• NOAA predicts a near-normal 2012 Atlantic hurricane season
31 May 2012
30 May 2012
”From what I knew of marine sanctuaries established in other areas, it could mean that in certain parts of Long Island Sound fishing, recreational and/or commercial, would be banned or severely restricted.”
• Big Fish in Long Island Sound
"Better still, the trophies taken have involved a wide variety of species including stripers, blues, fluke, winter flounder and jumbo porgies.”
29 May 2012
• Stratford Point Restoration Program
”Stratford Point once supported a substantial coastal bluff, tidal marsh and a patchwork of inter-tidal dune and coastal grassland habitats. According to Beekey, the coastal bluff was removed in the early 1900s, and over subsequent decades the tidal marsh was filled in.
"Stratford Point became home to the Remington Arms Gun Club in the early 1920s, which operated a trap and skeet range there from 1926 to 1986.
”Concerns over lead shot in the environment forced the club to cease operations, and accumulated lead shot was removed between 2000 and 2001. During this period, much of Stratford Point’s inter-tidal and upland habitat was excavated, cleaned and back-filled. This habitat was then re-graded and seeded with fast-growing drought and salt-tolerant grasses.”
• Stratford Police Marine Patrol
”The officers on Marine 1 are authorized to stop any watercraft at any time. On a busy day…they’ll stop 10 to 12 boats.
“’Our main objective is to make sure everybody is safe….’
“Officers will make certain a vessel is equipped with audible warning signals, floatation devices, and flares, and make certain operators are not under the influence and are properly certified.
“’We can board anybody at any time….’
“’Unlike in a car, there’s no probable cause….’
“The most common violation is speeding in the no-wake zone, marked by buoys. Boaters…lose track in the one-and-one-half-mile no-wake zone from the Birdseye boat launch to the Sikorsky Bridge.”***
***Note: We sent this email to StratfordStar.com: “Last we heard the no-wake zone ended at the railroad bridge. Is someone trying to extend the zone by fiat?”
• Stratford Greenway Allows Views of Long Island Sound
”The area will consist of central seating, benches that face the Housatonic River, Long Island Sound, and Nells Island, biking and jogging lanes, lighting, and planting areas.
The path begins on Main Street and continues all the way down to Beacon Point Road.”
28 May 2012
”To be sure, the situation could have turned ugly had the errant fish struck any of the anglers. Great barracuda are slender and incredibly speedy, and perhaps most known for their frightening appearance, made so by a projecting lower jaw lined with razor sharp teeth.”
• Alcohol-Related Boating Deaths in Connecticut
” A…review of state and U.S. Coast Guard data has found that the number of Connecticut boating deaths involving alcohol increased nearly fourfold in the latter half of the last decade.
"The data show that while there were six alcohol-related boating deaths in Connecticut from 2001 to 2005, that number jumped to 22 from 2006 to 2010.
"The worst year was 2008, when seven people died, including two double fatalities. From 1999 through 2006, no year had seen more than two such deaths.”
Photo is unrelated to events in this article
27 May 2012
”The members of the Cape Cod Salties believe that the population of striped bass is in serious decline. This belief is supported by statistics disclosed by government agencies that indicate the recreation catch of striped bass has declined by more than 80 percent over the past several years.
”The club supports legislation or regulation that will reduce the recreational catch of striped bass from the current two fish per day to one fish per day, and legislation or regulation that will substantially reduce or eliminate the commercial fish quota until the stock is substantially replenished.”
• Housatonic or Wussi-adene-uk?
”Several Native American tribes gave their names or language to lakes, rivers, and land areas. Housatonic was spelled ‘Wussi-adene-uk,’ meaning ‘Beyond-the-Mountain-Place,’ and Connecticut was once ‘Quinnetukut’ in the Algonkin language, meaning ‘On the long tidal river.’”
26 May 2012
”Andrae Stanley was napping. Really, he was fishing. But sitting on a green bench near Battery Park, with a Hudson River breeze in his face and the chattering of tourists in his ears, he had managed to doze off. And like any experienced fisherman, he napped with one eye half open.
If either of his two poles [aka ‘rods’] so much as twitched, he would know. That was his dinner on the end of the line.”
Coast Guard Station New Haven
”The public has a large nautical playground on the waters of the Long Island Sound, but even playgrounds must be patrolled and protected.
”That is the job of the United States Coast Guard and in large part by Station New Haven. If you look at the map of Connecticut, Long Island Sound looks like this narrow body of water. But there's a lot of ground for the Coast Guard to cover out there.”
25 May 2012
Striped Bass fishing is good throughout LIS. Squid are abundant in eastern LIS while schools of bunker (Atlantic menhaden) are in western LIS. Live lining bunker or eels on three-way rigs or fish finder rigs is the ticket. Just remember to use circle hooks to avoid gut hooking.
Striper spots include Watch Hill reefs to eastern tip of Fishers Island, the Race, Plum Gut, Millstone outflow, outer Bartlett Reef, Black Point, lower Connecticut River (DEP fishing pier) and along Great Island, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Six Mile Reef, Falkner Island area, Thimble Islands to the Branford Reefs, and New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point),
Also Milford Harbor breakwaters and Charles Island area including the tombolo, Stratford Shoal/Middle Ground, Housatonic River (up to the Derby Dam), Penfield Reef, around the Norwalk Islands, and the reefs off Stamford and Greenwich.
Fluke fishing is good. The north side of Long Island from Horton Point over to Port Jefferson has been yielding big numbers but most are sub-legal size fish. Other spots include the south side of Fishers Island, Black Point/Niantic Bay, Westbrook-Clinton area, and off the New Haven breakwaters.
Winter Flounder can still be caught in the Pine Island area (Groton) and Niantic Bay. Just as a reminder, the winder flounder season closes May 31.
"For Current Connecticut Recreational Fishing Regulations: Anglers should consult the new 2012 Connecticut Anglers Guide which is now available at most Town Clerks' Offices, DEEP offices, and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. Anglers can purchase their fishing licenses online (www.ct.gov/deep/fishinglicense) or at participating town halls, DEEP field offices and fishing tackle vendors.
"Current regulations, electronic versions of the Angler’s Guide and additional information can all be accessed on the DEEP website at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing.”
• Charles Island, Duck Island Closed to Public
”Both islands have been designated by DEEP as Natural Area Preserves, primarily because of their importance as nesting habitats for several state-listed birds, including snowy egrets and great egrets (state threatened species), glossy ibis, and little blue herons (state special concern). The two islands have also been designated as Important Bird Areas by Audubon Connecticut.”
”No sooner has Dee Albury motored his flat-bottomed skiff into the channel that leads to the huge expanse of the Cherokee Sound flat than he whispers two magic words.
• Tube Flies Can Save the Day…or Night
”The next night, at about the same tide, I was back to Barrington Town Beach. I caught two schoolies right away using the tube version of the squid.
"Then I saw a byproduct of this style of construction. Both small fish released the hook from the tube and the fly slid up the leader, keeping the fly in good condition.”
24 May 2012
”After accessing an isolated rock at Montaug point, he hooked into a 48-pound striped bass that yanked him clean off the rock. He did not have fins at the time, so could do little else but hold onto his rod while the monster fish towed him around. But he discovered that the wetsuit kept him afloat and decided that if he wore fishing fins used by divers, he could better control a fish.
”Skishing was born.”
Coast Guard Terminates Commercial Fishing Vessel Voyage For Safety Violations
”A Coast Guard Cutter Moray boarding team conducted a routine at-sea boarding of the fishing vessel Corea, Maine-based, 38-foot fishing vessel Calypso, and found several safety violations.
"There were no personal flotation devices, no visual distress signals and no life rings aboard….”
23 May 2012
”The most difficult aspect of tubes involves rigging them properly. The process takes a little time to do correctly, so I made a few up beforehand so as not to waste any time on the water.”
NOAA’s Annual Report to Congress on Fish Stocks
”Today, NOAA's Fisheries Service released the 15th annual report to Congress on the nation's Status of Stocks. More than any a previous year, the Status of Stocks report for 2011 underscores the strength of the science-based management process and demonstrates we are actively turning the corner on ending overfishing and rebuilding our nation's fisheries.
”A record number of stocks were declared rebuilt in 2011, with a decrease in both categories of overfishing and overfished determinations. To read more, go to Status of Stocks 2011, where you can download a pdf of the report and related informational materials and links.”
22 May 2012
Stamford-Area Fishing Report
”Summer fishing action is starting to shape up though it is not summer yet. Last week saltwater fans caught striped bass, summer flounder (fluke), bluefish and weakfish.
”And, in case you did see them, there was a small pod of porpoises feeding and frolicking off 11B last week.
Norwalk-Area Fishing Report
”Some bass have already been taken at spots along the Norwalk River and harbor, Calf Pasture Beach and the Norwalk Islands. The Norwalk Islands become a summer-long series of hot fishing spots. Any angler with a knowledge of the Islands can find spots to fish at any stage of the tide under almost any weather conditions. Who could ask for more?”
20 May 2012
Striped Bass fishing continues to improve as migrants cruise through LIS. The usual striper haunts include Watch Hill reefs to eastern tip of Fishers Island, the Race, Plum Gut, Millstone outflow, Bartlett Reef, Black Point, lower Connecticut River (DEEP fishing pier) and along Great Island, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Six Mile Reef, Falkner Island area, Thimble Islands to the Branford Reefs, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Milford Harbor breakwaters and Charles Island area including the tombolo, Housatonic River (up to the Derby Dam), Penfield Reef, and around the Norwalk Islands.
Live eels or bunker (Atlantic menhaden), fresh cut bunker or mackerel, and whole sand or blood worms on three way bottom rigs or fish finder rigs are the ticket. Three way bucktail jigs having been working well in deep water areas such as the Race and Plum Gut.
Winter Flounder fishing remains fair to good. Flounder spots include the mouth of the Thames River in the Pine Island area, Niantic River, and the Westport – Norwalk area. Again chumming is the key for success!
Fluke fishing opened on May 15th. Minimum length is 18 inches and the daily possession limit is 5 fish per person.
Porgy fishing still remains on the slow side.
White Perch fishing remains good with anglers limiting out. Coves of the Pawcatuck, Thames, Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers are the spots. Grass shrimp is the bait to go with!
For Current Connecticut Recreational Fishing Regulations: Anglers should consult the new 2012 Connecticut Anglers Guide which is now available at most Town Clerks Offices, DEEP offices and at tackle stores selling fishing licenses. Anglers can purchase their fishing licenses online (www.ct.gov/deep/fishinglicense) or at participating town halls, DEEP field offices and fishing tackle vendors. Current regulations, electronic versions of the Angler’s Guide and additional information can all be accessed on the DEEP website at: www.ct.gov/deep/fishing .
Historic 19th Century Shipwreck Discovered in Northern Gulf of Mexico
During a recent Gulf of Mexico expedition, NOAA, BOEM and partners discovered an historic wooden-hulled vessel which is believed to have sunk as long as 200 years ago. Scientists on board the NOAA Ship Okeanos Explorer used underwater robots with lights and high definition cameras to view remnants of the ship laden with anchors, navigational instruments, glass bottles, ceramic plates, cannons, and boxes of muskets.
”Choosing the Best Sunscreens—and Avoiding the Worst”
” SPF values above 50+. The FDA says these labels are misleading and may encourage people to stay out in the sun for too long. Since SPF is based only on UVB protection (which prevents sunburn but does not guard against premature aging and deeper tissue damage), users of super high SPF products often have a false sense of security.”
April Temperatures Globally 5th-Highest on Record
”The globally-averaged temperature for April marked the fifth warmest April since record keeping began in 1880. NOAA also reports that La Niña has ended and neutral conditions have returned over the equatorial Pacific Ocean.”
19 May 2012
”Bluefish came on like gangbusters over the past few days, exploding on the scene at the South Shore inlets, inside Peconic Bay and in Long Island Sound from Port Jefferson to Hempstead Harbor. The choppers had been making sporadic forays at most Long Island ports for over a month but the action became more consistent.”
Vouchers for Connecticut Bonus Striped Bass All Gone
”The 2012 Bonus Striped Bass Fishing Program is going so well, in fact, that while the program runs through June 30, all of the state Department of Energy and Environmental Protection’s offices throughout the state already have run out of the vouchers anglers need to participate.”
18 May 2012
”Bluefish and striped bass are both in the area. Choppers are a warm water-loving species that always make their first appearance in Connecticut early in May, and chase the soft plastics fishermen cast for striped bass."
”The 7 Weirdest Creatures Under The Sea”
”Living thousands of metres below the water’s surface may not have done these creatures any favours in the looks department, but it has led to some utterly bizarre adaptations that let mother nature’s ugly step-children survive in their unique environment. And while it’s fun to point and stare at how hideous they all are, just remember they’d probably do the same to us if they visited dry land.”
17 May 2012
”Hannah can hold her breath for up to two minutes and swim to depths of 45 feet, allowing her to move like a real mermaid, without the restraints of diving gear.
“In these images she is seen swimming with humpback whales off Vava'u Island, Tonga, to promote marine conservation and oppose whale hunting."
Bob Sampson on the Death of Tim Coleman
”Among the various tribes of sport fishermen, all of whom are dedicated fans of the species they enjoy catching or hunting, surf casters are one of the most dedicated.
”Last weekend, the region’s surf casters tribe lost a chief, Tim Coleman, a suds master, fishing writer and longtime editor of The Fisherman, New England’s premier weekly fishing magazine."
Note: See our post of 04 May for a photo of Tim.
16 May 2012
”They used 30-foot boats without radios. They hunted [swordfish] with harpoons, essentially really long knives, to catch fish that could weigh four or five times what they weighed and which could be twice as tall as they were. The harpooners, called "strikers," stood on a pulpit jutting out over the bow, directed by "spotters" 30 feet above them in cross-trees affixed to the mast, on to swordfish sunning on the ocean surface a half-mile away.”
”Fly Fishing in Connecticut”
”A new book published by Wesleyan University Press, Fly Fishing in Connecticut by Kevin Murphy, is a guide to those new to the sport. Murphy covers what gear is necessary and gives advice on how to become equipped to fish without breaking the bank.”
15 May 2012
”There is growing evidence that this step—ahead of more-aggressive treatment rules that will begin to be phased in next month—is protecting the lakes' ecology. Some scientists hail its effectiveness as a rare piece of good news in the decades-long fight against invasive species, which have cut into sport and commercial fishing stocks and fouled intakes for power plants and other industrial users.”
The Status of Our Oceans
”With an ever-accelerating tide of human impact, the oceans have changed more in the last 30 years than in all of human history before. In most places, the seas have lost upwards of 75 percent of their megafauna—large animals such as whales, dolphins, sharks, rays, and turtles—as fishing and hunting spread in waves across the face of the planet. For some species, like whitetip sharks, American sawfish, or the once “common” skate, numbers are down as much as 99 percent. By the end of the 20th century, almost nowhere shallower than 3,000 feet remained untouched by commercial fishing. Some places are now fished down to 10,000 feet.”
14 May 2012
”So you think blue lobsters are rare? The New England Aquarium is holding a lobster that’s way rarer than that.”
Deadliest Catch…Maybe Maine, Not Alaska?
”Lobstermen for generations have cut trap lines and shouted threats to settle differences over who can set their traps where. In more extreme instances, they've been known to ram boats and fire warning shots into the air.
Note: photo of boat is not related to the story.
13 May 2012
”I have been casting a 9-weight with a 350-grain sinking line. My casts have been going 70 feet into the wind, and when I want more distance, I haul faster. However, my leader is not extending all the way. When I strip my line, it takes anywhere from two to seven strips to pick up the slack. As you well know, this is not ideal. By the time the fly starts to move, the fish are almost always past the fly. So what am I doing wrong?”
New Issue of Fly Fishing in Salt Waters
Apparently You Can’t Catch Striped Bass with the Fly Rod
”Here are 10 ways to catch them: Chunking fresh or frozen menhaden…Live menhaden…Surface plugs or poppers…Swimming lures… Parachute squid jigs…Trolling with tube and worm…Trolling with umbrella rigs… Casting soft plastics… Buck tail jigs with pork rind squid strips…Live eels.”
12 May 2012
Public-Private Teamwork Helps Save Connecticut's Threatened Alewives
”Mr. Dancho recently stood on the banks of the Pequonnock River with a large net in hand. The river, which runs near the zoo, was low because of a dry spell. He and a team of volunteers scooped up nearly 2,000 of the fish, helped them over the fish ladder, and sent them on their way upstream.”
Stripers Already North of Boston
”It wasn't exactly as easy as shooting fish in a barrel, but those angling for striped bass Sunday were in luck, as schools of the immensely popular game fish were spotted along the shorelines over the weekend.”
11 May 2012
Striped bass fishing is fair to good at the reefs off Watch Hill and the eastern tip of Fishers Island, lower Pawcatuck River, the Race, Plum Gut, Millstone outflow, Bartlett Reef, Black Point, lower Connecticut River (DEP fishing pier) and along Great Island, Long Sand Shoal, Southwest Reef, Six Mile Reef, Falkner Island area, Thimble Islands to the Branford Reefs, New Haven Harbor (including Sandy Point), Charles Island area, Housatonic River (up to the Derby Dam), Penfield Reef, and around the Norwalk Islands. The following baits and gear that have been working well include live eels or bunker (Atlantic menhaden), fresh cut bunker or mackerel, and whole sand or blood worms on three way bottom rigs or fish finder rigs and bouncing three way bucktail or soft bodied jigs off the bottom.
Bluefish fishing is overall on the slow side. Choppers are mostly small (4-6 lbs). Fishing spots include the Race, Millstone outflow, Plum Gut including Gardiners Bay and the Peconics, New Haven Harbor (Sandy Point), Bridgeport Harbor, and the Norwalk Islands.
Winter flounder fishing remains fair to good. Flounder spots include the mouth of the Thames River in the Pine Island area, Niantic River, mouth of the Connecticut River by the east breakwater (on a flood tide), and Westport to Norwalk. Heavy chumming is a must!
Scup (porgy) fishing opened May 1. Fishing the local reefs is on the slow side for scup.
White perch fishing remains fair to good in the coves of the Pawcatuck, Thames, Connecticut and Housatonic Rivers.
Tautog (blackfish) fishing season is closed.
Stripers Return to ‘Cape Ann
”The first bass of the fishing season were caught in mid-April, about two weeks ahead of the schedule they've set for themselves in recent times.”
10 May 2012
Bonefish Flies Work for Striped Bass?
”My fly box includes Gotchas, Crazy Charlies, Clouser Deep Minnows, and a very little-known Lefty Kreh pattern called the Shallow H2O. This has been a go-to fly for many years for schoolies in and around shallow eelgrass while they are eating shrimp. A few times, keepers taking this diminutive fly surprised me.
Note: photo is a crazy charlie fly
Mild Winter = Early Season? It Ain’t Necessarily So
”Simply put, it means there are a lot of natural influences on our sea surface and bottom temperatures, like salinity, most of which have nothing to do with how warm or mild our recent winters have been. So the next time you hear someone say,
“‘Man the winter was mild, I bet the season is going to start early this year,’ you can respond…
‘How much do you want to bet?’”
Death of Tug Captain A Caution to All Mariners
”A body found floating off Montauk Point has been identified as a tugboat captain from Massachusetts who fell overboard last month, the Coast Guard said Sunday.”
Note: this photo of a tugboat is unrelated to this story
08 May 2012
Shoo-Fly, our Pathfinder 2200 bay boat, finally made it back to Connecticut last week. We had to do a major clean-up on the boat as the bodies of dead bugs had besplattered her from her ride in the open truck that brought it up from the Florida Keys…but, otherwise, she was In fine shape…all systems checked and operating within spec.
Charlie W., fresh from the opening gala of his art exhibit in Black Rock, joined me for this year’s maiden fishing trip. I asked him where the fish were…he’d been so busy with his art show that he had no clue.
Click on any photo to enlarge.
I said to him that if the boat had gotten here back in March, when I returned from the Keys, we’d know exactly where the stripers were hanging out…but I had no clue either. Had called Don G. who usually has his finger on the pulse of the striped bass, but he’d been busy with work and could only opine that the thought they’d more likely be at the mouth of the Housatonic River than upstream.
Charlie called a local bait shop…which was no help either. They said that the Derby Dam was “on fire” [which might be a good thing, but in this case meant only that there were a lot of big fish up there]. However, we weren’t about to go up there…couldn’t get in there with the boat anyway…so we headed out on the water figuring we’d just cover a lot of River until we found the fish.
We went north only as far as the power lines…worked all the usual spots on the way…without getting as much as a sniff from a fish. Didn’t see anyone fishing the area at all. Couple of “yakkers” in their pedal boats, but they weren’t fishing…just sightseeing.
So we decided to pay attention to what Don G. had recommended…and we headed for the mouth of the River.
We found some fish…finally. Not exactly spectacular fishing, but it was nice to get the first striper of the year on board Shoo-Fly…and the second…and the third…fourth, and fifth….
This post will probably generate a flock of emails from fisher-friends saying that if we’d only gone a little further north, we’d have hit the fish big time.