It’s not commonplace to search out massive numbers of stripers within the decrease finish of the Housy in December. It’s not exceptional for a few of the greatest fish of the run to be down that far after thanksgiving, however massive numbers of fish from schoolies on as much as over-slot sized fish usually are not a frequent incidence. However that’s precisely what we’ve been seeing this 12 months.
Has it occurred earlier than?
Sure. A pair occasions that I’m conscious of, and I’d guess there’ve been just a few extra occasions that slipped proper by me. 2010 for example, it was early December and I used to be nonetheless catching them south of bridges. Straightforward to do not forget that, as a result of I toasted a rod bearing in my outboard in entrance of the ability plant on the way in which down river one December morning. I do know there was one other early winter very similar to this one, the place the fish moved up river in numbers on their normal schedule, then appeared to skinny out and fishing received powerful, except you adopted them again down river all the way in which. I simply can’t bear in mind precisely what 12 months it was.
I’ve all the time felt that the fish averted the decrease river within the winter as a result of they search out stability, and the decrease river temperature fluctuates 5 or 6 levels with the tide. Late within the incoming on the day I received this keeper for example, the floor temp close to the Thruway was virtually 47 levels, however as soon as the tide was rolling out and LIS water received changed by Housy water from upriver, it was barely over 41 in the identical space. That’s a fairly hefty change in metabolism each six hours for the chilly blooded fishes.
I even whipped out my outdated single hook A-Rig on one journey and actually smoked the schoolies on it. Till my shoulder gave out, anyway. It’s much more work to fish the rig than a light-weight jig, and it’s amplified in a significantly sturdy present, the place you find yourself preventing the present as a lot as (greater than?) the fish.
When the good fishing down under Route 95 pale, it occurred quick. and earlier than we knew it, the large numbers of fish gave the impression to be settled in up river, between the mouth of the Naugatuck and the Sunnyside space. However as soon as we received on them, the chunk went from nice to truthful to powerful in a matter of days. We had a foul case of December fish in a February temper.
Then, to make issues worse, most of them disappeared. It felt like they received there and the chunk slowed vey shortly. then the fish vacated. Not all of them, after all. However sufficient to make fishing actually gradual. When numbers are down and the chunk is off, fishing’s sure to be powerful. Naturally, you begin on the lookout for extra cooperative fish..
Turned out they hadn’t moved all that far. There have been a pair massive faculties of reluctant biters within the Wooster Island space, and smaller pods of fish that have been on feed a bit farther down river. It’s not unusual for the large faculties to interrupt up and grow to be extra cellular, or for a number of smaller, however sizable faculties to separate themselves from the mom ship because it have been. The issue we — or not less than I — gave the impression to be having was that after I’d get on a fairly good bunch, work out what they wished, and by the point we caught a half dozen, they have been gone from the depth sounder display. May solely have to maneuver 50 yards or so to be again on that bunch (or is it a unique bunch? Who knows? Who cares?) Different occasions although, we’d be again on airplane, protecting half mile or mile of water earlier than marking one other pod of fish value stopping on. The place did those we had been catching disappear to?
By New Years Eve, the fishing had actually slowed the place we’d been catching them for the earlier week or so, and it was time to go on the lookout for biters once more. A small group of boats discovered them additional South. As that group of boats swelled to an enormous group, just a few moved additional south but. I stored shifting south till it was time to go for the trailer, and by no means stopped catching. The fish weren’t stacked up in massive faculties, however they have been biters, and that’s what actually counts in the long run.
And talking of the top, that’s the place we’re so far as the 2020 version of this weblog is worried. I didn’t get to fish almost as a lot this previous 12 months as normal. As soon as once more I misplaced a few months to surgical procedure and restoration, and I suppose age should be creeping up on me, as a result of I not often felt as much as fishing two or three days in a row.
Plus, I discovered myself adjusting the size of my typical fishing day downward this 12 months. Time was, a day on the water was not often lower than 9 hours, and sometimes extra, proper up till a 12 months or two in the past. Now, greater than 6 hours is uncommon. I could also be slowing down, however I’ve no intention of stopping. Turning 76 in a pair weeks and I could fish shorter and fewer days, however I positive ain’t about to surrender chasing these fish — recent water and salt each.