Best on the Shoreline!
It's time to nominate your favorites for the 2021 Best on the Shoreline Awards!
There was an increase in the number of old fishing reels that needed to be rejuvenated due to the COVID-19 pandemic as fishers returned to their once favorite pastime. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Holiday shopping is here and it just might be time to say goodbye to the old fishing reel and replace it with a new one. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
It was a good day of fall bass fishing for Jonathan Flagge of Branford, who put both his skills and his kayak to work. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan )
As fishing slides into winter and the holiday season, there is always something to find to satisfy that itch at your local bait and tackle shop. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
One clear sign that this has been a very unusual year for fishing is the number of fishers who have reentered this favorite pastime. Typically riding with them are members of the younger generation and, in many instances, friendships have been renewed along the way. Like the vintage Kodak commercial that proclaimed, “One day I’ll get around to it,” it seemed like that day would never come. However, this time around, it actually did come, albeit a bit begrudgingly in some cases.
There were more anglers seen along the banks of rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds than in the past several years. You could see the people gathering, even though the freshwater season opened early in order to spread out the impact. And as most anglers will concur, quality numbers of fish were caught.
It was the saltwater, however, that really drew fishers to the shores. Plan-breaking weather aside, being outdoors in fresh breezy air was the go-to during this pandemic-ridden season. Fishing topped the list of activities, followed by clamming and crabbing. A true indicator of fishers returning to the briny to fish was the demand to refurbish, repair, or service vintage reels—many of which hadn’t be used for decades.
As fishers came into the shop, invariably a decision had to be made as to whether a once-trusty old reel should be brought back to life or perhaps kept as a memento and passed along. It was an eye-opener when it came time to price new items against what people paid years ago for something similar. Of course, back then reels were simpler, materials not as superior, and technology considerably less advanced. At the time, reels touted by manufactures or represented in classic Sears catalogs were the top of the line and cost pennies to the dollar, but they held up and were workhorses.
Well, here we are, embarked on another holiday season and, as always, there is a question as to what to buy your favorite fisher. It could be a new reel, a rod and reel setup, or maybe just a stocking stuffer to say that someone was in your thoughts. Whether it’s an item from the norm or something more unusual amidst the slew of accessories, there is always something that you can get to make for a more pleasant and meaningful holiday season for that special someone.
On the Water
It looks like we finally have turned the corner on our consistently mild weather. There are plenty more daytime 40s and nighttime 20s and 30s in our future. Likewise, a similar trend holds true with inshore Long Island Sound water temperatures as they now seem to be approaching the normal December range of mid- to high-40s, although some spots are looking at the low 40s. At times, three- to five-foot seas were driven by gusty winds, prompting gale and small craft warnings, while other days, the flat calm prevailed. And so the winter cycle begins.
Will that be enough to have the abundant baitfish supply dwindle or will there be enough remaining as in some years past? Striped bass have always been known to be fairly resilient and reasonably adaptable. Other than our quality stock of holdover fish, will there be enough in the forecast to keep them unusually active longer, as opposed to transitioning into a semi-hibernating state? A suddenly prolonged arctic blast accompanied by a low-dipping cold front will definitely put us on a wintry path that propels the fishery into normality.
For now, though, various sizes of linesiders are feeding both in nearshore reefs and shoals, as well as in key tidal rivers. Their appetites vary, as does their propensity to feed. Live bait, soft swimmers, hard lures, plugs, and bucktails rigged with trailers have produced some late fall fish. Except for some deep-water black sea bass and maybe a few winter flounder, striped bass fishing remains the only game in Long Island Sound waters and its tributaries that amounts to anything.
Some winter chills and developing weather could put the final damper on the unusual late-season striped bass action. Nevertheless, this will not dampen the trout or Atlantic salmon fishing. Action in the stocked rivers and trout parks continues to shine. We are seeing rainbows and browns caught, along with a few native brookie holdovers. There are still plenty of tiger trout left over from the fall stocking to give anglers a good tussle, and they, like other fish, are taking anything from lures (spinners, spoons, and swimmers) to flies (nymphs and streamers) to scented baits (eggs and nuggets) to live worms. As for lakes and ponds, keep an eye on the water temperatures as they drop, thereby potentially affecting the method of fishing.
What remains to be seen is whether or not we will have an ice fishing season or if there only be a few teaser days along the shoreline. Undoubtedly, we can look for some decent ice both in the mid- to upper-northwest and northeast parts of the state. Recent rainfalls have alleviated drought conditions. All that remains is cold temperatures and snowfall, even though, as in most years, the mix-to-rain ratio generally dominates south of the I-95 corridor.
For those clammers, the tides have been outstanding lately and the mild weather (ignoring the gusty winds) has provided excellent shellfishing. We currently have both Guilford and Madison licenses for 2021 on hand, as well as the accessories that go along with them.
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 fly fishing, 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...