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Extreme low perigee tides reveal hidden fish havens. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
A change in summer flounder regulations for 2017 is currently being debated and will affect fishers like Kim Pouliot of New London. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
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As the wolves howled in hunger, January’s full moon brightened the hillsides. It’s the time of year when food is usually scarce and a cracked branch would echo throughout the woods. This is the way the first month of a new year has generally been. That is, until recently, when Mother Nature seemed to have lost her way. Or did she?
Weather patterns like last year’s have been unpredictably predictable. When we needed rain, it didn’t come. When it should have been cold, it wasn’t. Contrarily, when we were lulled into feeling that warm weather would continue, it fooled us.
So, if one was drawn to the outdoors, it could be considered an advantage. Most of us who are somewhat rugged are resolved to the fact that things expected to transpire often don’t. Winter has a way of changing plans and creating new ones, opening the door for wonderful exploration—and what better place to explore than the shoreline, the place where water meets land?
Of all types of geography, this is the one junction that constantly begs change—and even more so during stormy episodes. Waves carve new paths and have the power to move earth and what’s on it. They can be as calm as a sleeping baby lamb one moment and then become as ferocious as a hungry lion the next. As this interaction repeats, in this case under a recent Full Wolf Moon, it’s a good time to observe any physical changes that may have taken place.
Fishers of all kinds can either benefit from these changes or not. New cuts, troughs, ditches, etc., may develop on the sea bottom, while pre-existing ones may be completely covered over or transformed into other structural anomalies. Knowing where these changes took place goes a long way in determining where and how to fish these areas.
Periodically, a fisher will continue to frequent a successful spot year after year until it becomes non-productive one season. Often, one would think that either the fish didn’t come in yet, that it’s an off year, or they moved. Well, chances are that they did move and probably not far. Those changes in the bottom created new homes for forage to hide and avenues to travel. They also created new ambush points for predators like striped bass and bluefish. So, when a winter full moon shines, especially during a perigee tide, take a daytime walk along the beach at the extreme low tide and make a note of any changes. Fish accordingly and your hookups will increase.
On the Water
We are in that spring again, winter again mode where, on a given day, it can either be 50 degrees with the sun shining or the ground can be covered in snow. Long Island Sound inshore water temperatures were in the low 40s. During the most recent bout with the cold, they dipped into the mid-high 30s. Now, they’re once again heading into the 40s as the air temps approach 50 degrees.
All of these fluctuations are adjusting fishing modes and how fish are reacting. The Sound has been relatively stable with forage fish, such as Atlantic herring, that are available for fishers to catch. Offshore, it’s been cod, pollack, and ling. Inshore, most main tidal rivers like the Thames, Connecticut, Quinnipiac, and Housatonic have a winter striped bass population that’s been active during these mild conditions.
The most active stripers continue to be small fish, but the action has been steady when anglers hit it right. Mainly, when water temps warmed and prompted forage to move about, linesiders were induced to hunt and feed. Small baits (artificial or otherwise) that best imitated the food size proved most successful. Certainly, there are larger fish holding over that require more patience and finesse to catch. However, these are outnumbered by the stacks of the juveniles.
Whereas sections of the state were once dotted with small lakes having ice, choices are now very limited. Most bodies of water have opened up enough, if not completely, to make any ice tentative. Of course, there’s still more winter ahead for ice to form, making jigging up some fish and springing the flags on tipups a reality. For now, fishing those same waters can give surprising results, especially with a live shiner.
Connecticut Marine Fisheries hosted the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission public hearing on Draft Addendum XXVIII to the Summer Flounder Interstate Management Plan on Jan. 10. Those in attendance generally opted for Option 5 which “applies a near coastwise one-inch size limit increase and bag limit reduction to four fish or less.” This option “applies broad action across all states to reduce harvest and provides for more coastwise consistency in regulations.” Unless tweaked somehow, unfortunately, this option does not achieve the required reduction and can ultimately be overruled by the National Marine Fisheries Service because this species is co-managed. Of the other options, Options 2 to 4 require all states to share in the reduction, in one form or another, to seemingly make for a fairer approach. More to follow as the decision making process unfolds.
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...
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