30 November 2008

28 November: Last Trip of the Year

Charlie W. accompanied me for the final fishing trip of the 2008 season…the last venturing-forth of the year for Shoo-Fly. The weather was good as far as temperature [52F] and sunshine, but the winds, as usual, were howling out of the west and kept us pretty much confined to the lee side of the River.

We’d heard from Don G. that the stripers were now resuming their wintering-over positions in the upper part of the Housatonic that we fish…up above the Merritt Parkway, all the way to the junction of the Housy with the Naugatuck River; so, we forsook the marsh and headed north.

In the hole below Pamper Mountain [a landfill] we found no fish but did see a small group of whitetail deer grazing on the mountainside. These does kept a close watch on us; later on the buck came into view, but was gone before I could get a shot of him.

Sure enough, the fish were there in great numbers. In some places we could drift with the current for maybe a quarter of a mile and be marking stripers the whole time. Unfortunately, the fish were not at all aggressive so we caught only a dozen fish…none of which was large enough to be worthy of a photograph, but still a lot of fun on light tackle. There were several other boats up river fishing…I don’t think we saw one of them land a fish.

Here’s a shot of a turkey vulture. We saw about a half-dozen of these just above the Sikorsky plant; a few of them flew low over us, checking to see if we were carrion anything interesting for them to eat. Apparently Charlie and I had both used deodorant that morning, so they left us alone.

Back at the dock, Charlie and I made fast work of cleaning out the boat…tackle, gear, coolers, stuff…and piled it all into the car for the trip back to the barn. It’s stacked up out there now waiting for me to start cleaning it all.

So, that’s it for this year. Our next fishing report will be from Islamorada where we’ll spend a few days in the sun this winter…and once again begin our search for the ten-on-a-scale-of-one-to-ten key lime pie. We’ll also be seeking to fill out the cast for our production of the grand opera, I Bimbini [The Bimbos]. And, of course, we’ll search for the wily permit, bonefish, tarpon, redfish, snook, jacks, seatrout, sharks….

In the meantime, you can keep an eye on this blog as we’ll continue to post news items and photos of interest related to salt-water fishing in Long Island Sound, the lower Housatonic River, and environs.

Thanks to all our clients and friends who participated in making the 2008 fishing season a true success.

Capt. Skip

29 November 2008

“Tons of medicine ends up in the environment each year."

"Much has been excreted by patients. Leftover pills may also have been flushed down the toilet. Because water treatment plants were never designed to remove pharmaceuticals, water released into rivers by these plants generally carries a broad and diverse array of drug residues.

“In 2006, a pair of chemists reported that antidepressants downstream of water treatment plants were making it into the brains of fish….

In a research study, “Each bass was offered four minnows once every three days. Any not eaten in 25 minutes were removed. Prior to drug exposures, young-adult bass quickly devoured prey, sometimes all four within 10 seconds, Bisesi notes. But six days into a 27-day exposure to fluoxetine, several fish in the higher concentration groups began to show behavior changes. Some waited a minute or two before going after their first fish. Some spit a minnow out after capturing it or failed to eat more than two. A few developed severely aberrant swimming patterns — such as hanging vertically in the water or resting at the surface, dorsal fin exposed — as minnows cavorted beneath them.”

Science News

28 November 2008

Connecticut DEP Completes Salmon Stockings

"Broodstock Atlantic salmon stocking update – DEP completes its 2008 broodstock salmon stockings this week, with approximately 110 salmon being released into the Shetucket River today (Wednesday, 11/26). This stocking will bring the total number of broodstock salmon stocked this fall to over 1,100 fish. Of the salmon stocked this year, approximately 500 salmon were stocked into the Naugatuck River, 440 salmon were released into the Shetucket River, and the two lakes being stocked experimentally this fall, Crystal Lake and Mashapaug Lake, received 90 salmon each.

"Naugatuck River anglers are reminded that DEP is not stocking salmon upstream of the Route 8 Bridge in Campville this fall due to a DOT bridge repair project limiting access. Additionally, in the Beacon Falls area, DEP will no longer be stocking the area along the RR tracks in Naugatuck State Forest due to safety concerns."


27 November 2008

26 November: We Froze Our Butts, but Caught 27 Stripers

Val S. and I went out at 10 a.m. on Wednesday for one of the very last trips of the year. The wind was blowing 20kts out of the west. Although the air temp was only 45F, as long as the sun was on us, we were fairly comfortable; however, the clouds rolled in and we ended up staying out only about three hours.

We fished only between the marina and the mouth of the Housatonic, finding that spots which had regularly produced fish earlier in the month were now non-producers—the fish had moved further up in the River. We boated a total of 27 stripers, from rats to schoolies. Val landed the biggest fish of the day…and that was on a sand eel fly that he had tied up, so it was a nice catch for him.

The temperature of the water in the River was 44F, and it was 48F out on the Sound, so we saw no bluefish at all. Blues tend to head south when water temps hit 50F or so.

It’s sort of sad to see Shoo-Fly sitting in the docks all by herself. Practically all of the other boats in the marina are now land-locked and covered in plastic for the wintering-over. This fate awaits Shoo-Fly as well as we’ll probably pull her out on December 1.

26 November 2008

Lobster V-Notch Program A Success

"...the "V-notch" program--is an economic development effort that involves students from the state's three aquaculture schools, who in the first year helped identify 59,000 female lobsters.

“The effort paid the lobstermen as if they had kept the females. Instead, they marked the lobsters' tail flippers with a V-shaped clipper, then tossed them back into Long Island Sound where they could procreate. At any time a female lobster can carry as many as 10,000 developing eggs."

Read the full article at: Connecticut Post

25 November 2008

Interesting Stuff on the Shoo-Fly Website

Before we go out on the water each time we check the tide charts and have a look at the weather report…especially wind...and the radar to see if there’s any precipitation headed our way. The Intellicast Weather Loop shows where rain, sleet, or snow is falling in our area…not only now but also where it’s fallen for the past two hours. From this you can get an idea of where the precip is headed, and decide what weather gear you’ll need on board.

To see the radar, just click on the hotlink "Weather: Local Radar," in the left frame of this page.

24 November 2008

Charles Walsh's Column Rates the 2008 Season

“Ask 10 people who fish Long Island Sound when they consider the season to be over and you will get 10 different answers.

“Some are ruled by the calendar, never wetting a line after Labor Day, others will stretch the season well into December. And of course there are the frost-free folks who will be casting for holdover bass at Sunnyside in Shelton on New Years Day.

“Whatever the case, we are at a point now where it is safe to pass a few judgments on the 2008 fishing season.

“We surveyed the local bait and tackle shop owners to rate the 2008 season on a scale of 1 to 10, with 1 being the worst they have ever experienced and 10 the best. We also asked the respondents to site some highlights and lowlights of the just-about-to-end season….

Captain Skip Persson, who guides in the lower Housatonic River, rated the season a seven.

"’I think the most outstanding characteristic was how good the shallow-water light tackle fishing was during the summer months," he said. "Normally, we'd expect the catch to fall off during July and August, but this year it didn't."

“’The bluefish were inshore in good numbers. True, there wasn’t a lot of size to them, but there were enough stripers and enough big blues interspersed with the schoolies to keep it interesting.’”

Read the rest of the comments on the season at: Charles Walsh's Fishing Column

23 November 2008

Fishing Party Rescues Dog a Mile from Land

"'You think the dog would just jump right in the boat,' Lamont said. 'When Tim reached for him, he started snarling and growling. When I tried, he did the same thing. At that point, I didn't think we'd be able to get him.'"

Lab portrait by Deb Persson

Read the full story at: NewsObserver

22 November 2008

Stratford’s Long Beach West Sold to Federal Government

"The Trust For Public Land, a national group with offices in Connecticut, is acting as an intermediary on the transaction and has until Dec. 31, 2014, to come up with funding to acquire the barrier beach, which would then be transferred to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

“The property will be incorporated into a Long Island Sound preserve managed by the federal agency, with part of the property set aside for the nesting ground of endangered shore bird species. However, advocates of the sale also said public access to the rest of the beach is guaranteed.

“Bridgeport officials also are considering the sale of the contiguous Pleasure Beach to the federal agency."

Photo by Deb Persson

“LONG BEACH WEST What it is: A 35-acre barrier beach that protects the Great Meadows unit of the Stewart B. McKinney National Wildlife Refuge. Why it's important: The beach offers a vital habitat for waterfowl, raptors and songbirds. It's also a migratory stopover habitat for thousands of shore birds each year, and is an important area for nesting piping plovers and least terns during the breeding season. It's also a habitat for rare plants, the diamondback terrapin, foxes and deer. It was designated in October as an Important Bird Area by the National Audubon Society, one of 27 in Connecticut.

“Price: The town of Stratford expects to receive at least $10 million from the federal government for the parcel. Access: There is access via foot on a path that begins on the west end of the Long Beach parking lot, the only way to reach the beach on foot since the wood-deck swing bridge to the contiguous Pleasure Beach, at the foot of Bridgeport's Seaview Avenue, burned on Father's Day 1996. It's about 2.5 miles from the Long Beach parking lot to the eastern end of Pleasure Beach. Location: The narrow neck of mostly beach sand extends from Stratford's Long Beach to Bridgeport's Pleasure Beach. There are about 45 abandoned, tumble-down cottages still standing, most of which will be demolished as part of the acquisition deal."

Read the complete story at: Connecticut Post

21 November 2008

Osprey Added to List of Undesirables in Greenwich

"To some, the osprey that have flourished in Greenwich Cove over the last several years symbolize the renewed health of Long Island Sound and have the same right to be there as anything - and anyone - else.

"To others, the fish hawks, though beautiful, are uninvited guests that leave the bloody remains of their kills to bake on boat decks, causing untold frustration and thousands of dollars in damage.

"The latter group wants the two osprey-nesting platforms on the island at Greenwich Cove relocated, possibly to Calf Island in Cos Cob, before the osprey return to Greenwich next spring. The former say they won't let that happen without a fight."

Photo by Deb Persson

Read the whole article at: Greenwich Times

20 November 2008

Saltwater Fishing License: Another State Taking Action

New Hampshire: “Among the topics that will be discussed at a Fish and Game meeting on Thursday is a saltwater angler registry that will come with a licensing fee, and charter captains say they are not happy with the idea.

“Kevin Sullivan, a marine biologist for Fish and Game’s Marine Fisheries Division, said there will definitely be a licensing requirement. The only real issue to be resolved is whether the federal government or the state gets the money from the fees."

Photo: New Hampshire Coast Near Portsmouth

“Charter Captain John Savage of Rye said he doesn’t object so much to the idea of a license, but is concerned what it will do to an already troubled fishing industry.

“’The fishing industry is on the verge of collapse,’ Savage said. ‘They will say it’s federally mandated to have a registry of anglers, but the state is trying to work an alternative so they get the money. I know the state needs money, but the fishing industry is caught in the middle. The state is trying to bleed money out of a dead industry.’”

Full article at: SeaCoastOnLine.com

19 November 2008

Want to Eat Wild Fish? Better Learn to Catch Them Yourself

“I suppose you might call me a wild-fish snob. I don’t want to go into a fish market on Cape Cod and find farm-raised salmon from Chile and mussels from Prince Edward Island instead of cod, monkfish or haddock. I don’t want to go to a restaurant in Miami and see farm-raised catfish from Vietnam on the menu but no grouper. Those have been my recent experiences, and according to many scientists, it may be the way of the future: most of the fish we’ll be eating will be farmed, and by midcentury, it might be easier to catch our favorite wild fish ourselves rather than buy it in the market.”

Read the entire article at: The New York Times

18 November 2008

Probe Nets Illegal Shark Market

"Undercover video shows one of the suspects selling a bag of shark meat to undercover officers. Fish and Wildlife says it was caught illegally.

"'You don't see this type of business anywhere else,' said Lieutenant Steve Delacure, who has been working the case for six months. Eight people are now under arrest, accused of making millions of dollars selling illegally caught fish.

"Delacure says several commercial boats were involved, and the main target was shark. 'I catch them all the time! I just like them I don't know. Just the thought of them eating me out there, I just want to kill every one I see,' said one suspect.

"Investigators say the group also targeted species that wound up in saltwater aquariums around the world."

Complete article at: MyFoxTampaBay.com

17 November 2008

Eels at O'Sullivan's Island

“Floodlights gave the leaf-barren trees an eerie look as the two wader-clad anglers made their way along a darkened path toward the tip of O'Sullivan's Island in the Housatonic River in Derby one night last week”
Charles Walsh in CTPost.com

• Eastern Long Island Sound Fishing

“If you want to brave the wind, there are blackfish on the inshore rockpiles as well as the lower Thames River. Schoolie bass are moving up into the Thames and there's also been a nice run of school bass along the Rhode Island beaches from Watch Hill to Charlestown.”
Tim Coleman in TheDay.com

• Long Island Fishing

“Stripers are feeding on large sand eels, chasing them up onto the beach at times. As a result, any kind of tin — Kastmaster, diamond jib, any metal — should do the trick. Harvey Bennett of the Tackle Shop in Amagansett recommends a faster retrieve than how a tin is usually brought back. The reason, he said, was that the bass seem to be chasing the eels rather than digging them out of the sand bottom. Of course, the old let-the-tin-sink-before-reeling-fast should work too.”

“The fading popularity of the fly rod in saltwater….”

Charles Walsh’s Fishing Column: “For a time, after saltwater fly fishing caught on with a large segment of recreational anglers back in the 1980s, it seemed that its exploding popularity might eventually drive other methods for catching pelagic species like striped bass and bluefish off the water.

“But that never happened.

“No hard statistics on the subject exist, but I think few would disagree that today the bloom has faded on the saltwater fly fishing rose. Oh, there are still plenty of anglers who will fish no other way, and more who always keep a fly rod rigged and ready for when fish are within casting range. But more and more, anglers are leaving the long rod at home in favor of spin and conventional tackle.”

Read Charlie's Complete Article at: Connecticut Post

16 November 2008

NJ Is Dealing with the Salt Water License Issue...What's CT Doing?

Asbury Park Press: "The push for a saltwater fishing license is under way again as bureaucrats and legislators seek more money for conservation and management of marine life. The idea of adding another tax to the burden on anglers crops up every few years, if for no other reason than all anglers have not had a license imposed on them yet. It is true that the do-gooders with an inside track in Washington D.C., were able to talk Congress into passing a law creating a national registry for saltwater anglers, but the lawmakers did not mandate a fee."

Asbury Park Press: "A saltwater fishing license with a fee attached is nothing more than a gimmick to raise money as President George H.W. Bush said years ago. He was right. Charging a fee does not buy good data or guarantee the recreational fishing community any more access, any larger share or any more control over fisheries. It does give the bureacracy more money to spend, and fisheries bureaucrats are creative in finding ways to do so."

PressOfAtlanticCity.com: "Panel OKs free saltwater fishing registry: TRENTON - An Assembly committee signed off on a bill Thursday that would create a free saltwater fishermen's registry in New Jersey...despite an estimated cost [to the state] of as much as $1 million. The bill comes as the federal 2006 Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act requires the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to create a National Saltwater Angler Registry by Jan. 1. The goal is better wildlife data."

APP.com: "Free State Registry in NJ Nears Reality: The State Legislature took another step on Thursday toward establishing a free angler registry to avoid a federal takeover and a possible saltwater fishing license. The Assembly Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee voted unanimously in favor....

"James A. Donofrio, executive director of the Recreational Fishing Alliance, testified in favor of the bill while the state Division of Fish and Wildlife spoke in opposition to the measure. 'The division testified against the bill because there was no fee attached,' Donofrio said. 'They want a saltwater fishing license—they have for years. Congress mandated that a saltwater angler registry must be in place by 2011, but no fee can be charged until after that date,' he said. 'However, the mandate is only for a registry; a fee does not have to be charged.'

"He explained that a state registry that meets the federal requirements will avoid a national registry administered by the National Marine Fisheries Service."

So, the questions is, what's going on in Connecticut regarding this issue? Certainly the CT DEP would like to get their hands on the wallets of state salt water fishermen.

The Norwich Bulletin reported: "Due to the requirements mandated by the reauthorization of the Magnesun Act in 2006, (something politicians in general know little and could care less about) states that don’t have a marine recreational data gathering and reporting systems will be required to do so in 2009, under federal, rather than their own DEP’s direction.

"Not a very good move on the part of this state’s law makers, who for the second time ignored pleas for action by our DEP to do something positive in this matter.

"If Connecticut and the other states are not in compliance with what the Magnesun Act dictates and they don’t have their own marine recreational data gathering systems in place by 2011, marine recreational fishermen will not only be registering and sending information to the feds, but they will be paying a “registration fee” to the federal government, rather than their own states. (This fee will be similar in nature to the tuna licenses off shore anglers must buy from the feds.)

"Now that would be totally stupid — don’t you think?"

15 November 2008

NOAA Charges Charter Operators with Illegal Fishing for Striped Bass

A joint undercover operation by NOAA’s Fisheries Service Office of Law Enforcement and New York and New Jersey enforcement agents has uncovered evidence of alleged illegal fishing by two charter operators.

The operators, Steven N. Forsberg and Viking Starship Inc. of Montauk, N.Y., and Jerome E. Hurd of Avalon, N.J., have been charged by NOAA with taking their patrons to catch striped bass in federal waters, where capture of the prized sport fish is prohibited.

During the undercover operations, federal agents and state officers posed as patrons on several charter vessels operating in New York and New Jersey.

NOAA - National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration

14 November 2008

Woman Saved after Four Hours in Housatonic

"Ross Hatfield first saw something in the water when he got up to feed his cat around 3 a.m. Thursday.
"'I tried to look at it with binoculars, couldn’t focus on it, and thought it was a cormorant after I saw it go down,' said Hatfield, Stratford’s harbormaster. Walking his dog around 6:30 a.m., he saw the figure again. He then realized it was a woman floating about 100 feet from shore, being pulled back in after the tide had turned."

Read the Story at: Fairfield-Sun.com

12 November 2008

Chilly Day Out There Wednesday

Val S. and I went to the mouth of the Housatonic River on 12 November. You've probably seen Val's name frequently recently in these reports because he's one of the few anglers left who is still willing to venture out on the waters [I get excuses from other anglers such as: "Too busy at work," "Taking care of our new dog," "I was in a car accident," and "I'm in Florida now" (Insert smiley-face here)...just kidding guys]. Also, Val gets about five weeks of vacation and this year has taken many of them in individual days...for fishing; and, he's still got some days left! Val's also smart enough to tutor his son and his son's friends in trigonometry, Spanish, and Russian...and to dress warmly...which today was of premier importance.

I remember taking an angler, let's call him Sam, out on the River one late fall day, many years ago. Smart fellow. Looked as though he had dressed properly for the day. Well, a half-hour into the trip, we're fishing and I look over at Sam and he's all curled up in the bottom of the boat, arms wrapped around himself, shivering like he's just seen Dracula. I said "Sam, what's up? You too cold to fish?" He nodded affirmatively——between shivers. "Holy mackerel," I thought [or words to that effect], "he's hypothermic!" I slammed to motor in gear, got him back to the dock, and put him in the car with the heater running...then we went to Dunkin' for coffee.

He survived.

Not sure, but that may have been the last time I ever saw Sam. Too bad. He was a good fisherman. I still remember the day when he and I doubled on bluefish...on flies. His fish was 13.5 lbs. and my fish was 15.5 lbs....

But, I digress.

Back to 12 November: We saw a flock of these little members of the goose family out by the breakwater. Smaller than the Canada Goose, Brant grow to about 25"—according to the bird book. “Breeds in coastal arctic Alaska and Canada. Winters along coast from Maine to Florida.” They feed almost exclusively in salt water and particularly like shallow areas with eelgrass. They’re a nervous crew, they gabble to excess and don’t let you get very close to them…a sign of intelligence, perhaps.

We landed circa 15 stripers and two bluefish. They were biting pretty well, but the fish were moving around a lot and as they were making no surface commotion and were in water too shallow to allow the Garmin to pinpoint them, we had to search…pick up 2-3 fish…and then search again. Here’s Val with a chunky bluefish.

Here’s a view down the throat of the bluefish. You can see how wide they can open their mouths. No wonder they can bite off the lower 40% of a striped bass [we've seen that happen three times this year]. Unfortunately the teeth don’t show clearly, probably because the camera was focusing way down his maw…and…if you look down there you can see that this fish was crammed full of baitfish, some of which had not yet entered his gullet [click the image to enlarge]. Stuffed full, but still hungry enough to munch our lures.

A couple of the stripers we caught were of fairly decent size, but no keepers [have to be at least 28”], but that doesn’t matter as we don’t keep stripers on this boat. This fellow [the fish] was really pretty…fins all flared out…nice purple cast to the black and white stripes on his back…and look at the gut on him [the fish]! This striper’s been eating very well.

The trip started with a light wind from the east that shifted northwest as we fished; the wind got stronger and at one point it felt as though the temperature had suddenly dropped ten degrees. We’d had a good day. We headed for the barn.

11 November 2008

Boater in Mishap Used Gas Can to Stay Afloat

"A boater rescued from a mishap Sunday afternoon used a gas can to stay afloat and his companion was last seen floating on a white seat cushion, authorities said.

"The search for the other boater continued around noon today, just less than 24 hours after their 12-foot, green skiff overturned.

"The Department of Marine Resources, U.S. Coast Guard and Long Beach Dive/Rescue continued to search for a boater reported missing on Sunday off the island.

"Neither man was wearing a life jacket, according to a state DMR spokeswoman.

"The search for the missing man continues with help from DMR, the Coast Guard, the marine patrol division of the Harrison County Sheriff's Department and a dive/rescue team from the Long Beach Fire Department." Source: Biloxi-Gulfport SunHerald.com

Shoo-Fly Charters: Notice a consistency in these three photos?That's right...in every photo that you see in this post, and in every other post we do, the anglers consistently wear their life vests. For adults we use U. S. Coast Guard approved, automatic inflatable vests. If you fall in, there's an "alka-seltzer" tablet in the vest that melts and the vest inflates instantly. You don't have to be conscious, you don't have to do anything...except be certain you're wearing it.

They're not a problem to wear. Lots of times I have to chase my anglers down the dock after the trip because they've gotten so used to the vests they forget they've got them on.

The vests cost about $150 apiece...not cheap...but then neither is life.

10 November 2008

Mayday Calls Probed as Hoax

"Distress call investigated as latest in string of bogus incidents on Long Island, official says: A Mayday call to the U.S. Coast Guard about a sinking vessel in Oyster Bay Harbor is being considered the latest in a rash of hoax calls on Long Island that are currently under federal investigation, an official said.

"A Coast Guard spokeswoman said details regarding the specific number of hoax calls was not being released at this time, but she said numerous incidents have occurred across the Island during the past month to two months. 'We have determined that the call was a hoax,' Coast Guard Petty Officer Barbara Patton said Wednesday. "There have been a rash of them lately on Long Island.'

"The call, received at about 5 p.m. on Tuesday, reported that a man was on a sinking vessel in Oyster Bay Harbor near Centre Island. Coast Guard Station Eatons Neck, Nassau police and Suffolk police responded to the call but found no vessel and no missing boater. Patton said another boater in the area informed Coast Guard officials that he had also responded to the call but could not find a sinking boat.

"Reporting a false or fictional incident is a federal offense, Patton said. A felony, it is punishable by 6 years in federal prison and a $250,000 fine." Source: Newsday.com

Shoo-Fly Charters: Considering the cost to the rescue services to do such a search, the potential danger for the rescue personnel, and the fact that some other boat could have been in real trouble while rescue services were tied up with this bogus search, the potential fine and jail time are certainly not excessive.

09 November 2008

How Long Before the Government Taxes Each Breath We Take?

“When Congress re-authorized the federal law controlling saltwater fishing, legislators required the National Marine Fisheries Service to keep track of recreational saltwater fishermen the way the government keeps track of recreational hunters who hunt ducks, woodcock and other migratory birds. For bird hunters, each state issues Harvest Information Program permits — HIP Cards — so officials can keep track of who is taking how much of what birds. In Rhode Island, HIP Cards have been free; in Connecticut next door, an HIP Card costs $2.

“Congress wants everyone to have a similar permit if they are fishing for striped bass, sea-run trout and other saltwater fish that spawn in fresh water. Also, anyone fishing in federal waters, between three and 200 miles from shore, would need a saltwater permit so fishing regulators can keep track of what they are catching.

“If the state does not issue its own saltwater-fishing permit, the federal government will. Next year, a federal permit will be free, but soon the feds will impose a fee, and all of the money collected will go to the U.S. Treasury.”

Source: Projo.com

07 November 2008

Yet Another Amazing November Day

Charlie W. and I decided to sneak in a few hours of fishing on Friday as it looked like a patch of acceptable weather was stitched in between two pockets of nasty stuff. We lucked out. Although the forecast was for partly sunny, we never saw the sun. The photo shows what it looked like out there…you can see, or rather, you can’t see Long Island in the photo as it appeared to be under a water-level cloud bank the whole time we were on the water. But, there was no wind. Two fishing days in the same week with no wind! In October we didn’t get two days the whole month. BTW, the sailboat in the photo was making way on the motor...the sails apparently just for effect.

Next photo shows a visitor from the north, a Snowy Owl. The bird may be immature as they are more nearly all white when mature. They’re 23” tall according to the bird guide. Apparently they reside in Alaska and northern Canada and winter south to the northernmost U.S. Charlie says he’s seen one other Snowy in Connecticut…it had caught a rat…and that the birds may come this far south if they run low on voles up north. This Snowy was perched on the Housatonic breakwater merrily munching away on something he'd caught.

We had a respectable day of fishing. Once again, they weren’t jumping in the boat, but we found fish in several locations around the mouth of the Housatonic River. We landed circa 14 stripers, all schoolies, and six bluefish including two 13-lb. ‘gators that kept Charlie busy at the end of his very light spinning outfit. We caught a few on flies and on a surface popper.

With the water temp in both the River and Long Island Sound hovering at 55 F, apparently the blues are content to hang around a while longer. They’re obviously finding bait to feed on as we could tell by what the ones we caught up-chucked at the side of the boat.

Also, we’re waiting for reports of fish further up the River. We haven’t fished up there in a while and no one is saying that the stripers and blues have been running up there. We’ll just have to wait longer.

06 November 2008

Connecticut Arts of the Angler Show

“The fly-show season kicks off...Saturday [15 Nov] in Danbury, Conn., with the Arts of the Angler Show, sponsored by the Catskill Fly Fishing Center and Museum. It’s more low-key than the big shows in New Jersey, but it’s got all the seminars, demonstrations and goodies for sale that turn grown anglers into kids in a candy store. More than 40 fly-tiers will demonstrate their craft….”
Article from: DailyGazette.com

An Amazing Day on the Water—Especially for November

Tuesday: I got to the Marina before Val S. arrived because he was tied up by long lines at the polls. So, I headed out in Shoo-Fly 3 by myself for an hour.

There was no wind. Not only was there no wind, but also there was no current as the tide was at dead low. With the trolling motor down—and with no wind and no current—the boat could snake in and out of the docks with ease…almost like being on a lake or in the Naples, FL canals.

I headed SF3 out between the docks and the Garmin fish-finder beeped—a bunch of fish were under the boat. Started casting to where the fish were and hooked up to a smallish striper on the first throw. Then I switched from a jig-swimbait combination to the fly rod and hooked the biggest of seven fish I took before Val arrived…it was only 22” but it put up a good fight against the fly rod.

It’s always nice to have the skunk off the boat* before the trip even starts.

Val on board, we headed out toward the mouth of the Housatonic River with the wind picking up a bit—but not enough to be obnoxious or to make fly-casting difficult. We found a few stripers along the breakwater and the bite got better and better as we moved along.

Fish were all over a particular flat—with blues mixed right in with the stripers and frequently feeding on the surface—although they didn’t seem to want to hit surface plugs. We caught most of the fish on flies and jigs.

We had another of those half-striper incidents: I had a fish on when it was hit by a bluefish that chomped off the lower 40% of the striper’s body. We hate to see that happen as we’d prefer to release the fish…the whole fish. But we had to throw the rest of the striper back and the ensuing commotion on surface of the water indicated that the blues finished it off in short order. Nothing edible goes to waste in Long Island Sound.

Before the trip was over we’d caught probably 30 striped bass to 25” and five bluefish to 8 lbs. Val took three of the blues home to have a smoke.**

*“Skunk off the boat” means that we weren’t going to be skunked [to catch no fish]

**Smoked bluefish is good stuff; Val does this himself

05 November 2008

In Case You Go To Istanbul: Fish the Galata Bridge

They catch bluefin tuna off a bridge???

"He says that he fishes because he doesn't have other hobbies, like going to coffeehouses or smoking. He has been fishing on the bridge for years and gladly shares his experience in the trade with anyone who asks. Ho┼čatar jokes that since he ate bluefish today, none are biting tonight but says that in general, bluefish bite in the morning but he catches many more bluefin tuna at night. 'When fishing for bluefish, you have to use anchovy for bait; to catch bluefin tuna, you have to use shrimp for bait or a green trotline. Since it's hard to catch bluefish, you have to know what depth they swim at.'

"The Galata Bridge, with hundreds of fishermen lined up on either of its sides, is also host to an auxiliary market that sprung up to service the fishermen. Simit sellers abound to supply freshly baked simit [a circular bread with sesame seeds] just as the fishermen get hungry, and tea sellers supply the caffeinated drink to those who are having difficulty keeping their eyes open but don't have the time to steal a nap in their car."

Apparently, all the fishing nuts are not located in Connecticut.

Today’s Zaman

04 November 2008

Maritime Film Festival: Tradition at the Crossroads, November 9, 2008, Stony Brook University

Are fishermen and baymen endangered? Is our coastal ecology threatened? What is our waterfront history?

On November 9 Long Island Traditions and New York Sea Grant will present the first “Maritime Film Festival: Tradition at the Crossroads” at Stony Brook University. The festival will feature 15 documentary films that explore the region’s marine ecosystem, fishing traditions and coastal heritage, with discussions featuring filmmakers, local baymen, decoy carvers, clamshell artists and other tradition bearers.

For further information: Long Island Traditions

03 November 2008

Rest Assured: If It Blew Up, the Blast Wouldn't Have Reached Us

"In New York and Connecticut, environmental groups and politicians, including the governors of both states, united in opposition to a plan to anchor a floating terminal in the middle of Long Island Sound, nine miles north of Long Island and even farther from the southern Connecticut shore.

"Opponents predicted an accident in which a huge ball of flame would erupt over the water. But what would it burn? The terminal itself, yes. Also, any tanker moored to the terminal, offloading gas, would be destroyed. But anything on land – houses, say, or a school bus – would be much too far away to be affected. Further, in decades of transporting liquefied natural gas by ship, there has not been a single significant accident.

"Nevertheless, the opposition prevailed at the state level, although the plan passed muster with the federal government, including the Coast Guard. The project looks to be a long shot now, especially given what's happening with the economy."

Source: NorthJersey.com

01 November 2008

Newtown Bait & Tackle

If you haven't already done so, you should make a point to stop in to see Rich & Jan Newman’s Newtown Bait & Tackle.

Located at 78 South Main Street [Route 25] in Newtown, CT about a mile south of the flagpole, the store has an amazing array of fishing...well...bait and tackle.

In the live bait area you can find: Alewives, Night Crawlers, Trout Dillies, Wax Worms, Meal Worms, Mousies, Spikes, Eels, and Sand Worms. Saltwater frozen bait includes Bunker, Mackerel, Squid, and Herring

And in the tackle area...rather than list all the brands they carry, you can get an idea of what's in stock by clicking HERE.

In addition, they carry books, videos, clothing, toys, Christmas gifts, gift certificates, calendars...lot's of goodies.

The store is open Monday through Friday from 0600 to 1800 and Saturday and Sunday from 0530 to 1800

Check out their website: Newtown Bait & Tackle

Connecticut DEP Stocks Salmon in Naugatuck River

Stamford Advocate: "...the Department of Environmental Protection (DEP) announced the beginning of its annual stockings of surplus broodstock Atlantic salmon. In the first of several stockings, DEP's Inland Fisheries Division will be releasing 420 salmon into the Shetucket River and the Naugatuck River this week (Oct. 6-9). An additional 80 salmon will be released into Crystal Lake (Ellington) and Mashapaug Lake (Union).

"The 500 fish that are being released this week are surplus and barren fish from the Kensington State Fish Hatchery and weigh between 2 and 15 pounds each with some fish up to 20 pounds."

Waterbury Republican-American: "In recent years on the Naugatuck River, I have seen anglers catch salmon using bait, herding fish and antagonizing them to hit, taking salmon during the catch-and-release season and harvesting more than one per day, and not releasing a foul-hook fish when harvesting was allowed. All are illegal activities."

Shoo-Fly Charters: Eventually, those salmon that survive their time in the Naugatuck, [survive dirty water, snaggers, and poachers] work their way down below the junction of the Naugy and the Housy where they can be caught by saltwater anglers. We saw a large salmon caught by a boater just above the Merritt Parkway Bridge this spring.

Problem is, unlike fishing upstream, you can't realistically target these fish once they're out of the confines of the Naugy. There's too much water to cover and too few salmon. But they will eat some of the baits that we use for striped bass and bluefish; jig-headed swim baits, for example. So when fishing the lower Housy you just have to hope that a salmon will come along and chomp your lure.

If a big salmon does hit your line, you have to be ready for a battle. Fishing with light tackle you can expect to have to chase the fish with your boat...and to wear your arms out fighting the fish.