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.