30 June 2011

Connecticut, Long Island Sound, Housatonic River Saltwater Fishing Report: 29 June

Rich N. was supposed to fish on Shoo-Fly today, but he pulled a back muscle and needed some time to rest.

So I made a last-minute call to Mal Y and he was able to go...which was good as we got rained out at least twice last week and I owed him a trip.

We were on the water about 0530. The promised sunny day had not yet unveiled itself...which is a good thing...holds the fish in the shallows longer.

I'd had an email from Charlie W. the night before telling about fish and bunker in a local harbor...so we headed over there.

We were cruising down the harbor's channel when Mal spotted fish breaking. He has an uncanny eye for that sort of thing...seems like he always sees the fish activity before I do.

We got to the area and, as you can see in the Garmin, above, there they were...bait on the bottom [that's the bottom at about 14 feet and the bunker [baitfish] balled up above that].

I think Mal hooked up on his first cast. It was quite a battle, resulting in the 10-pound bluefish [next pic] coming on board.

Note that the fish [click on the picture to enlarge] has at least two major scars on the side of his body...they're well-healed, so he must have been much younger what he got hit by...probably a bigger bluefish.

We no sooner had that fish aboard when Mal hooked another...that quickly cut him off [we didn't have wire leads on any of the lines]. So I got into tackle-repair mode while Mal picked up another rod and was into still another fish.

I was so busy putting wire and lures on the lines that it was several minutes before I could get a line in the water.

The bunker [menhaden] on which the bluefish were feeding were so thick that we kept snagging the darned things.

Brought this one on board just to take a photo.

I finally got the fly rod limbered up and got into a fish.

With no wire on that rod either, was darned lucky to get the fish into the boat.

Weighted in at 10 pounds...not too shabby on a 7-weight rod.

We returned most of the fish to the water, but Mal kept two smaller ones, and 8-pounder and a 9-pounder, for fileting and grilling.

Here's a bunker that I snagged with the fly. As was working the baitfish in to the boat to release it, a bluefish came up and took a chunk out of its tail.

I thew the rest of the bunker back in the water...and another blue came up and gulped the whole thing in one chomp.

Mal fighting another fish.

And another fish.

And landing another fish.

In case you were wondering where all the terns have been [click on the photo to enlarge], no worries, they're back.

While were were fishing this osprey came down and grabbed a bunker about 10 feet from the boat.

I stood there gawking at the bird, watching it try to get up in the air with the heavy baitfish...he didn't succeed.

Finally, I stopped staring and grabbed the camera...too late to photograph the struggle...only to finally press the shutter button as the osprey took off...fishless.

Another great day on the water.

29 June 2011

Is Your Connecticut Marine Fishing License Any Good in New York?

Connecticut Anglers Fishing in New York Water

”New York DEC now has their online marine angler registry up and running. While your Connecticut Marine Waters Fishing License is valid in the New York waters of Long Island Sound, to fish in other New York marine waters you must be registered in the New York Marine Fishing Registry. Please see link below to register; registration is free.”

Source: CTDEP: See for details: http://www.dec.ny.gov/permits/54950.html#How

Heck, We Use These for Bait in Long Island Sound [Not!]

”The halibut weighed 350.8 pounds and measured 96 inches, vaulting Chad Aldridge into first place in the popular season-long Homer Jackpot Halibut Derby. It's the sixth-heaviest halibut in the 25-year history of the annual competition.”


28 June 2011

Non-Traditional Fly-Fishing Gear

"’You may know fly-fishing as a traditional and stuffy sport, but there is a growing demographic of progressive fly fishermen who are demanding different things,’ said Ted Upton, 25, a Cape Elizabeth native who is a founding partner in Cheeky Fly Fishing. ‘We are trying to bring a lot of style to the sport.'"


Where Have All the Fishes Gone?

”So this is a kind of collective social amnesia that allows over-exploitation to creep up and increase decade-by-decade without anyone truly questioning it. Today's fishing quotas and policies for example are attempting to reset fish stocks to the levels of ten or twenty years ago. But as you can see from the visualization, we were already plenty screwed back then.”


27 June 2011

Connecticut Environmental Police...Coast Guard...Breathalyzers...They're Out There!

Connecticut’s Environmental Conservation Police

”Then came the predictable questions. How many life jackets do you have on board? Do you have your boater safety certificate? Boat registration? Logiodice hopped from his patrol boat into the anglers' vessels and poked into a cooler here and a hatch there, looking for people taking too many fish or fish that were too small.”

Coast Guard to Enforce Boating Rules on Connecticut River

”The Connecticut River is an interstate waterway and the U.S. Coast Guard, unlike the auxiliary, has jurisdiction and enforcement powers. Easthampton and South Hadley police have agreed to provide logistical support to law enforcement activities on the river, including transporting arrestees, booking procedures, Breathalyzer tests, securing seized equipment or illegal materials and use of holding cells, according to the state Environmental Police.”


Operation Dry Water Is Underway

”Don't drink and boat. BUI is a primary contributing factor in nearly 1 in 5 boating fatalities nationwide, and Connecticut has gotten tougher in recent years in enforcing laws against this high-risk behavior. Boaters found operating a recreational vessel with a blood alcohol concentration of .08 percent or higher will find their voyage terminated and may have their vessel impounded.”

Charles Walsh in CTPost.com

26 June 2011

Connecticut, Long Island Sound, Housatonic River Saltwater Fishing Report: 25 June

Having been kept off the water thanks to lousy weather...or because of the Weather Channel's threats of lousy weather [don't mind fishing in rain showers, but lighting's another story] I was pleased that Charlie W. and I were able to get out on the water Saturday morning.

It was pretty gruesome out there...dark, wet east wind blowing all the way down the length of Long Island Sound from Montauk creating nasty swells...rain was a constant threat.

But, what the heck: we were fishing!

Got a chance to photograph several birds, as you'll see; but, with so little light out on the water, it was hard to stop the action and get the feathers all totally crisp.

We did catch a bunch of fish. Charlie hooked the first one of the trip...a schoolie striped bass.

Sorry about the rod in front of his face. It's not easy to get perfect shots when you're bobbing about in east-wind swells.

American Oystercatcher.

These are very pretty birds...especially when the sun's shining on their feathers...but that orange beak stands out in any weather.

We landed and released a dozen stripers...none were keepers so all were returned to the water unharmed.

The pictured fish was probably the smallest one boated.

This is the Great Black-Backed Gull and a handsome specimen at that. These are likely the largest gulls in the Housatonic River area and they can pretty much boss around any other gulls they come across.

We also landed a bunch of smallish bluefish...three of which went home with Charlie to check out his smoker...and one almost-keeper fluke that grabbed my jig and plastic combination.

We got a Housatonic River Grand Slam with a striper, a bluefish, and a fluke.

The fish weren't much into flies today although we caught a couple of them on the Toothy-Critter Fly.

Hot lure was a 1/8-oz. unpainted round-head jig with a 4" Zoom Fluke in albino shad coloring. This combo came pretty close to the appearance of the sand eels on which the fish were feeding...a bit larger, however, which may not have been bad.

This Great Black-backed gull appeared to be flying off to find some better weather.
Hopefully we'll all find some of that in the week ahead.

Another great day on the water!

25 June 2011

Fishing Reports Fishing Reports Fishing Reports Fishing Reports !

STRIPED BASS fishing continues to improve with cows measuring 50+ inches in length and weighing over 50 lbs being reported! Keeper bass are even being caught in the middle of the day by anglers fishing diamond jigs in deep water targeting bluefish! Striper spots include the Watch Hill area, the Race, Wilderness point off Fishers Island, Plum Gut, Millstone outflow, Bartlett Reef, Black Point, Pigeon Rip (area north of Plum Island), lower Connecticut River (DEP fishing pier), Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Falkner Island area, Thimble Islands, the reefs off Guilford and Branford, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Charles Island area to Milford Point, Housatonic River, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Penfield Reef, and the rocky reefs around the Norwalk Islands.
BLUEFISH fishing has slightly improved from over last week. Bluefish can be found mixed in with stripers in the same fishing locations mentioned in the striper report. Bluefish are ranging in size from about 5 to 10 lbs.
SUMMER FLOUNDER (fluke) fishing is just fair with a lot of “shorts” being reported. Fishing spots worth trying include Gardiners Bay, the Peconic Bays, the beaches on the south side of Fishers Island, north shore of Long Island in NY waters, lower Thames River, Niantic Bay/ Black Point area, Long Sand Shoal, Westbrook and Clinton Harbors, Falkner Island area, off the New Haven breakwaters, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Port Jefferson area (NY) and Norwalk Harbor.
SCUP (porgy) fishing is rated just fair on the reefs.


Looking for Fluke

”The plan was to do some tube-and-worm trolling along the south shore of Fishers Island for stripers, then drift the south shore beaches of Rhode Island during the latter half of the tide to search for fluke.

Bob Sampson in NorwichBulletin.com

Charles Walsh’s Fishing Report

”…make your trips while the sun shines, brother. Meanwhile there is no shortage of bait for the fish to chase. Sand eels, juvenile herring and silversides (shiners) are everywhere.


Thames Area Fishing Report

”Sea bass season opens in state water on July 1. You will be allowed to keep 25 fish per person as long as they are 13 inches long. Blackfish season reopens the same day. You can keep two of those per person: minimum legal size is 14 inches.”

Tim Coleman in TheDay.com

24 June 2011

Of Sunscreen and Cinder Worms

Fishing Report: Connecticut River Area

”The Fisherman Magazine reported a 77-pounder caught off Block Island last week. River’s End Tackle in Old Saybrook weighed fish of 48 and 52 pounds from Long Sand Shoal and the Connecticut Shoreline in that area.

Bob Sampson in NorwichBulletin.com

F.D.A. Unveils New Rules About Sunscreen Claims

”After 33 years of consideration, the Food and Drug Administration took steps on Tuesday to sort out the confusing world of sunscreens, with new rules that specify which lotions provide the best protection against the sun and ending claims that they are truly waterproof.”

Cinder Worm Hatch

”Tony took my fly rod and a black and orange woolly bugger and headed down to the harbor to show me how it's done. He returned an hour or so later after landing a 36-inch striper. That big, wily fish wasn't easy to land from the fuel dock….”

23 June 2011

Popper/Dropper for Short-Striking Stripers

”The popper and dropper is a technique used to deliver two flies to cover two areas of the water column. Most times it’s a surface popper and the second fly is a streamer that trails the popper. The popper stirs things up by causing noise on the surface, but many times it’s the streamer just below the surface that catches the fish.”


Good Read…by Charlie Soares

”…the tackle was old and in poor repair and it was evident from the outset — when the captain put out two wire line outfits with huge tubes without a trace of worm — that he was only interested in getting this over because he would never see these people again. We trolled for two hours without so much as a sniff….”


22 June 2011

Any Resemblance Between this Story and Our Blog of 15 June…

…is purely coincidental:

”Below them, bursts of white water and tiny sand eels told of small bluefish feeding. Knowing the chances for a bite off were high, we nonetheless cast our bite-guard-free lines into the melee. By keeping good tension on the line, which kept the line….”

Charles Walsh

Coast Guard Locates Hoax May-Day Source

”The U.S. Coast Guard located a hoax caller who made a false distress call from a vessel in Long Island Sound, N.Y., Wednesday, June 15, 2011. Both Coast Guard Sector Long Island Sound and Sector New York received a distress “mayday” call for help on VHF Channel 16. A boatcrew from Station Eaton’s Neck, N.Y. was diverted to locate the boater after several attempts to contact them were unsuccessful. By utilizing advanced Rescue 21 direction-finding communication technology, Coast Guard crews located the vessel.

“Coast Guard Law Enforcement officers determined the boaters were not in distress but that the call came from a minor aboard the vessel. The boaters were escorted to a pier where they were further questioned by a member of the Coast Guard’s Investigative Service. Making a false distress call is a federal felony with a maximum penalty of five to 10 years in prison, a $250,000 fine, $8,000 civil penalty and the possible reimbursement to the Coast Guard for the cost of performing the search.”


21 June 2011

Fishing Reports Fishing Reports Fishing Reports Fishing Reports !

Fishing Report: Thames Area

”Stripers have moved into the Race, where they are being caught by fishing deep with jigs or live lining eels along the rocky shoreline from Fishers Island, to Watch Hill LIght, the southern Rhode Island beaches and the Connecticut coastline.”

Bob Sampson

Fishing Report: North Shore of Long Island

”The North Shore of Long Island and the North Fork are experiencing a wonderful spring fishing season. The Long Island Sound has seen a significant influx of striped bass, bluefish and summer flounder (fluke). While fishing pressure….”

Click for report

Fishing Report: Greenwich Area

"I suppose it is possible the fishing along the Connecticut side of Long Island Sound coast could be better; there could be a few bluefish over the 5- and 6-pound size, and there could be more keeper-sized fluke. But for sheer good times on the water….”

Charles Walsh

Fishing Report: NYC

”STRIPER fishing was front and center on the minds of most anglers this past week with large bass being the rule rather than the exception. Expect to see the offshore action kick into high gear with ocean temperatures about right for shark fishing. We also hear that bluefin tuna are....”


Fishing Report: New London

”Striped bass and fluke remain our best bets though the latter fishery still suffers on some not all days from too many shorts and dogfish. If you hit it right though you can have an enjoyable day on the water, enjoying a limit catch of the popular summer flounder and some great eating afterwards.”

Tim Coleman

Fishing Report: Stamford

”The Sound is filling up with migrating fish and striped bass action leads the way. Bluefish action is improving and the first porgies of the season are showing up on the Connecticut side of the Sound.”

Martin Armstrong

19 June 2011

Connecticut, Long Island Sound, Housatonic River Saltwater Fishing Report: 18 June

Litchfield County, 0400 hours on 18 June.

At the dock, Stratford, CT, 0500.

It was dawn and it was early...and the fog was present big time, but Shoo-Fly was all lit up and ready to go.

Val S. had the hot fishing rod this day. He had a Housatonic Slam: Striper, bluefish, and fluke...all caught on flies.

Not quite a keeper, but a nice fish.

Small bluefish were creating micro-blitzes in the mouth of the Housatonic River.

All fish were feeding on the storms of sand-eels in the water...and selectively, so that plastic-on-jigs wasn't working at all. They wanted small lures and the sand-eel imitation on Val's rod was the only thing working for us.

Fog stuck around all morning...we had to go from spot-to-spot using the GPS and praying that some Uselesscraft didn't come busting through and clock us.

Non-keeper fluke took Val's fly.

Tale of the tape: Keep your fingers away from a bluefish's mouth when unhooking!

And the fog didn't much clear until we were heading for the dock.

Another great day on the water.

17 June 2011

Shad, Squid, Spearing Stripers, Eating Fish, New Salt Water Sportsman...

Charles Walsh Talks about Shad

”What makes the decline of this historic fish even more troubling is that in 2003, the State Legislature designated it as Connecticut's official state fish (much to the disgust of those lobbying on behalf of the striped bass and bluefish). It was kind of like designating the buggy whip as the official state manufactured product.”

Charles Walsh in CTPost.com

The Squid Rush

”Every year around this time, a large slug of squid moves inshore along the beaches and reefs of eastern Long Island Sound, Fishers Island and the Rhode Island coast.”

Bob Sampson in NorwichBulletin.com

Massachusetts Divers Want to Spearfish Stripers

”’If you’re going to allow recreational fishing, you should allow spearfishing,’ said Faye Swenson, president of the Massachusetts Free Divers Club.”


Seafood Safety

”When you buy that salmon steak for grilling or that red snapper filet for baking, the Food and Drug Administration’s “Fish and Fishery Products Hazards and Controls Guidance” probably doesn’t spring to mind.

“But this document—popularly known as the “Hazards Guide”—plays a key role in keeping American consumers safe from contaminated seafood.”


New SaltWater Sportsman Online

Read the latest issue:

Salt Water Sportsman

15 June 2011

Connecticut, Long Island Sound, Housatonic River Saltwater Fishing Report: 15 June

Don G. and Charlie W. fished with me today on Shoo-Fly. We hit the water at 0605 hours [would have been 0600, but one of us got held up by a series of red lights].

Statford, CT, "a town for all seasons," is also a town full of traffic lights...none of which appears to have any interest in what any other traffic light is doing. As a result, one can get caught in one after another to the point of total frustration.

There, I've got that off my chest!

It was fairly windless at the start, but chilly. We all had jackets on. I added a pair of rain pants over the shorts.

It was really like October weather out there...and chillier as a north wind began to pick up.

Don [as in Don, Don, the Striper Man] got the first fish as is typical for him. Man has an uncanny sense of where the fish are and what you have to do to that lure on the end of your line to get them to bite.

You can see that Don had a heavy jacket on...which is unusual as he's from the north country and is typically warm as toast in a tee-shirt. But it was cold out there.

So, as is also typical, Don hooked the most fish.

But it was Charlie who bagged the biggest ones.

His first fish was this near-keeper caught on a jig/plastic rig.

In the "you never know what the heck you're going to see out there" department, Don spotted this deer swimming across the Housatonic River right by the condos at the mouth.

Deer didn't have the smarts to go through the no-wake zone, so it was lucky not to get clocked by a Uselesscraft.

It made it to shore and was quickly into the bushes for a light breakfast.

Later on we saw some fish feeding way up in the shallows and through the wonders of Shoo-Fly's shallow draft and the electric trolling motor we got Charlie up in there so he could put a cast on them with the fly rod.

We'd been catching a lot of small bluefish and figured that this was likely just more of the same...

...but it turned out to yield us the biggest fish of the trip...this 11-pound keeper that posed for a photo before rejoining his buddies in the water.

Chartreuse and white Clouser minnow was the fly that did the job.

Charlie spied this little duck huddled up on a rock...possibly injured?

Hard to tell what it was...perhaps an Old Squaw?

Don didn't get any "picture" fish in the boat.

He had a nice bluefish up to the side of the boat that broke the leader before I could snap a shot of it.

So all I've got is this photo of Don releasing a schoolie.

I had a fish grab the jig and run off with it; put the brakes to him but couldn't stop the fish which subsequently cut me off. Would have liked at least to get a look at him...but that's the way it goes.

We caught more than 30 bluefish, and probably 12-15 stripers.

Another great day on the water.

More to the Jellyfish than Meets the Eye

”Too late. A three-inch-wide moon jellyfish had been plopped in my hands, and my fear quickly dissolved into fascination. The jellyfish shimmered and glowed. With its tendrils retracted, it looked like a round bar of glycerin soap, or maybe a translucent diaphragm, and it felt equal parts firm, jiggly and slimy, like a slice of liver coated in raw egg. And for all the vigor of my fondlings, I detected no sting.”


Adios, La Nina

”According to NOAA's Climate Prediction Center, La Nina is gone. This period of colder-than-average sea surface temperatures in the eastern equatorial Pacific Ocean has passed. The Pacific Ocean sea surface temperature will likely remain near normal through the summer.”