then wham!  My plug gets hammered.  Set the hook, and he’s giving me a run for my money in the current.  The fish comes thrashing to the surface and i see it’s a nice one.  Then poof, he’s gone.  I inspect my lure and see the fish broke my rusted underweight hooks right off.  I’ve been spending too much time on my boat and haven’t gotten to the tackle maintenance yet.  When i threw those plugs in a bag I didn’t look, clearly.  I could not get them to eat my gray Fin S Fish on a jighead, all they wanted was this white Rapala.  The next morning I woke up at an ungodly hour looking for revenge.  Nope, it got cold again, and the wind was from the east which goes against the outgoing tide in this spot.  Not a bump.  We’ll see if i can get a photo shoot with the early season brute that made me look like a fool next time.

Almost Time

If the fishing calendar repeats itself (which it always does) we are about a week out from striped bass moving into our local waters. Year after year the fish show up in the middle of April like clockwork, plus or minus a few days depending on what kind of spring we have. Egrets and bald eagles (yes, we have bald eagles in Fairfield county) and osprey have arrived, the first sign that there is prey in the area. As for early season strategies, keep it simple with soft plastics on a half ounce jighead. If you’re a fly guy or gal, tie on a clouser. Focus your efforts in the rivers, any river will do. Structure to fish is bridge abutments, estuary mouths, and the end of rivers where they meet fresh water and (more likely) dams. Urban Areas at the end of these rivers that you think seem like a really odd place for stripers to be in, will hold fish. Why? Because it’s where river herring are going to spawn in areas of relative safety. However they’re not really safe because the bass will be on their tails. Experiment, make some casts and have fun. You don’t know until you go. 

2018 Season in Review & State of the Species

As it’s the last day of 2018, it seems appropriate to write a recap of our 2018 fishing season.  It’s also apparent I’ve been slacking on my posts, a trend I hope to turn around in 2019.  In addition to reporting on the fishing, I’m going to offer my take on the condition of the species we target.

Spring/Summer 2018:

The spring season started off really strong for me and my chronies who I share reports with.  I start off fishing some spots from shore in the rivers and estuaries around here, through the month of April in between boat work on weekends.  I managed one keeper bass from shore in my limited outings in Fairfield county. which is about par for the course, and plenty of schoolies on light tackle and the fly rod, which I find especially fun.  Those who fish the bigger rivers in Connecticut catch more big fish.  I’m stubborn and lazy, I don’t like ‘commuting’ to the fish, and I don’t like fishing shoulder to shoulder with strangers, so I keep it local.

Come early May, the boat was in the water and I shifted my focus to bassing to the mouth of the rivers, and shallow areas close to the shoreline which will have the bait.  The season was awesome.  Seemed a manage a keeper or two most of the early May trips.  Fish into the mid 30 inch range and I was very happy.  I have never had as productive an early spring on artificials as I did this year.  I will say it seemed there were less fish, but generally more big ones mixed in.  Great early season.

As we get into later May, I move into the islands, and start making runs to the middle of the sound to look for menhaden schools and migratory bass that follow.  I also will begin chunking, using fresh caught, chopped, menhaden fished on the bottom.  I didn’t get to put in as much time as I’d like, mostly due to weather.  But late May I had some very productive night sessions.  Nothing crazy, but many fish pushing into high 30 inch range.   My good buddy fishing out of Greenwich was doing better fishing live bunker mid sound around schools.  He landed a 45 pounder among other notable catches.  Note to self, heading west more in mid/late May next year.  I did have one particularly awesome outing on the last day of May, the 31st.  I had a 36 pounder, and two others at 30 pounds, all in a spot in 10 feet of water.  Come to think of it, that was probably my best night of the year.  Rainy, wet, and rather cold.  I remember I went out to mid sound around 28C hoping to find bait getting pushed around and covered a lot of water.  No luck.  Bait was sparse and not on the surface. Came in shallow to at least do some plugging.  Found bait that was getting swept to the surface so I snagged and chunked into the night, and it was an epic one.

Into June, the prime month for big bass along the Fairfield county/norwalk Islands area, we had a good season.  One more fish over 30 lbs (37 to be exact), also in shallow water.  No record breakers or anything.  Handful of trips full of big fish well over 20 pounds.  Lost some big ones too.  Really did most damage in 10 feet of water this year.  Had some good trips plugging at night too in between chunking.  It’s a really fun way to fish and mix it up.  I caught most of my fish in different spots, which is good.  Always gotta keep expanding your ‘spot bank.’  The big bluefish were only really around in early June, on bunker schools, and also tailing.  Beyond that, we really didn’t see them that much.   Dissappointing and concerning.

Come late July, things slowed down per usual, and I spent less time fishing as well.  I got my personal best fluke at 25 inches which was great.  Did a little bottomfishing, not as much time on the wrecks for sea bass as I would have hoped.  I mixed a few early morning schoolie trips in, catching little guys on artificials and flies to keep myself active.  Meanwhile, Captain Mike Platt of Light Bite Charters had a hell of a late summer plugging up really nice bass when everyone else thought it was ‘summer doldrums’ time.  Apparently the bass stuck around and were still active and under our noses.  Follow this guy if you fish our area and don’t already.

Fall

In short, The fall striper fishing was weak.  In the fall I generally only fish lures and flies. unlike the spring/summer when I am hunting for trophy fish.  It did not compare to 2016/17, and the fish were mostly small, and less than usual.  I managed a couple of keeper sized fish, far few than usual.
The albie season on the other hand was fantastic.  I think this was partially me ‘figuring out’ these fish, and partially just a good season.  I had some great days, and caught them pretty much whenever I targeted them Late September through mid October.  We had some cold spells that seemed to send them elsewhere around that time.

Blackfish seasons was standard for me, and really above average for some of my buddies who, let’s just say, found quite a honey hole : ) . They had a bunch of fish well over the 10 lb mark.  I had a handful of trips where I culled some dinner and threw some back, good enough for me, and certainly leaves room for improvement.

State of the Species: As I mentioned, the spring showed more big Stripers, but less small ones and less fish in general.  In the summer months (July-Sept) I usually am able to catch endless amounts of schoolies, but that was not the case this year.  The state has already taken action, as the limit was dropped from 2 fish at 28 inches to 1 fish at 28 inches before the start of the 2019 season.

The blues, aside from snappers, were pretty much absent the whole year except for a stretch in June.  Very weird, and worrying.  I think most anglers / conservationists spend their time thinking about, and managing, the stock of striped bass.  Bluefish are an afterthought because usually they are so prevalent.  Not the case this year.  This was consistent across all anglers I know personally and also follow on social media across the northeast.

The False Albacore were pretty prevalent in the western sound this year.  This was the second year I really got into them and targeted them specifically, so I don’t have much experience here.  However, I’m told they are very cyclical.  They used to never be in the sound for years, and there have been an upswing for around the last 8 years I’m told.  I hope this stays this way because they’re quickly becoming my highlight of the fall.

Blackfish numbers were the same as they usually are for me.  But I’m not a hardcore ‘togger.  You will find very mixed reports, primarily because they require a lot of skill and sometimes strong boat maneuvering and anchoring.  Point being: those who crush them really crush them always, those who don’t, don’t.  It takes a learning curve.  All that aside, I think we need to reconsider the limits on these fish.  It’s great that there is such a limited season and limited commercial fishery (90% of harvest is recreational, see this ASMFC doc here), which I think is because they are hard to target commercially aside from traps.  And we are blessed with a very rocky state that is full of places for these bottom dwellers to live (CT has the highest harvest by weight of tautog of any state from Mass to North Carolina!) But, these fish are really long lived.  Check this out, a legal sized tautog (16 inches) is  7 years old based on the mean!  With a regulation of 3 per person (Dropped from 4 in 2017), of fish 7+ years old, that’s a lot of mature fish dying, many of them likely females.  A 20 inch fish (as big as I get them commonly) is about 10 years old.   Bigger than that is a really quality fish, but you get my point, they’re Old!  My sentiment that we should reconsider is actually backed by the ASMFC, as blackfish are officially overfished as of 2011, which likely lead to the decrease in harvest.

State of the Species: As I mentioned, the spring showed more big Stripers, but less small ones and less fish in general.  In the summer months (July-Sept) I usually am able to catch endless amounts of schoolies, but that was not the case this year.  The state has already taken action, as the limit was dropped from 2 fish at 28 inches to 1 fish at 28 inches before the start of the 2019 season.  There’s two main schools of thought in the bass world, the party boat/’catch and cook’ crowd, and the ‘catch and release’ crowd, with a great divide between those two.  The surf guys are more often catch and release.  Depending on who you ask, you will get very different stories.  Some will say the bass are in serious trouble, especially surf guys.  Some will say it’s business as usual.  You’ll also get a different story from different styles of fishing, you have guys fishing fly rod only and guys fishing live/dead bait (the real thing!) with different results.  And different reports from Maine to Maryland.  It’s really hard to judge and I’m not going to even pretend I can make an educated judgment as to the state of the stock, given I’ve only really gotten in to this ‘fishing game’ hardcore for 7 seasons.  I was happy the limit was dropped from 2 to 1 fish last year.  I don’t keep bass really unless I can’t revive them, which is really rare for me.  Or for a random special occasion, usually for a family member once a year.  Although my season was somewhat normal, there were less fish, particularly smaller ones in spring and summer and bigger ones /fish in general in the fall.  But people I respect who have been fishing much longer than I have report the fish numbers are down, and there are major issues with the way the fishery is managed and stock sizes are judged.  If you’d like to learn more, I recommend you read some of John McMurrays pieces on at reel-time.  Reel time

The blues, aside from snappers, were pretty much absent the whole year except for a stretch in June.  Very weird, and worrying.  I think most anglers / conservationists spend their time thinking about, and managing, the stock of striped bass because they’re prettier and more coveted.  Bluefish are an afterthought because usually they are so prevalent, they’re ‘bycatch’, because people generally don’t like to eat them as much and they’re ‘easy’.  Not the case this year.  This was consistent across all anglers I know personally and also follow on social media across the northeast.  There are no blue around.  I hope these fish begin to be studied and monitored moreso, because

The False Albacore were pretty prevalent in the western sound this year.  This was the second year I really got into them and targeted them specifically, so I don’t have much experience here.  However, I’m told they are very cyclical.  They used to never be in the sound for years, and there have been an upswing for around the last 8 years I’m told.  I hope this stays this way because they’re quickly becoming my highlight of the fall.

Blackfish numbers were the same as they usually are for me.  But I’m not a hardcore ‘togger.  You will find very mixed reports, primarily because they require a lot of skill and sometimes strong boat maneuvering and anchoring.  Point being: those who crush them really crush them always, those who don’t, don’t.  It takes a learning curve.  All that aside, I think we need to reconsider the limits on these fish.  It’s great that there is such a limited season and limited commercial fishery (90% of harvest is recreational, see this ASMFC doc here), which I think is because they are hard to target commercially aside from traps.  And we are blessed with a very rocky state that is full of places for these bottom dwellers to live (CT has the highest harvest by weight of tautog of any state from Mass to North Carolina!) But, these fish are really long lived.  Check this out, a legal sized tautog (16 inches) is  7 years old based on the mean!  With a regulation of 3 per person (Dropped from 4 in 2017), of fish 7+ years old, that’s a lot of mature fish dying, many of them likely females.  A 20 inch fish (as big as I get them commonly) is about 10 years old.   Bigger than that is a really quality fish, but you get my point, they’re Old!  My sentiment that we should reconsider is actually backed by the ASMFC, as blackfish are officially overfished as of 2011, which likely lead to the decrease in harvest.

Tight lines, hope everyone is staying busy and looking forward to another year in the salt.

Fall Species Report

The fall has been good!  The consensus is that albies have now left our area.  It was a really good un in my opinion.  We saw the typical trend of the false albacore moving east to west, and infiltrating inshore into the harbors, islands, and even into the rivers by October.   As usual, there were a lot of boats out there on weekends.  Moving away from the crowds pays off, as they get really skittish when there are 15 boats following them around.  If I learned on thing this year, it’s about accuracy with these fish.  False albacore seem to corral baitfish into a tight area.  Then they take turns shooting through the schools of baitfish on the surface, mouth wide open, inhaling as much nutrients as they can in one pass through the school.  You need to place your offering RIGHT in that school to have a chance.  Their attention is simply nowhere else except that area where they trap the bait.  It’s a fun thing to watch for sure, and a fun species to target.

Stripers: I have not been focusing on the bass that much yet, but that’s going to change.  Water is really cooling down, the temperatures have nosedived.  Our rivers are loaded with bait as usual, and they’re going to start getting pushed out once the temperature hits the magic spot.  It’s already happening, and guys are catching some nice fish.  I’ve had a few outings targeting my favorite structures, and haven’t gotten any nice ones since August believe it or not.  That will all change soon though.  Adult bunker are around some days, others they’re not.  Not sure where they’re going, but if you happen to be around during a strong tide and there are bunker around structure, by bet is that they’re going to be getting hammered.

Blackfish: All reports are solid.  I did well in 15 feet of water, other friends are doing well in the same depth.  Party boats are hammering away at the fish in our local rock piles and wrecks as usual, killing every last fish they can.

We have a good month left of fishing.  Blackfish and bass await.

November is the month you can get into stupid good, easy, bass fishing.  Finding bigger fish is more tricky.  Fishing around new moons, fast currents, early morning and later afternoon will help.  Fishing structure always produces big ones, or fishing the schools under birds will get it done if you can get your bait past the little guys.  It’s always a learning experience, the fish don’t play by any rules.

Tight lines!

 

 

The Great Debate of Sight Casting vs. Blind Casting

This time of year, the fishery in the northeast gets very visual, which is a fun exciting way to hunt.  What I mean by that is there are a lot of visual cues as to where the fish are.  Birds are diving down eating the same baitfish the predatory fish are, the fish are pushing bait to the surface, sometimes forcing them to jump clear out of the water.  The surfaces feeds and ensuing chaos and splashing will direct even the most novice anglers to the fish.  This tends to happen in the fall moreso than spring or summer because of the abundance of bait (particularly small bait birds like terns can feed on), and because of the increased energy and activity of fish like striped bass, false albacore, and bluefish.  The energy comes from the cooling water temperatures and their primal instinct to feed before the long winter and also their migrations south. 


Because this visual factor is so much more important in the fall, it’s a good time to discuss alternative strategies: chasing the visual cues (sight casting) vs. casting to the structures that hold fish all season hold at the right tidal stage.

Some fisherman in the fall will simply drive and drive their vessels or move from spot to spot until they find the surface feeds, and won’t stop and cast unless they see these conditions.  This can serve to be very productive, and often anglers are rewarded for putting miles in to find all-out blitzes, no longer how long the search takes.  Others fish structure that serves as ambush points for fish like striped bass and blues all season long.  After all, it’s well known that fish are habitual and return to the same spots day after day and year after year because of those spots’ tendency to funnel bait and make them vulnerable to attack from larger fish.

My personal opinion is that you can’t simply choose one strategy or the other, but a combined approach is necessary.  It’s foolish to ignore diving birds and bait on the surface, but it is by no means safe to say the fish aren’t in a spot if you can’t see them.  In fact, particularly for striped bass, the best fall fishing days I’ve had were in spots with no visual action, or any signs of fish feeding to the human eye above the surface.  This attests to the idea that the easiest days to entice a fish to bite a fly or lure are not the days when bait are plentiful, but instead when their scarce or elsewhere.  It’s simple, the angler’s offering has less competition.  When the bait is so thick you could walk on it, it’s really hard to get fish to choose the ‘fake’ option, and it’s nearly impossible to fish live bait with smaller more slender baitfish like sand eels, bay anchovies, or peanut bunker.  These are precisely the forage that larger fish are after in the fall. These small fish leave their protected rivers or bays to make their own migration.  The predators that have been out in deeper water to stave off the hot oxygen-deprived water of summer are right there waiting for them.  These converging events are what trigger fall bites.

Now, that isn’t to say I don’t sight fish or see the importance of it.  But my take on sight fishing a bit different.  It’s extremely important to be aware of your surroundings and what’s going on.  However, I believe sight fishing is the single best way to direct an angler to where fish are feeding now, but more importantly, where they return to.  I recall a day in October 2015, I was cruising around the Norwalk Islands fishing my typical rips for bass.  Out of the corner of my eye I spotted something that caught my eye and brought my heart rate up: a handful of adult bunker jumping clear of the water and frantically swimming on the surface.  I knew there was something under these bunker hunting them, no doubt about it.  This was a spot I had never been to before in my life.  It’s a treacherous, rocky finger of underwater boulders where current moves swiftly on an outgoing tide.  So I idled my little center console over to this rip, positioned my boat upcurrent of the area where I saw the action, and cut the engine.  I drifted over the rip, and had an excellent afternoon with multiple bass to 40 inches on topwater lures.  This was a spot I had cruised by countless times but never taken the time to fish, for whatever reason. 


This event was not at all uncommon of my fishing experiences, time and time again I have been keyed in to ambush points by surface action.  And the best days aren’t even when the surface action is happening, it’s when it ISNT.  That spot has produced fish for me well into 30 pounds, and is extremely consistent at the certain stage of the tide.  The funny thing is, since that date I have never seen surface action in that spot.  

Searching for birds and bait is undoubtedly effective (if you can find it).  It’s absolutely necessary for false albacore.  But when it comes to stripers, don’t just skip the “usual spots” if you’re not seeing anything.  And if you are seeing And catching, make a careful note of the tide stage.  

Tight lines 

 

June Boom

 

 

 

What a few weeks it has been!  There’s a reason I have not posted much on here, and that’s because I have hardly had time to breathe.  Between work and fishing and trying to maintain a semblance of a healthy civilian lifestyle, it’s been a whirlwind in a good way.  The fishing has just been great, the weather is perfect, and this is the reason why June is my favorite month of the year.  Soak it in my friends, step outside and smell the scents of spring blooms and feel the temperate breezes.

Here are a few of the trends I’m seeing:

  1. Mid sound rules during daylight hours.  This is not good news for the shore-based fisherman, but I like to tell it how it is.  Between sunup and sunset, the best fishing I’ve experienced has been in deep water (greater than 25 feet) behind the Norwalk islands, on our favorite bait, the bunker.  The fish go where the bait is, and the bunker have been really prevalent.  All the species from bunker, bass and blues are moving west to east, and they come in waves.  Daytime Plugging in the islands has slowed down quite a bit for me in the last few weeks, since the week before memorial day.  Maybe those fish that were on herring and other spawning small bait moved out for the big bait, who knows.
  2.   Night time is the right time-Contrary to my statement above, the bite has been ON once the sun goes down.  Each night trip I’m averaging 4 quality fish myself in the shallows, over just a couple hours.  Last week I had a trip with two fish over 30 pounds (biggest at 35), and about 3 other legal fish too.  This is all in shallow water rips, about 10 feet of water.
  3. Gator Season-Blues have showed up big time.  I haven’t seen them this thick in a few years.  I often times will run out behind the islands to mid sound, and chase bunker schools.  This type of fishing involves casting lures or flies around schools of bunker, supplemented by ‘the real thing’, that is, live lining bunker around these schools.  Ever since last Saturday 6/2, these schools of menhaden (bunker) have been dominated by blues.  There are bass around for sure, but you have to seed through the blues, and often times you have to find the RIGHT school of bunker, or get your bait below the bluefish who tend to be more energetic, voracious surface feeds.  For that matter, just fish for bluefish!  It’s a hell of a lot of fun, they can be good to eat if prepared correctly (and are the right size) and it makes for a terrific gamefish.

Hope everyone is having fun and catching fish.  We have a new moon this week upcoming.  For those that know my fishing style, they know I am moon crazy.  I firmly believe your best shot at trophy fish comes during new moons and full moons, and my results in the past have affirmed that.  Translation: I’m going to try and fish a lot and catch big fish this week, and I think you should too.

-James