Wednesdays are my day off from Connecticut Outfitters, and since I didn’t have a charter, Josh and I decided to head out to Block Island for a change of scenery. The plan was to throw eels in the rocks with spinning gear, then switch over to sea bass in some deper water. Josh had some numbers from his past trips that he wanted to try, so we plugged them into the Humminbird and headed out.
There was a good sized swell going when we got there with lots of 6 footers and the ocassional bigger ones so we didn’t want to get too close to shore. We fished in about 30 feet of water casting the eels up tide and letting them free swim to the bottom. This was a completely differnt style of fishing for me. We had a blast catching at least 18 bass before we ran out of eels. The biggest of the trip was a 47″ beast that put up a hell of a fight on light gear.
Here is a quick video clip of the fish:
Once the eels were gone, we turned our attention to sea bass. We fished from 70 feet all the way up to 45 or so and found them scattered around everywhere. Unfortunately, there weren’t many keepers but the action was good. I brought home just enough for dinner. We ended up catching a little bit of everything… Stripers, bluefish, fluke, scup, sea bass and sand sharks. Not a successful day by Josh’s standards but it was definitely a welcome change of pace and scenery for me.
Once again, I had the pleasure of having Mike Laptew AKA, the diving fisherman on board today. Mike and I have spent quite a bit of time on the water filming stripers over the last few years. Mike has produced some amazing video that he uses in his seminars and his DVD’s. The fishing has been outstanding lately, so ur hopes were high that we would get some HD quality footage of some big bass.
There had been rumors of bunker in the Niantic River. As everyone knows, there is no better bait on the planet for big bass than a live bunker. I got up extra early (1:45) to allow ourselves some time to search for them. We looked for over an hour and only saw sporadic activity. Not enough to throw the cast net or snag so by 5 or so we were on our way out from under the bridges in search of plan B, otherwise known as scup.
We went to all the usual places and did manage to get some nice fish in the boat. These fish normally would have made any charter of mine happy but we had set our sights on bigger things. It just didn’t happen today. We had a ton of hits but had a lot of trouble hooking up, they bass were just not very aggressive in the way that they were hitting the baits. Mike worked his magic and managed to get his usual fantastic photos of some of the fish. Here are a few courtesy of Mike Laptew, www.laptewproductions.com
Just when I thought things couldn’t get any better after last week, they did…
I had Bob R on board again, this time with his buddy Mark. We started with alight load of bait so that we could get out on the humps quicker. I think we were striper fishing by 5:20. I think the guys had their first fish by 5:22… Mark had the first fish on, a beast that fought like hell. Just as I was boating Mark’s fish, Bob got hit. We measured Mark’s fish while Bob fought his. The first one over the rails was 48″. Not a bad start. We were shocked when Bob’s fish came to the boat… This one was even bigger! Bob’s measured 51″ and weighed 53 pounds on the digital scale.
We boated a few more fish that were a bit over 40″ and then lost the tide. We ran in for another round of scup. By the time we returned, the tide was moving nicely again. They weren’t in the same spots, so we moved a few miles away to another rock pile and dropped down. Both guys hooked up right away. More of the same with dood fish in the low 40″ range. Once things slowed down, i rigged up a rod and dropped down to see what I could do and was instantly smashed by a big bass. It wasn’t hard to tell that this was a hell of a fish. A few minutes later, we had our second 50 pound bass of the day in the boat!!!
This one was a bit different… It looked like it had been attacked by a shark at some point in it’s life but had somehow survived the encounter. The fish was completly healed and, judging by her girth, was having no trouble feeding. She measured a bit over 50″, I didn’t weigh her but am estimating it at close to 55 pounds:
I felt kind of bad for taking a fish like that out from under the guys so I put the rod away for the rest of the trip. They continued to beat up on the bass pretty good without my help… The total for the day was 12 in the boat with all but 2 going over 40″. Here are a couple more pics from the day:
The day is a blur from start to finish… Where do I start?
I had my favorite frequent flyer, Stroby on board today. This time he brough his buddy, Chuck who is (was) a newbie to this type of fishing. We got him initiated quickly this morning. Bob and I have been fishing together for years, I always look forward to his trips because I get to fish as well. For whatever reason, he seems to be my good luck charm. We have teamed up for some nice fish over the years. Today was no different. Bob got the skunk out of the boat on the first drift. We had a triple header on our seconddrift. I had planned to get a lot of video today so when their two scup started getting nervous, I jammed my rod in the holder to get the camera rolling. Within seconds, all 3 reels were screaming… I left mine in the holder and kept recording while Bob and Chuck danced around trying not to get too tangled. I have no idea how it all worked out but we managed to get all 3 fish in the boat. Chuck was elected to hold 2 of the 3 because he is a big dude and looked like he could hack it… He did… Barely…
Here’s a quick clip of the mayhem:
As the tide slowed, we went out to the usual deep water humps and played with some smaller fish and then moved on to an area that had better tide. We do Ok at this spot, I was stunned when both guys hooked up on the first drop… After a while, the fog started burning off. I thought for sure that that would be the end of the bite but I was wrong We had a couple of doubles and another triple. It’s been a long time since I’ve seen the cathing this good!
Today was one of those days… Everything fell into place. Larry brought his 10 year old son, Luke out for some big stripers today. It didn’t take long to find what we were looking for. Larry hooked up with the first two fish. The first was nothing special, but the second fish was a huge 47″ inch beast that was over 40 pounds. I got a lot of video today, including Larry’s big one. I should have some time over the weekend to get the video up. Larry had his hands full and his excitement was quite evident!
If I remember correctly, it was only our third drift of the morning when Luke hooked up next. This was also a big fish. We put him up on the bow and coached him through the fight, he did great! I can’t wait to see the video of this one… This one was 45″. I don’t know who was more proud, dad or young Luke.
We had a couple more fish before the tide slowed, they were all right around the 40″ mark. Once the water got slow, we went deep to kill some time while we waited for the tide change. On the first drop in 70 feet of water, the guys doubled up. As usual, they were smaller fish in the deep spot, but the guys were thrilled to have a double.
We were getting low on bait, so we used the slack to run in and get a few more for the last part of the trip. Once we had what we needed, I made the decision to move to a new spot a few miles away. It was more of the same. First drop we got pounded but lost the first two we had on. Luke managed one more fish another opne that was just over 40″
He declared that he was just too tired to fish anymore and handed the rod off to me. Larry and I teamed up for 3 more bass before we called it quits. We ended up with 6 fish over 40″ on the day and 2 were over 40 pounds…. Great job guys!
Victor and Jimmy made the drive up from New York City for a 5 am launch. The same as yesterday, the bait was pretty easy and we were on the reefs in no time. We went straight to where Andrew had lost his big fish on Tuesday and dropped down. We were 2 drifts into the trip when bit Victor and Jimmy got smoked by big fish. Both guys have lots of experience on the water with all kinds of species but this was their first time at stripers in somewhat shallow water. They were caught by surprise by the power of these fish. Both bass made screaming runs and got them into the bottom… Lesson learned, the drags got tightened down… We lost the tide and moved out to deeper water while we waited for the change.
We made a few drifts in the 50 to 60 foot range and Jimmy managed to break the curse with a 38″ bass. Not a big fish, but the skunk was officially out of the boat. We spent about 45 minutes out in deeper water without any more hits and then made the move back in shallow again. Jimmy hooked up right away with a decent fish.
We seemed to attract a bit of attention after the first couple of fish there. We quickly had 3 boats move in to our drift lanes. I hate fishing in a crowd, so we picked up and moved off to another spot a few miles away.
By the time we got to the next spot, the tide was moving nicely. Our drifts were right at 2MPH. We made a few drifts, each time moving a little deeper untill we found what we were looking for. As soon as we started marking boulders, I started seeing fish and Victor hooked up…
Things slowed down after the big one. That was the last one in the boat. Thankfully, the breeze was out of the south, so the temps stayed down for us. It was humid but the temps were tolerable.
After some much needed time off, I went out to do some scouting with Andrew. The game plan was to try some shallow water areas that I hadn’t hit opver the last coupele of seasons…. We got a bunch of bait in record time and headed out to the piles. The water was about as flat as it ever gets. We had a great sunrise on the way out…
Guess I should have checked the tides… The water was barely moving and we had at least an hour to go before it switched and got moving good again. We tried a few piles by slow trolling the scup with the trolling motor and had a couple of hits but no hook ups. I decide that that was enough scouting for one day, so we made a bee line for where I had left the bass on my last trip out.
They were still right where I left them. We were getting hits on nearly every drop but for one reason or another, we either couldn’t hook them or they were coming off durring the fight. One one drop, Andrew got smashed. I didn’t realize that the fish was running as long as it was and by the time Andrew asked me to start the motor, it was too late. She got us in the rocks. We were both pretty pissed for a few drifts afterwards. Andrew redeemed himself by hooking up again. This one stayed on and we boated a big old 48″ bass…
We had a few more fish but nothing of any size. With a good breeze out of the NW, it was getting hot quick out on the water so we elected to head in early. We were back at the ramp around 10…
Matt’s wife bought him a charter for his birthday and today was our day on the water. Matt has done a ton of fishing but mostly with artificials, today was going to be a lesson in live bait. The bait catching went well and since Matt was solo, we didn’t need much. We were on the reef by 5:30.
Matt got hammered on the second drift, he had the fish on for a second but she came off. We made a few more drifts in that area but had no other hits and weren’tr marking anything so we went shallow. Matt gave me the go ahead to drop a line and I wasted no time getting a bait in the water. We had a few drifts in the shallows when my scup started its death dance. This went on for about 30 seconds before the rod went down. It was innediately clear that this was a good fish. After 40 yards of line came off the reel, I could feel the fish down in the rocks and kelp. We were only in 15 feet of water and I needed to change the angle of the fight quick. I fired up the motor and began to chase her down. The whol time I was catching up, I could feel the line rubbing along the bottom. I thought there was a no chance at all to get the fish back out… I have lost 5 fish like this so far this season.
This time, I backed way off the drag and instead of running at the fish, I went at about a 45 degree angle off to the right. Once I passed the fish, I tightened the drag back down and increased the pressure on the fish. I was gaining line, but I still felt it rubbing. At this point, I figured it had to be either kelp or a lobster pot, but there were no pots anywhere around us… All of a sudden I felt a pop and the line went slack. Damn! Another one broke me off… As I reeled the slack in, the rod bent back over again! Somehow, the fish was still there. A couple of seconds later, as the fish came into view, I figured out what had happened… The fish was wrapped up in about 30 pounds of kelp. That “pop” I felt had been the roots of the kelp being torn out of the bottom. The fight lasted a couple more minutes ,but we finally boated her. She measured a bit over 50″ and I’m guessing she was well over 50 pounds. I had Matt keep her in the water on the Boga till the deck was cleared and the camera ready. We snapped a few pics and sent her along her way again.
We drifted the area for the next 3 hours and had just one other fish, another beast that measured 45″ weighed 39 1/2 pounds. No pictures of that one, the conditions were perfect and we wanted to get right back to fishing… With an hour left in the trip and no action where we were, we ran back to the 60 foot hump that has been producing for the last 2 weeks. They were still there… A ton of fish in a tight wad. There were some medium sized bass on top chasing sand eels and some other bait I couldn’t identify. The birds were going nuts as well. Not just terns but there were gulls in the mix too. We put a few more smaller bass in the boat and ran out of time.
Today was a bit of a struggle. We ended up doing fine but I was getting worried when we still didn’t have a bass in the boat by 8 this morning… Larry was back on board again, this time with buds with John and Barry. Scup took a little longer than usual so by the time we got to the reef, the tide was on its last legs. We stuck with it for a while but eventually headed a couple of miles away to a deep water hump.
By the time we got there, the tide had switched and we had a double on the first drop. We lost one but managed to boat a 38″ to get the skunk out of the boat. My 7 year streak was still intact…
They were stacked up pretty good right on the hump…
We messed around for another half hour or so. We had a lot of half hearted hits and a few hook ups but we decided to go find some bigger fish…
We moved to a rock pile in 20 feet of water that dropped back to 35. The conditions there were pretty tough there. The wind against the tide was pushing the rip to 4 feet at times. There were a few fish on the elctronics and we eventually managed to get a couple of them to eat… John’s was the biggest of the day (Left) but Barry’s fish put up a hell of a fight.
The total for the day was 6 in the boat. Not bad, but I was hoping for better… We’ll see what tomorrow brings!
It has been an outstanding week on the water and today was the icing on the cake! I had Alex and his buddy Rick on board this morning. Turns out, we grew up within a few miles of each other and fished many of the same places growing up… Small world. It was a bit frustrating early with more than one boat shadowing our every move on more than one reef, but we still managed to put some fish in the boat. At one point, we were doubling up for our 3rd straight drift, and it just got a little too crowded on that pile. The guys were catching decent fish but nothing over 38″. I told them that we could stay there and continue to beat the crap out of them, or move to new waters and find some bigger fish. The action would be slower but the fish would be bigger. They both agreed to go big game hunting instead. We moved a mile or so away from the fleet and on the very first drop, Rick hooked up with a good fish.
That was it for a while after that. It looked like things had slowed for everybody because all the boats were jumping from hump to hump rather than staying on their drift lines. I decided at that point to make a big move and we headed 12 miles or so to a spot I hadn’t fished in a few years. There were no other boats within 3 miles of us and the tide was perfect. Rick hooked up again, this one was screaming line off the reel. Alex cleared his line and I fired up the boat to keep a steep angle between us and the fish. I have been down this road before with big fish in big boulders and I wasn’t going to lose this one. Rick did a great job keeping the rod tip high and pressure on the fish and we finally boated her.
At this point, Alex was wondering what he was doing wrong… Not to worry, a few drifts later he got slammed. Another good fish. Same drill, clear the lines and chase her down. The fish took full advantage of a 3MPH tide and fought hard but with the right angle, Alex had it to the boat a few minutes later. One I had control of the fish, i handed it off to Alex and had him keep her in the water till the camera was ready…
Not to be outdone, a few drifts later Rick hooks up again. AGAIN, this was a big fish. Same fire drill , same results. Another beast in the boat.
We had a perfect day. Great weather, great tide, great company and OUTSTANDING fishing! After fishing for 11 out of the last 12 days, I finally get a couple of days off. I might even get to sleep in till 5. Next report on Monday… Stay tuned…