End of October: A critical Month Part III

50 in one night.  30 in another.  Peanut blitzes.  Adult Shad.  Still: nothing over 20lbs.  That about sums it up!  Unfortunately my computer died, so that's why I'm writing this in December.  The good news is I'll try and put in posts through the new year summing up my fishing into December.  But yeah, it's December 5th, and I'm done!

So, before I forgot, sorry I can't post more pictures.  I have a couple articles coming up in magazines and I have to save them for that.  So I'll wait until the articles are out and then I'll post the pictures this winter.

Ok, so here's how late October went.  I'll skip the one night I caught 50 because I need to save it for a full story, maybe I'll write that up this winter.  But, spoiler alert, there wasn't a single keeper in that 50 fish.  So don't get too excited.

This covers the period of Oct 21-Oct 31.  I fished all but 1 day of this 10 day stretch.

I start off this period at my big fish spot.  It was crazy flat, not necessarily bad, but usually not what it takes to really catch a monster.  It was a terribly weak tide on top of the not waves, that was a big problem.  A new moon week with super weak tides.  Can't I catch a break? There were small fish all around popping spearing, but I completely ignored them.  That's not what I was here for.  I had 0 hits fishing big darters, small darters, bucktails, and metal lips.  I don't understand why this spot wasn't good this year, as it's been at least OK the last few years (and more than a few times very good)- but I have a theory.  My theory is the canal sucked up all the big fish like a vortex, pulling the big fish out of these other spots that are within a days swim (so I'm guessing pretty much all of CCB, South Cape, and BB).  I mean, why would a fish hang out in these spots, when only a few (or maybe a more than a few) knots away there were adult mackerel in heavy current?  If I was a bass I wouldn't stay in my spots either; I'd be in the canal.

Actually, knowing me, I probably wouldn't.  I'd be the dumb fish out in the deep water chasing lobsters or something.  Because I never go with the crowd, even when the crowd is doing the easy/better thing.

But I digress.

The next night I said good riddance to the big fish spot, and swore I wouldn't come back again all the rest of the season.  This was a lie, but I think that was the night I really accepted it just wasn't going to happen for me this year.  No 30lber for me this year.  Fucking BRUTAL.  That's the first for at least 3 seasons I haven't had a 30lber.  And 2014 was another tough one for me, as I tried hard to learn a new spot that was HUGE and REALLY tough.

Moving on, here's the log from that next night.  It was entertaining, even if there weren't any big fish.  This new spot is going to be a jewel, I can tell.  It's going to take a lot more work, but I think it could really pay off.  This year was awful to start with, so if I could get a good year....

Anyways, here's how I put it in my log:

Water temp still 63!  I went through the woods to XXX the big drop off for the first time.  few small fish popping spearing on the way over but no hits no fish when I was at XXXX fished from 930 to 1030 and started to get really antsy.  Was too calm, wrong time of year, and I saw little or now bait. I do think in the spring this is a great spot, and maybe with an X or XX wind.  So I went back through the coyote invested woods (they were howling like crazy way more than normal, I honestly was freaked out and it has  never bothered me before) to [a boulder field].  When I got there it didn't feel that fishy but it only took a couple casts from XXX to land a couple rats.  I decided to be brave and pushed out into the current earlier than normal.  It was moving and deep!  Since the tides are really weak this moon it was no problem and I got on a big rock at about rib height water, XXXX.  There I had 3 schoolies and another rat.  The biggest schoolie, which wasn't big at all maybe 25", came on a danny.  Then it quieted down around 12-1230am.  I pushed out further to another rock, but still had no hits.  Dinks were popping spearing behind me all night I just ignored them.  Finally I put on a very small slant nose metal lip, it's either 1 or 3/4 of an oz I don't even know the builder, bought on a whim because I am a plug whore!  Stop buying untested stuff dummy.  The thing swims maniacally, it's the one with the red head.  It's really good and I need to fish it more, especially around [finger] mullets.  First cast I had a keeper bass, and then I had 3 more schoolies and 3 more rats.  Bingo!  I knew given the juvi herring (or whatever it was I saw last week) I saw that if I could cast that thing it would kill.  Enjoying using the 9ft rod instead of the big pig 11fter but really wondering if I'm going to get even another teen fish at this point.  I don't feel like I can even complain though, given what I've heard others say- it's really bad all over the north east.  I think if I just stay at it at this spot it'll happen.  Monday night into Wednesday is calling for strong X wind gusting to 40mph and rain, so that might just be the ticket.  TONS of shit in the water though, so hoping that doesn't mess everything up.

That night I caught roughly a dozen I guess.  I remember it fondly so it couldn't have been that bad.  Clear water, splashing fish, and tons of bait- even if the fish are small, it can be intoxicating.

So I just kept fishing.  In fact, skipping ahead, I fished 38 nights in the months of September and October.  And this was during losing my job, having to sell my house, moving from said house, and my grandmother having a very serious health scare.

But every where I went I pretty much only found schoolies, with small keepers mixed in.

This is my log from the next night.  Of course I went back.

 I went straight to the XXX [the boulders].  I went out to the big rock on the slighly X side closest to shore.  The tide changed around [roughly 10pm], and by the time it did the water was mid-shin and when I got there it was just barely over the rock.  Anyways, I had hits on the 1oz metal lip immediately and caught two rats (~20-22"). I then completely ignored them.  On goes the big 3.5oz danny.  I think I'm probably wasting time, but then it gets crushed by something, and I lost it in a few seconds.  That fish was probably in the teens.  I dare not think it was bigger. I worked the danny for 20min for nothing else, but I knew I was onto something.  At 940 I was working a montauk darter eexxttrraaaa slow and had a knock at the door, converted to 34" teen bass.  That size fish is super fun.  They fight hard and are still easy to handle.  Then nothing for a while.  Tide swings, and then fish are breaching everywhere in front of me and behind me, etc.  It's bananas again!!!  They were RIGHT in front of me I mean RIGHT in front of me- like I could have reached my hand down and touched them I think.  I had a schoolie on a bomber that I thought was a keeper but held up to the point on my rod and he was just short.  I had a couple more that were bigger end of schoolie, but I also had 3-4 rats (20-23").  It really slowed down and I was thinking about how tomorrow night, with the strong wind coming and rain, could be a blood bath, and I decided to go home early.  Quit at 1am. (authors note: this was dumb.  I have a problem with leaving fish, and I need to stop doing it.  Especially when times are so hard!)  On the way back I XXX and got some good footage of schoolies nailing spearing from above, and in the water.  I love watching them!  It was extremely fun.  I caught a few to just see if they would hit a plug, then just filmed.  Lest I ever forget what a super predator they are.  Those poor little spearing SOBs LOL!

Writing this now more than a month later, I long for these few nights!  And at the time I was SO FRUSTRATED with the lack of big fish.  But now...I wish it was October again!

The next night I was SO EXCITED- I figured with what had been going on, with a new wind and strong 30+ knots, it could be epic.

Instead?  I found micros, only had 5 fish, and left very frustrated!  I guess that's fishing?

Driving home that night, I had a serious conversation with myself.  Decision time.  Are you going to go back and almost certainly catch small fish and schoolies?  Or are you going to gamble on big fish?

I gambled.

And I lost.

Log night 1 and 2, from the big fish spot:

Night one:
Wind is building but still not that strong.  Going to be gale tomorrow.  Had one hit 5 minutes in on the rock.  Was all sketched out for some reason.  Left rock at 2.  fished at XXX from 220 to 3ish.  Wasn't feeling it.  Felt barren.

Night two:
Lightening on and off.  Freaked out by it, and probably not safe.  I did get a solid 90min in from 1-230am before I had to go back to car.  I fished XXX mostly with heavy needle and 1.5oz bucktail.  I then walked down towards the X side and fished a couple spots, but then lost my needle due to hang up and it was lightening so I ran back to car and hid and re-tied.  I had 0 hits, and I felt like if the fish were there, then they would have been there.  I wasn't going to wait around until 530 or 6am so I got in the car swearing the whole time and left.  Water wasn't as rough as I thought it'd be, and wasn't as stained or weedy either.

So, now it's reassessment time.  Small fish in buzzards bay, no big fish in my big fish spot (my most consistent has no consistency in 2017).  Neither seemed very appealing, and if it was late November, I might have quit for the season.  But it was still October and while we were in the 2 minute warning, we weren't burning time outs yet.  There was still time.

So, I gambled again.  I ended up doing something I usually wouldn't, but since I had so much time to fish, I decided to branch out, and try a totally novel spot lllattteee in the season.  And, I even went north of where I was fishing and headed to CCB.  It's late October, but I've had good luck in November at this spot (e.g. as recently as 2015 for example) and spots near it in the past.

Here's the log from the first trip there this season, at almost the very end of the month, and I hadn't gone there more than maybe three times in 2016 and 2017 combined.

Water temp is a bit of a guess [60 degreees], honestly could be a bit higher, but it's within a couple degrees for sure.
I started at XXX, and the plan was to walk [the shore 4 miles down and back] during low tide and then fish back.  I wanted to get some exercise and earlier in the day I had screwed up I thought the low tide was 7 but it wasn't, so insteand of an early night I knew I'd have a late night.  So anyways I walked and marked points to fish on the way back.  But then I got down to about 200-300 yards from XXX and got hit.  I then had a decent schoolie, a dink, and two fish well over keeper one was probably more like 31-32".  The most subtle hits ever, just slurping the plug.  Unweighted redfin was the key because the water was super skinny.  These fish were definitely chowing down sand eels- they were thick!!!  I then lost my waterbottle somewhere and was having a complete breakdown because I don't have a job and can't be losing stuff and also was super thirsty already and had a 2 mile walk back.  So looked for 20min swearing and cursing the world.  Probably could have caught 5-10 fish in that time.  Gave up, lost water bottle anyways, went back to fishing to find no fish. inched closer to XXX.  Had my biggest fish at about 1am if I recall it was probably 32", and thick, fat, and strong.  I bet it was well into teen even despite length.  Not the hardest fighting fish but really beastly head shakes and a bitch to get the hook out of.  Then I had 1 more tiny tiny fish and no more hits.  Starting walking back around 2-220am.  Fished a tiny bit on the way back but wasn't feeling it I was getting anxious for some reason- the season is going fast, and I am really tired.  It's been a tough season.  I was in car around 330, and decided to drive to [a beach].  Fished there for 30min and had 1 tiny dink like 15" within 3 casts.  Coyote walked RIGHT up behind me within 30feet of me, when I turned around he ran.  Kinda creepy really, but also cool.  Tons of coyote tracks all over at [first spot].  Oh, the whole reason I went here is because forecast was for 20+ mph W winds and I don't think given how strong the S was the last couple days that XXX would have been fishable, and [the big fish spot] has sucked this year, so really I felt this was my best option- saw there were big peanut blitzes this week in boston harbor, and this is the first night it's gotten cool.  It was 45 when I got home, and going [home] I saw 43.  CRYSTAL clear water with some big weed.

So maybe I'm on to something?  There were also BIG shad there, but I didn't catch any, and despite swinging big pikies I had no hits on big plugs- only sand eel imitating plugs.

I decided that night I should probably bring a teaser next time I came back.

I'd actually go back many nights over the next month, and those nights are coming at a later date.  Every night there was something.  Why?  Because of sand eels.  They stay, and that means the fish stay.  Everywhere else guys were giving up, even south of here, far south.  In fact, these few spots are pretty easy (relatively) to access, and I hardly saw anyone in 2 months of fishing (Oct and Nov).  Me? I just kept banging away at schoolies and small keepers deep into November (info forthcoming).

Here's the last couple nights of October to be complete


Night 1
What am I doing fishing all night (literally) with no plan?  Not sure.  Losing my mind mostly.  I'm putting this in 2 weeks after because of the move.  I fished all night.  I had fish smattered throughout the night, but when it started getting light [nearby structure] was going off bananas.  I lost a 15lber or so around the tide switch (FML) in the middle of the night (330am?).  Saw it in a couple inches of water right in front of me.  First fish that took solid drag in a few weeks.  Again, enjoying the 9fter a lot!  Few schoolies, fish to maybe 10lbs, mostly smaller.  Then, I couldn't resist going over to XXX and went over and had schoolies on whatever I wanted to throw, fish after fish every cast.  Small, 20-23", but relentless.  It was pretty cool actually,  the birds were crazy- it was full on fall run blitz conditions.  Huge schools of fish blasting huge schools of peanuts.  2 fly guys did show up and I talked with 1 fly fisherman who had 40 fish that morning, but nothing over 24".  I had 19 fish from 15" to 10-11lbs in the span of an hour.  Mostly on the smallest size sebile stick shad.  the 1oz one or whatever.  perfect size for peanut imitator.  Saw my first ocean sun fish thought it was a shark.  Freaked me out, no idea how he was so close I guess it's deeper than I thought XXXXX.  Buoy in the bay says 55 deegrees I bet it's warmer than that inshore.  Feels crazy warm!

Night 2
water temp is a guess it is definitely colder than [on cape] but still so warm.  Wind was gusting over 60 while I was there, and was only going to intensify.  It was wild!!!!
fished the XXX [spot].  1 small fish on an SP minnow, two hits, both pretty much 10min after I got there.  Couldn't go any further than maybe 75 yards [corner] and then the sweep was so crazy it was unfishable.  Combination of shallow water with super sweep made it impossible.  Will it be fishable tomorrow night in SW?  Not sure but I'm going to try.  Only 1 fish.

In between those two nights, I went to the big fish spot a couple more times in CRAZY conditions just for good measure.  And that would be it for that spot.  No hits, no fish.  One night, I stood on a rock almost on shore and got SLAMMED over and over by 6ft waves in 40mph winds.  And that was just the beginning, I left as it built to almost 70mph.  It was wild!  I got video footage that I will use later in my movie.

So that's a wrap on October!  I think I had close to 250 fish this month alone (I'll put actual real total in my yearly recap next month, I'm too lazy now to count from my log).  But nothing big.  That's the bitch of it.  And yeah, I sorta embraced it, and didn't fish the big fish spots as much.  But what can you do?  Have to take what is given.  And that's really what I've come away with from this fall.  Just have to be happy with what you have.  This is what we have.  I'll just keep fishing my ass off, and practicing good C&R.  Hope for better regulations, sport fishing guys to do the right thing, and really really good YoY numbers (I have minimal faith in all of these things).

I'll post up the entire month of November and my only day fishing in December in the next week or so.  Then I'll do the yearly review, top plugs, and I think I'm going to do a couple videos and I've been asked to talk about what rods I use (but I swear that will be a boring talk, as I am not a rod guy...I am a plug guy).  And my movie will be out before spring.  So more posts coming in the next few weeks.  Sorry it's been a drought.  I encourage you to come back!

(PS, I'm not sure if you're notice, but no this isn't Carly posting, it's me.  I just somehow started using her account and can't change it).