|No, this isn't a joke.|
And this is why I haven't been posting. Nothing really to talk about. TWELVE fish in the month of June. TWELVE. That is the most sad fucking thing I've ever had to write on this blog. It's absolutely incredible really. Twelve Bass in June, ~20 Blue fish (the Long Island post is up if you missed it!). This past weekend I caught twelve. So, in over a month of fishing, only TWENTY FOUR striped bass.
And don't for a minute think it's because I'm not fishing. Last weekend alone I put in 25 hours over 4 nights, not including driving or prep time.
I saw little of Carly.
I've been hunting for big fish this season more than ever. And, yes, that's partly why I'm coming up so empty so many nights. I'm fishing my tides, and then branching out to try and find new ones. I've attacked the same spots on multiple nights under different stages- even when the previous night was soul crushing (think: lots of walking, big rod swinging, 1 schoolie nights). Just this past weekend alone I walked nearly 20 miles fishing everything from quiet calm sandy beaches to rough rocky rips. All for nothing.
I've rigged up some eels too. For nothing.
Stayed up all night twice this weekend alone, for nothing.
It seems that when I drill down and identify what I think is a good plan, a good tide, wind, time, pattern, whatever- there are fish there: they're just small, and there's just not many of them. I'll say in my mind "this is it, any moment" and BAM- fish on...and then it's only 25", and I'll only land that single fish, maybe one other. Maybe two hits the next hour and then nothing.
The exception being this past Sunday night I did land a respectable ~36"+ fish on a 3/4oz bucktail, finally getting to hear my drag go after not hearing it SINCE MAY. An interesting night with an interesting lesson, and I will write it up in more detail this week or next- there's a lesson in it. No picture though, because I dropped the poor fish and it slide off the rock and into the drink as I was trying to snap a picture. Only one other fish on that night, 1 cast later, and then nothing but dink hits on darters.
Monday night I had a fun evening with Carly and my fly rod. 7 fish landed- but before you get excited, all but two were under 20", and the biggest was what you see pictured. What, 24"? Less? A great time, but not exactly what I've been working for. It was more out of desperation to just feel the bend of a rod that I went to the fly rod, after running into massive schools of juvi herring and small fish "popping" as they got washed in the current. I do love the fly rod, but I'm just not competent enough yet- fly rod or not- to switch over to fly only. Maybe someday I'll switch. It is incredible. But I'm searching for MY 50, and I won't do that with a "buggy whip".
Carly couldn't get any of the small fish to hit even a 1/2oz bucktail but they loved my clousers.
Fly fishing will come more later with the YOY peanuts and ~hopefully~ Albies in September.
BUT, [thank God] It's not just me either. The outer cape guys are struggling- those in boats and kayaks are doing better than we are- but not good! And those that are shore bound are not finding the cows they seek. Many nights are ended with a skunk. Some are giving up even.
And Boston harbor the same, and North Shore the same again. Talked to a nice guy fully geared up in wetsuit (like myself) with serious gear and a solid cast who claims he fishes a lot (never seen him before though) and he told me, very sheepishly, that he hadn't even landed a keeper yet this season! I felt bad for the poor bastard, I could tell he was trying to do the right thing. He sounded like he was committed and knew what he was doing. And I felt his pain. Even those that are fishing every night (which I am not one, I just can't do more than 4 days a week except on rare occasions) are struggling to catch in a week what they'd catch in a night in previous seasons.
So what to do? Well, I almost gave up a few times. I still might.
Last weekend was tough (weekend before the 4th)- it felt like I was fishing in empty seas. But one thing that has actually helped is this year I have read ZERO reports, beyond the garbage I occasionally catch on the forums (which aren't reports as much as places to bitch). Beyond my couple of direct personal connections, I don't read or heed reports anymore. I go with what I know. It's seemed to make no difference really, except I feel more free to make my own decisions and not get caught up in "what I'm supposed to do" and "where I should be fishing".
"You missed it" no longer applies.
I'm free to get skunked on my own time. Woof.
But instead of give up, I've been working even harder, sacrificing even more. My project car is in pieces and making no progress on it; I haven't run in weeks; I haven't been socializing; and I'm pretty sleep deprived. Haven't even seen my family, except for Carly. Hell, even she's been sacrificing for me, helping me with chores around the house and errands freeing up more time for me to sleep and fish. I've maintained productivity at work, somehow...and barely...but that has been very hard.
So what I'm saying is, I'm approaching my limit. If I don't have a night or couple nights that are good here soon, I'm going to slow down for a few weeks, take a break. Maybe do some kayaking. Maybe go to VT or ME and do some fly fishing. Maybe just sleep.
I just can't keep going like this- 4 nights a week, 20hrs+ of fishing, 30hrs+ with driving- for nothing. If I was catching, it'd be easy. But it's just been one persistent nightmare...
So that's the reason for the lack of reports. I sincerely hope you're having a better season than I am.