Are you suffering a little mid winter despair caused by those deep seeded fishing withdrawal symptoms? Then my advice is to start thinking about spring and getting back out on the water and the great outdoors. After allÖ warmer weather, budding trees, green grass, and fighting fish will be here before we know it.
If youíre like me you canít wait to feel your favorite fishing rod pulsating in your hand once again. Guess thatís all part of what keeps us coming back year after year and I know personally itís all part of why I love fly-fishing as much as I do.
Iíve also found that as long as Iím near the water I always seem to be enjoying myself. The experience is not only exciting and enjoyable, but it gives me great peace of mind as well. Probably adding credence to the old saying that a bad day of fishing is still better than a good day of work! Iím not sure thatís entirely true, but I do know for sure that I enjoy my fly-fishing and guiding as much as anything.
Over the years others have told me of a different kind of relaxing and fun filled day on the water. The kind of day any serious angler might enjoy, a day spent out on the ocean doing a little inshore saltwater fishing.
Weíre very fortunate in the northeast to live in an area that experiences an abundance of migratory fish passing through our southern New England shores and waterways.
One of the most sought after game fish in the sea is the hard fighting - line stripping striped bass. This remarkable specie has made an incredible come back from its frightening scarcity as little as 30 years ago. The U.S. Marine Fisheries, along with many fishing organizations, private individuals and of course, the recreational angler, all worked together in establishing realistic regulations that protected this treasured sport fish, which resulted in itís phenomenal return in numbers to our waters.
But despite the stripers remarkable come back, I know that to fully enjoy a day out on the brine with the possibility of landing a super striper, blue fish, fluke, weakfish, or false albacore, you need an experienced charter boat captain with a good reliable fishing vessel. Just like fly-fishing on a river or stream, your chances of success increase in direct proportion to the skills and experience you bring to the water. A good guide on a river or charter captain on salt water can make a good day of fishing more a reality, rather than words from a cynical clichť.
My guide service brings me to Cape Cod during the summer months (by special request only), where I frequent the mid and upper areas. Obviously, the Cape has long been a popular tourist destination and has probably been known equally as long as the destination of some of the best beaches on earth to cast a fly. My clients certainly enjoy the Cape, and so do I.
But one area of southern New England Iím a little less familiar with is the Connecticut coastline. Much of its shoreline is in accessible due to industry or posted public and private land. But the simple fact remains that the most successful fishing found in this area is found at sea. Mostly on many of the abundant under water reefs found throughout Long Island Sound. But obviously, it takes a boat to get there!
One of my favorite captains on the waters of Long Island Sound is Captain Bruce Whittier aka "The Jolly BullĒ. This experienced life long angler runs an incredibly well equipped and well-maintained 26-foot Century center console out of Niantic, CT. He stresses safety first, but can put you on as many fish as anyone else who wets a line on Long Island Sound.
Whittier likes to design your salt water fishing adventure around the type of fishing or species youíd like to target. Whether itís trophy size fish for your wall or photo album, sweet dinner fare like fluke for the table, or just a lot of fast and furious action provide by frenzied bass and bluefish, this area can supply it all.
He is well known in fishing circles as a Captain who can actually put you on trophy fish. Whittier, who successfully employs the complete opposite of my style of fishing, uses live bait when targeting big fish. His favorite baits are hickory shad and porgies used during the day, with live eels as his first choice when the sunsets. Many of his clients enjoy fishing for the bait as much as anything and consider it one of the most enjoyable aspects of the whole outing. First timers, especially those with only previous fresh water experience, are shocked when they learn that these 2-3 lb - 18 to 22 inch fish are actually going to be used as bait. Some innocent and unknowing charter clients have even mistaken the bait fishing experience as the whole saltwater fishing trip itself. But big bait means big fish, or so the theory goes! Once in awhile I try to disprove this theory, but with little success I might add.
Many fish weighing in the 40 pound class, and even a few over 50 pounds, have crossed the gunwales of Whittierís boats over the years. But heís the first to admit that targeting these giant trophy size fish can ultimately turn out to be a long, tedious, and often uneventful boat ride for the day. But when you do hook up with a trophy-sized fish, itís all worth the wait.
Whittier is a tide fisherman. He prefers the outgoing tide on the deep reefs and the incoming tide on the shallower reefs. He can be found sojourning through the waters of eastern Long Island Sound, anywhere from the Connecticut River to Misquamicut, RI, and on south to Block Island and Montauk Point.
Captain Bruce is unique to most salt-water anglers. He has actually down sized his boat over the last couple of years, where many saltwater enthusiasts often sell their boats only to get bigger ones. But Whittier is different. Heís been there and done that! In recent years he has now decided to concentrate on fishing and fishing only. No partying, carrying on or foolishness is allowed on his boat. Heís no prude and certainly doesnít mind if someone wants to have a couple of beers. But, he says, the days of taking a bunch of guys out on the water to party are over for him. Now he only wants to share his valuable time and experience with those that really appreciate a tight line and bent rod.
Bruce is now more having more fun helping serious anglers score big results, as well as making your saltwater fishing adventure a fun and memorable experience.
So, when you're in the mood for a serious inshore saltwater fishing experience, whether it's for trophy size stripers or busting bluefish, give "The Jolly Bull" a try. This boat and captain are first class all the way!
Catch me on PAX TV, fly fishing the Salmon River in New York with Charlie, Juan and our gracious lodging host Tom Rodda of Salmon Acres!
To hear more about this show and others, see "Fly Fishing Northeast with Charles Charleswoth" on WQPX PAX 64 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, PA and affiliates.
While planning your next trip, be sure to plan early because prime dates fill fast, both guiding and lodging.
Spring Steelheading Season still has some great dates left.
Check my reports page for available dates.
Call soon, dates are starting to fill now.
If you havenít gotten you deposits in yet, itís best you get them in shortly. As we currently have 4 spots left. We are also taking reservations for Alaskaís 2006 week and season. If this is not a week that fits your schedule, then give me a call and Iíll do my best to fill your needs just as a few others have chosen other weeks from July to the end of August.
See my Alaska Page for Details!
Iíll be doing seminars and slide presentations at the sites listed below and will be available for questions and friendly conversations before, after and during my stay in:
Orvis Darien CT 02/10/05; Spring Steelheading in Upstate New YorkÖ.
Orvis Avon CT 02/24/05; Steelheading Upstate New York.
Manchester NH 03/09/05 Fly Fishing Association ; NY, Alaska, Western Mass.
Orvis Avon 03/24/05; Fly Fishing Western Mass's Deerfield and Westfield Rivers.
Be sure to check with your local Orvis Stores for all weekly seminars for any changes or updates.
Iíll be more than happy to assist you with any of your fly fishing related questions, weather it is on equipment and line choices, tactics and techniques and lodging or my hosted Alaskan trips.
You can also review archived newsletters for more information.
See you on the water,