Back from Martha’s Vineyard

Back from Martha’s Vineyard:

Just arrived home. My son and I spent a long weekend traveling from one end of the island to the other. Hitting all the hotspots from Menemsha to Cape Pogue. And we had fabulous Indian Summer weather, couldn’t have been better. Stellar.

Everywhere we saw bunches of anglers casting their hearts out. And the roads held an endless streams of trucks covered with stickers and rods. Yeah the island was in the grips of Derby fever!

During the week prior, however, the island had been battered by heavy winds and waves courtesy of storm Teddy. And unfortunately that had pushed many fish away. The bite was gone. Damn. Oh well, that’s fishing. Yeah we got a few shots at bonito but no hookups. Better luck next time.

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Fishing the Davidson River in North Carolina

Fishing the Davidson River in North Carolina:

Recently my buddy Pete fished the Davidson River in North Carolina. Pete and his wife Linda  stayed in their RV at Davidson River Campground inside the Pisgah National Forest on route 276 about 3 miles outside of the small town of Brevard. Brevard has a population of  only 7,600 people and is known as the “Land of Waterfalls”. Pretty country.

Peter gets a Trout

The Pisgah National Forest is a hardwood forest of over 500,000 acres with peaks ascending a mile high in elevation assuring the Davidson River with cool, clear trout waters. North Carolina regulations the river under its  Mountain Trout Waters program. The best fishing is in the artificial fly only catch & release area between the Davidson’s headwaters to Avery Creek, excluding Avery Creek, Looking Glass Creek and Grogan Creek. That’s where you’ll get a shot a true trophy. Below that it is a hatchery supported put-and-take fishery. And as you can imagine those waters get heavily pounded.  

Pete caught two nice brown trout on spinning. That’s great. Linda cooked them up and he enjoyed eating them. Cool. Glad he got them. Still it’s high time Pete took out his fly rod. Long overdue. Keeps sidestepping it. Keeps using the spinning rod as a crutch. Not enough confidence I guess. Yup no matter how many times I suggest he break out the fly rod it remains locked up in the RV. I can hear that rod crying from here. Pete you’ll never learn to fly fishing at that rate!      

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Flesh-Eating Bacteria in Long Island Sound

This summer an extraordinarily high number of flesh-eating bacteria cases occurred in Connecticut. Let me put it into perspective for you.  In the past decade only seven cases have been diagnosed in the state.  This summer five cases were reported in a two month span. That’s crazy bad. As if we didn’t have enough to worry about already.

All of these five cases likely occurred from contact with the water in Long Island Sound. Now before you freak out, flesh-eating bacteria cases are still exceedingly rare. Your chances of contracting this evilness are very, very low. But folks with compromised immune systems or advanced age must take care. People who have liver disease or take medicine that lowers the body’s ability to fight germs are also at risk.  And everyone with an open cut on their body should take care as well. Here are a few valuable tips.

  • If you have a wound (including from a recent surgery, piercing, or tattoo), stay out of saltwater or brackish water, if possible. This includes wading at the beach.
  • Cover your wound with a waterproof bandage if it could come into contact with saltwater, brackish water, or raw or undercooked seafood and its juices. This contact can happen during everyday activities, such as swimming, fishing, or walking on the beach. 
  • Wash wounds and cuts thoroughly with soap and water after they have contact with saltwater, brackish water, raw seafood, or its juices.

Symptoms of flesh-eating bacteria (Vibrio Vulnificus) requires immediate attention. Time is of the essences. My friend this business can kill you. Signs and symptoms of Vibrio vulnificus infection can include:

  • Watery diarrhea, often accompanied by stomach cramping, nausea, vomiting, and fever
  • For bloodstream infection: fever, chills, dangerously low blood pressure, and blistering skin lesions
  • For wound infection, which may spread to the rest of the body: fever, redness, pain, swelling, warmth, discoloration, and discharge (leaking fluids).

Vibrio tends to live in warm salt or brackish waters. Its presence in Florida is one of the reasons I moved back north last year. Declining water quality was on the rise including red tide, blue-green algae and flesh-eating bacteria. And near where I lived in Florida two cases of Vibrio were reported in one summer, both resulting in leg amputations. And get this: a man to the north of me died from eating raw oysters!  Yes you can get Vibrio from raw seafood.  Prior to these events I waded wet when fishing. After these events I worn waders much of time and always if I had a scratch or cut on my leg. Stay safe.

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The False Albacore are Here

Finally autumn is here and the false albacore are around. Last year they made a very poor showing in Long Island Sound. And there has been considerable concern all summer that might be the case again this year. Well amigo things are looking good. Keep your fingers crossed.

“Albie” from a my Drift boat

The false albacore is like a career criminal; it lives under several aliases. The correct common name is Little Tunny. But you will also hear this amazing fish called an “albie”,  an “albacore”, a fat albert”, a “spotted tunny”, a “football”, a “hardtail”, or a “little tuna”. And get this in Florida is known as a “bonito”, which it is definitely not. How’s that list? For you scientific types the little tunny’s latin name  is Euthynnus alletteratus. It is a member of the mackerel tribe like all tuna and bonito.

Typical Coloration

The “albie” is both a bluewater and a green water fish – successfully operating both well offshore and in nearshore waters. It is never an ambush style predator. So don’t expect it to be patiently hiding behind a rock waiting to pounce like a striped bass. Rather it lives a blitzkrieg style live, attacking bait at flank speed in broad daylight. Lacking a swim bladder, it can’t simple hover at the surface feeding like say a bluefish. The “albie” is always in motion, often erupting on the surface and then diving only to resurface seconds later.

Release Method

In the pound-for-pound wars,  the “albie” is the clearly the strongest fish in Northeast nearshore waters. It will not jump, but it can race off like a rocket peeling line off your reel at an alarming rate, and then duke it out deep in a powerful prolonged battle. Many a rod and many a line has been broken. Yet for all its power, we must handle the “albie” with care. The correct release method is to drop it back in the water straight down, forcing water through its gills. To learn more read this article I wrote many moons ago.  Amazing Albies: 

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The Fish are Moving

The Fish are Moving:

Starting to get some reports that the fish are on the move. Hallelujah.  My friend Ted caught an nice albie on a fly over at Point Judith. His friend Jerry Wade did as well. Both of them were out with well-known Captain Ray Stachelek. Ray charters in Narragansett Bay, around Block Island and in Rhode Island Sound.

Ted with an Albie

My son reports schoolie striped bass whacking bait up inside the Connecticut River near Middletown. Not big bass but fun on a light fly rod. This is yet another sign, autumn has arrived and the fish are feeding. Get ready to rock and roll!

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