30 June 2009

Sunglasses, and Trips on Long Island Sound

Protect Your Eyes from the Summer Sun

“…over the years, we've learned to protect our skin from the sun's ultraviolet rays. Well, it's the same thing when it comes to our eyes. When it comes to eyes, ultraviolet radiation is linked to the early development of cataracts, skin cancer of the eyelids, and macular degeneration, the biggest cause of age-related blindness.

“Here are some tips to make sure your eyes get the best protection:”

Read the tips at Examiner.com

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Trips You Can Take on Long Island Sound

“The Bridgeport and Port Jefferson Steamboat Company. One hour and 15 minute trips across Long Island Sound to Port Jefferson, N.Y., departs from the pier on Ferry Access Road, Bridgeport. Call or visit Web site for schedule and prices. (631) 473-0286, www.bpjferry.com.”

See more trips at ConnPost.com

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29 June 2009

Blues Crash the Party

“While some fishermen may curse the arrival of bluefish, especially when their soft-plastic baits come back to the boat docked like Doberman tails, most of us welcome the excitement that the party crashers bring and will head out on the water with wire leaders and topwater plugs to join in the fun.”

Whole article at Boston Herald.com

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Milford's Shoreline

“Escaping slaves, bootleggers, pirates, tragic drownings and heroic rescues, the western half of the city's waterfront has seen it all -- or at least people insist that it has.”

Read the story in ConnPost.com

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28 June 2009

NYC, Eastern CT Fishing Reports

New York City Fishing Report

BLUES and stripers continue to provide the bulk of the ac tion for saltwater anglers in the metro area, followed by a nice mix of sea bass and porgies for the bottom feeders.

Read all about it in NYPost.com

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Fluke Fishing in Eastern CT

“Opening day in CT showed good numbers in fluke caught while the size was slightly lacking. “Not too many keepers out there.” reported Dana Pollard, Mystic, who worked hard to get his three fish limit.”

Read more at TheResident.com

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26 June 2009

6/25 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

The mouth of the Housatonic River was loaded with fish on Thursday...stripers and bluefish all mixed in together.

I met up with Don G. in Southford [don’t know if that’s a real town or not; it’s a co-joining of Southbury and Oxford; there’s a small state park there that’s quite nice] around 1100 and we lit out for Stratford. Stopped at the Pickle Barrel at Hard’s Corner to get sandwiches [the grilled chicken on a Portuguese roll is very good and very low in fat]. We were on the water by 1230.

Conditions were ideal: Cloudy skies; very little wind and it was coming from the west which meant that the mouth of the River would be protected and, therefore, fly-castable; also, the high tide was scheduled for 1435 which meant that we’d be fishing at the perfect time to be in the shallows; and the water temps were circa 65° which is good for both stripers and blues.

First flat we pulled up on we were into fish. I hooked the first one, a 26” striper and from that point on we were both on fish, both stripers and blues. Two fellows in kayaks were also on the flat and were getting fish on surface poppers.

We had several cut-offs as bluefish sliced though our leaders. I tried using a wire leader, but that only served to slow the bite down…even the blues weren’t hitting the lure with wire. Went back to 30-lb. test bite tippet and started getting hits again.

The bite dropped off as the time of the high tide approached. You could clearly see the seams in the water—previously exaggerated by the incoming tide—becoming less conspicuous.

It was time to move.

So we moseyed along the River channel. Don spotted birds working off to the right, so we lit out over that flat and were soon into the same sort of action…bass and blues. We had doubles. We had cut-offs.

I got out the 9-weight fly rod and was landing both bass and blues with that. Didn’t have any cut-offs with the fly rod as I was using my “toothy-critter” fly. I’ll have to post a photo of that fly, but the idea is that the materials are all tied in at the bend of the hook leaving the rest of the shank to the eye bare. This acts as a “wire” and unless the bluefish really inhales the fly, his teeth are working on the hook shank, not on the tippet.

None of the fish were particularly large. The stripers ran from 20” to 26” and the blues were a bit smaller.

When the bite on that flat slowed, we moved over to another spot that works well on the outgoing…and caught more fish there. In fact, the only place we tried where we didn’t get fish was off Russian Beach; however, two fellows trolling the tube & worm were getting stripers there quite readily.

So that’s the way the day went. We packed it in about 1700…probably could have stayed out there hitting fish for hours more.

Great day on the water.


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Charles Walsh’s Fishing Report

“The answer to our recent speculation as to whether heavy rain hurts saltwater fishing appears to be a resounding "not this year it doesn't," as anglers find no shortage of finny prey in the low-salinity waters. Even the expected turbidity that usually follows several days of rain has not happened. Water clarity in the western Sound remain excellent.”

Read the whole report in ConnPost.com

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CT DEP Fishing Report

“STRIPED BASS fishing remains good off the Watch Hill reefs, the Race, Sluiceway, and Plum Gut. Three way rigs baited with live bunker, hickory shad, or scup have been scoring well on cow bass. Other spots include outer Bartlett Reef, Millstone Point, Hatchett Reef, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Bridgeport Harbor including Breezy Point/Seaside Park, the Norwalk Islands and the reefs off Stamford and Greenwich.

“BLUEFISH fishing remains fair to good at the Reefs off Watch Hill, the Race, Millstone Point (warm water outflow), Plum Gut, Milford to New Haven, Bridgeport Harbor, Norwalk Islands, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground area, and the reefs off Greenwich and Stamford.”

Entire report is at WTICNews.com

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Stratford Coast Guard Auxiliary Open House Sunday

An open house at the Flotilla 24-02 base in at the Birdseye boat launch on Sunday, June 28, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. will help celebrate the 70th anniversary of the U.S. Coast Guard Auxiliary.

Coast Guard and auxiliary vessels will be on hand, as will area police and fireboats. Flotilla 24-02 this month acquired a new 31-foot Chris Craft patrol vessel that will be on display.

Members of the flotilla have demonstrations planed for both boaters and the general public. Information ranging from how one can obtain a safe boating certificate to how to become a member of the auxiliary will be available.

Because canoes and kayaks have gained popularity, paddle craft safety information will be made available, and experts will be on hand with displays and to answer questions. For power boat owners, Flotilla 24-02 will offer free vessel safety checks. Boating safety equipment will also be on display.

Face painting and coloring books will be offered for children, and fingerprint and DNA kits will be assembled by Stratford Police.”

Read more about the CGA open house at Acorn-Online.com

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Bass in the Grass

“Generally, the first couple of hours of an ebb tide offer the most consistent, predictable fishing along the marsh banks. As a tide turns and ebbs, it pulls with it an abundance of baitfish that was swept into the marshes during high tide. Many of the creeks, cuts and drains suck water and bait from the marshes, and into the swift waters of the channel. It is at the mouths of these drains that stripers, weakfish, and blues wait, and gorge themselves during outgoing tide, since they provide a real smorgasbord of choice, easy to catch forage.”

Read more in Examiner.com

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25 June 2009

More of Connecticut Post’s Series on Connecticut’s Shoreline

“You can get a taste of local history, through such regional landmarks as the Umbrella Tree and a set of condominiums, where a famous hotel (once a favorite vacation stop of Albert Einstein) used to stand. With so much beauty and history, this section of the shoreline was a natural starting point for our Breaking the Sound Barrier project.”

Read it at ConnPost.com
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The Status of PCBs in Hudson River Striped Bass

“The concentrations of PCBs in Hudson River striped bass have changed over the years and have been monitored by the New York State Department of Environmental Conservation. In 1975, the mean concentration of PCBs was 17.39 parts per million and reached a maximum of 50.07 p.p.m. By 2007, the mean concentration was 0.89 parts per million, with a maximum of 3.56.

“But, according to the E.P.A., “\’Although PCB levels in fish have decreased over the past 20 years, the downward trend has leveled off.’”

Read the full story at NYTimes.com

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24 June 2009

Connecticut DEP Confirms: No SW License Yet

"Connecticut Department of Environmental Protection
DEP Marine Fisheries News

"Connecticut Marine Waters Fishing License: Update - June 23, 2009

"A marine waters fishing license is currently NOT required.

"The bill that establishes a marine waters fishing license has been passed by the legislature but will not be effective unless and until the Governor signs it into law.

"If and when the Marine Waters Fishing License (MWFL) bill becomes law, Environmental Conservation Police efforts with respect to the license will be focused on education and outreach during the remainder of 2009."


The last line of the DEP notice appears to indicate that--once the license actually goes into effect--the DEP will not persecute...errrrr...we mean "prosecute" anyone who fishes marine waters without a license--until 1/1/2010.

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Connecticut Post Starts Series on Connecticut’s Shoreline

“Long Island Sound. It's the spectacular backdrop for our lives -- a great mixing basin of waters fresh and salt, more of a bathtub than an ocean, surprisingly shallow and therefore particularly susceptible to the pull of the tides and the push of pollution from the millions who live around its edges.

“Here in Southwestern Connecticut, the coast of the Sound is a constant source of beauty and mystery -- beauty too often seen only from afar, and mystery partly because most of us have very few opportunities to see it up close….”

Read this introduction at ConnPost.com

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23 June 2009

Chumming for Stripers

“Clam chumming at the south shore bridges during the nighttime hours is probably one of the easiest and effective styles of bass fishing one can apply. Unlike most other tactics, it does not take a brain surgeon to score if you use a few simple steps….”

Tony Salerno writing in Examiner.com

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Yellow Lobster…One in Thirty Million

“New England Aquarium director of research Michael Tlusty says a rare genetic mutation produces yellow lobsters.”

Story & photo at FWDailyNews.com

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22 June 2009

“…Memories of Nearly Forgotten Gear”

“I was looking for my old worn Orvis wading boots when I opened up a box I didn’t recognize. When I looked in the box I found an old lure and my old Garcia Mitchell 300 spinning reel. I bought this reel when I was in high school from the old Arlans Discount department store. I think I paid $19.99 in 1968 dollars for this little gem.”

A good read at HeraldNews.com

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Wire Line

“…when it comes to fishing with wire line, I’m not particularly fond of using the stuff. After all it requires constant attention, and can easily kink in the hands of an inexperienced angler. Furthermore, it can stretch and even break if kinked often. So why use the stuff? Quite simply, it gets down deep and catches fish….”

Read the article at Examiner.com

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Choosing the Right Reel

“Today, fishing reels are more specialized than the reels that you may have used when you were younger. With literally hundreds, maybe thousands, of different reels on the market, choosing the right reel can be extremely difficult. The selection process can be made easier if the buyer takes a few major features of fishing reels into consideration.”

More information at NewsTimes.com

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21 June 2009

Prehistoric “Monster” Spotted in Stratford

“The fish sighting of the week goes to the unnamed fellow who stopped in at Stratford Bait & Tackle Wednesday to ask if anyone could identify the "thing" he spotted swimming just below the surface at Bond's Dock last week.

Looking genuinely alarmed, the man described it as a "monster" of about eight feet in length and having a "coat of armor."”

Charles Walsh writing in ConnPost.com

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Stripers: Please, Put the Big Ones Back!

“Increasingly, local striped-bass fishermen are releasing these big fish, returning them to the water, free to swim - and perhaps breed - another day ... or another decade.

“What a wonderful idea. Offshore fishermen have long released marlin and other big game fish. But the concept has been slow to catch on among striper fishermen - until now.”

Complete article at PressOfAtlanticCity.com
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Fluke Season Underway

"The Connecticut and Rhode Island fluke seasons opened this week, pleasing most area anglers to no end, giving them another species to go after. New York is closed, however, making it illegal to retain fluke in that state's waters."

Tim Coleman writing in TheDay.com

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20 June 2009

Effect of Rain on Fishing

“One of the long standing bones of contentions among anglers has been just what impact a huge influx of rainwater such as we have experienced in the past, well, month-and-a-half, has on saltwater fishing. We conducted an informal poll and discovered that indeed it is a still a bone of contention. About half the fishermen we asked said it hurts the fishing and half said it did not do that much damage.”

Charles Walsh writing in ConnPost.com

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Handle Stripers with Care

“…I was shocked by a Division of Marine Fisheries report.

“It said that while about 300,000 striped bass are harvested each year in Massachusetts, an additional 500,000 are released and then die from handling-stress and injuries. I was staggered. Gobsmacked as the Irish say. Half a million? That's a lot of dead fish.

“So this week I asked some local sharpies about how to curb the carnage.”

A must-read at CapeCodOnline.com

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Maintenance Critical for Reels Used in Salt Water

“Reel cleaning is especially important when the reel is used in saltwater or in a sandy environment. Reels should be given a minor washdown after every use, but a thorough cleaning should be done every two to three months, even if the reel has not been used heavily.”

Read more at Savannah.Now.com

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19 June 2009

Choosing the Right Bucktail

“The fact is all bucktails were not created equal. Okay, be honest, do you really know how leadhead jigs or bucktails’ jigs really work? Then, if you do, you won’t find it necessary to read any further.”

To read more: Examiner.com

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Saltwater Fly Fishing in Portsmouth Harbor

“It took me a few tries to get the hang of it, but eventually I learned to feel the line stretch to its full extension before whipping it in the other direction. Managing the slack line at my feet was a constant challenge, as it easily got snaked on parts of my body or the boat. I even snagged Bryant’s line with my own a couple of times, requiring some annoying untangling.”

Full story at WireNH.com

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18 June 2009

6/17 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Coming down the River Road [Route 110] from Shelton at 0630 Wednesday morning, it looked as though we'd be starting off the day's fishing in a fog bank. It was pretty solid out on the Housatonic River. Mal Y. joined me and reported he'd had the same thoughts...especially since we got "fogged" off the River a couple of weeks ago.

That was a different story, however, as the fog was complicated with low tide, intermittent rain, and a cold wind. The low tide forces boats into narrower confines...which seriously increases the danger in the fog. But with Wednesday's high tide at 0716 it would be no problem getting out to fishing areas as we could run through the marshes where the UselessCrafts seldom go. Besides, it was Wednesday and not the weekend, so most UselessCrafts were tied up somewhere...which is exactly where they belong...tied up.

But not to worry, the fog was much less dense near the mouth of the River. Looking north toward US-1, I-95, and the Devon power plant, it was obvious that the fog was lifting and burning off.

We snuck up on a flat using the trolling motor and practically ran over a small bunch of fish. It was odd. There we were tooling along at maybe one knot, not seeing any movement on the water, not getting any hits, when suddenly these fish, probably striped bass, bolted right out from in under our bows. It was like when fishing the flats in the Florida Keys and you run up on some shark, cuda, or other large fish that you didn't see. All that's left is a big boil on the surface of the water as they depart for distant waters.

I did get one nice bass off that flat [next-to-last photo, below], a 27-incher that put up a good battle before deigning to pose for the camera. But the flat didn't want to produce for us today. Must be that the bunch of fish we spooked passed the word to the others: Psssst: Freddy, don't take any plastic minnows!

We motored further out in the the mouth of the River and Mal began to hook up. No large fish, but of size-decent to put a bend in the rod and give Mal fits as they tried to run under the boat...both stripers and blues.

The usual contigent of birds were available and one Black-Crowned Night Heron actually stood still long enough to grab his photo. We also saw mute swans, various herons/egrets, mallard ducks, ospreys, an unidentified hawk, American oystercatchers, and gulls.

Speaking of gulls, there are four telltales as to where fish are feeding: The 4 "B's": Bass, Blues, Birds [gulls and terns], and Boats.

This was the last "B." We'd been watching several boats grouped together on the other side of the River mouth. As most saltwater fisherpersons know, grouped boats is a telltale for schools of feeding fish...typically bluefish. So, as fishing had slowed for us on our side, we decided to mosey over and see what was going on.

Sure enough, they were on a feeding frenzy of bluefish...but very small bluefish. This is why we couldn't tell what the grouped boats were up to from a distance: The splashes from their feeding were very small. When a big blue hits a bait on the surface, you can see the splash from a long way off...as though someone had thrown a cinder block in the water. This was more like someone pitching in a pebble. How big were they? Doubt that we say any fish over 16"...and many a lot smaller.

Still, it's always fun to fool with feeding bluefish...even small ones if you're using light tackle, as we were. So we proceeded to chase the schools of fish around and caught two dozen of the little "rats." Threw them all back...except for two larger ones that Mal had caught earlier.

We decided to call it a morning...although we probably could have stayed out there catching small blues for hours more. If I'd had my one-weight fly rod along, just might have done that.

Mal was the high-liner for the day...caught most of the fish.

As we left the River, high cirrus clouds coming in from the west were indicating that rain was soon to follow.

A great day on the water.

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Marine Fishing License

Apparently Governor Rell still hasn't signed HB5873 [now designated as Public Act 09-173]. The state says if she does not do so, the state will refund the license fee to those who've already purchased one. Can't personally imagine her not signing the PA, however.

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17 June 2009

Stripers vs. Bluefish

“…striped bass fisherman arm themselves with an extensive and sometimes expensive assortment of lures and hooks. Only to have them bitten off, or chewed up by a toothy blue. It is assumed by most that stripers are leader shy, and are turned off at the sight of a wire leader. Using a translucent material, such as mono or fluorocarbon, can greatly improve your catches.”

Story at TheResident.com

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Save Fish from Drugs in the Water

“The hearing comes on the heels of an Associated Press investigation that reported pharmaceutical traces in drinking water supplies of at least 51 million Americans and in many waterways. The drugs range from antibiotics to psychiatric drugs to endocrine-disrupting sex hormones.”

News item at Associated Press

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Everything You Wanted to Know about Eating Seafood…but Were Afraid to Ask

“Seafood from distant waters — caught and processed by giant factory ships — is now available everywhere. But that means environmentally conscious consumers find themselves confronted with scores of fish to avoid, either because they have been overfished or because certain fishing methods endanger other species. At the same time, fish farming has become a far more diverse industry, with different practices and opposing factions. Some retailers are labeling the origin of the fish they sell.”

Read the article at NYTimes.com
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16 June 2009

When to Fish for Stripers

“If you can choose when to go fishing for stripers along this coastline you want to fish at night through the four hours at the top of the tide. Although you can catch linesiders at anytime, the best hours to get the big ones are after dark at high tide.“

Read all of article at GloucesterTimes.com

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Saltwater License Bill Not Yet Signed

"Legislators already cast their votes supporting a bill requiring licenses for salt water anglers starting today but it has yet to arrive on the governor's desk leaving fisherman and the proposed law in limbo.

"'Well, I hope I didn't waste my $10....'"

Read more at WTNH.com

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More on the Saltwater License

"Fishermen and environmentalists might never agree on the necessity of a new Connecticut law requiring recreational saltwater anglers 16 or older to buy annual licenses, but advocates on both sides of the argument are finding common ground in their displeasure with the state's rush to begin collecting the fees.

"Gov. M. Jodi Rell hasn't even signed the legislation yet, although she is expected to
...."
Story at TheDay.com

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Where Will those Saltwater Fishing License Fees Go?

“Revenues from the licenses - projected at about $1 million per year - will go to a DEP environmental conservation fund. That could change, however, depending on what's in the state budget once it's adopted. Rell's proposed budget calls for all DEP revenues to go into the general fund, which would include the license fees.”

Read more at TheDay.com

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The Naugatuck River and Environmental Progress

“Not so long ago, the Naugatuck River resembled a chameleon -- a waterway adept at changing color. Some days, it had a bright emerald green tint. Other days, its waters were streaked gold, sometimes ruby red.
"It was the color of whatever got dumped in it upstream….”

Read the item at ConnPost.com

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14 June 2009

6/13 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Charlie W. and I left the dock at 1:00 pm on Saturday despite cloudy skies and warnings of rain and possible thunderstorms. Of course we weren't going far...we'd do all of the day's fishing within two miles of the dock, so if the weather cranked up, we could scoot back safely.

First flat we tried, we struck gold. It was all happening so quickly that I don't recall which we landed first, the keeper striper or the 12-pound bluefish.

Actually, I shouldn't say "we." As you can see from the photos, Charlie was the one pulling all the big fish into the boat.


Funny how that sort of thing happens. There we were, standing 12 feet apart, using very similar lures and fishing techniques and Charlie hooks all the fish.

Well, that's not entirely correct either. I had some large fish on, but one spit the hook back in my face and two others cut me off...first through a 30-lb. test bite tip and second through 50-lb. Obviously, these were substantial bluefish...but you can't count them if you don't catch them.


So we fished that flurry for about an hour. When that died off we noticed fish breaking the surface further up on the flat, so we ran over to them on the trolling motor.

We soon had fish swirling all around us...probably stripers feeding on sand eels or some other bottom-dwelling critter. Couldn't get them to hit anything. Tried skinny flies to immitate the sand eels, but that didn't work. None of the plastics worked either.

From that point on the fishing got tougher.

We fished some other spots and I managed to get a couple of smallish stripers into the boat without incident.


We saw Don G. out there in his Pathfinder. Said he and two fishing companions had been doing well on stripers and blues.

It started to rain.

We went back to the first flat and found the fish still feeding there, but again, we couldn't figure out a way to get them to bite. Just too much real bait in the water, perhaps.

So Charlie had the high rod today. He boated and released the 29" striper in the photo, the 27" and 31" bluefish, also pictured, and several other bluefish.

Great day on the water.

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Fishermen Balk at Saltwater License

“People have tossed hooks and lines into the New England tides since long before there was a Cape Cod Canal for Eddie Pachucki to fish in. So Pachucki, casting into the canal's current for striped bass, couldn't fathom why he'd soon owe the state for the privilege.

‘They didn't put the stripers there," said the 31-year-old baker. "Why should I pay to catch them?’“

Full story at PortClintonNewsHerald.com

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Eastern Connecticut Fishing Report

“Down at River's End Tackle in Old Saybrook, Mark Lewchik reported off and on results casting for stripers in the lower Connecticut River from Essex down past Great Island. One day the fish bite well, said Mark, the next day almost nothing.”

Tim Coleman writing in TheDay.com

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13 June 2009

Monster Striper at Montauk

"Jackman played the big fish to the end and set about to revive and release it, but to no avail. When it was weighed at Paulie’s Tackle in Montauk, onlookers thought they were seeing things. The scale read 57.8 pounds, truly a monster bass topping the heap of big bass caught that same morning.”

Story and photo at EastHamptonStar.com

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Stan Gibbs…Legend and Man


Gibbs Striper Fly

“Don recalled the first time he met Stan Gibbs was when he came into the shop to weigh in a huge eight-pound sea run trout Gibbs caught in a local estuary. Stromeyer said that during all the years he knew him, he doesn’t recall Gibbs ever bringing a striper into his scale, but he did see plenty of the muskrats and mink that Gibbs trapped in one of the ponds directly across from the shop in Buzzards Bay. According to all accounts Gibbs was a throwback to the old timers who lived on the Cape and according to those who were fortunate to have known and fished with him, he was the consummate outdoorsman. “

Charlie Soares writing in HeraldNews.com

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Fish in New York City Area

“There have been some stripers caught in the Hudson south of the GW Bridge, while anglers have been slamming bluefish from the Throgs Neck Bridge to City Island.“

Read it in NYPost.com

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Topwater...Saltwater

“In murky water, you don’t often see the approach; you just strip and track the fly in brown water; then, all of a sudden, you may see a big flash and the edges of a mouth appear as the fish takes the fly. Surprise!”

Chico Fernandez writing in FlyRodReel.com

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12 June 2009

Sight-Fishing On the Cape

“He's a half-mile from shore. Hikes through the rising water for a while, then gets to the creek. He's got the tide flooding up behind him and a deep channel in front of him.

“It's fully dark now and, with two stripers trailing behind, if any sharks are about, he's a virtual human chum slick. He has to bash on. His rod held high, cold water starts to overtop the waders. Bad thoughts creep in. The shore is invisible in the horizonless dark.”

Good read at CapeCodOnline.com

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Charlie Walsh’s Fishing Report

“It really did not matter how hot or cold the fishing was, the constant rain, drizzle and fog did not invite a wading trip to the shore or outing in an open boat. The weekend promises to bring better weather, but the way things have been going of late, it might be better not to get the hopes too high."

Read it all in ConnPost.com

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Weather Batters Boaters


“Across southeastern Connecticut, marinas are full of boats nestled in their slips. But boaters and marina owners say the weather has taken even more of a toll on the industry than the recession early in the season. “

Story at TheDay.com

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11 June 2009

6/10 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Rich N. joined me aboard Shoo-Fly 3 on Wednesday. I met him at Newtown Bait & Tackle [Newtown, CT] where Rich and wife Jan are the proprietors. The place was jumping with customers.

Jan downloaded a Connecticut Marine Fishing License for me. As readers should know by now, these licenses are required for most folk fishing in the saltwaters of Connecticut…starting on June 15, 2009 [see three articles about the licenses, including one on how to get a license, below].

Rich and I got to the boat around 1:00 pm, in time for the last hour of the incoming tide. It looked pretty foggy out at the mouth of the River, but not dangerously so…so we headed out.

We struck fish on the first flat we hit. I got the 27-inch striper shown in the photo and Rich hooked a large bluefish…maybe 8-10 pounds…that got off the hook right next to the boat. This way of releasing fish is called a “Westport Release” as you unhook the fish without getting your hands dirty. [One has to be familiar with Westport, CT to appreciate this.] In Florida, it’s called a “West Palm Beach Release.”

Fishing wasn’t fantastic. We hit some fish here and fish there…stripers and blues all mixed in together. Rich also got two fluke [summer flounder] that he returned to the water as they were not large enough to keep. But we had to throw a lot of casts-per-fish. The fish were scattered around…not concentrated.

At one point I checked the horizon and spotted some gulls acting as though they were over feeding fish. We took off for the spot.

Sure enough, there was an honest-to-goodness school of bluefish feeding like crazy. It was large school covering several acres of water.

We caught fish on jig/plastic combinations, on topwater plugs, and on flies. The weather had held off for us as not a drop of rain fell…the fog even dissipated enough so we could see all the way from the mouth of the Housatonic to Milford Harbor.

After a couple-dozen fish we checked our watches and decided it was time to head for the dock.

Great day on the water.

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Connecticut Saltwater Fishing Licenses…Ad Nauseum

“With plenty of warning but no notice to anglers, the governor signed the bill creating a Marine Fishing License on June 3—effective June 15. All anglers fishing in Long Island Sound (shore or private vessel) and up to the first road bridge spanning any tidal river will be required to have one. Literally, within minutes of the signing, new licenses were being sold to stunned anglers just informed of the news.”

Article in TheDay.com

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Federal Fishing Registry and the New CT SW License

“Saltwater fishermen say they're unhappy with a national registry set to go into effect next year. Their complaints are valid, but misguided.

“Starting in 2010, federal law requires all saltwater fishermen in the U.S. to be registered, whether they fish from a boat or from shore. In most states, the registration includes an annual fee of $10 to $25.

“At the close of the state Assembly's regular session, Connecticut lawmakers approved a state registry, approving a bill that charges $10…for saltwater fishing licenses.”

Read more at ConnPost.com

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Getting a Saltwater License

Licenses are available now. Simply go to:

DEP’s web site www.ct.gov/dep/fishing

Select "Online Sportsmen Licenses"

Scroll to the bottom of that page and select "START"

OR:

DEP Field Offices:
Marine Headquarters (860.434.6043) M-F 8:00 am-4:00 pm
Eastern District (860.295.9523) M-F 8:30 am-4:00 pm
Western District (860.485.0226) M-F 8:30 am-4:00 pm
Franklin WMA (860.642.7239) M-F 8:30 am-4:30 pm
Sessions Woods (860.675.8130) M-F 8:30 am-4:00 pm
DEP Main Office:
79 Elm St, Hartford, License & Revenue (860.424.3105) M-F 9:00 am-4:00 pm
79 Elm St, Hartford, DEP Store (860.424.3555) M-F, 9:00-3:30 pm.

OR:

For a list of vendors go to: www.ct.gov/dep/fishing, select "Permits & Licenses" and then "Participating Town Halls, designated vendor (tackle shop)."

Revenue from the Marine Fishing License is required by state law to be used only for Fish and Wildlife Conservation Programs.

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Bannanas Bad on Boats?

“Yep, saltwater anglers view bananas as the devil’s fruit. Some won’t even wear Fruit of the Loom skivvies, even though bananas aren’t on the corporate label.

“The superstition has plausible historical sources. Some say banana bunches often carried poisonous spiders, tarantulas and snakes aboard wooden ships. Others say methane from rotting banana cargos killed sailors….”

Read more at GreenbayPressGazette.com

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Vineyard Contest: More Fishers than Fish

“The 18th annual Martha's Vineyard Rod and Gun Club striped bass catch and release tournament was held Saturday night. Unfortunately, the enthusiasm of the 193 fishermen who turned out did not match the willingness of the fish to cooperate.”

Article from MVTimes.com

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10 June 2009

Choke Your Way to $100,000

“McKenna, who lives in Annadale, was in mid-bite of his lunch two years ago when an inch-and-a-quarter-long curved fish bone that was mixed into the tuna became lodged in his throat.

“Now he's filed a $100,000 lawsuit against Bumble Bee, the tuna's manufacturer, as well as Costco, which distributed the ill-fated 10-pack of tuna cans, for the "severe, serious and permanent physical and emotional injuries" he sustained while trying to cough up the bone.”

Article at SILive.com

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Tales of Two Cities: New Bedford and Martha’s Vineyard

“New Bedford and Martha's Vineyard, the city and island famous for their maritime traditions, lie 15 miles apart as the gull flies over Massachusetts waters, an hour's ride on a fast ferry. Yet they could be on different planets, to tell from these two engaging and diametric volumes that weave history and speculation, reveal cravens and heroes, offer low comedy and high and resonate literate folklore.:

Read the book reviews at WashingtonTimes.com

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Getting Rid of Fish Smell

“That fishy smell is a dead giveaway you have been fishing. And, while to an angler, smelling like fish can be a badge of sorts for bragging rights in the right scenario, there are certainly other times when the aroma is less than desirable.”

Read the whole item at StamfordAdvocate.com

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City Island Loses a Piece of Fishing History

“This blue-collar fisherman’s paradise was rich in character and characters and was one of the last remaining fishing stations in New York. According to local lore, it had been in operation for 125 years, making it perhaps the longest-running fishing outpost of its kind in the country.”

Read it all in at NYTimes.com

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More on “Don’t Eat Stripers and Bluefish

“As for bluefish caught in coastal waters, the Department of Environment tell us that fish of more than 20 inches tend to carry higher concentrations of PCBs - and here we have a repeat of the striper situation. Blues are bigger travelers than rockfish so much depends on where they have been and for how long in determining their safety at the table. All states from Maine to Georgia shared in the latest coastal warning. The Connecticut Department of Public Health has suggested as substitutes for blues and stripers such species as blackfish, winter and summer flounder and porgies.“

Article from HometownAnnapolis.com

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09 June 2009

The Artic: Getting Hot Up There

“There are changes taking place around the North Pole right now because of melting ice. Arctic animals such as polar bears and sea lions have smaller areas in which to live, hunt and raise their young. Hunting patterns of some native communities have been hurt, too.

“With less ice, the Arctic also is more open to shipping, fishing and other commercial activities, such as oil drilling, which could hurt the fragile polar environment.

“Even visitors who want to explore the beautiful wilderness pose a threat.

Read the whole story at WashingtonPost.com

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The Heck with the Dragons, How's the Fishing?

“Main, a 46-year-old park ranger, was doing paper work when a dragon slithered up the stairs of his wooden hut in Komodo National Park and went for his ankles dangling beneath the desk. When the ranger tried to pry open the beast’s powerful jaws, it locked its teeth into his hand.

"Komodo dragon attacks are still rare, experts note. But fear is swirling through the fishing villages, along with questions on how best to live with the dragons in the future.”

Article at LJWorld.com

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Hudson Stripers and PCBs

“…as a controversial dredging of contaminated sediment began in the Hudson River, the specter of polychlorinated biphenyls appeared on the East End for the first time in nearly 20 years.

“Whether the dredging will introduce pollution back into the water column remains an open question, but it has already stirred up bad memories and fears for the future of local fisheries.”

Article can be read at EastHamptonStar.com

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Blue Whales Off Long Island

“The whale’s sound was detected Jan. 10-11 using 10 Cornell acoustic recorders deployed about 10 miles off the entrance to New York Harbor and off Fire Island. A second blue whale was heard farther offshore in the direction of Bermuda.”

Story at IthacaJournal.com

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08 June 2009

CTDEP Issues Consumption Advisory Updated for Striped Bass & Bluefish

June 8, 2009: The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH), in coordination with similar actions in six other East Coast states, updated its fish consumption advisory for striped bass and bluefish, species commonly caught in Long Island Sound.

DPH now advises that bluefish over 25 inches and striped bass can safely be consumed once per month by age 6 or over who is not in the high risk group (see below). Previously, the advise for these species was to limit consumption of striped bass and large bluefish to once per two months.

∙ High Risk Group[pregnant women, women of childbearing age, nursing mothers and children under the age of 6]: DO NOT EAT large bluefish (over 25 inches) or striped bass.

∙ All Others: One meal per month of large bluefish (over 25 inches) or striped bass.

∙ Small Bluefish (13-25 inches): One meal per month (all groups).

According to state health officials, large bluefish (over 25 inches) and striped bass contain polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) at levels of potential concern to the general public. This concern is especially true for pregnant women and young children. PCBs can affect the endocrine system and brain development, and are carcinogenic in animal studies. Health officials advised that striped bass and large bluefish caught in Long Island Sound should not be eaten by those in the high risk group. The remainder of the general population should eat no more than one meal per month.

For a copy of “A Guide to Eating Fish Safely” go to www.ct.gov/dep/fishing and click on “Fish Consumption Advisory”. For further information from the Department of Health visit their website at www.ct.gov/dph or call 860.509.7270. Questions for the Marine Fisheries Division can be directed to: CTDEP Marine Fisheries Division, P.O. Box 719, Old Lyme, CT 06371 or by telephone at 860.434.6043 between the hours of 8:30 AM and 4:30 PM, Monday through Friday.

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07 June 2009

6/6 Lower Housatonic River Fishing Report

Val S. and I took off from the docks in Stratford about 0900 on Saturday morning. Would have preferred not to fish on Saturday as it gets too busy with other boats and fisherfolk out there...but our planned trip for Friday got rained out, so it was Saturday or nothing.

Weather-wise, it was a good day...a lot more clouds than forecast and, of course, a lot more wind. In fact, it was downright chilly out on the water, especially when running the boat. 70° felt good back out the dock, but it called for extra layers of clothing out on the River.

Just three days before, Charlie W. and I had a good trip by hitting areas that could be taken advantage of only at high tide...and, the tides not being that different on Saturday, we followed the same pattern.

Please keep in mind that we fish shallow water almost exclusively...and actually exclusively with light tackle—8-10 lb. spinning outfits, for example. So following the same pattern seemed to be a good idea—but it wasn't. We couldn't find a fish...neither did we see any other fisherfolk catch a single fish.

After about three hours of casting our arms off, we decided to work our way back to the dock.

Then Val had the idea that we should try up on a black-mud flat, if for no other reason than that it would be out of the wind in that spot and it was a pleasant area in which to spend a few minutes. An added bonus, as it turned out, was that the water over the flat was about five degrees warmer than the water in the River.

We got in there and immediately hit fish...both stripers and bluefish. They weren't big fish, but at least we were catching [and continuing Shoo-Fly 3's string of now 25 straight trips without getting skunked].

We had a couple of missed hits and a cut-off or two as blues took advantage of our light, wireless leaders.

Val was throwing feathers [using a fly rod] and was getting more strikes than I was, so I switched to flies as well and began connecting more frequently.

It's funny how this fly-rod superiority comes about. Normally you'd think the spinning tackle throwing light jigs with Bass Assassin plastics would take more fish. But every once in a while the fly rod is more effective. Perhaps the flies matched the hatch more closely than the plastics.

Out on the breakwater we saw a pair of American Oystercatchers. I took a photo, but it wasn't as good a pic as this file photo taken by Deb Persson in 2007. They're very cool-looking birds with their orange beaks and sharply contrasting color pattern.

We also saw a small flock of Brant; beginning to wonder how long these geese will continue to hang in our area.

The striper Val is holding above obviously isn't a big fish; however, Val caught it on a fly of his own design and manufacture. Taking a fish on your own lure is a highlight of any fly-tier/fisherman's day...big fish or not. The big ones can come later.

So the first three hours of the trip were not productive, but the last hour or so was very good and a lot of fun.

Taken as a whole, it was a great day on the water.

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Peregrine Falcons Hold Up Devon Power Plant Upgrade

“GenConn Energy, a partnership between NRG Inc. and the United Illuminating Co., plans to add 200 megawatts of generating power to the plant's capacity by next June 1.

“That is enough electricity to meet the needs of 160,000 homes, said Drew Murphy, NRG's regional vice president. At the same time, two older steam boilers will be taken off line, and the 85-year-old plant modernized….

"There are two baby chicks in the nest, so that part of the work will wait until later in the summer….”

Read all about it: ConnPost.com

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Stripers at Montauk

“The striped bass action off Montauk has been impressive for so early in the season, especially for those working the surf. We heard of a 57½-pound striper taken on Friday near the lighthouse. George Jackman and his buddy Peter were taking....”

Article at NYPost.com
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06 June 2009

What to Do about Bugs

“While not all of them [mosquitos] feed on humans, those that do are a common nuisance when you\'re trying to enjoy outdoor activities. Beyond being a pest, mosquitoes potentially carry diseases, such as West Nile Virus and Eastern Equine Encephalitis (EEE) that can be fatal if passed on to humans.”

More at University of Maine

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Flowers Tell When Fish are Running

“Here’s an arcane branch of fishing lore that you don’t hear much about but which I’m sure is more prevalent than most people think. It’s called Phenology, which is simply the study of how the timing of various animal or plant life-cycle events relate to one another. Paying a little attention to this can actually help you catch a few more fish.”

Article at FieldandStream.com

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Shad are…Shady?

“And if you are a shad fan, but quietly so, you can always plan a trip to the Haddam Shad Museum. The museum is open only on Sundays from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. from mid-April through June. You can visit it at other times of the year by appointment. The museum is a small affair, and will take you 20 minutes to cover; you can loiter around for hours too if you like listening to stories of shad fishing and the tribulations of fishermen; stories of courage and determination, fish and friends and shad.”

More at FairfieldWeekly.com

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Eastern Connecticut Report

“The cool, rainy, foggy weather of the last few days has cut down the number of boats. We do, however, have some good fishing in our waters, but not as consistent as we would like to see, especially on the east side of Fishers Island in the Watch Hill Reefs.”

Tim Coleman writing in TheDay.com

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