Tuesday, December 07, 2021


Fishers Warm Up with a Cup of Joe


Fall fishing brings prize catches, outstanding fishing, and the warmth of bold flavors with a nice cup of Joe. Photo illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan

Fall fishing brings prize catches, outstanding fishing, and the warmth of bold flavors with a nice cup of Joe. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan)


Blackfish (tautog) are often found in or around abandoned lobster pots that can now be used as part of a fish’s concealing habitat, in addition to being a convenient food source.

Photo illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan

Blackfish (tautog) are often found in or around abandoned lobster pots that can now be used as part of a fish’s concealing habitat, in addition to being a convenient food source. Photo (Illustration courtesy of Captain Morgan)

To many fishers, one of the prerequisites of being on the water in November is having a hot cup of Joe just an arm’s length away. There are plenty of theories as to why Joe stuck as a nickname for coffee, but the fact is that no one really knows for certain.

One theory is that coffee is considered a common drink and Joe is a common name. Another is that Joe is a combination of such slang words as java, mocha, and jamoke, and that seems most logical considering that was referenced in the Reserve Officers Manual in 1931 by a chap named Erdman. To go on, that hot cup of Joe is also referred to as jitter juice, morning mud, and liquid energy.

However, there is a tale that goes back to the appointment of Josephus Daniels to Secretary of the Navy by Woodrow Wilson in 1914, when “Secretary Joe” issued General Order 99, which prohibited alcohol aboard naval vessels. Since then, the strongest drink of any kind allowed has been coffee. Needless to say, peeved sober sailors on board were not thrilled. So, as a pay back, they started calling coffee a cup of Joe. Seems plausible.

Being on the water around Thanksgiving time, fishing for the best fish the season has to offer, is special. You’ll either encounter a memorable bite of staging striped bass inhaling as much forage as possible or blackfish (tautog) tucked in among the rocky structures testing your skill and patience, or else it will be a very long tide. If the bite is nonstop, your body will generate enough heat until it cools itself down. If not, somehow the cold will creep through your layers of clothing and begin to work on your core.

In either case, reaching for a cup of Joe and downing a few sips will warm the chill, returning feeling to any exposed face parts, fingertips, and ears. Sometime during this sequence, a fisher will usually contemplate a move to another spot. Unless catching sea spray from the wind, it’s when weighing anchor that fishers will realize how much warmer the water is compared to the air. Upon cracking the lid off the cooler, a fisher will also realize that there is plenty of ice left to keep the catch fresh—a sign of the time.

So, layer up, keep extra lines and a spare anchor handy, check your personal flotation devices, and charge your cell phone. And by all means, keep that hot cup of Joe handy for those times when a few sips are needed as you enjoy your Thanksgiving.

On the Water

Weather continues to be influenced by the upper Midwest states as remnants of Arctic clippers and colder temperatures make their way eastward. Calm seas are being rocked by intermittent, gusty winds and small craft warnings, while Long Island Sound inshore water temperatures continue a downward trend toward 55 degrees or lower, occasionally bouncing back a degree or two due to the sun’s warming. Periods of warm fronts and high pressures did develop, but they were followed by more seasonal weather.

As the fall fishing season rolls on and early morning temperatures start to wreak havoc with batteries and dock lines, a thermos of hot Joe almost becomes a staple on board. To some, it’s a necessity! It is the early morning and late day striper bite that is the coldest. ‘Togs, on the other hand, mostly bite when temperatures are warmer during the daytime, especially on sun-filled tides and calm seas. Even though it is easier to maintain a better core temperature during the latter, a cup of hot coffee from the thermos is much appreciated.

It has been a while since ‘toggers complained about sore arms caused by reeling in ‘togs. Recently, though, that has been the case when situated on top of schools of shorts. Of course, this is not happening on every reef, rock pile, or even around abandoned lobster pots. However, surprisingly, it is typically occurring in depths less than 15 feet. Coincidentally, as soon tautog were deemed not overfished in the Sound and regulations relaxed, the bite strengthened. Coincidence or not, it has been a good fall season and most likely will be until ‘toggers enjoy the last day of the 2021 season on Sunday, Nov. 28. Until then, Captain Morgan’s anticipates that live crabs will be available for anyone venturing out.

Striped bass are still chowing down on baitfish around pockets of warm water as mostly schoolies and slot-limit linesiders stage along the tidal rivers and near shore reefs. Watch out for the occasional cow lurking in the surf. Live eels, chunk baits, jigs, swimmers, umbrella rigs, and sinking flies are in play. Other predators like blues, sea trout (weakfish), and albies are winding down. Porgy (scup) have scattered, but black sea bass can still be caught on squid and crabs.

Soon, the lakes and ponds will begin to flip and we will be in that in-between stage. For now, activity continues with some of the northern waters showing signs of slowing down. Hardy fish like the basses, perch, pickerel, and catfish are still feeding. Trout and salmon waters are producing fish. Fly rodders are connecting with nymphs and streamers. Conventional anglers are hooking up with swimmers, spinners, and scented baits. Salmon are liking spoons. Depending on location, consider live bait as a good alternative.

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. Masks required inside. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better.

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan



twitter @captmorgan_usa

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