Middle of October: A Critical Month Part II

As usual, I'm behind in blogging.  I'm on a "break" from being an adult- I decided to wait a bit to look for a job, live on my savings (with the most supportive wife ever), and fish my ass off.  As of writing this (October 26) I have only missed 3 nights in the entire month of October.  It hasn't been great, but I've caught a bunch of schoolies and small keepers.  Read on!

So I get back from my trip, and originally thought I'd take off at least a couple days.  I couldn't.

I saw NE winds and the onset of some cold weather and I decided I needed to go or risk missing out on a possible big fish bite.

Well, there was no big fish, but I did get a few keepers.  I was fishing in buzzards bay and fishing in some boulders.  I have seen an incredible amount of bait at this location for weeks and weeks.  I waded out as the tide came in and found a comfy location to cast.  I lost a decent fish on my first cast which was such a bummer, but those "first cast" fish are always the worst because you're not in the game yet and you're not paying close enough attention- or at least I'm not.  Not like it was 20lbs anyways, so no huge loss.

Anyways, I then had a few schoolies but was having trouble casting a redfin.  So I switched to a SS needle and first cast had a decent 10ish pound fish.  I don't know how long it was, but it wasn't quite 32" because I wanted that for a tourney I was in- I had decided there was no way I could win, so I was going for the "booby" prize- and 32" was the smallest- and I had marked my rod.  I am an IDIOT and didn't submit any of my fish from my trip- I definitely could have had at least 5 or 6 that would have been perfect, and probably more like 10!

A few casts later, I had another that was a touch bigger.  Surely this one had to be 32"?  So I swim back to shore in SUPER sketchy conditions...and it's not 32".  It's just short.  UGH!  I mean I might have been able to stretch it or something, but it's not worth it to me.  I was more concerned with releasing it.

After that, I took one look at the water, how murky it was...and there was no way I was swimming back out in the 20mph wind, knowing what's swimming around out there!  So I chose a rock closer, and banged away at schoolies for a little while longer.  All little fish.

The next night I went out, same spot, and was skunked!  Tons of spearing, but no fish...

Then I took a break from the spearing and small fish.  I wanted to target trophy fish for this critical moon- the tides were great (although very weak), the moon was setting early, there was some good weather coming...things looked good!  Bait as THICK everywhere.

So for a couple nights I focused on tides deep in the night (I generally didn't even leave the house until 10 or 11pm, and was getting in bed at 5, 6, 7am in the morning) in a place that should hold big fish.  One night I  managed two small fish- real small- and the next night I had NOTHING.  The conditions seemed good/great but...2017 is not my year!

The night after that I spent all night, 12 hours, running around.   First in buzzards bay then I ran over the cape in the deep, zombie hours of night. It started of decent; decent for 2017 anyways.  I've just accepted that I'm not going to be getting a 30lber this year.  It's really sad, but I'm convinced it's just not happening this year. I'll keep trying, hard, but sometimes things just don't work out.  I made a HUGE mistake by banking just on May and June, and the big fish were around more in July.  Then, add in the work crap going on...I was doomed.

Anyways, this is from my fishing log for that night.  I don't know why I decided to fish for 12 hours exactly, but sometimes I just lose my mind I guess.  W winds, 48 degrees, and very clear skys- but DARK with now moon.  This is from the first spot...

"I'll take it.  I walk down XXXXX and hear fishing breaking the whole way, no shocker there as there have been insane spearing there for 6 weeks and small fish on them the entire time.  But I usually ignore them, but got to the point and it was weedy and the wind was WAY stronger than what the NOAA said, I wonder if it wasn't over 20 and they said 5-10 forecasted.  So I take a few casts, first gets blown up on, no surprise (redfin).  Second cast I hook what felt like was a decent fish, like teen maybe.  I couldn't really believe it and didn't set the hook very hard when I felt the touch- subtle.  The hits all night were very very light- sometimes I wouldn't even feel a hit and then all of a sudden there was a fish on.  So anyways I lost this first fish in pretty close to me.  But then the next two fish were like 20" and I thought maybe I had just snagged a schoolie in the back or something.  But then, the 3rd fish, which I switched to SS needle because of subtle hits, was a 30" fish or bit over.  That was telling!  I took a picture because why not.  Then I had a 25"er or so, then another rat.  Then I had what felt like a better fish ended up being bit bigger than the 30"er or whatever, guessing maybe 32-33 didn't measure just released.  Felt good to have some tuggage even if they were small bass.  Then, I'm standing there...and all of a sudden there's these huge splashes right tight to the beach and (what I'm assuming) was schoolies jumping out of the water everywhere, blasting out of the water.  It was FUCKED UP.  I don't know what it was, and I was in waist deep and my heart was pounding and I didn't dare move.  AFter that, all the hits stopped for at least 20 minutes!!!  Later I had 1 more schoolie in the rocks.  That night I saw the fox in XXXX you'll remember that- it down dogged at me and laid down in the dirt as I talked to it.  And I went down XXXX and found fish breaking on spearing EVERYWHERE.  I caught a small fish on a mag darter just to prove a point before moving on"

So a couple keepers, couple schoolies, and some rats.  I mean, at least I felt like there was potential for a 20lber if those 30"ers were around.  I'm ok with it.

The second spot, which took over an hour drive and then some walking to get to, was a bust- there were small fish behind me on spearing but I ignored them and focused on working BIG metal lips, darters, and needles for trophies.  Skunked.  Not even a touch.  This spot, which was my premo spot for 2015 and 2016, has been a complete dud this year!

The final night was one of the most frustrating of my life.  It was also pretty amazing.  I made video of the entire day, and am going to do a "day in the life" thing during the winter.  That will be fun.


Here's the log and I'll fill in the blanks...

"1) slept until 3pm and got up, got all my wet shit out of the car, all the video equipment figured out, did my log, changed my leader, and ate some food, prepared to go and had 15 minutes to be able to make sun down.  I didn't do it I stayed with carly and hung out for a while.
2) When I got there there was a guy fishing which is only the 3rd time this year I've seen someone here.  it's the same guy he's a chunker, sits on bucket with his light on the entire time drives me crazy.  Anyways I walk past him to the piont and can't hear any breaking fish like last night.  I brought my 9ft stick so at least schoolies will be fun, but it's still got power enough for 20lber if I ever catch one again.  I fish here for about 2 hours and get about 8 small fish, all bordering on rats (all around 20-23" I'm guessing, except one that was just a tad bigger maybe 25").  They would only hit the blurple redfin, not the chicken, not the bomber, not an SP.  I fished a danny and a darter for about 30min together just to be thorough and had no hits.  After one of the small fish put the hook into my wetsuit and my hand at the same time I decided to move.  I went and got the bike and rode XXXXXXXX where I found that rip this year for the first time.  It was super quiet and I could hear small fish popping silversides here and there.  I fished this spot for about 45 minutes with danny, darter, redfin, needle.  Nothing but 1 short hit on darter.  Decide to ride back to the first spot (it's about midnight).
3) get back to the original spot (this is a 2-3 mile bike ride over sand and rocks and trail round trip) and it's going off gang busters.  I figure it's small fish but it's a pretty wild blitz= 200 yards in either direction!  My heart was pounding since I pulled out those 30-31" fish the night before i knew there was potential for at least teen fish.  These splashes sounded much bigger than previous.  So I start casting, and it's just getting more and more nutty.  Fish breaking everywhere both directions as far as I can hear or see! and out as far as I can hear.  I get a fish or two but both are small.  Then, I'm reeling in the redfin and I get a hit and it slips my drag!  Fish takes off and drag is going and pop she comes off.  I knew it!  UGH lost, but KNOW these are better.
4) OK game on, I wade out through the 2ft of mung to get to cleaner water and a rock to stand on.  The fish are all around me and bait is hitting me as I get to rock.  cast cast cast.  NOTHING.  I decide I need a teaser because it's probably spearing.  Take the time to switch as fish are going bananas everywhere around me- I was so pissed off lol!  I mean the fish were THICK!!!  It's panic trying to tie leader while on a rock, in the middle of the night, in the middle of a blitz.
5) I get the teaser on, cast cast cast...nothing but a couple hits!  Finally I get a small fish on the redfin, not the teaser.  Hmmm?  Not on the teaser?  Strange. Then things start to quiet down.  I get one more small fish.  Then it's over.
6) I decide to stay and work needle for bigger fish?  The wind has died down to less than 5 out of the W.  After about 20min, what looks like wind ripples coming at me...it's bait with fish on it!  Next thing I know it's bananas again.  I'm thinking spearing still until my mind wakes up and I think it has to be something else?  Even bigger splashes now not small ones.  I can't get any hits!!!   See a big swirl to my left. I fish the redfin, a jetty swimmer, etc.  Only a few hits on redfin.  Maybe one, maybe two small fish landed I can't remember= nothing on the teaser.  No fish are hitting teaser- only redfin.  Then, like they came, they were gone again.  I wish I had turned my light on to see.
7) So I decide to just wait it out again and see if they come back. Yup, about 10 min later here they come.  I decide to turn on my light immediately.  Herring?  It's juvenile herring I think!  They're about 3-4" long, much thicker than the spearing and blueish on top.  At first I think killies but no, it's herring I think.  NOT peanuts.  Anyways, this gets my blood pumping and I snap on a hook it! peanut metal lip.  Getting hits immediately, land a 23-24" schoolie.  There are big swirls around me.  WTF!!!  But, alas, again, it's over fast and I had only that one fish.  I mean it was NUTS out here.  I am losing my mind, it's deep into the night, I'm halucinating from fishing so many night tides and having nothing to eat.
8) I was so delirious from hunger and thirst and lack of sleep I couldn't even cast at this point.  I tried for another 10min but I was dying.  And had a 20min bike back to car.  I don't remember any of it.  Only when I was back in the car stuffing my face.  On the way back, I do vaguely remember heard fish breaking on bait everywhere.  I saw snappers jumping on spearing (kinda late for snappers I thought) and I saw peanuts.  It's a bonanza!  I can't BELIEVE I only had about 12 small fish or whatever.  Not even a decent keeper!?!?  YEs, they were picky, but I thinnk there were bigger fish in there maybe.  Times are bad, real bad.
When I got home at 4:45am it was 40 degrees."

This blitz was one of the craziest I've ever experienced.  The bait and fish were so thick, I probably should have tried walking across them.  Yet, they were so fussy on whatever it was they were on, that I couldn't get them to touch much of anything.  I even went through the trouble of putting on the stupid teaser.  BUT I am so obsessed with not using my light, I didn't try to see what it was- if I had, maybe I could have figured it out earlier, before I was so hungry and exhausted I couldn't even function.  The italics above are verbatim from my log with no alterations.  I seriously don't remember even riding my bike back to the car and gearing down.  It is more than a blur; I literally don't remember!

The next night I'll write up as a story.  I had a ton of fish.  It was not really special because of that, but it was a pilgrimage.