Vacation, End of Week I

(I'll add pictures later this week
Edit: I lost all my pictures and camera in a tragic turn of events.  If you find an Olympus waterproof camera...with pictures of some really nice fish on it and an ugly bearded guy...contact me!)

Continuing from "Couple trips in the Hurricane":

So, now I have a clue of what’s going on.  So, the next day, I arrive at the first location even earlier, and the tide being earlier, I think I showed up right on time.  Wind is still blowing pretty good, but the surf has calmed down a bit and is less stained.  It’s still riled and a bit weedy, but much less compared to last night.

The last hour of day light was really fun.  I have awesome video of myself nailing 7 fish on top water between 24 and 31” and having at least twice that many blow ups, hook ups, and dropped fish in about 30-40 minutes of fishing.  Wouldn’t you love to see that?  Too bad, because it gives away where I’m fishing so I won’t show it!

Anyways, the majority came on the big 3oz little neck super strike popper.  In the waves, wind, sweep, it was the only thing I could get to the fish AND that would hold water and not just skim away.  After dark, which I only stayed a little while because I wanted to get to the next new spot, I landed a couple more fish on darters, one being a keeper size again.  Now I’m racking some fish up!  Not monsters but I’m having fun.

After 20 more minutes of nothing, since these fish didn’t have any real size to them, I jumped to the next spot.  Why fix what isn’t broken, so I head to where I was the previous night.

I arrive at said spot and immediately fish are breaking the surface and chasing bait.  Bingo.  Game on.
Even though the wind at this point is much calmer I stick with a bucktail, but have to go way down to a 3/4oz.  I start getting fish immediately.  Not huge, but the most consistent over "keeper" size fishing I’ve had this year. I bagged 12-14 fish (I couldn’t remember even to put in my logs) and at least 7 were keeper size again, right in the 28-31” range, with a 33ish” in there just for good measure.
Bucktails sure are simple.  So much easier to unhook fish with.

And I think I’m learning to appreciate them finally.  They were the game changer for me on Long Island, and they have saved two outings this year.  As I venture into areas with more current, I find them even more useful (no, I don't fish the canal).  We all get caught up in what we “like” to throw, but I think it’s far more important to throw what works.  And I don’t really care for buck tails for whatever reason…until they start working, and then I don't really care what it is.

That being said, I am not throwing bait, so I guess I’m a hypocritical.

But you get my point.

As the night progressed, and I fished DEEP into the night (I barely made it home to shower, grab a snack, and get in bed before it was getting light out), I got less hits.  This was frustrating because fish were “popping” all over- I could hear it even over the waves.  And I saw bait jump out of the water on several occasions.  I tried several different plugs from metal lip to SP to needle to darter, but guess I just didn’t have what they want.  I forgot teasers so that was not an option.

So in the end that night I ended up with 26 (? this is what's in the log anyways) fish with quite a few being in the sweet 10-12lb range.  No little rats on this trip.  But no cows either.

So again, I repeat myself the next night, even though now the winds are completely different, the remnants of the hurricane are gone and the water is nearly entirely cleaned up.  Would the fish be there?

The answer was…kinda.  I landed a few on top water again, but smaller this time, just a few to mid-20 inches.  They kept smacking my talkin’ popper, but the smaller fish didn’t hook up as much. I'm ok with ti. I tried a variety of different top water, but that’s what they liked the most.  But after dark, I ended up sticking 2 fish over keeper size on the super strike darter.  Not big big fish, but again, after this wretched summer, 10-12lb fish seem like trophies.  After I released my last fish (RELEASE ALL PLEASE!) I took maybe a dozen more casts, had another schoolie or two, and I bounced out of there.

So I jump over again to the next spot even earlier, doing the classic “leave fish to find fish” mistake.  When I arrived, I did find some fish- just not as many, and again not as big.  Decent number, something like 8 landed, but nothing 30”+ this time.  Just a couple fish in the borderline keeper range.  I got bit off once which again pointed to blue fish being around.

Home again earlier, like 2:30am, because I found as the night progressed, again the fishing ebbed with the tide.  I did leave still getting hits, and had caught a fish within the last 5 minutes, but I didn't feel compelled to stay.

Then, the next night I decided to convince Carly to come with me.  It was a beautiful calm night, the fish had been in, and I had been all alone- perfect for teaching and time spent with the wife.  We ditch the wetsuits and instead do waders and I actually ditched those too and just used wading shoes- it was calm, and I was intent on having a calm, dry, night.

Well the first hour or two we had it to ourselves and it was great.  I was teaching Carly how to fish a bucktail over the sandy bottom, and I landed a few small bass in the process; just schoolies but it was good to illustrate my point.  I caught on a few different plugs, but bucktails were the ticket- I think because of peanuts.  Carly missed a couple fish, so it looked like it might be a good night.
However, of course, then tons of people show up!  These were not hard-core fisherman though.  These were googans who didn’t have the gear or knowledge OR RESPECT to be fishing with us.  I mean it’s not a hardcore rock hopping spot, but it’s not exactly easy or safe and if you get a fish on they have plenty of opportunities to break you off.  I guess they must have been vacationing nearby is my guess.

Suffice to say, they caught nothing, and I had to yell at them- a lot.  Stop shinning your light.  Get out of my casting lane.  Why are you standing behind me.  If you get hit by a wave, and fall down, you’re going to drown in those open waders.  Stop screaming.  You better pick that garbage up.


I felt bad because of course here’s Carly with me and she hasn’t tied into a good fish yet this year, and of course this has to be the googan night.  But as I’m thinking of leaving, I hook into what feels like a really decent bass.  Takes drag, hard.  But then it jumps.  And then it jumps again.  And then more drag.

Ok.  Maybe it’s just a 35”er hooked in the top of the back.

I fight it hard because I don’t want these a-holes around me to hear I have a fish on- which I don’t think they did despite the jumping and thrashing.  It feels a bit strange, but it's clear at least this isn't a 10lber.  I give Carly the signal, and she starts to come over and I harshly loud whisper “NO STAY THERE, DON’T LOOK AT ME”.  I was trying to play it cool.
So I get the fish to shore and I can see it’s a mid to high 30’s bass.  Sweet!

I pull it on mostly on shore, it’s in the wash.  Something isn’t right, but I guess because it was so big I didn’t really think.

I put my thumb in it’s mouth…and recoil so fast I almost fall over.

It’s a MONSTER blue.  With BIG teeth.

The fish ended up being 37” to the fork and with the full tail just about 40”.  Now I’m shaking!  I could have just lost my thumb.

Fuck everyone around me I need a picture so we move a little away and set up on a rock so we can get good pictures- but leave our stuff to hold our little spot.  Carly gets two good pictures, which are above.

Gorgeous fish!  What a monster.

I revive her, getting wet in the process, and watch her swim free- the “idiots” as I’m now referring to them- are starring and no longer talking.  But they keep their distance and don’t ask questions.
We keep fishing for another 90 minutes, but I’m so not into anymore.  That blue was going to be the highlight of the week, I could feel it, so I lost some focus.

But I landed a 30” bass about 20 minutes later, and about 15 after that Carly landed a 29” bass.  We didn’t take pictures so we wouldn’t give it away.  I landed another schoolie- so 6 fish on the night- and that was it.  Carly was feeling like she was getting the hang of changing bucktail sizes and the speed she needed to retrieve, so she was almost hesitant to leave- but when I told her it was nearly 1am, she decided that was late enough.

What’s really interesting is, I also snagged a big adult bunker.  On a bucktail.  This was a big clue, and I think I stumbled upon an interesting pattern for future use.

And that was the first week.  Heading into the weekend, I had a couple other plans in mind.  I know I’m super far behind here, but I’ll write up part II soon (back dating).