Monday, February 25, 2013

Looking for something different? How 'bout a 100lb. catfish!

While the Outer Banks are known by many up here as a prime fishing destination, few New England anglers heading south realize the fishing they are driving right past on the way. I'm talking about the James River from Richmond and south towards the Chesapeake. Put away your Orvis, this is blue collar fishin' for monster blue cats and bass. For those who think a double digit CT River channel cat is a big fish, try a triple digit blue catfish from the James River in Virginia. Nobody is noodlin' these things! Big rigs, nasty bait and a few beers while you wait. These fish were stocked in the 70's from the Mississippi, and today they are thriving, getting bigger each year. In fact, the species has been so successful that many charter captains guarantee a 30lb. citation fish, while fish in the 50-60lb. range are common. Record fish are now topping the 100lb. mark. On full day trips you can also take advantage of some great small and largemouth fishing, the quality of which has brought in the Bassmaster Elite series. While I wasn't able to get any fishing in on my recent trip back down, I'm hoping to arrange a day out on the James later this summer with friends and family. There are several great charter captains that specialize in big bluecats, and I'd highly recommend this route to get the best chance at a trophy. If you visit the OBX and love to fish, consider a stopover in historic Richmond or Williamsburg with a day out on the James. You'll have a blast.

Eberwien's Catfishin'

Screaming Reel Charters
Nightstalker Fishing Charters
Trip Out Catfishin'
Rivercat'n Guide Service

Saturday, February 23, 2013

The Springfield Sportsman's Show has a bit of everything!

If you can't get out fishing, perhaps the next best thing is a fishing and hunting expo. I drove up to the Springfield Sportsman's Show today at the Big E grounds to browse some new gear, see a few friends, and perhaps scout out some interesting fishing locations for the upcoming season. I missed last week's show at Hartford, so I was really anxious to get out and do something related to fishing.

No sooner did I walk in the door than I was saying hello to Capt. Greg Dubrule and Matt from Blackhawk Sportfishing. Once again Greg had a prime booth location, and he's pretty good at setting the Blackhawk II on some prime fishing spots as well. I look forward to running some of his happy hour and night trips for shots at 50lb. stripers.

The Springfield show has a bit of everything, with hunting and fishing guides from across the US and exotic locations as far away as South Africa. My focus is a bit more local and regional, which was well represented by guides, shops and manufacturers. The upstate New York and Lake Ontario was well represented with probably a dozen or more guide and charter outfits, and a few booths down from the Blackhawk was Capt. Ron Littlejohn of Double Trouble Charters. I've never fished with Ron, but he's an Altmar local whom I've met a few times while enjoying a post fishing beer or two at the Salmon River Outfitters Tavern.

Another booth that grabbed my attention was Catfish Creek Camp located between Oswego and Pulaski on the mouth of Catfish Creek just off Lake Ontario. Their protected docks and nice selection of cabins make it a great location to run my boat from Oswego north towards Clark Point without having to pull it out of the water every day.

Since my move north, I've become more and more obsessed with targeting the CT River pike, and had some success with fish up to the 40"+ range, but I've found myself looking to venture farther north to fish both big pike and a fish I've never targeted, musky. After talking with "Musky" Joe Netti, I'm ready to head up to the Ottawa River and take a shot at some trophy musky. I just need to find 2-3 other anglers, and convince my wife.

I'm always on the lookout for some new stuff to fish, or just great deals on old reliables. I loaded up on my favorite striper jigs from George Kellar of Jigs, Rigs and Stuff. I love his jigs because they are made with heavy Mustad hooks and he doesn't skimp on the bucktail skirts. These things can hold up for striper after striper without falling apart.

Another cool vendor was Lee and her Worm Bar. Now, my kids love to go to the candy factory and fill a bag with gummy worms and other assorted junk that's sold by the pound. Why wouldn't fisherman be the same with a worm bar? I bought a jumbo bag of 5" Yum Houdini Shad and a bag of assorted senko type worms, including some monster 7" watermellon worms to weed out the dinks. She also gave me a couple of big 9" Shads to try, and said she can get these in any color.

The last product I brought home to try out is the Skippy Fish. I fish tons of Zoom Flukes and similar baits (as you could see from the bulk shad bodies), and this is a variation of that type of soft plastic. Now, you may have seen Lou Consoli advertising his Skippy Fish in one of those "As Seen on TV" infomercials and be thinking "right." I talked with Lou for a while, and he took me over to a swim tank to show me his lure. The action was impressive, far more so than the Zoom Fluke. He also talked about the ZF tendency to roll, creating line twist, which is certainly a reality. He claims that the body shape of these largely eliminate this problem. Anyway, they looked convincing in the tank, so I have a few packs to try out when the stripers chase herring up the rivers.

Far too much to cover in this post alone, but you can see the list of upcoming shows on my earlier post "Get out and go to a fishin' show!"

Friday, February 22, 2013

Monday, February 11, 2013

February Fishing

For those looking for some fishing action, Nemo is making things pretty interesting. I've heard some sketchy ice reports out there, and there doesn't seem to be anything safe unless you are up in the NW corner or points well north. I'd love to fish the Salmon River (NY) right now, as the lake effect snow limits access to the hardiest of walk-ins and drift boaters. If you are just jonesing for some big fish, but can't get south, look to book a drift trip with a great guide like Scott Glazier or Don Kingsley. One benefit of Nemo is that it should provide some good runoff, something sorely missed last season. (As I write, 40 degree temps and a light drizzle have melted a foot of snow.) I've seen some killer airfares posted for last minute flights down to Miami. A rental car and a short drive will put you right down in Islamorada during a prime sailfish month, as well as good backcountry fishing. I myself am getting ready to head down to VA to visit family and friends. If I had the time, I'd be fishing off the Chesapeak Bay Bridge for some of those big stripers that inhabit the LIS during the summer. If Punxsutawney Phil can be believed, we don't have much winter left, and pretty soon options close to home will be increasing. With fishing expos the next few weekends, a trip down south, and a boat to pick up the first weekend in March, I just may survive the rest of the winter.

Nemo (fishing related) - The Blizzard of 2013

Nemo: The Blizzard of 2013 Thoughts of fishing were temporarily placed on hold this weekend as Nemo struck with full force right in Central CT. My official yard total was around 31", but areas within a 15 mile radius recorded up to 38"! Maybe not such a big deal in Pulaski, NY, but in suburban CT things ground to a halt. I had planned to "stay ahead" of the snow by shoveling every hour or so into the evening. That worked great through the early evening Friday, and until we lost power. By 9pm the kids were in bed and I decided to make it an early night. At some point the power came back on, and when I looked out the window at 11pm I was shocked to see another 1'+ of snow. The thought of more shoveling just didn't appeal, so back to sleep I went. I woke to more snow than I've ever seen at one time. Since then, I've been shoveling - not blowing snow - shoveling. The kids are having a ball. Gus, who is a Southerner like me, has been bounding around up to his nose. A friend likened the neighborhoods to WWI trench lines. While we haven't seen a town vehicle in four days, everyone managed to plow out in our neighborhood. It's been kind of nice to get people out and talking to one another. While I wouldn't want to see this on a regular basis, I guess once in a lifetime isn't too bad.

Tuesday, February 5, 2013

Old men and the sea? Four seniors team to land 987-pound blue marlin

Old men and the sea? Four seniors team to land 987-pound blue marlin

Big fish.  I'm not going to jump to conclusions about why it was gaffed and killed.  A fish that size after that long a fight probably didn't have a great chance of a successful release.  Maybe Pisces Sportfishing will write up a report. The fact that it was left sitting overnight to start spoiling is pretty discouraging.  I'm against the sale of marlin meat as it is threatening the species, but believe those fish killed on the line should be donated rather than wasted. 

Cool Opportunity to Work with Gibbs Lures.

ATTENTION: Gibbs Lures willl be offering a NON-paid internship for a current college student. In return you will get course credit depending on your school's requirements. Must have saltwater fishing background and familiarity with the product. Great opportunity to learn the fishing tackle business and be a part of one of the most historic names in the game. Forward all contact info to Thanks to all!

Probably lots of fishing and gear! :D

Saturday, February 2, 2013

Get out and go to a fishin' show!

If you're not a hardwater angler, and even if you are here in CT given the weather changes, January and February are the two months when the fishing really slows, and the cabin fever sets in. Keep in mind, there are always a few options, including the winter cod off Block Island or trout fishing on the West Farmington (see earlier posts). However, for most of us, it's organizing old gear and buying new, surfing the latest ICAST reviews, researching 2013 destinations, and waiting for the thermometer to rise. One great way to scratch the itch is to attend some of the numerous fishing, boating and outdoor expos. Today I took a ride up to South Windsor, CT for the CT Fly Fisherman's Association's annual expo. For the price of $1 my son and I were able to browse dozens of vendors including guides, shops, custom rod builders and more. It was a great chance to talk fishing with a bunch of fellow enthusiasts. I have to admit, I'm not much of a fly tier, and there were bargains galore as well as expert advice. My seven year old son and I had a nice chat with Marla Blair about some great places to introduce kids to fly fishing. A trip up to MA to fish with Marla may well be on the calendar for later this summer. I also had the opportunity to meet Bill Lanzoni, whose Mill River Fly Rods is based right next door in Wallingford. Mill River specializes in light weight graphite rods, and Bill had a selection of 3-6wt. outfits at the expo. They sure looked and felt nice, and I hope to get a chance to put a few into action to show you this spring! Several more shows are coming up this month and next, so don't just sit around the house waiting for warmer weather. Get out and go!

Feb 8 - 10 - New England Fishing & Outdoor Expo -DCU Center - Worcester, MA

Feb 15TH 16TH 17TH 16th ANNUAL Northeast Fishing & Hunting Expo Hartford Convention Center, CT.

Feb 21 - 24 - OSEG Sportsmen Show - Big E - W. Spfld. Ma

Mar 18 - Western Mass Fly Fishers "March Expo" - Elks Lodge - Ludlow, MA

Mar 8-10 New England Salt Water Fishing Show. Rhode Island Convention Center