Monday, December 23, 2013

Nice article of getting that great photo

How do you get that great shot while fishing solo?  Here are some very useful tips to help capture that moment and successfully release your catch.

Monday, December 2, 2013

Striper Fisherman’s Gift Guide

I've got 2 copies of New England Stripers:  A Fishing Anthology, and you can keep the Cabo (I've had a horrible track record with Cabo reels), but anything else works for me! 

Striper Fisherman’s Gift Guide

Wednesday, November 13, 2013


Watch this.  It works!  My dad taught me the same technique that he used in the ER.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Frogg Toggs Toadz™ Hellbender™ Wading & Fly Jacket

I don't have enough good things to say after a day of fishing in torrential rain in my new Frogg Toggs Hellbender Wading jacket.  Gary at CT Outfitters put out a special pre-order, and given my satisfaction with their other products, I jumped on this one.  My boat never leaves the dock without the All Sport Rainsuit stowed away for those unexpected storms, and I liked this so much I have a second set in Realtree camo.  In addition, my ToadRageJacket has served me well over the past several seasons.  The Hellbender is another product that improves their the Frogg Togg lineup of great products and affordable prices.  The Hellbender has everything I would expect in a jacket 2-3x the price.  I'm a big guy, and the 2XL was roomy and flexible for a full day of unencumbered casting.  It's got loads of pocket space and D-rings to attach essentials.  The neoprene and Velcro cuffs keep water out, and after 8 hours of steady rain last Sunday, the interior of the jacket was bone dry.  I could zip and button up to my chin without chaffing, and the hood was just the right size.  The exterior is the tough ToadSkinz while the interior is the familiar non-woven material from the original rain suits.   If you want a wading jacket that offers a ton of bang for the buck, check this one out!


Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Triumph Skiff Review - End of Season One

Well, I've fished the Gemma Rose II for almost the entire season, and I have to say, I'm very pleased with my purchase.  I posted my initial review earlier this year, so I won't rehash all of the reasons I chose the Triumph.  I will tell you, it's lived up to expectations in almost all areas. 

Durability was a key, and by this I mean the ability to run it into rocky bottoms, from poor launch facilities and whatever else gets thrown my way.  While not a flats boat, I can still fish pretty skinny water in back bays, coves and shallow rivers.  I've put my share of battle scars on her this year, but I won't be repairing glass or gel coats! I'm far from a neat freak, and she's showing some staining on the plastic, but I can live with this. If you'd rather spend your time fishing than maintaining a boat, this is a model to consider.  She's a tough boat!


Paired with the 75hp E-Tec, the pushed 35mph overland speed at full throttle in calm conditions.   I will say that the standard console gauges are pretty useless as they never show max rpm above about 4200 and really inflate speed.  Calibrating these is not high on my list, as she has plenty of get-up and go when needed.  I typically cruise at what I guesstimate to be around 3500rpm and 25mph.  In choppy conditions, dropping down off plane to 2700-2900rpm makes a decent 12mph without taking a beating. 

As the season progressed, I pushed  to see how seaworthy this boat is, and found that she can handle quite a bit of chop created by the Long Island Sounds many rips.  While I won't drift her stern into the Race, she definitely inspires confidence if you get caught out in some wind pushing against a tide.  With her weight and an 8ft. beam, I don't worry too much about taking swells from the side.  In fact, I fished her with my 6'4", 325lb. "baby" brother and I (a mere 265lbs.) against the same gunnel and didn't feel like we were going to end up in the water.  This boat feels far larger than an eighteen footer thanks to the wide beam, uncluttered layout and large casting decks.     

With all the references to chop, this boat is still a skiff.  Yes, the Roplene does dampen the impact, but head on you get slapped.  The rounded bow smacks the waves rather than slicing through them.  A good console mat under foot relieves quite a bit of the jolt.  You will get wet when the seas come up, so you'll need to take your foul weather gear, but you'll also get home safely!   

There are a few features I would like to see changed, starting with the navigation lighting.  Removable deck mounted pedestal lights just don't cut it in a salt water environment.  After 6 months of use, the connections are shot despite cleaning after each use.  One of my winter projects will be installing deck mounted and hard wired port and starboard nav lights as well as a hard wired pedestal light above my center console.  For easy of adding electronics, I'm also adding a bus board inside the console.  Slightly larger access hatches for the bilge and livewell pumps would have been smart.  A three-way T connector for the duel 12 gallon fuel tanks in the bow would make life a bit easier as well.  A big plus is that it is a hell of a lot easier to mount accessories in this interior with Roplene as opposed to glass.  I've read a few users complaining of screws pulling out, but have experienced no such problems. Just avoid fine thread screws. 


To sum up, the Triumph Skiff is a great inshore boat, durable, roomy and low maintenance. I've had a blast in the Gemma Rose II this season!           


Gus enjoying a day on the water.

Oh, she's also got the Gus seal of approval.   

Sunday, October 6, 2013

Early October in the Eastern Long Island Sound

October typically brings some of the best fishing of the year to the eastern Long Island Sound.  Bass and blues are putting on the feed bags, often in insane surface blitzes, before their migrations south.  Black fish season reopens, and anglers look to fill freezers for the winter with these and dinner plate size scup.  Bay anchovies and other bait fish choke the reefs, with albies giving chase.  Fall is arriving, and with it shifting weather conditions including increased winds and waves, making it tougher on recreational anglers hoping Mother Nature coordinates with days off.  For the past several years, a day out typically guaranteed great fishing.  While the weather has generally cooperated thus far, fishing has been a bit more hit and miss this season.  I know guys will say that they caught a ton of blues, or stripers, and maybe some albies, but the mass of fish in many of the usual places isn't what it has been in seasons past.  I've had discussions all summer about causes, but guys who fish on a regular basis will tell you that it has been tougher.  Places like the Gut, Pidgeon and the Race are all safe bets to fill coolers with blues, and porgies are hitting well on the rock piles.  Fisher's is seeing some top water striper action near Race Point and locations along the south side, but they are not the acre+ of churning bass and blues that I look forward to in October.  The reefs in the Watch Hill area have been hit or miss as well.  Sure, you can always grind out fish, but the action and numbers are just down.  This weekend I ran from Groton (CT) to Point Judith, RI.  Saturday's weather was as ideal as one could ask for, and my first stop was Watch Hill.  The tide was beginning to push in, and the fishing just wasn't happening.  I quickly decided to run east up the coast, working all the way over to PJ in my little skiff, the Gemma Rose II.  Bay anchovies are working in, as football field sized schools circled west of the break walls, with the occasional schools of albies or bonito slashing through.  Despite the masses of bait, the numbers of top water blitzes were few and small.  Hanging around the breachways is going to score fish, but I'm looking for the massive catch 'til your arms fall off October runs.  Seeing all the bait was encouraging, and I along with all of the other salt water anglers that fish the ELIS are hoping the action builds up as well.  We need our fix of massive striper blitzes to see us through to the spring!    

Capt. Jack "Bones" Balint put his client on some good fishing this weekend, including this nice bonito.

Monday, September 2, 2013

RonZ Lures Return

RonZ Lures Return

Great to see these lures will continue! 

Epic False Albacore Action

This is what we're all waiting for in 2013!

Eastern LIS Report 9-2-13

There has definitely been an upswing in the fishing in the eastern LIS, Watch Hill and Western Rhode Island. Bait has been filling in on all the reefs, bringing in loads of mixed blues and bass. The last few weeks saw quite a few bonito landed is well. Now the wait is on (and it won't be too long) 'til the albies start showing up.

Big jellies are drifting the RI coast with schools of small butterfish hanging underneath. Birds have been working small bait from East Point, Fisher's Island right across the inner and outer reefs to Watch Hill. The fish are beginning to put the fall feedbag on as the time for a southern migration is now just a month or two away.

I've had a ton of success fishing Zoom Flukes on 1/4-1/2oz. Kalin's jig head or Deadly Dicks. Be sure to keep a rod rigged and at the ready with an unweighted Zoom and lighter flouro leader for when those albies pop up.

September is my absolute favorite month of fishing. My plan from now until November is to get out as often as the wind and work will allow.

My buddy John with the results of our first few casts of the day. The GoPro battery crapped out afterwards.

Sunday, August 18, 2013

Big Cats

Just returned from a week down in Virginia with my wife and kids, visiting friends and family and sneaking in some fishing as well. I've been waiting for a chance to fish some of the James River blue catfish for quite a while. This fishery has gained a national reputation for producing some of the largest cats in the country. I called up Capt. Jim Garrett at Tripout Catfishing to see if he could take me out for a day. This was a last minute decision, and as tends to happen with me, we had a front moving in with a mass of cold air behind it.

We initially planned a Tuesday afternoon through the night trip, but the forecast forced us to push back to Wednesday morning. I was too excited about the chance at some trophy cats to get much sleep, and by 10:30pm, Fredericksburg had yet to see much of the rain and severe storms predicted. Much of the weather was pushing well north, and my sister in Philly reported 12" of rain and severe flooding. When I rolled out at 2:00am, the air was still warm and the wind was barely noticeable.

I met up with Capt. Jim in Hopewell a bit before 4:00am, and soon we were on the river. The winds were beginning to build to 10-15 knots as we ran down river. Now, if you're looking for fishing with all the bells, whistles and creature comforts of a salon, frou-frou luncheon etc., better charter elsewhere. If you want to catch some monster cats and don't mind a bit of slime, fish with Jim. By 4:30, we were bait in the water, and not long after that, reeling in the first cats.

We had a nice incoming tide, and were fishing a ledge at the mouth of a creek with fresh cut baits on big 8/0 hooks. The catching started of with a 12 pounder and kept getting better from there. We were regular hooking fish in the 15-20lb. range, and soon after sunrise I hooked my first citation fish of the day, a fat 33lber. I was amazed at the tail slaps I could see all around us and out in the main channel. It was like being surrounded by 30-50lb. stripers crashing the surface. Some of these fish had to be well north of 50lbs. These things are the apex predator on the river, and will chase shad or anything else around. Not too long after the first big fish, citation number two at just over 30lbs. was brought on board. It between, I'm pitching numerous 20 pound fish back into the water. (I did take two smaller fish for some fried catfish!)

By about 11:00am, the tide was changing and the wind was blowing 22 knots. The fishing had slowed, and I was guessing we were nearing the end of the day. The front rod doubled over and line began to peel. I knew I had a decent fish on, but he came up pretty quickly...until he saw the boat. Back to the bottom a few times before we brought my biggest fish of the day, a beautiful 43lb. Virginia blue catfish, on board. This is what I had come down for!

Jim asked the one question I love to hear from captain, "You got anywhere you need to be?" Hell no. We continued to mark some big catfish, and I was more than happy to fish a while longer. We set up for another hour, landing one more good fish, before taking the ride back up river. It really was a pretty ride, past plantations and some beautiful countryside that I hadn't been able to see during the ride down. One shocker was the fact that we never saw another boat the entire trip!

I can't wait to fish for these beasts again, and will certainly be giving Jim a call whenever I head back to VA. That 100+lb. fish is out there somewhere. Maybe we'll have a catfish fry for Christmas!

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Fishin' Frogs in Your Local Pond

Fishin' frogs on your local pond in the summertime can be a real blast.  The technique is easy, and often one of the few that work to cover a large amount of the slimy, scummy water that you are likely encounter.  In fact, my local pond gets so scummed over that many people give up this time of year.  I love it!  Nothing beats a bass exploding through pads or scum mats and inhaling a frog.   

Many of our local ponds, such as mine, are pretty shallow with little variation in bottom structure.  I'm often targeting bass in 2-3 feet of water in the middle of the pond and the day, as they will hold under the pads and scum rather than the marginally deeper water with less overhead.  Don't be afraid to go shallow!  Skip those frogs under the overhangs, right up to the banks as well.

Zoom Horny Toad
Booyah Pad Crasher

Bass Pro Humpin' Toad 
Live Target

Stanley Ribbit
Booyah Poppin Pad Crasher

Scum Frog

There are a ton of different frog lures on the market, from soft bodies like the Zoom Horny Toads, Stanley Ribbits and Bass Pro Humpin' Toads, to hollow bodies like the Livetargets, Spro Bronze Eyes, and the ones I've been fishing a lot, the Booyah Pad Crasher's and Poppin Pad Crasher's.   The techniques are petty easy.  The soft plastics can be fished fast across the top for reaction strikes, or slow enough that they will swim and pause sub surface or even "swim" down to the bottom and back up mimicking real frogs.  Vary your retrieves to see what works.  The hollow bodies are top water and excel at slipping across the heaviest muck you pond can throw at you.  I really like the popping action of the new Booyah.  The one line that I was not at all pleased with was Scum Frog.  Their legs didn't hold up to strikes.

Booyah's Poppin' Pad Crasher

Hooking the fish in heavy cover is half the battle.  A thick matt of scum can make a 3lb. bass feel like 10lbs. of dead weight.  Spool up on heavy braid, and when you get the fish boat side, be ready with a net.  You'll have to get under the fish and all of the scum.  The good thing is that the fish usually can't see the net coming.  Lift to hard, and you'll pull the hook or snap your rod tip.

There's a fish down there somewhere.

If you hit your local pond in August without an arsenal of frogs, you are just plain crazy!     

Saturday, August 3, 2013

Carp Diem

Took my first shot at carping today, and I've got a lot to learn.  You have to be part fisherman and part Betty Crocker, and spend a lot of time sitting on your **s.  I'm not too good at either of the latter two, but the payoff seems to be pretty good once you get the hang of it.  Watching these things leap all around me during my early a.m. bass outings, and that fact that one of the charter captains I've fished with is obsessed with these "Golden Bonefish", got me more than a little curious. 

 So, I did what everyone does to learn something new, I went to Google and YouTube and watched some videos.  A guy on one of my fishing forums also provided a ton of good advice for getting started, which I followed, kind of.  It seems as if a lot of the carp fishing is in the prepping, from the method balls and boilies to hair rigs.  Last night I didn't really put all six Ps (Proper Planning Prevents Piss-Poor Performance) into effect.  I ran out of oats, didn't go get more,  and thus had some sticky method balls.  I figured they'd do in a pinch.  I didn't feel like doing up hair rigs and figured I'd just bait on the top of the hook.  

I got up early, hit my spot and started baiting.  The carp clearly weren't around in the numbers from the last few days, but given what I had, I was all in at my location.  I've always despised sitting on an anchor and chumming, which is essentially carp fishing, but I'm not going to pull 20 pound bass out of the pond 5 minutes from my front door.   I even left my bass gear at home so I wouldn't be tempted to throw in the towel.  Two hours later I'd had enough.  Getting skunked is a rarity, and I can't stand it.  Next weekend I'm going to head across the pond to where a couple of old timers are always set up carping, leave my gear in the truck, and see if I can pick up some good advice.  As I said, I've got a lot to learn.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Eastern Long Island Sound Fishing 7-28

After dragging myself out of bed Friday at 2:30am only to see that they had upped the wind forecast and issued a small craft advisory, my day finally began around 4:00pm, or about twelve hours later than expected.  I fished Watch Hill and the eastern half of Fisher's out of the Barn Island launch, this time armed with some eels as well as the usual light tackle arsenal, hoping to see numbers like I did last week.  Inner Sugar looked promising, as I marked some decent fish holding close to the bottom.  I fished it from the spindle all the way around Catumb Rocks without any luck.  I watched a few other boats come and go.  Despite the sun still hovering above the horizon, I drifted some eels across the areas I had marked.  While I managed to snag two lobster pots, losing my rigs, I hooked no stripers.  Talk about frustrating. 
I ran west to East Point (Fishers), where three casts in I had a striper on.  It was a schoolie, but a fish none the less.  After a few more of those, the tide started to let go.  I decided I drag a few tubes tight through the boulder fields.  First pass, two fish on, each headed in different direction, while I was slipping boulders.   I just had to let one run in the rod holder, turning into it to avoid rocks while trying to reel on the other.  The first one came in quickly and was a schoolie that I popped off ASAP as I wanted to try and recover my other rig.  I cranked in line and came tight on the second fish, still on. From the initial hit, I was expecting bigger, but this guy was just over the keeper limit.  By this time, the sun was setting and the tide had completely crapped out.  I considered waiting for the flood to pick up, but was just too tired.  I ended up back at the dock trying to catch some sleep before heading out again in the early am. 


I was woken as the remaining few boats came in at some point in the night, and from the conversations I could hear, the fishing wasn't as good as it had been earlier in the week. "At least we got a few," said one guy as the last two boats departed.   Maybe the fish were reacting to the pressure changes, and will be back on the by the time I write this.


By 4:30, I was dropping back in and headed out to the reefs.  I had some tide left on Watch Hill, and it wasn't long before I was into some big blues.  This was all blind casting, as I wasn't marking nor were there any birds to be seen.  As a matter of fact, this season has been characterized by the complete lack of birds working big schools of bait on the outer reefs.  Maybe it's just been my timing, but I've never out so many times and seen so few birds working. 


As the tide on Watch Hill died out, I ran west to Race Point.  On the way I spotted this really beautiful schooner a few miles south of the coast.  I ran out to take a few pics.  Race point was dead.  The Helen III and a few other boats were drawing blanks.  I didn't see a fish landed in 45 minutes.  I'm not sure why she was there instead of with the weekend fleet at Valiant Rock, or over in Plum Gut which has been full of bluefish.  The guys on that boat may as well have been jigging in a desert. Time to head back east.


The flood tide was now running at Watch Hill, and I expected those blues and birds to be up and chasing bait, but again, nothing.  I fished long enough to see a few boats come and go.  I took a peak east up the coast to Weekapaug and Quonochontaug, before deciding to call it an early day.              



Friday, July 19, 2013


What to Put in Your Summer Plug Bag

What to Put in Your Summer Plug Bag

Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 7-17-2013

Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 7-17-2013

Eastern LIS Report 7-19-2013

Things have been looking up in the Eastern Long Island Sound.  The effects of the many inland storms are subsiding, and the fishing has really picked back up this past week.  Solid reports of bass have been coming in from most of the reefs from Westbrook right over to Watch Hill.  Greg Myerson landed another monster, 73lbs., a week or so back.  After talking with a few people and seeing some of the screenshots of stacked fish, I couldn't wait to get back out.  Winds have been gentle, and with the heat and humidity over land, nothing beats being out on the water.  Took a trip out yesterday evening, and had some nice topwater action south of Fisher's towards the end of the flood tide.  Bartlet's was slow, as indicated by the complete absence of birds and boats.  Fish were stacked up on the reefs east of Fisher's.  On the way back in, I stopped to chat with Matt and Nicki who were finishing up with the Black Hawk 4-10pm Happy Hour trip.  Charter and party boats were getting their fills of blues out in the Gut and Pigeon.  

Weather for the weekend is going to shift a bit, with a front moving in tonight and tomorrow ahead of cold air for the beginning of next week.  Yet another wrinkle in what has been an erratic start to the summer.  Hopefully the fishing will remain decent.


SW winds 10 to 15 kt with gusts up to 20 kt...diminishing to 5 to 10 kt after midnight. Seas around 2 ft.

SW winds 5 to 10 kt...increasing to 10 to 15 kt in the afternoon. Seas 2 to 3 ft. A chance of showers and tstms in the afternoon.

Sat Night
W winds 5 to 10 kt...becoming NW late. Seas 1 ft or less. Showers and tstms likely...mainly in the evening. Some tstms may produce gusty winds...heavy rainfall and frequent lightning in the evening.

N winds around 5 kt...becoming E in the afternoon. Seas 1 ft or less.

Sun Night
NE winds 5 to 10 kt. Seas 1 ft or less."


Thursday, July 4, 2013

Keeping a sharp knife.

I don't keep too many fish, and I often tell friends who fish with me, BYOK.  However, when I do decide to fillet a fish (or I'm just working in the kitchen), a sharp knife is a must.  Decided to post up a few vids that run through how you can keep those blades sharp.  The first, from Dexter, shows a method so simple anyone can keep their knives sharp in short order.  The second involves a water stone or whetstone, and is a bit more involved, but will restore a razor edge to a thin fillet knife.  There's also a good discussion on filleting on

Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 7-3-2013

Connecticut and Rhode Island Fishing Report 7-3-2013

Monday, July 1, 2013

Boat Safety Checks for the week of the July 4th holiday across Connecticut!

This past weekend was a major speeding and boating while intoxicated crackdown by CT DEEP, Coast Guard, state and local law enforcement.  This week, especially the 4th, they will have officers at most of the launches for safety inspections, and issuing $75 fines for each missing item.  Run through your safety gear!

Required Gear
Towing Safety

Sunday, June 30, 2013

Eastern LIS Report 6-30-13

My fishing has been so hit or miss.  Only able to get out 1-2 times a week, and with the current weather and a few billion gallons of fresh water dumped into the sound, it's been hard to figure out patterns.  My brother came up from Philly this weekend, and we got skunked today. We ran out of Old Saybrook at 4:30am, but couldn't find the bunker in the mouth of the CT River in any large concentrations. Headed west to Clinton again. Got down there and still couldn't spot any bunker.  Both places were crawling yesterday.  Decided we would have to rely on artificials. The second we tried to move, fog rolled in. We were down to 100ft of visibility in minutes. This was 6:30 in the morning. We crawled back to Saybrook as I didn't want to get run over in my skiff. It sucked. We threw some topwaters on the flats. Zip. By 8-8:30 we discussed calling it a day, but the fog started lifting. Forecasts still had thunderstorms moving in around 10-11am, but I wasn't seeing anything on radar.  I decided to take a peek at Long Sand Shoal. Nothing. Not a bird in the air. On the way back in, lo and behold, big bunker all over. We debated whether to snag a few as the tide was crapping out, and ended up grabbing a half a dozen. We ran over to Hatchet's, but had no tide. I threw one on a line and let it swim. We sat there for forty minutes and drifted a few yards. I told my brother we weren't likely to do much until the tide got going, which meant waiting, and he wanted to get on the road. I started ditching the rest of the baits in the livewell. As I dumped the last one, I caught a big swirl out of the corner of my eye. I had just provided a free meal to a big striper. I quickly reeled in the last bait and pitched it in the area. It was taken in about ten seconds. I let it run for a bit then engaged the reel and came tight. Fish took off down the edge of the reef. It broke me off in the rocks. That was it. Day over.

Reports from a few other boats were that Bartlett's and the Niantic area was also tough, though Valiant Rock in the Race yielded some small bass.  The Blues are MIA, and I worry that many just continued past the LIS as there was so much fresh water dumped in.  

Sunday, June 23, 2013

Waterford PD rescue sinking yacht in Waterford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Tried to run through Goshen Reef.  OOps!

Waterford PD rescue sinking yacht in Waterford - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Eastern Long Island Sound Report 6-22-13

What a great day on the Long Island Sound!  The weather was beautiful, and the water is starting to clear up.  I launched out of Niantic around 4:30 Saturday morning, with a plan to fish towards the west, a bit of a change for me.  I had a flood tide on the Super Moon, which didn't seem to make much difference at all.  After the last two weeks, things could only improve.  I started at Bartlets, but it just wasn't firing early, and that's when I threw the plan overboard.   I ran up the north side of Fishers, stopping by the Clumps and on to Wicopessette Pass.  No birds, no bait.  I ran out to Sugar and Watch Hill, figuring that might be turning on again.  I've not had the success fishing the flood tide out there as I have the ebb over the last season or two.  Heading a bit further east, the fluke fleet was in full force, and I saw numerous boats hooking up and bringing fish over the rails.  Fluking is not my thing, so I went back inside Stonington to Jeff's spot that produced last week, and sure enough, landed a few small stripers.  The tide began to ease, and before it quit, I wanted to take another look at Watch Hill.   I could see birds working from the point to the red can as I approached, and was soon hooked into blues busting on the surface.  I was fishing white Zoom Flukes on Kalin jig heads, and landed a number until the tide completely died.  I would loved to stay as the ebb picked up, because I had the sense that Watch and Sugar were primed for some good fishing, but I had to start back.  I hit into more blues at the east end of Fishers, hooking several in the upper 20"-30" range on the same baits.   Flukers were all over the south side of Fishers, and again, were landing fish.  Running out of time, I started back for Niantic.  I got some good reports of bunker and stripers west of the CT River, still up in the Thames and Easter RI to the Cape has just been on fire.  School is now finished, so I'm ready for some serious fishing trips! 

Thursday, June 20, 2013

Finding a 50 Among the Blitz

Finding a 50 Among the Blitz

Great night of fishing on the Blackhawk with Capt. Greg Dubrule and crew!

The forecast was for rain and a good ebb tide.  We headed out to Race Point at 8:00pm, and I personally was hoping to finally get in some better fishing, with a shot at some big stripers.  I love going out on the Blackhawk's night trips a few times a month, as it gives me a chance to fish areas I otherwise wouldn't in my skiff, and always holds the opportunity for some really big fish.  With a limited number of angler on these trips, more time is spent fishing and less dealing with tangles, etc. I probably went out on 4-5 of these trips last season, as well as a few Happy Hour 4-10pm excusions, and a Diawa Demo trip.  I can tell you that I came home with a cooler of striper fillets on every one of them, and on three brought home the pool as well.

We had a pretty good group headed out, with several of the guys having done a lot of night drift fishing.  It's not as easy as it seems, or some make it out to be.  If you've fished the Blackhawk, you've heard Capt. Greg's pre-game speech.  Keeping your rig feathered on the bottom during fast drifts without hanging up or collecting other lines takes practice.  Some guys will snag and lose $10 worth of lead and jigs every other drift.  Others will never stay in the strike zone after initial contact with the bottom.  Last night, I think all but 1-2 of the 18 anglers on board had multiple fish.  While I've been on trips where we caught a greater number of fish, I've never been on one where the quality was better. 

I came back with a cooler full of striper fillet's, but I swear Capt. Greg was drifting me over the guppies!  My biggest keeper at around 40" wasn't even going to put me in the top 10.  We had about an hour stretch where each fish over the rail seemed to get bigger than the last.  A guy with a 45 pounder was looking pretty good, and nine nights out of ten would be collecting the pool.  Out of the water comes a 48, followed by a 56 to 57 pound fish.  A few more in the upper thirties and lower forties weren't even in the running.  I can tell you, the mates Matt, Nicki and Alex did an awesome job, as not one of the big fish was lost to tangles, angler inexperience or at the net.  For some reason, Matt just got left out of all of the pictures! 

Thanks for a great trip, and I look forward to fishing with you over the next few weeks.

Monday, June 17, 2013

Eastern LIS Report 6-16-13

Sunday, June 16th
The morning’s trip began much the same as last weeks, with the exception of the fact we now had an outgoing tide as opposed to incoming.  My buddy Jeff and I launched from Avery Point a bit before 5:00am, with the intent of starting the day between Wicopessette and Sugar Reef.  Storms Thursday night had dumped another 4” of rain in the region, and the water remained stained the color of coffee.  The wind was 5-10knots out of the SW, and seas were calm.  Given my last trip, I anticipated tough fishing, and was not disappointed.  This time of year is all about stripers and light tackle fishing.  I’m not that interested in the livelining , and running an 18’ skiff, not in a position to drift the rips looking for fish holding deep.  We were soon sitting on Sugar Reef with a growing number of boats, marking a few fish but not getting any hits.  One or two boats picked up schoolies in the 45 minutes or so we hung around.  Running back inside the reefs towards Fisher’s, I noticed a school breaking the surface and we pulled up for a few casts.  My sudden stop drew the attention of a couple of additional boats who were soon motoring in our direction.  The glimmer of hope didn’t yield any results, and over the next few hours we worked Fisher’s Island Sound to Race Point, and over to Bartlet’s.  A repeat of last week, with the exception that I wasn’t even marking any bait balls above Bartlett’s.  We headed back east and give Watch Hill a last look on the incoming tide, which was about as productive as when we left.  In a final Hail Mary we decided to try back in the salt marshes around Stonington, some of Jeff’s yak haunts.  With an electric motor and push pole, I can fish some skinny water.  The HM paid off, as we finally found fish that wanted to play. While not fifty pounders, these schoolies were ready to smash some topwater poppers.  For the last hour to hour and a half we threw Gibbs Poppers and picked up an number of fish.  While none landed were keepers, it definitely salvaged the day!

Jeff can only stretch his arms so far.  Maybe if I had a macro lens. 

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Product Reviews

I promised product reviews of new stuff and local manufacturers this year.  I've been out fishing with 247Lures made right here in CT, some interesting saltwater flies, and a few other goodies.  I've got additional gear that I just haven't had time to get to yet with the end of the school year and lousy weekend weather.  All of that will change in the next few weeks, so don't forget to check back.  I'll be posting reports as well as some short video how to segments as well.  Check out my Facebook page for daily updates! 

Tight Lines,

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Nice day, crappy fishing in the eastern Long Island Sound.

Went out a 5:00am with a buddy and fished the flood in the eastern sound from Watch Hill back west to Bartlett's. The fishing sucked. Thanks to Andrea, the water was the color of black coffee throughout most of the area inside Fisher's. There were a bunch of boats out around Valiant Rock in the Race, as per usual, but I don't fish my skiff out there. Only real signs of life were the bait balls above Bartlett's, but nothing biting. There were a few small blues around the outflow, but I really didn't feel like spending time there. It looks like 4-5" of rain did a number on the bite. Took my friend sightseeing up the Thames and called it a day by 10:00a.m. Maybe it got better on the ebb tide. Hindsight being 20/20, maybe I should have launched in RI and tried for some cleaner water. Maybe I should have just stayed in bed!  Now I have to go rinse everything down:( Hopefully I can sneak out an evening this week, or next weekend's weather will cooperate enough for an Saturday night/Sunday morning trip.

The best part of the day.  It was down hill from here, but hey, I promised to post the bad with the good.  Not even a little fish to make look like big fish!   


Sunday, June 2, 2013

Fisher's Island Report 6/1/2013

The Long Island Sound is quickly filling with bass and blues, with fish close to 60lbs. being taken this past week.  Drifting 3-way rigs with bunker has been the way to go.  While I like to get out and do this every once and a while, it's typically at night and looking for monster bass.  I much prefer light tackle and fly fishing from my skiff, targeting top water bites and fish on the smaller rips and reefs.  I simply can't safely venture out onto the big rips when the tide gets moving, and find it more fun to catch a bunch of 20-30 pound bass on 12-20lb. line setups or my 8wt.  Fisher's Island and its surroundings are usually my go-to spots.  

Saturday morning I overslept, waking at 4:09 a.m., about the time I had planned to arrive at the launch to catch both the start of the outgoing tide and predawn.  By the time I gassed up, stopped at Dunkin Donuts and got on the water it was after 6 a.m.   I decided to bypass the Clumps and make straight for the reefs around Watch Hill.  The wind was finally cooperating, and the run out was smooth.  I arrived to find more than a dozen boats on Sugar, including Jack Balint and Steve Burnett, both with charter trips.  As I mentioned in the past, Jack has been my go to captain when chartering in the LIS, and I'll be headed across to Montauk again with him this fall. 

The tide was flowing nicely, but the fish that you often see breaking on the surface were nowhere to be seen.  I marked a few bait balls, but fishing this reef solo in the Gemma Rose II is tough as I can't let her drift stern first back into the rip.  It's nice when I've got someone aboard so we can take turns casting and holding the boat in position.  I wasn't there long when both Jack and Steve took off west.  This was a clear indication that nothing was going on around here or Watch Hill, as neither would be leaving fish with customers on board. 

I decided against continuing the battle with the current, and started west along the north side of Fisher's.  Last year from mid-May to late July, this area produced solid action along the many reefs and rocky shores, particularly on the ebb.  On this day, the water was filthy and I got nothin' at any of the stops I made until a short fish at North Point.  I worked back along the south side with the same results.  (The fluke fleet was out in force, anchored south of the island.)  By the time I'd circumnavigated Fisher's, Jack and Steve were back on Sugar, and then east to Watch Hill.  I managed another short bass off of Catumb Rocks as the ebb tide was finally giving way. 

I wasn't ready to head in, as despite the slow fishing, it was a really nice day on the water.  Just for the hell of it, I decided to run over to Bartlett's.  By this time, the tide was completely slack, and there were only a few boats anchored fishing scup.  It was time to head back to Avery Point and call it a day.  On the way back, I landed my best catch of the afternoon!  My favorite Bud-n-Mary's (Islamorada, FL) cap blew off.  I motored back around, and as I don't carry a landing net, I leaned over the bow to grab it as I idled forward.  I had my hands on it, but then lost it under the boat.  The prop wash sent it down and I figured it was lost.  I cut my engine and let the Gemma Rose drift with the current.  Sure enough, after a couple of minutes it came up not 20 ft. from the boat.     
Mostly Sunny
Wind SW 5-10knots
Seas less than 1 ft.
Outgoing tide
Water Temp 58-59 degrees, dirty
Gear Used:
12-20 lb. spinning gear setups
7" Hogy's in amber, pink and white
White Zoom Super Flukes w. Kalin jig heads
247 Squid-Zee in amber

Sunday, May 19, 2013

Bait, bait everywhere, and nary a striper to see. (5/19/13 on the Lower Connecticut River)

Bait, bait everywhere, and nary a striper to see.  I decided to move down river this weekend, despite the stripers still hanging north of Middletown.  This was my first trip to the mouth of the CT River, as I had heard that action was pretty decent around Great Island the last week or so.  After yesterday afternoon's trip cut short (20 min. total) by a problem with the Lowrance, I was back on the water at 5am this morning.  The tide was coming in until about 7:30, and it was dead calm.  I'll never get tired of a sunrise over the water. 
I started throwing pearl Sluggos and some swim baits, and had a few swirls and swipes, but no hooksets.  Close to and hour and a half of work did not produce a fish, nor did I see any pulled in by anyone else in the area. I decided to motor north and see what I could find.  A few swirls above the 95 bridge, but I just couldn't get a fish to bite. 
Just below Hamburg Cove, the water exploded with herring.  I was marking a school so thick It looked like the bottom was at 10 feet in 30+ feet of water.  Surely, bass had to be beneath.  I dropped  soft plastics through the school, bouncing them of fish as they descended.  I fished swimbaits at every level and sluggos on top.  Nada.  Nothing.  I wasn't marking any big fish either.  Same story with two or three other boats that had been working the school for a while.  Livelining may have been the trick, but also illegal with river run herring. 
Time running short, I ran back to the mouth where the earlier action repeated itself.  Swirls, but no takers.  I'm sure I could have ground out a fish or two, but I had to be in early.  This was my first, and hopefully last, skunk of the season.