Sunday, May 14, 2017

The Great Blue

Here in CT we are blessed to have stripers in our waters every month of the year. But spring is truly a special time, because it is when fish that let or passed our waters and followed bait and warmth down the East Coast months ago are just now passing back through or returning to stay in LIS for the summer. These fish make what equates to a short trip in the massive blue ocean to get to some points, bars, and rivers where the will do the kinds of things that stripers do. This is not the time of year for big blitzes and chasing down diving gannets and gulls. But there are a few big fish around, and it is time to go try to catch them.

Mike and I went to hunt the striped ghost extremely early yesterday morning. I had gone Thursday evening and caught two schoolies and a hickory shad, but I felt there had to be more fish there, and bigger fish. This outing did not at first play out as I expected. We both caught one fish each early on. Neither was large, and it seemed like there just weren't concentrated schools around. 

We farted around for a while, fished a couple spots, Mike moved a big sea run brown, we briefly considered heading far west, then we finally settled in at the same spot we started. The tide was coming in now. I worked a frequently productive rip and nailed two very small fish. Then WHAM. It was like my pink clouser just hit a wall. This was a much better fish; not a giant by any stretch of the imagination but it was great to see that there actually were sizable fish around. 

A long time passed without so much as a bump. I thought I may have caught a few fish from schools that were quickly moving into the tidal creek of which we were near the mouth of. So we got our butts up there. It didn't take long for Mike to nail into a schoolie. He had the money spot, for quite a while they came to his fly one after the other. I was sticking one here and there, nothing consistent. I tried a bunch of different techniques and it was very quickly evident that Mike was just in the exact right spot. Something good did come out of my experimentation: I got a hickory shad double on a double clouser rig. Having two silvery leaping shad on at once was a cool new experience for sure. 

I should say, these were not large stripers. They were absolutely tiny. It's great to see so many young fish in the system, but it they aren't quite as fun to battle as the big ones. But while I was taking some shots of Mike working his spot he finally nailed into a better fish. This one stayed deep. It didn't take an that much line really, but it was clear from the head shakes that it was much bigger then the 10 to 12 inch fish we had been catching.

It was a beauty. Low 30 inch range, strong, healthy striped bass. We caught a lot more tiny schoolies after that but we never touched another larger fish, that one was the highlight of the day. Things will only get better from here. Big fish from the great blue ocean.


  1. Awesome trip afield RM - looks super fun! Question, when wading around tidal marshes like that, do you ever carry a staff to test the muck? I get sort of freaked out in those areas with the "depth" of some of the mud... Just curious how (or folks you have seen) go about it to see if I can pick up a few ideas... Makes me nervous, but it's great water, so it's hard to miss!

    1. Great question! OK, so I do not carry a staff. I am super cautious about stepping into mud though, I will not cross a muddy cut in the marsh if I can't at least grab either side from the middle. I don't bother wading out into the creek because that I think is just asking for trouble. Also, I don't fish marshes I don't know alone or at night. If you need to cross a small patch of mud do everything you can to see how deep it is first, take one step in sit down on solid ground and put both feet in, just don't get out into the middle of a muddy spot where you can't reach solid ground. No fishing spot is worth doing something like that, even if you are perfectly safe but come out of it looking like a swamp monster.

    2. Thanks RM - I appreciate your ideas - excellent points. It's amazing how both deep, and mucky some of that water can be given the currents that work through it daily!

  2. That is a beautiful area, I love the tide flats. Nice catches to. The HScrab is a very interesting critter.
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