24 September 2009

9/24 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

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Val S. arrived at the dock at 1300 on Thursday to give me a hand removing the Minn Kota trolling motor from the boat as it had become unresponsive to commands from the remote control. These motors are generally very short-lived in salt water, but at least they're expensive.

Val had been through this several times with the TM on his Pathfinder and had brought all the necessary tools; he had the six bolts out in a few minutes. Then we tried to remove the plate that fastens the TM to the foredeck. No go. Turns out it had been installed with 3M 5200 which cannot be removed by cussing at it...otherwise, we'd have had it off in a jiffy.

So Val reassembled the whole thing while I made arrangements with the Marina to get the darned thing off the boat so I could ship it back to Minnesota for repairs.

We finally got out on the water about 1430 to find that the cormorants were lined up on the breakwater laughing at us. They'd already heard about the trolling motor, obviously. And they were up on the rocks because there was no bait in the water...so that led to a few of their snickers as we became rapidly frustrated at flinging lures with no result.

We hit the usual suspect spots and had only two chomped swim-baits to show for our efforts...undoubtedly the work of small bluefish.

It was time to head for Middleground.

Water was pretty quiet out there. We arrived right at the stand of the tide, that brief interval at low and high tides when the water doesn't seem to be either rising and falling. And there were just a few boats out there.

We got into fish pretty quickly. I caught the first one, a 33-inch bluefish [photo in orange shirt, below], which would put it into the 16-lb. range [see the length-to weight conversion table at Noreast.com] which fish, incidentally, would have easily won the recent WICC Bluefish Tournament to the tune of $25,000. No fooling! Biggest fish caught in the Tournament was under 14 lbs.

Val hooked a 26" [10-lb.] battler on his home-made baby bunker fly; fish jumped several times before I tailed it and brought in on board to pose for the photo.

We fished close around Middleground which area suddenly had become populated with small boats that apparently had seen us struggling with the large bluefish.

The Osprey, a large head or party boat, also arrived, but looked rather sparse at the fishing rails. We wondered if this could be a profitable trip for the boat's owners with so few paying guests on board. Lovely boat, though...nice sounding engines as well.

The clouds with the sun behind were spectacular all afternoon. Wind was not a problem at first, but it began to blow up from the north, more strongly the longer we stayed...so we kept an eye on that as we'd be running dead into it on the 7-mile trip back to the mouth of the Housatonic River.

That's an interesting run to follow on the depth finder as there's a grand canyon between the mainland and Middleground. The bottom quickly drops from 50-60 feet to about 170 feet deep...and then comes back up again as you approach Middleground where the depth, of course, is 0.

The guy running the glaciers 10,000 years ago must have had a good time with this: "I think I'll dig out this big trench here so boaters crossing it will feel safe...and then I'll dump it all here in the middle so they'll run right smack up on it." As probably many boats did until the lighthouse was built.

The flies are a real pain at this time of the year out at Middleground. They're nasty little things, looking like small housefies, and they bite, specializing on legs and ankles as they tend to stay down in the hull of the boat out of the wind.

Can't tell you how much fun it is to be battling a 16-lb. bluefish while these flies are taking all advantage of your distraction. It's reel in a bit, then swat a fly; reel, swat...etc.

I finally put on a pair of Goretex rain pants. No more shorts out there until we get a freeze.

We had several hits but didn't land a lot of fish; in fact, Val was contending that he was the better fisherman as he'd lost more fish than I'd lost...but we're not buying that one.

The setting sun behind the clouds were speck-tack as we returned to the mainland.

Another great day on the water.


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Don’t forget, a saltwater fishing license is now required to fish the marine waters of Connecticut. You can purchase one from your local bait & tackle shop, such as Newtown Bait & Tackle, or at Town/City Hall.

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Check these links for more information:

Connecticut Tourism;
Long Island Sound Resource Center;
Housatonic Valley Association;
Stratford, Connecticut;
Milford, Connecticut

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