American Chaos, Fish Don’t Seem to Mind

2020 continues to be a bit of a sh**show in the world and our country. So much polarization, violence, hate, it’s truly a sad time. Fishing is a nice reprise from it all and an escape. To go outside and watch the sunset, watch the tides roll in and out, and watch fish feed, is a reminder of the beauty of our natural world unaffected by politics, crime, and human rights issues, and I find it extremely meditative.

Anyway, enough of that sappy stuff, onto the fishing. There are some better fish being taken in shallow in the islands the last 3 weeks. But you really, really have to work for them. I won’t lie. It’s been a grind out there. Plenty of fish but they’re spread out, and not as many big ones as I’d like. This year has been a good reminder of how Mobile striped bass are, one day they’re there, one day they’re not. One day they’re in Darien, then they’re in Westport, and some days they’re mid sound. They follow the bait and the bait has been somewhat unpredictable. Fishing some primo tides around new/full moons and sunset/sunrise will certainly amp your chances, and the bad weather days (fog, wind) have been good to me too.

This year has been full of ‘exotics’, and no I don’t mean exotic dancers or the Tiger King, I mean rarer species in the sound. Namely Shad, Atlantic mackerel, and weakfish. There have been blitzes (birds diving, surface commotion) that have confused a few anglers when the fish refused to take standard bass or bluefish offerings. Instead these were Shad and/or Macks, who will only eat the really small stuff (tiny jigs, soft plastics, sabikis). Weakfish have been caught by a few anglers targeting bass.

Lastly, and perhaps what everyone is waiting for, is what’s the story for big bass fishing. Who’s getting trophy fish, where, how. I will say this: generally chunking has not been great, yet. A few good reports started to trickle in so that may change. Live bait fishing has produced good ones. Either moving from school of bunker to school and dropping live ones to test the waters at each, or, 3 waying live ones on structure. This is a mid sound game. The fish should get more aggressive by the day. It seems it’s better fishing earlier in the day on bait now, and towards the end of June this will move to sunset.

Those who follow my blog know, June into early July is the time nail a big fish. Get out there people. Full moon on Saturday, big tides and current, big bass. Full moon is usually better to me during daylight hours not the morning, but we shall see. Tight lines

Schoolies for Days

Well spring started off with a bang in early April. Some herring moved in and a few (very few) got onto a hot upriver bite in early/mid April. Then it got cold, and wet. Really wet. 2 solid weeks of cold rain pretty much mid April. It’s been a cold spring. Sound familiar? JUST like last year.

What does this mean for the fishing? Well the water is still a few degrees behind average for this time of year. I hear from my Hudson friends that the bass up there havent spawned yet, which they do before they move into the sound or South Shore LI (we prefer the former option). A few degrees may not seem like much to humans but to fish it’s a big deal.

But, finally starting this last Saturday we had a week ish of consistent stabile weather patterns and warmth (aside from the temps in 30s coming early Saturday AM). I have been doing well fishing on the boat, catching consistently in a lot of different spots; mostly sandbars and eelgrass beds starting to fill in, all inner islands, mouth of the rivers and coves etc, as long as it’s got moving water. ‘Back bay’ fishing as they say in Joisey. No topwater bite for me yet, but a friend got a 34 incher the last Tuesday of April and again beginning of March on top🤷‍♂️. So things are looking up. Didn’t catch quite as many big fish in April as I would’ve liked but tons of 23-24 inchers the last week. Bunker is moving in too, mid sound and even inner islands. Methinks I’ll be targeting big fish from sunset onwards in coming weeks.

Tight lines, send your reports or comment below!

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.