Best on the Shoreline!
It's time to nominate your favorites for the 2021 Best on the Shoreline Awards!
Fall has some of the most picturesque sunsets, often best observed and enjoyed after a day of fishing. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Fishing under a new moon is usually productive for striped bass as Nate Kahle demonstrated while he fished for and released linesiders in Branford waters. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Productive fishers combine technical skills and common sense with a little creativity to regularly catch fish. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
So you think that you’re doing everything right, yet fish remain elusive, even when everyone else around is reeling them in. Is that’s what bothering you? Well, all the research, chat forums, and friendly recommendations will do a fisher little good if not accompanied by a some common sense. This applies to both newbies and more experienced fishers.
Learning as much as you can about the species of fish that inhabit the local waters is one of the most important first steps to take. Drilling down further to the specific species enhances success. By doing that, we learn more about their habitat, forage, and when and where they are most likely to feed. The truth is, these are the very basics that ultimately lead to success. Without that knowledge, fishing will be more of a roll of the dice.
If the goal is to enjoy the outdoors, and catching a fish is just a bonus, then bait your hook or tie on a lure and cast blindly, hoping for the best. On the other hand, most fishers prefer the opposite—to hook a fish, enjoy the fight, and either release the catch or save it for the table. So, let us take a look at the common sense side of the equation and stack the deck a little more in your favor.
Fishing rod, line, and terminal tackle collectively fall on the technical side. How you use them is nothing more than incorporating a little common sense. If experience has shown that a certain fish species is cautious and coy when approaching forage, then exercising finesse is called for, as opposed to thrashing a lure on the surface or relentlessly ripping it through the water.
Likewise, as different schools of forage fish become predominant in an area, fishing with similar imitations (whether artificials or similarly scented baits) is preferable. Presenting them in the most natural way possible within the water column goes a long way to entice a fish’s reaction. Fishing as though a fish could think and reason as we humans do is key.
When we take into account the variables that affect having a good day on the water verses a mediocre one, we have to carefully look at those beyond our control. Those fundamental influences include the weather, tide, current, and moon phase. Rain may be a bit uncomfortable, as may be the cold. However, wind can be just as great a factor, influencing fishing as in a sudden drop in barometric pressure. Tide and current can either have a positive or negative effect, depending on the fish sought. And certainly, the effects of the moon’s gravitational pull impacting the rise and fall of water levels cannot be overstated.
These variables that come into play readily determine the ultimate actions of a fisher. From what location to fish to the presentation once there, a fisher needs to make common sense judgments as to the best approach to take. In short, he or she needs to make the most realistic effort possible to the fish sought in order to draw a strike. Consequently, think twice and cast once!
On the Water
After a stretch of unseasonably warm and mild weather, wind and seas influenced by remnants of southern storms veering northward took a turn. Easterly winds and small craft advisories kicked in as gusts to 35 knots and two- to three-foot seas under gale warnings materialized. A cold front brought day temperatures down to the low 30s before clawing back to the high 40s, while inland water temps dropped from high to the low 50s. Watch out for the effects of La Niña!
That being said, fishing remained good throughout most of the Sound as large and small schools of forage fish seemed content as to their whereabouts. There were elongated schools of Atlantic menhaden, sizable hickory shad, silversides, and sand eels. These, of course, kept predator fish interested and, in many cases, caused feeding and thus good fishing action close to shore.
Lower tidal rivers and bays experienced greater striped bass activity, more so than would normally be seen by fishers around this time. Top-water poppers, jerk baits, small bucktails, and soft plastics, along with an assortment of baits kept fishers busy, mostly with catching and releasing fish. Schools of bunker could be seen stretching throughout the Sound as most activity centered around nearshore reefs. Drifting, trolling, and jigging techniques continued to produce fish and, as several fishers found out, live eels still produced fish even as November was winding down.
With all the bait still around and water temps not really tanking, some bluefish are in a fix as they battle with dropping temps verses the amount of forage available. In any case, by the time 50 degrees rolls around, they ought to be long gone. Not so for the blackfish (tautog). In all probability, their season will close before they slow down feeding and are ready to semi-hibernate. Some of the deeper reefs that require heavier weights have been producing fish seven- to eight pounds, while many others have scattered schools of fish less than 16 inches and individuals around three- to five pounds. Continue to look for porgy (scup) and black sea bass to strip your hook if you become lax, especially by the near offshore reefs.
Sloppy weather has turned anglers to the freshwater side as air and water temperatures have reversed course again. Trout action as been up in most of the stocked waters and salmon anglers have been showing success in those stocked waters as well. So far, lakes and ponds have continued producing inland species on live baits and artificials, but action has varied depending on weather conditions and location. The basses, pickerel, northern pike, perch, and channel catfish are still in play.
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 including clam supplies, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days, located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...