No Fall Fishing Yet?

No Fall Fishing Yet?

Yeah there are some fish around, here and there, but the fall run doesn’t seem to be in high gear yet. Today my friend Phil and I hit several spots in Rhode Island. We caught the flood at  Quonochontaug, hoping for albies.  No dice, saw nothing.  Went to Weekapaug next. There were zero anglers on the jetties, very odd indeed. Misquamicut was loaded with surfers. Lotsa waves pounding the beach. No fly fishing possible. So we headed back to Connecticut. Went to Ocean Beach. Fished for awhile, no luck. Then headed over to Pleasure Beach. Nothing going on there either?

On average the first frost in Connecticut is October 11th. And that first frost is what lights the fuse. It forces the bait out of the estuaries and salt pond and onto the coast. Bingo the blitzes begin. Well today is in fact October 11th. It should have been cold this morning. It was in the 60’s. And the day time highs are in the mid 70’s. That’s a problem. The weather is all wrong. Doubt me? Look to the north. Ontario is experiencing August like temperature right now.

 

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Chub Mackerel

Chub Mackerel

Yesterday was only the second time I’ve ever seen this great little mackerel in Long Island Sound. Last year was the first and they are back again this fall. Chub mackerel (Scomber japonicus) are better known to the north in Nova Scotia and the Gulf of St. Lawrence, but even there they are not well documented.

Chubs lack the vivid coloration of other mackerels, such the Atlantic bonito, but their body shape and tail are very similar. In the size department, think Atlantic mackerel. The chubs I’ve encountered run upwards of about 20″, and like all mackerels they fight far out of proportion to its size. Believe me, these chub mackerel put a serious bend in even a 9wt! You’ll work to land one.

Much like false albacore, they feed in school, ripping up the surface into white water displays you can see for a hundred yards. (enlarge the picture above and you’ll see their greedy mouths) And chubs are lightning fast, erratic, and hard to stay up with. We had to run-and-gun to catch them. The ones I saw yesterday were feeding on schools of baby bunker. And once you got a fly in their midst, the chubs grabbed hard.

Apparently, chub mackerel go through periods of great abundance, and then may disappear for decades. Records show that over a hundred years ago, in Provincetown Massachusetts, three men and a boy landed 3,000 on hook and line in single day! In those years chubs were often called “Hardheads” or Bullseyes”.

 

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Dave has Gone West Again

Dave has Gone West Again

My friend Dave and his buddy Pete have gone West again. Lucky dudes. They’re fishing both Montana and Idaho. This autumn trip to the trout meccas of the Rockies is becoming an annual gig for them. Congratulations guys! Keep up the good work.

Dave and Pete ran into some epic BWO hatches in Idaho. Time to tie tiny dries on tiny tippets. Need your reading glasses? Well, Dave landed a gorgeous 22″ rainbow on a size 20 BWO. How cool is that! Big fish on small flies are a real challenge. But I’m not totally surprised, Dave is a terrific angler.

After that, they headed to Montana, but the dry fly fishing wasn’t that good.  So they turned around and went back to Idaho, heading to Henry’s Fork. We all know the Fork is a legendary piece of water, and sure enough they found a Trico spinner fall.  Bingo.

If I hear more from them cowboys I’ll let you know. But for now lets just give them a tip of the Stetson for having fun out West.

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Back from Martha’s Vineyard

Back from Martha’s Vineyard

My son and I just returned from a stay on Martha’s Vineyard. Yeah, this is Derby time on the Island. Which as you may know draws hardcore anglers from far and wide. During the Derby I’ve seen license plates from many states along the Atlantic, including New York, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and Maryland. The Derby’s fabled history, the legendary fishing, and a chance to win a big prize all figure into the mix.

We came prepared with fly rods, reels, fly lines, you name it. And of course, a mountain of flies, some left over from last year’s poor fishing. Mother nature did her part supplying stellar fall weather. Man, it was gorgeous, blue bird skies, dry and cool. Plenty of bait in the wash too. Peanut bunker, sand eels, silversides. And we were there on the moon and the autumnal equinox, So, the stage was set, but the fish never showed up. Yes, you heard right; the fish weren’t there. Damn. During our time on the beach, I never witnessed a single hookup.

It was an island-wide problem too. From Chappaquiddick to Gay Head, anglers were shaking their heads. Derby weigh ins were a fraction of normal. But the diehards never quit casting. I heard one angler in the last week had put in 95 hours casting from the tip of the jetty! Yeah, hope springs eternal, especially for the young Turks. And the parking lot was full everyday with the same trucks. No one was giving an inch.

On my last day there, I spoke with a fly angler who had fishing the Martha’s Vineyard Derby for over 20 years and won the grand prize once, walking away with a brand-new pickup truck. He told me this happens sometimes – for no apparent reason the fish vanish. They could return in a tide, a day, or a week. You just can’t tell. One just has to grin and bear it. Oh well, as always, fishing is wishing.

PS: Just heard that the fishing has returned!

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Heading to Martha’s Vineyard

Heading to Martha’s Vineyard

Well, I’m headed to Martha’s Vineyard for five days. Hoping to run into some Atlantic bonito. The gear is all piled up and ready to go into the truck. Quite a pile. And actually, that’s not all of it! There is also a cooler of food and a duffle of cloths. Yeah, I try to be prepared. I don’t get to Martha’s Vineyard enough, so I want to make every visit count.

Got five full boxes of flies, ranging from big 5/0 adult menhaden patterns down to tiny size 4# sand eels. Three rods a 7wt, a 9wt, and my old trusty 1owt. Fly lines, of course. As well as a stack of old lines for emergencies. Reels and spare spools too. Waders, pliers, stripping basket, Boga grip, loads of tippet material, super glue, bite tippet, tape, tools including small screw drivers for repairing eyeglasses, sunscreen, bug dope, hats, wader repair kit, wading belt, fly line dressing, flashlights and batteries. Did I miss anything?

Along with all of that is my camera gear. It rides in a Pelican case. I still rely heavily on my Nikon D700. Yes it is way long in the tooth, but the D700 has become something of a legend among hardcore Nikon users. It has a full frame sensor that cranks out beautiful color. And it is weatherproof ready to be on the beach, and heavily built, a beast that can take the abuse I dish out. Love it, a real workhorse. My backup camera is an Olympus Tough TG-6. Waterproof and shockproof. Great little pocket camera.

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