Sunday, November 22, 2009

Years End

This blog got a late start this season, but I'll be starting 2010 with a February trip to Islamorada, FL, and fishing hard right through the year. As for my final trip today....Skunked. This was definitely the last time out. Don't know if it's my total lack of knowing what's going on with pike (don't see them down South), the rain and muddy water; who knows. I fished from Haddam to Salmon cove, and then back up to the Higganum RR bridge on both tides. Went with the go big or go home theory. Had a few pond shines torn up, but nothing took the hook. Threw stick baits, swim baits, spinners, the whole box. Guys fishing at 53 all had the same story. Maybe it wasn't just me. Just as well, because if I caught a bunch of fish, I'd have a harder time calling it quits. I'm emptying and cleaning gear and taking the boat in for a winter service next week. Maybe in Jan/Feb when I get bored I'll head over to Norwich to knock some schoolies upside the head with jigs.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Tuna Fishing on the Skip-A-Dory

Tuna Hunter has sworn that he has never had a bad trip with Capt. Chuck DiStephano on the Skip-A-Dory out of Boston, so when he called about a last minute trip (last minute being "Can you be at my house at 1:00am tonight") I couldn't say no. After our scheduled trip was blown out by the finicky New England October weather, a cancellation was going to put us in a weather window to have a shot at some big tuna on standup tackle. Sucks for the poor sods who cancelled their trip! Leaving Hartford a bit after 2:00am, we arrived at the Skip-A-Dory around 4:15am, where Capt. Chuck and our mate Tim were ready to go. One look at the boat told me this trip was about serious fishing only. She's a working class 36' down easter with tons of space for stand up fighting.
After a run out to Stellwagen and little action other than blues, lines were hauled in and we made a run all the way down to P-Town. The run was worth the wait, as not long after putting out 2 live lines and a kite, TH had the first of our fish on the line. After a good fight, he boated a tuna just under 47". More boats began arriving on the grounds, trolling spreaders and jigging. Hookup #2 was all mine. I've caught lots of smaller yellowfin in the Carolinas and Greece, but this was the first big tuna I'd fought. The sound of line burning off the reel is sweet music to my ears, and for a while, that was the story. Get a little, lose a lot. Anticipating smaller fish, I had gone with my smaller belt rather than the larger Briad belt that rests on the thighs. Big mistake. I spent the next 30-40 minutes with crushed nuts. Finally seeing some color, what I landed was a 69", 205-210 lb. tuna!
I was pretty stoked, but the fun wasn't over. A third line was crushed by another big tuna. At this point, the only thing we could keep would be a 73+" fish that would sell commercially, and this fish was fighting like it had the size. Charles, then TH and I all had a go before it finally came alongside the boat. It was big, 70+, but just short of the 73" minimum. After a good fight, this fish was released to hopefully grow to be one of those giants.
With a 150 gallon coffin cooler full of bluefin tuna, I can now join TH in saying, "I've never had a bad day w/ Capt. Chuck." In fact, I had a spectacular day! Many thanks to Chuck and Tim, and I look forward to fishing on the Skip-A Dory again next season.

Monday, July 13, 2009


Went out today w/ Jack Ballant from the Fishing Connection. Didn't look promising at 5:30 with wind and overcast skies, but turned out OK. Ran out to Watch Hill Reef (6:00am) on outgoing tide - stripers were rolling all over the place but very picky. I dropped one, as did my friend Jeff. My brother, who never fishes, caught two in the mid-20" range. These bass were all over butterfish but finicky when it came to lures. It's frustrating to see that many fish and not be killing them. As the slack tide approached, we ran to sugar for a bit (Doug caught another shorty) and then to Fisher's Island. I slammed my first two right off the bat, the largest being 38". Doug caught another, but Jeff was just getting killed by the scup. They seemed to be laser guided to his tube and worm. I ended up getting two more in the low-30s and Doug one more. Jeff had a tough day, but finally found some love about noon. Just like a teenager trying to get laid, wait long enough and it will eventually happen. Though it took a bit of patience, we landed several keepers and took a pair of the 30's for fillets. My 38' was also a tagged fish (USFWS), so I get a hat! It's back out there to maybe grow to 50+.

Nitty Gritty:
Departure 5:30 am.
Winds SE 10-20
Temp 63/Overcast
Water 63?
BlackWatch Reef outgoing 6:15-7:00
Striper Schools rolling on surface, 2 mid-20's on small split-tail plastics. Few bites.
7:00 - Sugar Reef same as above. 1 on/mid-20's.
Low Tide - Fishers Island 7:32
38"x20" SE Point - slack tide, tube and worm
32" slack tide, tube and worm.
Incoming tide, wind decreasing less than 10. Sunny. Water clear w/ debris, seaweed. 9-12:30
3 30+" keepers by square house. Trolling T/W.