Red Tide has returned to Southwest Florida. The question now is this: will it fade quickly in the weeks ahead or will it last and last. Let’s hope for all the folks living along the Southwest Florida coast it’s the former.
Red Tide is the toxic algae Karenia brevis. It causes scratchy throats and itchy eyes for beach goers and boaters. And it can discolor the water as well. More concerning it kills marine sometimes in huge numbers, and even birds that feed on marine life.
Presently there are fish kills reported in Charlotte, Lee, and Collier counties. In the picture above, taken recently, you see rafts of dead catfish drifting with the tide. Not a pleasant sight.
Well, word has it that schoolie bass are being found along the Rhode Island coast. Hopefully they keep moving westward into Connecticut. I can tell you they weren’t around at the mouth of the Connecticut River on Wednesday. Three of us tried without a single bump. Damn. And it was cold too.
This has to be the oddest fall fishing I have ever seen in Southern New England. Its been terrible. October, typically the best of the fall run, was a total dud. Water temperatures were sky high, and a series of storms disrupted what fishing there was. Even now in November the water at New London is over 60 degrees when historically it would be in the low to mid 50’s.
This morning I walked out Napatree Point. Love Napatree. It often holds great late season fishing for schoolie striped bass. So hopes were running high. Well I didn’t even see a swirl, never mind catch a bass. To be truthful two friends who got there before me, each got a schoolie at the bottom of the tide. But after that nothing. Zilch.
After we fished at the tip for awhile with no results, we decided it was best to make the long walk back to the car. After that we went searching. I looked Misquamicut beach up and down; nothing doing. The breachway was quiet too. The overlook in the road showed no evidence of fish. Weekapaug Fire District Beach was barren with just two anglers sitting in beach chairs.
Later we ran into angler who filled us in a bit. He told us yesterday in the heavy rain, guys got a good number of schoolies, but those fish moved on. On Monday he had three fish himself, two schoolies and a hickory shad. And get this – the shad was the largest of the bunch. What?
So what’s the takeaway? The bite right now is very sporadic. And it typically happens for a brief window at first light. After that things are apt to go dead. Not good news. Not a good fall.
I just got back from a trip up north for landlocked salmon. My last trip was in 2017. Back two years ago, the river was very low. And as a consequence there were less fish than we hoped for. Still we caught a reasonable enough fish to make the trip fun.
This year, however, things were quite different. The dam releases were much, much higher and that brought hope that the river would be filled to the brim with landlocked salmon. Unfortunately it didn’t work out that way. For one thing the high water reduced the number of places anglers could get in. That meant crowds in the remaining spots. Second the salmon were not stacked up in the usual holding areas. In fact we saw fewer salmon than we had in 2017. Yes we were able to get a few, but everyone struggled.
Female Landlocked Salmon
Fishing for migratory species, whether they be in fresh or salt, always poses a risk. Unlike a Trout Management Area where the trout are always at home, migratory species come and go for reasons you can’t control. Yes, water levels and weather play a significant role. Its just part of the angling adventure. So lean back and enjoy the trip with your friends in spite of what nature hands you. Next year is coming.