Monday, December 19, 2011

The Frozen Few

Sometimes you're catching, sometimes just fishing. This past weekend I was freezing while fishing. I arrived in Altmar, NY Friday night with plans to walk in and fish Saturday and run a drift trip with my brother Doug and Scott Glazier from Tinker Tavern Guide Service on Sunday. Scott had called mid-week and asked if we wanted to fish Saturday as he had an opening. Unfortunately, Doug couldn't get away from work early enough, so I stuck to my original plan. Saturday morning was cold, about 24 degrees when I started fishing at 8:00. The river was running at 750 cfs, up significantly from the 250 cfs in October. The low water in the fall really took a toll on the salmon. The morning was slow, as I only landed one brown and lost a pair of steelhead. Some coho were lingering in the cutouts, but they weren't long for this world. I broke off for an early lunch, hoping to meet up with Doug and get back out for the afternoon. About 2 o'clock I finally heard from Doug. He hadn't left Philly. I threw in the towel on the afternoon, figuring I would be out 9-10 hours on Sunday. After all, we would have the mobility of a drift boat, and should get a lot of hook-ups. Was I wrong! We awoke to 8 degrees, a flow of 1800 cfs, and fish that didn't want to know about anything we threw at them. We didn't get a nibble from 7:30 until almost 3 o'clock. The sharp drop in temperature and significant increase in flow seemed to just switch the bite off. While fishermen were clamoring for an increased let-off in October, the sudden change was killing us Sunday. We had a short flurry near the end of the day, with Scott and I both hooking fish and losing them. Mine took off down stream along a particularly treacherous wading area, eventually taking out 40-50 yards and never turning before finally spitting the hook. That was it. My one shot at a steelhead for the day. Looking back though, who can really complain about a weekend of fishing, five hours and a world away from all of the crap of daily life?

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

2011 CT River Finale!

                                                         John with a slab.

Last day on the CT River for 2011. Went out with my friend John, aka Meatloaf in the fishing world. Love fishing with him, but haven't been able to coordinate a trip in ages. Left him a message last night, and he showed up this morning. We were hoping for some big pike, but settled for catching crappie. It was COLD. Couldn't caste well for much of the morning as the line and eyes on my baitcasters iced up. Braid + Baitcaster + 20 degrees = frustrated angler. With no pike action in Chapman's or the outflow, I switched to my 6 year old's Ugly Stick combo and small shiners. Felt like a kid again. Had fun catching crappie for some time before giving the pike a last shot. John's 7-8" shiner got absolutely hammered, and he did a bassmaster hookset that broke a knot. As far as you guys know, that was a 4 foot pike. No huge fish, but it turned out to be a really enjoyable finale on the river.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Black Friday, RNA Style

No malls, no crazy shoppers or traffic. Just me, a bucket a bait, and a leftover turkey and dressing sandwich. Put in a the mouth of the Salmon River at about 7:30 for a day or relaxing fishing while my wife went shopping. Stopped into Fishin' Factory III for some jumbo shiners. Go big or go home. Started at the mouth of the outflow, but the tide was changing and there was another boat where I wanted fish. Ran out a few lines and worked the adjacent area with a few swim baits. Kid in the boat near me managed to hook and land a 32" pike, but nothing for me. Ran into Salmon Cove, and then down to Chapman's. Chapman's was loaded with some fat yellow perch, pickerel and a number of pike. Hooked some smaller pike, but for the most part, they just shredded my jumbo shiners without getting the hook. Lost a fish that made the entire balloon disappear underwater. That's the type of fish I want. Caught enough that I decided to head back towards Salmon, then decided to take another shot at the outflow. Tide was moving out, and the day was getting longer. The last few boats where heading out as I landed a fat 9lb., 31-32" pike, followed by a 26" fish. Not a bad way to spend Black Friday!

Freezer Filler on the Blackhawk

Great November day to head out and replace some of the fish I had to throw out last week. Went out on the Blackhawk in search of anything we could find on the bottom. Left from Noank at 8:00am and headed to the north side of Block for a quick look. The area had slowed down from last week so after 2 drifts we continued to head south around Block Island. On the south side we immediately started catching - dogfish. The only dogfish I want to land is a Dogfish Head 90 minute IPA or one of their other fine brews ( - check them out!). We continued south to deeper waters, gradually working all the way down near Coxes Ledge. The fishing for dinner plate size scup, nice sea bass and the occasional keeper cod was steady, and we ended up staying on the fishing grounds for an additional 2 hours. If this was my last salt water trip of the year, it was a good way to finish up. Thanks to Capt. Greg, Steve and the crew of the Blackhawk.

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

Great bit of knowledge that could save a day fishing.

My dad taught me this when I was a kid. Told me he used it all the time in the ER. Used the same technique to take the small treble out from above my lip (earlier post). Should have video recorded that!

Monday, October 24, 2011

Steelhead and Salmon on the Fly

This past weekend I fished the Salmon River in Altmar, NY (west of Pulaski) with my brother Doug and his friend John. We again stayed at the Tinker Tavern Lodge with guide Scott Glazier. Scott is a full time resident of Altmar and year round guide who has been featured in episodes of OTW, so he has the detailed local knowledge to put you on the fish. I really enjoy fishing with him and highly recommend his service. This was my first trip to target big salmon, as Scott had recommended late October as the salmon are still in the upper sections of the river, and a large population of fresh steelies would be working their way up as well. I made the 5 hour drive up Thursday evening, fished on my own Friday, and managing to hook into some salmon and do a bit of exploring. Fish were stacked in several locations. My knowledge of both the area and fishing methods is still pretty basic, so I quickly found myself running out of what the fish were hitting on, and carrying lots of useless gear. Oh well. The next morning we were all on the water at 4:45am to get to our first location. Fishing doesn't begin until dawn. After a short drift we reached our spot. One advantage of drift fishing is getting to spots ahead of walk-ins. We were ready when dawn broke, and so were the fish. Doug and John landed their first salmon, while I lost my first few hookups. Steelhead were mixed in among the spawning salmon, and I ripped my egg out of ones mouth. I cast back and line shout out through my fingers. As I came tight, a big chrome steelhead exploded. I rarely fly fish, and to say I'm a novice is pretty accurate. Now I'm hooked up with the ultimate freshwater target. To say I was pumped to land this fish was an understatement. Over thus course of the day I managed to hook and lose numerous fish, proving the "on and gone" is no myth. I'd definitely have to put my fist steelhead on a fly rod right up there with my first tarpon and marlin.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Montauk is going' off!

Got a call from Jack last night that Montauk was lit up with acres of bass and blues puttin' on the feedbag for the run south. Put 8 keepers in the box in 45 minutes and then it was all catch and release. Called him back this morning and he was back out there with the same results. I could hear guys calling "fish on" in the background. Either it's really good fishing, or he's trained his clients to start yelling "fish on" whenever he answers the phone. Wind is supposed to shift to the east Wednesday, which will probably put a damper on things for guys running from CT.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

Watch Hill to Race Point 9/29

Fisher's Island NY

Thursday 9/29
A day late (or hour) and a dollar short! Kinda sums up my trip Thursday. One of the downsides of chartering is that sometimes you just have to roll the dice with dates. Can't say that we came up snake eyes, but I have fished better days. Fished with my "baby" brother Doug (in video) and Capt. Steve on the Lauren B., a veteran of these waters who will go above and beyond to try and put you on fish. We started out at Watch Hill at 6:30 in heavy fog, encountering some leftover messy swells and no signs of fish. We worked in to Sugar Reef and Wiccopesset Passage. Nada. Visibility was no more than a few hundred feet. Rather than bounce around blind, we decided to work the north side of Fishers Island so at least we would be sheltered. We worked the ENTIRE side of Fishers all the way to Race Point, picking up a few blues and getting a few bass to hit. Nothing big. Decided to stop back by Napatree and Watch Hill before heading in. Weather was clearing and the tide was beginning to go slack, but the albies were in. A guy was hooked up on a fly outfit and a second boat was hooked up as well. I missed a strike and the school was gone. Another popped up a few hundred yards away and was moving towards us. The boat next to us doubled up and then I hooked into a fish. It took two hard runs zigzagging away, and then a hard turn to the boat. I lost the fish. The tide seemed to go completely slack, and that was it. We moved over to Watch Hill where lots of birds were chasing numerous schools, but the fish weren't really hitting. I hooked and lost a second, and that was it. We were an hour past our charter time and had to head back. I'm pretty sure the boats out there would killed them as the tide picked up again.

Sunday 10/2
Went out in the little Gemma Rose hoping to catch some albies and worked from Goshen Point down to Brothers. No albies, just schools of small blues here and there, but still lots of fun.

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Albies Show, But All I Got Was The Blues!

My fishing schedule has sucked as people expect me to go to work! Got out today (as did half of CT, RI and NY) to try and chase some stripers and albies. Ended up with the blues. Went with Capt. Jack and my good friend and Anglers' Pledge recruit Dave. He's now been out four times this year (beginning w/ one of 'Lungs cod trips) and loves it! Big lone choppers were roaming Watch Hill early as the tide was coming in, and for the first hour or so it was steady hookups with lots of break offs as they sawed through 80lb. test leaders. The fish were in the low teens. As the bass, which had been off and on here all through August, never showed, we made a move along the south side of Fisher's to Race Point. The blues continued for another hour or so as the tide began to slack. We were fairly close to what is left of the grounded tug and I had just released a long cast. A school of albies broke thirty feet to my side of the boat. Dave had a line out the other side. I ditched my rod and grabbed for a ready rod to throw a Zoom Super Fluke, but it was too late. School broke again 50 yards farther out. Ten minutes later, a school broke off our stern heading away. I was finishing a retrieve and snapped off a quick cast but came up short. That was it. No albies today. The tide was completely slack, and of the 40-50 boats that were out at Valiant Rock, at least half were motoring in our direction. If there were any more fish in the area, they weren't coming up with a boat idling every 30 yards. As the outgoing tide began to pick up, the fishing did not. We had boats from Orient Point and Montauk over in our neck of the woods, so their fishing must have really sucked. Wanting to get away from the bulk of the traffic, we moved back to Watch Hill, were Dave went off on big blues and a bass which flattened the hook as Dave got over-excited when he drew it up to the boat. I got nada. One hit as I dropped my jig off the backside of a flat-top rock that I know usually has a bass or two waiting. SO in the end, lots of blues, some lost bass, and we at least saw some albies. All in all, a fun day.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Lots and lots and lots of blues.....

The wind was supposed to pick up today, so I went out on the Blackhawk this morning. Great action. 2-3 hookups per drift and 30-40 blues (most released) made for a busy day on the water. My arms could barely lift a beer when I got home (but I managed). Steve, Sal and Matt kept the front of the boat humming right along. Can't wait to go fiahing w/ Capt. Greg and the Blackhawk guys again. THANKS!

World Record Striped Bass Scale "Dead-On"

Last week I heard from a reliable source that the scales used to weigh Greg Meyerson's record breaking stripper had not recently been certified. Though numerous rumors were rampant, I had yet to hear this one, so I decided to check it out. As Jack's Shoreline Bait and Tackle has be inundated, and I didn't think likely to confirm or deny another story, I went to Chris Megan, publisher of On The Water, to try to get to the bottom of this. If anyone in the area had an inside line, it's OTW. Following is the reply I received today:
Most digital scales of the magnitude at Jack’s are pretty dead on, but that being said the scale had not been certified in the last year. The IGFA only requires that the scale be recertified as soon as possible and then they review any differences if the scale was off.
As I understand it, the scale was recertified and came out to dead on with NO need for recalibration so my understanding is that the scale will not be an issue with the IGFA.
Either way, this will all play out during the IGFA investigation of this pending world record, but I don’t believe the scale was a problem based.
Hope that helps explain at least the scale issue?

Chris Megan
On The Water Media
508-548-4705 ext 205
Thanks to CHris and OTW, looks like this one is put to rest. This is certainly the biggest story in NE Salt Water angling this year, and I am pulling for Greg to receive the IGFA record.

Tight Lines,

Friday, August 19, 2011

The Eastern CT LIS Report 8/18/2011

Had a great day out on the water today. Fishing w/ Jack Balint and my friend Dave. Left Stonington at 7:00. A bit late but the tide was changing earlier and I wasn't doing a night trip. Ran straight out to Watch Hill reef and picked up a half dozen stripers on Zoom Flukes. Only one keeper size around "30. As that died off by about 8:00, we ran up to Race Point and the tide was changing, but the bluefish bite was slow. Headed to Little Gull, fishing the Race side and then the sluice between LG and Big Gull. Bite was picking up, but as the tide got going, the water got really murky. Last real move was down the race where the bigger blues were just lit up. As you can see from Dave, we were fishing light w/ soft plastics, making the catching fun. Caught a lot! Dave's been out three times with me, and all three were good days. Once on a cod trip 'Lung set up, a ridiculous striper fest before a major storm, and yesterday. HE'S HOOKED!

Have not heard one credible source saying they were in as of yesterday. One nameless charter captain was claiming he was catching a few days ago, but my source says his boat was in that whole day in question. Sounds like he was looking to drum up business. ANY TIME NOW. Albies should follow.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Niantic Report 8/3/2011

OK. Here's the shoreline report for 8/3/2011. On the water for the "magic hour" before sunrise with a few quick hookups right out the gate in Niantic. Lot's of schoolies feeding on small bait. Hung out at the top of Niantic Bay until the tide began to slack, and then headed over to Goshen Beach/Harkness. Tide was just beginning to turn and I quickly hooked a small schoolie followed by a 32" striper on tube and worm. That seems to be the ticket as far as artificials go right now. Overall, I had a half dozen stripers in Niantic and Goshen, but only the one keeper. By 7:30, the stripers had disappeared and some blues were starting to show off of Little Goshen Reef. As the tide and rip was building, I stayed in. Outer Bartlett's was filled with birds and bait as the tide got going, but again, I was left on the sidelines in my little boat. Ran back to the outflow and hooked a few blues, and tried Black Point before heading in. Day was pretty much over for me by 10:00am. Not a bad morning!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Black Point, Bartlett's and Goshen/Harkness 7/26


Out of Niantic early (by 4:30) heading towards Harkness. Lots of bait but no luck casting a variety of soft plastics near the entrance to Goshen Cove. Switched to tube and worm and quickly caught a 30" and several short stripers. The trend was looking like schoolies, so I headed back to Bartlett's and Two Tree, which had been producing bigger fish last week. Nada. Not even a blue to bite off my soft plastics! Over to the outflow where I hooked a decent striper that sent me ducking and diving to avoid the hook it spit. 15 minutes of blanks casting and I decided to move again. This time, across the bay to Black Point. By this time it was approaching mid-morning, the day was beautiful, and I anticipated scup and blues would soon be shredding my Fin-S baits. Hadn't seen any fish on top all morning, so I threw out a tube and worm as I approached Black Point and wham, fish on! Schoolie. Re-baited and set my line. Another fish. Followed by another and so on. Cool. Lot's of schoolies. I can switch to casting. No luck. Tube and worm was the ticket, but there comes a point when even a light setup becomes pretty boring with schoolie after schoolie. After a dozen of these, I decided to head back in. While catching a lot of schoolies is not unusual, the total lack of scup an blues was a rarity. Overall, a nice trip. I'm taking a friend out on his new boat Saturday. Only hope I can find him some fish!

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Wednesday 7/20 Niantic Report

Out early as per usual (about 4:00am), but after a few runs around Wigwam Rock moved up to Black Point instead of towards Bartlett's and Harkenss. Caught a few short stripers off of BP on tube and worm. Decided I would try around Hatchett's Point as I rarely fish that area. Given the tide times, I shouldn't have screwed around but gone straight there. Not much happening. The entire LIS was a mirror with a hot/hazy day approaching, and tide was going pretty slack by 7:30. Caught a few blues in some scattered schools as the small rip off BP died (nice 32" that put up a big fight on my light gear). Anyway, pretty slow day. Got back to the dock early as three guys were returning from Bartlett's each with a pair of stripers in the mid-30s. Turns out the top water bite was good all morning where I fish 9 of 10 times. Oh well.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Niantic Shoreline Fishing Report 7/13/2011

Fished Niantic today. Low tide was 3:39am at the Niantic Bridge, and I was on the water at 4:00am. After a few trolling runs I hooked a small blue and though crap, there go my soft baits and sandworms. Then a 24" striper, followed by a nice 38" fish, went for my tube and worm. By now the sun was coming up, and after another schoolie and some blank runs, I moved over to Black Point where I caught a larger blue and a few more short stripers. Crossed over to Millstone and picked off a pair of blues with a deadly dick before moving up towards Harkness. Goshen Beach and Harkness were holding clouds of sand eels at the mouth of Goshen Cove. I like to sight fish w/ light tackle, but the wind was picking up. I did a lot of casting around the bait schools and with both spinning and fly outfits, but finally went back to trolling, catching a fluke and another short striper before heading for home. Not a bad day.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

Race Report 7/10

Went out for some light tackle angling today, hoping to find some early stripers or most likely blues. Fished from Plum across to Watch Hill, but pretty much all the big schools of blues were up at the west end of the race. Lot's of fish, and believe it or not, picky. Yes, picky bluefish. The party boats that were drifting and fishing deep were getting consistent hits on big blues, but the fish coming up to the top for the light tackle crowd weren't jumping in the boats. Typically when you see the big schools on the surface the only worry is whether multiple blues will cut you off. Today they were far less willing to bite a variety of artificials. Anyway, the place was loaded and we did catch fish, just not the arm busting day one would expect. Might have had to do with the fact that as soon as a school came up, 30 boats were closing from all directions. Reminded me why I avoid weekends like the plague.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Party Boat Fishing on the Blackhawk.

Won a couple of passes for the Blackhawk this season, so I decided to go out today. Didn't want to risk getting caught out in a thunderstorm in my little boat. I like getting out on the Blackhawk now and then, as the Captains and crew always work hard to put you on fish and are usually pretty successful. Foggy as hell all day, but very good fishing. Started on the outgoing tide up at the west end of the Race (couldn't make out a single feature all day). Hit big blues on every drift and a few stripers. As the tide went slack we ran down towards Race Rock and were picking up fish again before to long. Lots of keeper stripers in the mid-30" range. The striper bite went from late morning right into early afternoon. The last hour we were picking up several decent keepers a drift. Fish were throwing up a mix of squid and peanut bunker, and my friend Jack fishing from Stonington told me that another good run of squid had come in when I spoke with him this morning. Hope this bodes well for my trip Sunday!

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Fishin' w/ Capt. Ernie Foster on the Albatross III

This past week, my brother and I had the opportunity to fish aboard the Albatross III with Capt. Ernie Foster out of Hatteras, NC. Ernie is the son of Ernal Foster, the first charter captain on the OBX, and the Albatross was the first charter boat to work these waters. Ernie and his dad used to take out my Godmother Betsy Walker and her husband Ross in the 50s and 60s, when my Aunt Betts became the first woman to land an Atlantic Blue Marlin. The original Albatross dates back to the 30's, and our boat, the AIII, is the baby, built in the 50s. She still runs with her original bamboo outriggers and a fighting chair that has served legends such as Al Pfleuger. While hoping to emulate my Godmother with an epic billfish, we spent the day catching lots of nice dolphin, bonito, mackerel and even a small bluefin. The catching began early on, as my brother and I hooked into four big gaffers simultaneously (2 in pic). As fun as the fishing was, the chance to talk to Capt. Ernie and listen to him describe trips with pioneers of the sport was the true highlight of the trip. Ernie even brought out a rod to fish given to his father by Ross four decades ago. Knowing that this rod was a memento that hadn't seen the salt in 40 years really made me appreciate the bond the Foster family had with my Aunt Betts and her husband Ross, who passed away before I was old enough to remember him. We caught fish, had a beautiful day on the ocean, and really came back with a greater knowledge and appreciation of where the sport came from. I hope o fish with Capt. Ernie and the Albatross again.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Surviving a Rip Tide

What was an otherwise fun filled trip to the Outer Banks (fishing report to follow) was marred by the drowning of a man witness by myself, my kids and other on the beach in Waves NC last week. As we were setting up our chairs I noticed several people moving to the waters edge 40-50 ft. away. Charter boats were 150 yards off the shore chasing cobia or mackeral, and as we walked down to see I realized that 1/2 dozen people were caught in a rip tide and clinging to floats. Two or three men rushed in without boards or any floatation and were soon struggling in the outgoing currents. Rip tides are powerful and not uncommon on the Outer Banks and other destinations on the East Coast, and knowing how to recognize them and how to react to save yourself and others is important. One or two swimmers not clinging to floats had managed to swim parallel to the beach and escape the current. The rest clung together and continued to fight against the rip. Within another few minutes rescue personnel arrived and reached the swimmers. What no one had seen was a swimmer who was floating face down just past the breakers. One look as he was brought in left little doubt as to his chances. I sent my kids away but witnessed attempts to revive him which would continue for the next 30 minutes. I can't imagine what this man's family must be going through, and perhaps he did do the right things. Emotionally, I still feel as if I should have gone out, though I knew as a former life guard that it simply would have put me in jeopardy without assisting anyone in the water. Later on, I discussed with my children what had happened, and that the man had drown. It is a lesson I know will stay with them for the rest of their live. I guess the most important aspect of this post is to implore anyone enjoying the surf to familiarize themselves with rip tides and how to protect yourself should you ever find yourself caught in one. As I told my kids, this shouldn't make you afraid to go in the ocean, but remind you to respect it's awesome power and be safe.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Diawa demo w/ CT Outfitters and Blackhawk Sportsfishing

Went out on the Blackhawk Wednesday night for a Diawa demo day put on by Gary and the guys at CT Outfitter. Unfortunately, Mother Nature and the fish gods weren't too cooperative, but we had a good time and the idea was great. We left at 4:00 as the tide was changing over and headed out to the Race. Diawa's rep (name?sorry) had provided about 20 different outfits covering there whole 2011 line (including some electric reels that sounded as if my fish finder kept going of). Not much happened during the slack tide, during which we fished some of the new butterfly jigs in the pouring rain w/ no success. As the tide began to pick up, so did the rain. I switched over to a 3-way jig setup, and quickly had the boats' second fish, a BIG blue. Pretty soon a few more stripers came over the rail. Looked like the fishing was going to heat up, but it never really panned out. A real nice fellow fishing beside me did land 2 pretty stripers, but all told probably no more than a dozen fish came over the rail before heading back at 11:00. However, the company was good, Capt. DuBrule and crew were great, and CT Outfitters put together a top notch trip. To finish the night, the pool winner collected $500 and a new Diawa Saltist outfit, a second outfit was raffled away and hats and T-shirts went to everyone. Thanks to those who put this together, and I look forward to the next trip!

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Niantic at Night 6/18/2011

Limited success last night fishing the shoreline from Niantic to Harkness. A schoolie and blues at the outflow, a barely keeper and schoolies between the sanitorium and Harkness. Got back to my night/safe spot from about 8:30-11:00 and had a few hits but no hook-ups. However, adult bunker schools the size of a football field were at the top of Niantic Bay. Wish I had a bait pen or access to one in Niantic. Snagged a few and let them limp around hoping to get a big bass, but no luck in 2 hours. Saw an occasional big tail swirl. I tried snagged bunker, big pre-rigged hogy eels, a large bunker swimbait, smaller lures, trolling through and around the schools and nothing. I guess the stripers that were there had so much bait to choose from that it was hard to get a hit.
Not to be outdone by her little brother, Gemma joins us on our next fishing outing.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Kids Report

Two AWESOME afternoons of fish slammin' fun at Camp Sloper. Danny racked up a 2 day total of 10 largemouth, a monster white perch, and a sunny! KVD watch out.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Lit Up!

Striper Fishing has Lit the F*@^ Up!

The striper fishing was lit up, both literally and figuratively last night and tonight. After a 3:00pm put in on the start of an outgoing tide in Niantic yesterday, fishing went from slow to good. I'm pretty limited in where and in what conditions can fish my little skiff. Had a few blue blitzes and 4 short stripers on the outflow from 3:30-4:30. Working up Two-Tree, Bartlett's, Harkness and back to Black Point was completely unproductive. With storms approaching, I decided to head back into Niantic Bay and hit a few spots I like. Trolling T&W I had a strike within a 100 yrds, and thus began 2 hours of catching 25"-27" stripers with one monster that ripped the road out of the holder (ESPN worthy highlight catch on my part) and spooled my light trolling rig almost twice before breaking off. Couldn't sleep until 2:00am thinking about the hardest hit and run I have experienced in a while. Tonight we decided to cheat Mother Nature again, and left Stonington at about 4:00 just as high tide was peaking. Fishing with Jack Balint from The Fish Connection in Preston, whom I fish with several times a year and always have a great time. Jack specializes in light tackle and fly fishing, so we were working with GLoomis Pro-Green rods, light Stradic and Penn reels, 12lb.test and 7" pink and amber sluggos. Plan was poke around from the east of Fisher's until the tide picked back up, but 5 minutes out of Stonington we were on the fish. Right off the bat I was into a fish in the mid-30's (inches) and it kept going from there. Even as the tide went slack, the fish kept biting. You could see stripers on squid and ink blotches as the squid sought to escape. It was easy to follow the sluggos and see the fish moving in for the big surface strikes. It was a race to see how much fishing we could get in with the massive storm bearing down on us. Completely lost count of the fish landed in the 2 hours before a mad dash back to the barn. Most were in the mid-30's. Can't imagine (well, I can) what a few more hours at that pace would have been like.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Take a Kid Fishing (at your own risk)

Stopped by my local pond to wet a line. Caught a few nice little bass. Little League was going on nearby, and tons of kids were running around. A boy from my daughter's 2nd grade class and his friends came up. "Can I fish, can I fish, can I fish?" Who's going to tell a kid he can't fish? I have him pick up my light rod with a small lure, and he casts out a few times. I turn to cast my line and WHAM! I reach down and find the lure hanging from my face. The kid was 25ft. away and probably couldn't hit me again in 100 casts. He's is about to cry, saying he's sorry over and over. I assure him that I know it was an accident and that it's OK. This is where it gets comical. I can't see the hook and forgot my pliers. I have to walk past all of the kids and dads by the baseball diamond with a lure dangling from my face. They politely offer to help, but there isn't anything they can do. I decide I'll stop by the rescue squad across the pond. Surely they have small pliers or forceps. I am informed that they are not allowed to remove anything, but only after 3-4 guys come out for a look. I understand that some jackass may try to sue and thus the policy. They do offer to take me to the ER, but I don't think this merits a ride in an ambulance. I drive home with my rather unique piercing hanging from below my nose. Forceps and a quick pop takes remedies what turned out to be a rather humerous situation.

Thursday, June 2, 2011


After a few slow weeks of picking off of beds, Hanover is starting to heat up a bit. John, Tom and I went out Sunday, where Tom was the lone fish catcher with a small bass and a catfish. Went back out today and had three decent bass on (lost 2) in about 45 minutes using a Lunker City Salad Spoon on top. Two guys were also working the Hanover Ave. side in a boat. Looking forward to the LIS turning on!

Monday, May 30, 2011

Memorial Day Report - Niantic

Wow. The start of this season has been as cold (literally and figuratively) as last season was smokin' hot. After a trip to the UK, and a busy lacrosse season, I was looking forward to getting the striper season off to the start I had last year in which my first trip landed 2 dozen keepers in a bit over 2 hrs. Missed the early run on the River. Two weeks of rain led to two brief an unproductive trips out of Haddam. Today I decided to try out the salt H20, hearing good reports from Stonington. Not used to fishing Stonington in a small boat in fog at night, I opted for Niantic. Fog was thick and I had to rely on GPS to cross the bay and the mouth of Jordan's Cove. Marked lots of bait in Niantic Bay, and fished up to Harkness by 7:00 am without a bite. Decided to throw in the towel and fish the reactor outflow. I typically feel like I'm fishing in the children's pond when I reach this point. As I made my way back to Millstone, the fog was giving way to dark clouds. After a quick check of my radar (Yes, my 14 ft. boat has radar and a GPS chartplotter - an iPhone), I decided to head for the barn. As I was feet from the dock, the heavens opened up. I ended a short morning with a wet skunking. My hope is that I'm getting the bad juju out of the way before heading down to the Carolinas in a few weeks.

Friday, May 27, 2011

The "Gemma Rose" Project

Two season's ago, after months of "to own" or not "to own" a new boat (and all the monthly costs associated), I compromised and bought the "Gemma Rose", a 14 ft. aluminum that I could throw in lakes, rivers and near the shore in the summer. I would no longer be landlocked, nor tied to the payments of a large boat, leaving me free to travel and charter in different locations. Originally outfitted with an old Merc 18hp and some oars, I've made a few modifications, turning the Gemma Rose into a true redneck fishing platform. Below, you can see the transformation from the bare-bones version, to the additions of the forward casting platform and storage, to the final vid of the necked out Gemma Rose. I dare you to find a 14ft. aluminum solo fishing machine with more crap!

Saturday, May 14, 2011

9 bass in a bit over an hour. All 1-3 lb. range. Lost the only bigger fish (probably 4-5 female) that I had been stalking after catching the male and harrassing until she hit. Water was murky in my local hole, so I was fishing a black buzz bait with red metallic fleck. Got hit on the first cast, and it kept up for 45 minutes until every fish within a few hundred square yards had seen my bait presentation.
9 bass in a bit over an hour. All 1-3 lb. range. Lost the only bigger fish (probably 4-5 female) that I had been stalking after catching the male and harrassing until she hit. Water was murky in my local hole, so I was fishing a black buzz bait with red metallic fleck. Got hit on the first cast, and it kept up for 45 minutes until every fish within a few hundred square yards had seen my bait presentation.[img][/img]
(3 lb. From Monday Night)
Typical of today's fish.

Friday, May 6, 2011

QRiver 5-6-11

Got a quick stop in this afternoon before I had to run out. About 8 trout (6 rainbows, 2 brookies) in a bit over an hour. All on a Rapala minnow, though I did float a lot of nymphs. Took a bath as well. WEAR YOU WADING BELTS! Managed to get soaked and enough water down the waders to get cold after a while, but not too big a deal. Check out the vid. I will admit to adding footage of a snake from just a few days before with Meatloaf. I never cut in old fish footage, but the snake was kinda cool, and the report is legit.

Friday, April 8, 2011

The Local Report - Hanover 4/8/11

Local bass are bitin'. I've had success on shallow ponds with swim baits, jigs and smaller spoons. Don't be afraid to cover water with a swimbait, as I've found the fish consistently hitting moving presentations. If you're not getting the hook-ups, slow down and go to a more deliberate presentation like the jig and creature baits.

Monday, April 4, 2011

Tinker Tavern, "Steelie" Dan and Salmon River Steelhead Fishing with Scott Glazier and Don Kingsley

Back from another trip up to Pulaski, NY for the “spring” steelhead run. The outlook was grim Wednesday with snow and freezing rain predicted for Friday and Saturday. Nothing says lockjaw like a cold front moving through. However, given my scheduling, it was this past weekend or wait ‘til fall. “Steelie” Dan, Jeff and I drove up in the rain and slushy snow Friday after work, arriving at Tinker Tavern Lodge around midnight. I’d booked with Scott Glazier (TTL) and Don Kingsley (Tight Lines Guide Service) again this spring. Look for Scott on an upcoming episode of On The Water this month. Saturday morning proved to be a far cry from freezing and rainy, with the temps eventually reaching 50, and mostly sunny. Before we could fish, basics like forking over $$$ to the State of New York had to be taken care of, and Jeff and I purchased new noodle rods. I paired a 10’6” Courtland rod with my Cabo 20 spinning reel for a comfortable outfit. Need to support the local economy! The plan was to do a little walk in scouting after lunch, but this was hampered by the fact I have a really bad ankle right now. By the afternoon, following what had been a cold morning, the fish had all seen their share of presentations and we only saw one fish landed in the heavily fished areas I was able to hobble to. Fingers were crossed to the weather gods for Sunday’s drift trip. Sunday continued to follow the improving weather of Saturday, with more sun and temps again rising into the low 50’s by mid afternoon. With a second day of good weather, our fishing improved as well. Scott and Don got us to a productive hole ahead of the masses, and we managed to land our first steelie, a smaller male, right off the bat. The hits kept coming at a slow but steady pace, and before long Dan ended his drought from the last trip with a fat fish (see pic). Jeff learned that “we weren’t in Kansas anymore,” fighting a few nice fish, only to have them eventually pop. I proceeded to lose the big hen in our hole, and then we made the tough decision to move from a place that was producing (and promising more as the temp rose) to see and fish more of the river. The highlight of the trip was Dan’s (now forever known as Steelie Dan) big steelie that put on an aerial show and then went on a 70 yard down river, reel spooling run. We had a bit more action before days end, and had a blast for the weekend. TTL provides comfortable, inexpensive accommodation near the fishing, and Scott and Don are great guides. I recommend both highly. Anyway, check out the pics and video!

Friday, March 25, 2011

2010 Volunteer Angler Survey Results

Results of the 2010 VAS. Anglers interested in participating should contact the CT DEP.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Fish in a Barrel

Fished back at Hanover Thursday after a day of 60+ weather and had a few small bass. Went back Friday and much the same, with one difference. The water was down a foot. By Saturday the pond was drained. So much for droppoing in my boat. My first reaction was SH*t! I spoke with the site manager from the town. A sewage pipe ruptured, flooding the treatment plant with pond water. The repairs may take all week. What do you do? Go fishing, that's what! With 3/4 of the pond drained, catching fish was not going to be a problem. In my first 1 1/2hr I had a 3 4+ pounders and one bass weighing in at nearly 6lbs. Anothe 4-5 lb'er is swimming around with a 4" storm shad in his mouth. The perch were huge and ready to spawn. I also hooked one large carp that threw the soft bait, and accidently snagged another that spooled me. Caught more small bass than I bothered to count. Life is GOOD today!

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

"Published" in SWS

Got my April Saltwater Sportman today, one of my most important reads for the month (I don't just buy it for the Fish Babe - I do read the articles). Read John Brownlee's Letter from the Editor and then flipped the page to "Talk on the Dock." Leading off was "Shifting Effort in North Carolina." Topic I've been reading about and taken an interest in. Deja Vu. Skim to the end. There's my name. This is excerpted from my letter to Dr. Louis Daniels, Director of Marine Fisheries in NC. Dr. Daniels didn't reply, but SWS printed it!

PS - Congrats to Fish Babe of the Year Marisa Hankins. Why can't I find a fishin' partner that looks like that?

Thursday, February 24, 2011

2011 is Underway and Karma is a B*%ch

Went out Tuesday night from Snug Harbor, RI on a cod fishing trip aboard the Island Current II. We departed around 11:20pm and returned at 1:00pm Wednesday. Fellow teacher and friend Dave decided to join me to see why people would voluntarily subject themselves to such an activity. Few people want to travel 20 miles out into the North Atlantic in February to catch a few fish. I would say I had a great time, but karma truly is a b%*ch as I spent about 8 of thirteen hrs. alternating between being curled in a fetal position wanting to die and dry heaving over the rail. I've been fishing forever in all kinds of conditions with only 1-2 times where I've felt a bit queasy, but nothing like the experience I had yesterday. My entire chest area is sore and my throat raw today. My brother, however, has always battled seasickness yet it has never prevented him from saying yes to a trip. I must admit on more than one occasion I've offered him a Slim Jim or a beer when he's been sick. Well, I paid for it yesterday. I did manage to catch a few fish during the two big bites we had around 2am?? (I was pretty sick) and 10 am. I told Dave if he could take the cold cod fishing, he would have no trouble coming out and catching blues and stripers in the summer. He ended up with about 7 keepers and a lot of shorts. We came home with a cooler of cod. Anyway, BIG thanks to Bob for making this happen, and I'm sure he will provide a better report of what actually happened on the trip on

Not much video as I was sick as a DOG!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Commercial trawlers slaughtering thousands of striped bass off the Outer Banks

Commercial trawlers slaughtering thousands of striped bass off the Outer Banks
"Stripers Forever members - on Jan. 15th the North Carolina, ocean commercial striped bass season opened. In this trawl fishery, individual boats can keep the 50 largest fish that they catch in a day. This practice allows and encourages the culling or high grading of the catch. This means that the boat will keep the 50 largest fish in possession but may continue trawling all day and may replace these fish with larger ones caught later. Replacing means they will throw the dead or dying fish over the side, substituting them with the freshly caught larger bass. It is nearly beyond belief that such a system could be in place, but it is."
My letter to to Louis Daniels Ph.D. the Director of Marine Fisheries in NC.
Louis Daniels PhD
3441 Arendell Street
PO BOX 769
Morehead City, NC 28557-0769

Dear Dr. Daniels,
Below is a forum post I shared with fellow members of CT Fish Finder with regard to the commercial trawling for stripers and culling or high grading that takes place, resulting in the loss of thousands of healthy stripers prior to their prime reproductive years. The commercial policy is not only ill-conceived from a long term growth and recovery effort, but is directly harmful to recreational and charter fishermen, an industry that generates 8X the revenue and jobs of commercial fishing. Companies such as Parker Boats and Jones Brothers, guides and tackle related businesses are harmed by this policy, as evidenced by the fact that individuals like myself chose to spend our money elsewhere this year due to poor winter fishing on the Outer Banks. I opted instead for trips to fish steelhead in upstate NY. I grew up fishing the waters of the Outer Banks in the 70s-80s, and watched as stocks declined and recreational fisherman sought other locations with more abundant stocks. It's seems that based on my completely unscientific, anecdotal evidence and more success in recent years that many species have increased due to better management. Stripers are one of those species that have on the whole rebounded. However, waste like this could put them back in jeopardy. It would make much more sense to shift a significant portion of the quota to recreational/charter fisherman, who either take their limit or release the vast majority of their fish unharmed, and who do not create large wasted bye-catch. Allowing charter captains to sell fish commercially makes far more sense that trawling. It is a far more efficient utilization of resources, and while it may cause a job shift, makes more economic sense. I hope you will consider changes to NC regulations that allow for such waste of a valuable resource.

Brian Kirby

Posted: Tue Feb 15, 2011 11:11 pm on
Post subject: Striper Kill Reply with quote
Was in VA and spoke with some guys I know that fish the lower Chesapeake and Outer Banks for the winter striper run, and this just contributed to what was a slow season. It absolutely kills recreational and charter fishermen who make up a larger part of the economy and contribute much more to protecting and expanding fish stocks. I passed on a late December trip while back down in the area because the cost just outweighed the poor fishing they were having. This method of fishing that they allow can be devastating when combined with what appears to be a declining Chesapeake stock. While I'll be back fishing the Outer Banks in June, I will also be fishing with a few Captains who are really focused on protecting the fisheries which are trying to come back after decades of overfishing and declining stocks. This was my "back yard" growing up, and I want to be able to share the same experiences with my kids, so any lobbying in support of SFs efforts is appreciated!


Posted: Thu Feb 17, 2011 10:23 am Post subject: Hope so! Reply with quote
I hope that is the case. One of the guys I know down there was complaining about the trawlers driving them off the fish in December. Still makes more sense to me to shift quota percentages of game fish to charters, letting them keep fish beyond the limits established for paying customers and selling the excess commercially. It would offset operating cost and could lower charter fees, encouraging more fishing and tourism. A fifty fish limit would mean just about that as well. There would be very little wasted catch, as shorts would be returned to the water with a high probability of survival. There would be no real byecatch. I had a 2 hr day last spring where I hooked over 2 dozen keepers, and thanks to circle hooks, released all healthy. Not a single gut hook. It sucks for the small commercial operators, but they have almost all been pushed out by larger corporate operations anyway, and NC relies heavily on the sportfishing industry, between charters, tourists, boat builders, tackle shops, etc. I know commercial fishermen don't want to hear any of this, as livelihoods are at stake, but it just seems to make sense to me.

Monday, February 7, 2011

Cabin Fever

Itchin' to get out! I've done about as much re-organizing, re-spooling and tinkering as I can at this point. Still need to do a bit of re-wiring on the Gemma Rose. I need a bigger boat again, as my kids are getting older and I want to safely share my love of the water with them (That's what I tell my wife). I really need to be able to haul more gear and sometimes take another fisherman or two out. When you get to the point where the gear is worth more than the boat, time to upsize. Honestly, I can't really go out with fewer than 8-10 rods. My wife doesn't understand. I counter with "Why do you need so many pairs of shoes?" The answer is the same. Especially fishing solo, you need rods ready to go with a variety of options. I don't want to spend time on the water changing setups and re-rigging when the fish are biting. My typical assortment includes a pair of inshore baitcasters w/ 12lb. mono, 4 spinning outfits with 14-20lb. mono, fluoro and fused braid and rigged with a mix of soft and hard lures that I want to have ready. Throw in two inshore trolling reels w/ 20lb. metered braid on inshore rods, and one Penn "winch" and heavier trolling rod for TwoTree Channel, and I'm good to go. Oops, forgot a 9wt flyrod! That's 10, and I can scrape by with that. They're all ready to go. To pass the time I've been looking at boats to accommodate my obsession and the other weekend went to check out the Parker 23' center console and the Maritime 23' at the Hartford Boat Show. I like the Jones Brothers 23' center console as well. Well, there's always next year. What I really need is some warm weather and fish.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

"Stinger Sand Worm"

Tired of scup and blues eating their way through boxes of sand worms? Many anglers, myself included, are now using products like Berkleys' GULP Sandworms. Several area charter skippers are endorsing them as evidenced by recent articles in OTW. Still, at $20 for a large container of the 8" worms, I have lots chewed to nubs without landing a fish. SO, I started incorporating a "stinger" hook last summer, and as a result, landed far more fish during the day when the blues and scup out out full force (see the video about 2:45 in). This season I'm going to pre-rig a bunch of these with a rigging needle and 40-50lb internal mono.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Lead Ban Legislation

I am not one to politicize a fishing blog, so I promise to address only topics that directly impact fishing, and if I should shut up, say so. I support numerous efforts to improve the quality of our waterways in CT, and preserve and enhance fish stocks. However, some people seem to want to target the one group of people who collectively do more to protect and support our state's natural resources than any other, recreational fisherman and hunters. I just took action expressing my opposition to S.B. 59 in an effort to fight against burdensome and unwarranted fishing tackle regulations that would ban the sale and use all tackle containing lead in CT. I have not seen any credible scientific data that tackle use is a significant contributor to pollution or habitat degradation. If someone can point some out, I am more than willing to listen. I am far more concerned about the "Made in China" toys my knucklehead kids put in their mouths than the effect of my tackle on the environment, and suggest these do-gooders redirect more of their efforts and scarce state $$$ to address this issue. I encourage you to let elected officials hear our voice! For more information, visit
(Italicized reprinted w/ permission of

Many thanks for contacting me regarding Senate Bill 59. Please know
that I expect to vigorously oppose this legislation as I do not believe
it is necessary. I am grateful to hear from you and appreciate your
interest in our work.


Andrew Roraback
State Senator
30th District