People Are Turning to Fishing for Relief
Mikayla Ruggiero, 12, of Killingworth had a proud moment when she landed this fine Hammonasset River brown trout. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Jonathan Flagge of Branford kicked off the early spring largemouth bass bite by hooking into and releasing this fine bucketmouth. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Dan (left) and Art (right) make smart choices by exercising social distancing and wearing PPE’s during this COVID-19 pandemic. (Photo courtesy of Captain Morgan )
Medical professionals, first responders, and the people on the front lines battling COVID-19 deserve the highest recognition for their unselfish dedication to their task at hand. The personal risk and ungodly hours that each and every one of them undertakes is purely humanitarian. For the people who are behind the scenes and not often mentioned, we thank them as well.
Many of these workers, like many of us, have had their lives put on hold and, in all probability, turned upside down. With things that we were always told to do—be sociable, go to services, go to school—we now are being told to do just the opposite. We are in a confused state and one in which everyone is attempting to adjust accordingly.
To latch on to something familiar in this time of need is not only emotionally beneficial, but soothing. One such popular outdoor activity that was introduced to many at an early age is fishing. It can be someone’s way of jettisoning the trials and tribulations of the day or a family effort to bond.
What we are seeing more and more at the shop is that people involved in the COVID-19 effort are turning to fishing as a way of spending their limited quality time with family. In doing so, they are temporarily shedding the pressures of the day, while getting a breath of fresh air. Doctors, firefighters, and law enforcement (and the list goes on) re-tell their stories in a humbling way. In just a few short hours, they will be back to doing their absolute best by easing the pain of many and attempting to save more lives.
For example, we spoke with a doctor (we’ll call him Dr. Jacob) who has been working with the most critical of patients and commented, “This is the calling I was meant to follow and I will save as many lives as I possibly can.” He followed up by saying that the regimen his hospital put in place to keep all medical staff healthy and safe is very stringent. However, he also indicated there still remains a risk. We were then left with two reels to service—his and his father’s—as we thanked him for his efforts and wished him Godspeed.
On the Water
Gusty winds, gale warnings, and rain pelted the shoreline prior to a mixed emotional holiday weekend that nevertheless, saw hope and optimism. In light of the seas being rough going, inshore water temperatures managed to bridge 47 degrees, bringing us closer to actual spring-like conditions. As a result, the briny saw an uptick in activity when seas laid down and either winds subsided or shifted direction.
There was more bait activity in some bays and lower tidal rivers that seemed to get the attention of schoolie striped bass and winter flounder. The schoolies went after soft plastics, spoons, and small jigs including natural soft baits and some chunks. A few unexpected larger fish were the surprise. Medium fly rod set ups stripping deceivers and Clousers have been successful in catching and releasing fish along the beaches and by structures adjacent to tidal rivers.
Winter flounder catches were generally improved by chumming. Keeping the chum pot close to the bottom will carry the bits and pieces down tide, often drawing more than one flattie closer to your baited hook. Using your oar or paddle to scratch the bottom can have a similar effect. That action will loosen small crustaceans and, in turn, get those fish attention, drawing them closer to your flounder hook as well.
Blackfish (tautog) still need a little more help from Mother Nature’s warm breath. Although water temperatures are trying to reach the 50s, they are not there yet. More sunny days will warm the jetties and immediately raise the water temps surrounding the rocks. Other than that, deeper water reefs and calm seas could yield an early white chin.
Inland fishing continues to ramp up. Trout fishing remains strong in most of the stocked waters considering that most of Connecticut’s waters have received their initial batches of fish. From breeders to the smallest, fish are being caught pretty much on a daily basis, pending weather conditions. So far, it has made little difference whether you are fly fishing or using conventional methods—a good percentage of anglers are satisfied with their results. Live baits, artificials, scented ones, and flies are producing fish. The results remain with the angler’s skill level or lucky streak.
Lakes and ponds are seeing similar results when it comes to largemouth and smallmouth bass, black crappie, pickerel, perch, and catfish. River carp catches are up and a few more northern pike are being caught. Keep an eye on walleye and, for everyone’s protection, be considerate of social distancing on any water. If you can touch someone with your rod tip, someone needs to back off and think twice about offering a hand to net a stranger’s catch.
The date of the shop’s annual trout contest has been moved to Saturday, May 9. Registrations for the 15th annual Codi and Bubba Memorial Trout Contest will continue until then. Fish anywhere. Prizes for the three heaviest trout weighed. Social distancing practiced. Five bucks gets you in. Kids under 12 fish free when accompanied by a registered adult. It’s a good cause and donations are always welcome.
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, call the shop at 203-245-8665. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...