Fishers Are Survivors
Practicing social distancing as per COVID-19 guidelines (top) and avoiding crowds (bottom) are smart decisions for fishers to make. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Safe fishing today can provide for continued fishing tomorrow. (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Nice Hammonasset River rainbow caught by Steve Greenbacker of Madison while fly fishing with his 4-weight and a bead head nymph. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Fishing is turning out to be an important part of helping local people get through COVID-19. Quite honestly, that’s the primary reason the shop remains open. Fishing is helping a lot of folks maintain some sort of normalcy during this difficult time and that, in turn, is providing an emotional boost for many.
Those who fish regularly don’t necessarily need the most favorable weather. However, those who look at this activity as an opportunity to get out of the house on sunny days, enjoy fresh air, and use fishing as a creative family event, do recognize it for its value.
When on, in, or near the water, it has always been appropriate to give your fellow angler ample room. In fact, crowding one’s space has traditionally been frowned upon. As the weather improves and the days get longer, there will be more anglers fishing. With temperatures rising in the rivers and streams, water begins evaporating and fish will have a tendency to congregate in the cooler pools, causing more anglers to group closer together.
This temptation should be avoided for three main reasons. For one, it’s the smart thing to do. Two, it is stressed (in fact, mandated) that social distancing be observed. Three, it’s better to take the high road and observe what should be done to help prevent the spread of COVID-19 rather than have one of your favorite fishing holes be temporarily restricted or placed off-limits as some state parks have been. Besides, it’s much better to have fewer anglers catch some fish than crowds of anglers catch none.
Distance is a measurement of space between two points. When angling, reducing the distance between angler and a hooked fish to zero is the goal. When social distancing, increasing the distance between anglers is the goal. Both are beneficial, but for different reasons.
Turning your fishing rod into somewhat of a distancing guide can help you gauge. If the tip of your outstretched rod can touch the angler next to you, someone is too close. And if approaching another on a narrow path where a six-foot distance cannot be maintained, then certainly a mask should be worn. A few simple precautions such as these will go a long way in keeping fishers safe and continue to keep our rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds unrestricted and open. This also goes for public boat ramps.
On the Water
Spring weather continues to unfold as thunderous downpours, intermittent showers, and craft warnings appear and disappear. Long Island Sound inshore water temperatures are ranging from the mid to high 40s, while seas waver from being angry to calm. Each day tinges of green and getting greener, more florals bloom, and the wetlands get fuller.
The striped bass bite is moving right along with most of the fish caught less than 28 inches. There are exceptions, such as a few larger fish that fell over the slot limit and were either released or never surfaced for their photo op. Soft plastics like swim shads, hard swimmers, wooden plugs, small jigs, spoons, and various baits are connecting along the immediate shoreline. Tides, wind, and sea conditions are relevant, as is time of day.
Winter flounder catches remain varied with most fish caught in sandy bays or harbor channels. Walking up and down the channels with the dropping and rising tides has been productive, while fishing the bays was more favorable during the beginning to mid-flood tides. Chumming is a definite plus! Spring blackfish (tautog) season closes on Friday, May 1 and reopens Wednesday, July 1 after a much better-than-average spring run.
Swollen rivers and streams were the result of heavy rains that soaked the area prior to the weekend before unsettled weather dotted the state once again. Trout hunkered down, some of which spread out before returning to their normal haunts after water levels and flows abated. Their appetites craved worms, insects, imitations, and the like. Nymphs, streamers, and now dry flies are turning heads, while scented baits, swimmers, and inline spinners continue to work well as more trout are being stocked.
Lakes and ponds are seeing more largemouth bass being caught and released with smallies caught in the rivers on small artificials. Pickerel remain a fun and hard-fighting aggressive fish to catch as they lurk among the weed lines. Suspended black crappie are taking small jigs, while perch and sunnies nibble on worms. The season is definitely beginning to mature with more anglers fishing from the banks and their small vessels.
The shop’s annual trout contest will take place on Saturday, May 16. Registrations for the 15th annual Codi and Bubba Memorial Trout Contest will continue until then. Fish anywhere. Prizes for the three heaviest trout weighed. Social distancing practiced and group numbers monitored as per recommended guidelines. Five bucks gets you in. Kids under 12 fish free when accompanied by a registered adult. It’s a good cause and donations are always welcome.
Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and international fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.
For all things fishy, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days at 21 Boston Post Road. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...