Jun 9, 2010

Memorial Weekend Fishing Report

I know this one is late, but I didn't have much time after this trip prior to heading out for my Penns Creek trip so here it is.

Had some friends up from New Jersey to hit the salt and try their luck chasing striped bass and fluke.  Our normal trip starts out with an early wake up of 2am to give us time to wipe the sand out of the eyes have some wake-up juice and load the truck before meeting others at the parking lot for a 3:15am departure for our hour plus ride to the boat.  My friends boat is docked at Groton, CT which gives us a nice short ride to the Race in the Long Island Sound.  Captain Ernie likes to get out before the sun comes up and this usually works in our favor.

We set out for the short 10 minute ride to Race Rock in clear and calm conditions and had lines in by 5:15am and the first fish just minutes after.  We started out using parachute jigs tipped with a pork strip on a wire rod.  Basically the Captain's job is put the boat over fish and you snap the rod to give the jig action and wham.....Fish on....  well, it is supposed to be that easy but much of this depends on the tide, bait and the fish's willingness to cooperate.  We worked are way along the rock picking up some fish, a keeper here and there and plenty of shorts.  The race is New York waters and their fishing regulation allow for 1 fish over 40" and 1 fish over 28" for a total of two fish per person.  It's always nice to get keepers in the boat, but we have to work a little harder for the 40+ inch fish.

About an hour into the fishing we started to see the birds working over some bait, which turned out to be sand eels, and the bass picking away at these bait balls so away went the wire rods and out came the spinning gear.  If I could only fish for stripers one way it would be on light tackle gear and I'd throw all the big stuff out.  It didn't take long for the guys to hook up on the spinning rods and the excitement really rises.  Everyone is running around like little boys at Christmas time.  It wasn't fast and furious by any means but it was fun fishing the mini blitz.  Capt would position the boat and we'd make some casts and then the fish would move a bit and we would repeat the dance.  This dance goes well when all the other boats play well and for the most part they did.  Turns out the fish were chasing sand eels and ofcourse we had NOTHING in the boat that matched.  You got to be kidding me, all this gear and nothing to match the hatch.  Oh well, you can count on one thing for certain...We had sand eel rigs ready the next day.

After getting 6 keeper bass in the cooler one of which was a nice 38" fish that Paulie caught on the spinning gear we headed off to do some Fluke fishing.  Fluke fishing is one of my favorites as it is a little more relaxing as we drift fluke rigs tipped with Squid or smelt along the bottom waiting for the fish to bite.  Sometimes the fishing is fast and other times very slow.  Today was one of those slow days and getting onto fluke was tough.  In NY waters fluke must be a minimum of  21" long and you are allowed two fluke per person.  CT regulations are different once again at only 19.5" and 3 fish per person but you must follow the regulations of the state whose waters you are fishing in so we worked through many shorts (fluke that didn't meet the minimum length) before landing our fist keeper at 22".  Now that is a nice sized fluke and great eating.  When you are fluke fishing there is no telling what you will catch.  Blues will come by and eat your bait, black sea bass, skate and even sand sharks but I've never seen someone catch a rock or a dead crab but we saw both of these caught this weekend.

We ended the Saturday Trip with 6 keeper bass, 2 keeper fluke (both caught by me - My personal best at 26"), some skate, sea robin and a dead crab and were back at the dock by 1:30pm to clean fish, clean up and start the hour plus drive home.  The day isn't over until we get all the gear reorganized, take some showers, eat some dinner and a few drinks and then in bed by 9pm to start the whole thing over again on Sunday.

Sunday started out the same way with an early wake up and long drive to the marina.  the big difference today was fog.  Man I hate the fog it's just plain scary.  The ride out to Race Rock was a little slower but familiar.  It didn't take long before Raymond was hooked up on the first bass of the day on the old wire rod.  After a few passes the birds started working over bait and we could see the bass chasing them once again so we switched one of the rods over for trolling an umbrella rig which allows multiple hooks to be trolled along the back of the boat.  Now this is something I really hate because it usually means multiple fish hooked up at one time so we gave the rig to the biggest guy and it was a good thing we did because on two passes with this rig he hooked 4 fish at one time on each pass.  That's not fun, that's work.  We continued to pick away at fish and decided to put the wire rods away and have some more fun with the spinning gear and this time we had the right rigs to match the hatch - Sand eels.  Anyone that fishes top water knows how much fun it is to watch a fish come up and smack your bait, but in the salt with a 36 - 38 inch fish it is incredible and usually cause for pure chaos as we  dance around the boat casting to busting fish.  

After playing with the bass for a few hours and having 6 keepers in the boat it was off to do some fluking.  We hit the same spot as Saturday but after a few drifts of nothing we decided to take the 30 minute boat ride and run across the pond to another NY spot and it was good thing we did.  The first drift yielded a keeper fluke at 27".  Raymond almost yanked it clean out of the water without a net.  We worked the area over and caught more shorts and ended up with 3 more NY keepers.  We also landed a couple of sea bass, one blue fish and a sand shark.  Nothing like a mixed bag to make the day fun.  We fished until about 1:30pm and headed back to the marina.  We had to stop to watch a seal trying to eat a skate and then another stop to check the captains lobster pots.  Back at the dock it's repeat the process of unload the boat, cleaning it down and cleaning the fish and ofcourse some pictures. Day two yielded 6 keeper bass, one blue fish, one keeper sea bass and 4 keeper fluke. We had a great 2 days of fishing with plenty of laughs, some surprises and enough fish to enjoy for dinner.

Here are some additional pictures from the weekend.


  1. A great blog.

    I believe we have trampled some of the same ground along the DWG, my side being PA.

    I also fish some of the fine trout streams in eastern CT.

    Brk Trt

  2. passinthru, Looks like a great weekend of fishing, and an even better weekend of eating fresh fish. Nice pics and story.

  3. BRk Trt - With my dad now retired and living in the Poconos i hope to do more on the PA side. I fished the NEscopek and lehigh last year and i believe the tobyhanna which is near his house. hope to be back down in a another couple weeks to do some more around there. Someday i hope to get into the small creeks like you do.

    Thanks for the kind words Savage.

  4. Wow, looks like an awesome time. I don't get out on the salt as much as I'd like, but with a report like that...I'm getting the itch!

  5. I may hit the Gap on Saturday.

    Lovely little creeks there.