Long Island Sound Continues to Decline
Back in March, a report was released concerning the health of Long Island Sound. It was authored by Hannes Baumann, Assistant Professor of Marine Science for the University of Connecticut and Jacob Snyder -a graduate student. The report looked back over decades of scientific data, confirming that Long Island Sound continues to decline.
The report identifies four main areas of concern – steadily rising water temperatures in eastern Long Island Sound, acidification, loss of dissolved oxygen, and a decrease in the abundance and the diversity of marine life. All of them serious issues.
If you have been fishing the Sound for many year – as I have – this is a no big surprise. The Sound’s marine environment has been declining for decades. In good part it is due to the increasing urbanization of the surround land. Which in turn causes coastal eutrophication – an increase in pollutants such as nitrogen, phosphates, and waste water runoff. And there is no doubt the Sound’s problems are now aided by climate change.
Make no mistake my angling friends, the waters around us are changing before our very eyes. Difficult days may lie ahead, as Long Island Sound continues to decline.
Rescuing a 1987 17′ Aquasport: Part 6
In Part Five, we took out the old deck. This time around we removed the hull liner. This took some really effort, but my son felt he wanted to get down to a bare hull before starting to build back. The first step in this process was to detach the liner from the hull itself. This required removing the rub rail and a large number of screws. Then slowly the liner had to be jacked upwards to free it from the gunnels.
Lifting the Liner on 2x4s
The liner turned out to be very heavy. So lifting it was no cakewalk. Gradually we worked it upwards on 2×4 lumber. Once the liner was high enough to clear the gunnel, with fingers crossed, my son flip it off the hull. It land with a thud. Done. Portions of the old liner will be reinstalled later on. But the rest will be customized to fit my son’s design.
For the first time we had a complete uninterrupted view of the bare hull. Something that has not been visible for almost 35 years. A large amount of foam padding can be seen. This was installed by the factory to level the original deck. The foam will be scraped off and replaced as the project goes forward. And insides of the hull cleaned and prepped. Now is also the time to start planning how to rewire the boat, and locate a new gas tank, among other things. Onward!
Art Drinkwater is an Amazing Angler
I’ve never had the privilege of meeting Art, but he is a friend of my friend Pete. So, I’ve been hearing stories about Art for years. Art is 96 years old, lives in Florida, fly fishes in both fresh and saltwater, makes his own fly rods, and ties his own flies. Get you some of that!
Amazing Art Drinkwater with a big landlock salmon
Among many other spots, Art is a regular at Grand Lake Streams in Maine, where he fishes the fall run of landlock salmon. Yes, that is quite a haul from his home in Florida, but there is no stopping Art. It’s a great fishery. While at Grand Lake Streams this fall, Art was with his son-in-law Ron Smith, and widely known outdoor writer Bob Leeman.
In the picture Art is holding a 25″ male landlock salmon, weighing approximately 5 pounds. He caught it on a custom fly tied by his son-in-law. Now the average fall fish here is 16-18″ with a few going 20″ or a crack more. So, this is a rare and wonderful catch, he was immediately released. Great going Art!
Rescuing a 1987 17′ Aquasport: Part 5
With the weather improving, my son is again hard at work on his rescued 1987 Aquasport. This journey began back in March of 2021, when we located, with the help of my friend Phil, this boat sitting in a backyard. Having been out in the weather for at least a decade, it was in tough condition, but the price was right. Soon after we had it back at my son’s house.
In the previous post, back in August of last year, my son removed the damaged, old transom. It had to go, folks. We both realized that this was likely the biggest structural issue we had to face in restoring this boat. We built a replacement using a 1.5″ thick Coosa board core, sandwiched in between several layers of fiberglass. It turned out pretty good!
With a new transom in place, the next significant issue was to remove and replace the deck. Unfortunately it was spongy and not useable. So last week, using a reciprocating saw, my son cut out the existing deck. The cavity you see is the well that originally held a 25 gallon gas tank. The original deck had a rotten plywood core. Lighter, waterproof, synthetic materials will be used instead.
Its going to take time to put in a new deck. And the hull liner is next to be removed. But after that the remaining work on this old Aquasport is cosmetic for the most part, as well as customizations my son wants to do. Not saying those things are going to be quick to accomplish. But they should be simpler.
If you fish in the same area, year after year, you pretty much know all the local fish. Face it. There are only so many species you’re apt to cross paths with. And you get familiarized with them one and all. Nothing surprises you.
If you decide to try fishing a new part of the coast, however, I suggest getting a fish identification book. One you can carry in your boat, kayak or tackle box. I’m not joking.
When I lived in Florida, I quickly learned that lesson. It’s for your own good. Some fish are nasty in one way or another. Take the leatherjacket. It’s a small Florida fish, looking harmless enough, but the dorsal and anal fins carry a strong venom. Ouch. Be careful with those guys. In fact, be careful with any fish you can’t identify right off.
My friend Pete is down in the Keys right now. A day ago, he sent me the picture above. Now that is a weird look fish. Right? It looks like a fugitive from a Mars. But any Key’s angler would know it immediately. Just a parrotfish.