Vacation, the weekend and into week 2

I apologize for lack of pictures again, to restate: I lost my camera and all the pictures on it- it's sitting on the bottom of the ocean somewhere off the coast of the cape (more details on that soon)

So after a decent week and some accumulation of at least something, and by something I mean a couple dozen keepers and a couple fish in the high-teens and a trophy blue, I wanted a change of scenery.

So where to go?  I hadn’t seen my buddy Corey for a while, so I decided to see if he’d be around and we could fish the cape.  Turns out, he thought we’d have a good shot at some fish, so I made the drive to meet him.

As the sun set, and I was sitting in my car eating dinner about ½ way to meeting Corey, I get a short text from him.

“They’re here.  Fish every other cast.  Small, but they're here”.

I shoveled my food:  It wasn’t even dark yet.

I try not to speed- I can’t afford to- but I’m stoked.  I almost felt like I was a bad luck curse for Corey as we hadn’t gotten into any big fish together, even though we both have at all the same spots we've fished together.

But tonight, I was bringing my mojo from the week.

I park, find Corey, and he informs me he’s had 25 +/- fish in an hour, and they’re coming in waves 3 or 4 fish at a time.  He said small, up to about 25-26” with many 15-20” fish being the norm, but we were hopeful that the tide needed to build and we’d get into larger fish.  The conditions were premo!
I had my red-gill teaser on, and asked him what he thought was working best.  He suggested a metal lip- he had a CCW, so I snapped on my trust blurple maine-iac swimmer.

First cast with the metal lip teaser combo, fish on.  Savage strike, but the fish was no more than 22”.
As it would turn out, it’d be the biggest fish I’d catch for the next hour.

But, the conditions were so stellar Corey and I stuck it out until nearly 2am.  I mean, I was practically obligated after driving 2hrs 15minutes to get there, and facing the same drive home.

So I continued slaying the dinks for the whole period.  Since they were so small, you literally would get a hit every cast, sometimes 3 or 4, but not hook up.  What made it mildly interesting, maybe even that is a stretch, was the fact that these fish were pretty picky.  They really only wanted the metal lip and the teaser, and if I put on a needle, or a darter or a bomber-like plug the hits would go down dramatically.

It’s just still felt too early in the season to get into big schools of big fish.  It was warm, we fished without surf tops just waders, and I never got “that feeling”.

But, in a way, catching the small fish and always feeling like that next hit could be a big one, is both relaxing and induces a sort of Zen like state, where I am focused on what I’m doing because there’s so many hits, you can’t think about much else.

Anyways, around tide change I had a subtle hit that was converted to a 27” fish, the only one that actually put a real tug in the line.  And the next cast my teaser was cut off by a blue.

And after that, maybe 30 more minutes of casting, we decided to call it a night.  I landed about 30 fish and Corey had about the same.

We talked a lot about the state of the fishery, the bad spring and summer season- hoping things were starting to look better.  We talked about how boat fishing doesn’t count, and really eel fishing probably shouldn’t either- we discussed this at length why not only is it cheating but it’s a mis-use of a species for sport.  The same thing we’re trying to avoid with the striper in a way.

Anyways, that’s for another day.

At 3am I found myself in the car, feeling good and not wanting to go back.  But, I decided to start heading that way.  On the way home I stopped off at a beach I fish more frequently and tossed top water as the sun rose.  I found breaking fish, but they must have been on tiny bait because I couldn’t get them to touch my pencils and little necks.  They were right in tight to the beach, and one fish I saw break must have been at least mid-high teens.  I was running up and down the beach trying to get them to hit, but I was unsuccessful, and had to pee SO BAD I was forced to leave.

Home, sleep away the day, and then back out that night.

I decided I wanted to fly fish, and headed to a spot I know very well to do so.  Unfortunately, despite excellent conditions again, I found only small fish- although slightly larger on average than the fish Corey and I got into, I still only caught fish 18-24”- but I caught a ton, and on the fly rod it’s so much more fun.

Still, even after 20 or so fish, I found myself annoyed that I hadn’t hit up a big fish spot- not that this spot hadn’t yielded me some big fish, but it’s not as consistent as some others.

So the next night, the next two nights actually, I basically focused on catching big fish only.  I was not that successful, but I did end up catching a bunch of schoolies (40 or so) and a few fish into the 33-34” range, with probably 12-15 total keepers- several fish were borderline.  It seems the 25-26" class that I got into heavily last year- indeed I couldn't even avoid them-   I also landed another monster 35”-to-the-fork blue fish.  That blue was hammering a school of bunker hard, making all kinds of commotion I thought it was a full on blitz!  Once I pulled him out, which only took one cast, it went silent and I had no more fish out of that.

But, I’m still lacking a really good fish for the vacation period.  Where are the 20lb, 30lb fish?  Clearly I was doing something wrong since I'm catching mostly schoolies with a bunch of small keepers 28-34" mixed in (nearly 30% of my catch).

However, going into the next night and my last opportunity locally, I had landed well over 120 fish- I don't have my log in front of me but it was at least that.  So, it was a good early September by all counts- lots of fish, lots of keepers- except one.  I am still looking for a cow this season: a 30lber+ fish.  Last year I had 1 in June that was over 40, maybe even 45lbs, before the middle of the month even started.  Through september 2015, I had a couple fish that while they weren't 30, they were mid/high 20's.  This year, from the start of it in early May to date, I had two fish that were definitely high 20's- but at 40 and 41", I am confident they would not have made 30lbs- one may have been barely 25 as it was pretty skinny.  I wanted a definite over- something in the mid-40's at least.  For some reason...I continued to strike out.

Maybe I shouldn't be so hard on eel fishing, and give that a go hahaha!


My area of the world just didn't see fish- big or small- in June and so I missed my first window for a trophy fish.  And I could see the shade starting to be pulled for this final window.  September and into the middle (2nd moon) of October would be my next solid shot.  At this point, I'm approaching the 2nd  moon of September, and I'm traveling to the islands and will "miss" it exploring a new area.  So I was starting to feel the pressure.

So what happened the next night will continue to haunt me, even writing this weeks later, for a LONG time...it's a short story that will be best told via video.  I'll get to that this week sometime...