Friday, July 18, 2014

l missed you old friend, New Hampshire 2014 Trip 1

For the first time this year I made my first
trip to the Granite State. It had been long time since my last trip. DJ got some days off from work, so off we went

We left Wednesday after I got out of work. We made it up about 4:30. We found a tent site and went back to Profile Lake. I fished from the kayak for a couple hours. I only caught one small brookie. DJ took a rock climbers path to the bottom of the Canon Mountain cliff. He played at the bottom of the cliffs for a while, rock hopping and taking in the view. When he got down we made supper and went to camp.

Thursday morning we broke camp before 7am. We drove to Gorham where we found the trailhead for Mt. Moriah. This mountain is 4049 feet tall. Since we are trying to hike all 48 four thousand footers, we wanted to get one in this trip. The weather was nice. There were some nice views midway up. The hike was hard, but I made it up. I did not feel like I was going to die like last year on Whiteface. The view at the top was awesome. We lingered over an hour eating lunch and talking with other hikers. After we got down we rewarded ourselves with chocolate milk. Thursday night we stayed at my cousin Mark's house in Maine.

After sleeping in and saying our goodbyes DJ and I went to Black Mountain Pond off Sandwich Notch Road. On the way, we stopped at a pond so I could catch a red breasted sunfish.

There was no way I could hike another 4000 footer, but the hike to Black Mountain Pond is pretty easy. Once there I fished. I caught nine trout. My son, full of energy hiked up Black Mountain. The trail was really steep, but he had a good time. When he got back to the pond we hiked out.

Before heading home, we made a quick stop at Kiah Pond where I landed species number 28, common shiner.

Totals- trail miles 17 for me, DJ-21

Animals- deer, 2 turkeys, 2 moles,lepard frog, green frogs, garter snake, toads, brook trout, common shiner, red breasted sunfish, newt, leech

Saturday, July 12, 2014

Playing at the Cape Cod Canal

I apologize for not writing at all over the last three weeks. Over the last month I have been trying to change to a healthier lifestyle. I've been eating healthy and exercising. Because I have been bike riding in the evenings, I haven't fished as much as normal. I still got out five times the first ten days of the month, but I haven't had anything to write home about.
   Since I hadn't done anything memorable the last weeks, I was determined to not waste my Friday off. I knew high tide at the Canal was around 11am so figured I'd spend the day there.

I got to the Canal around 10:15, I found a parking spot and rode my bike to the east end. I locked my bike and fished the jetty almost to the end. About 12:30 fish started breaking. They were on mackerel. This wasn`t an all out blitz with thousands of fish by any means. However, for the next hour or so fish would show for a few seconds.

There werent a lot of fish caught. I only saw about six. They ranged in size from big schoolie to twenty pounds. I caught one that was around 27 inches. I could have measured it, but I was pretty sure it was a short. I fished for another hour, didn't see any more fish caught so I headed back to my car via bike.

Back at the car around 2:30, I grabbed my lunch and a chair. I found a shady spot and enjoyed my turkey sandwiches and plum watching boats go by.

After lunch I drove to the west end and parked at the Mass Maritime Acadamy. If anyone was catching bottom fish, I would have bought some squid and fished some more. No one was catching anything and the tide was getting low.

I decided to head home. Once home, I took a nap as the sun drained my energy.  Then went carp fishimg with my friend Dave. He caught 3 to my one, including a hard fighting seventeen pounder.

All the stripers at the canal were caught on a variety of lures. I got mine on a mackerel colored Savage Jig. Others were caught on SP minnow, Sebile slow sinking swimmer, and even a pencil popper.


Saturday, June 21, 2014

Box Turtle and Green Sunfish

   It will come to no surprise to anyone that’s read my blog over the years that I do a lot more fishing and a lot less bird watching and nature walking than I used too. Consequently I have caught a lot more fish. On the down side I do see a lot less birds and other animals. Sure I still see the occasional deer or even eagle, but less common species like scarlet tanagers elude me. So I have not seen many new species for a while until this week.

   The other night DJ and I played home run derby at one of our little league fields. He killed me as I swung at to many bad pitches and rolled over a lot of ground balls. As we were picking up home run balls in the woods (his) we came across this little guy. It is an Eastern Box Turtle. Although listed as “a species of special concern” (meaning not very rare but keep an eye on their population) I had never seen one. With all the miles of nature walks and bird watching through the woods my whole life, the first box turtle I see is right behind a baseball field. It had made a nest in the soft sand behind the outfield and was on its way back to the woods. I’m glad we saw it.

   Sometimes nature can be tough, but other times it will throw you a bone. Obviously the box turtle was truly

an unexpected surprise. Another one happened on Thursday. I set up fishing with my friend Dave for a couple hours of carping. He got to the spot before me. I put my corn on and my method ball and casted out. I set up my chair in a nice relaxing spot in the shade.

   I looked in the water and I see a sunfish. I see tons of sunfish on nests this time of year everywhere I go so I didn’t think much of it. Then I got a close look at it. It had bright orange fins. I was sure I had never seen this species before. Then I looked online and the fish three feet in front of me was a green sunfish.

    As many of you know I am trying to catch thirty species of fish this year. A little beautiful sunfish I had never seen or thought of catching was almost within arm’s length. Problem was I was using 8 foot surf rods and big field corn for carp. I sat their slightly frustrated but happy to know I could add another species to my list of possible catches.

   After supper I went back to the spot armed with my trout rod and a can of worms. When I looked into the water, the hero of this story was gone. I fished for a few minutes then out of the depths I saw him follow my worm. I stopped it and let it sink. The fish took the bait and I had species # 26 for the year. I can say this, green sunfish are one of the most beautiful fish I have ever caught. It was a lot like a pumpkinseed but those fins are bright orange. Although the picture came out pretty well, it was even prettier close up.

Finally I Caught A Striper on my Fly Rod

   Backtrack to the winter of 2010. DJ asked for a saltwater fly rod for Christmas. I bought him one but unbeknownst to me so did one of his aunts. Needless to say we were both pretty happy that there were now two 9 weight saltwater fly rods in the house. That summer DJ caught a couple of stripers on his fly rod. He didn't get any keepers but we did manage a few decent schoolies at a couple of locations.

   I did not catch any stripers on mine the few times I used it. I got so desperate I trolled a fly behind me for a couple hours one night in a saltwater pond filled with bass. I got a couple hits but no hook ups. I can’t say I gave up trying out of frustration. I gave up the fly rod because I was catching fish on my spinning gear, and I’d rather catch than blank.

Fast forward back to the present, specifically Wednesday June 11.

   I still hadn't caught a striper on a fly but I hadn't really tried again until this year. DJ and I fished the Narrow River a couple weeks ago without any luck. On June 11, we went to Newport. We got some BBQ at Becky’s in Middletown then went fishing. I went to a seminar over the winter about fishing Newport. The guide running the seminar said a specific area was almost a guarantee during a high tide at sunset in June. I stored that piece of info in my head for four months. When the time came we made the trip.

   The guide was right on target with his info. I caught a schoolies on my first cast. We fished through the night. Between us we caught about 35 fish. As we were catching I noticed fish breaking off a beach to my right. I went over and caught a few fish on my light spinning rod. Some fish were splashing within feet of me. It wasn’t a blitz but I’d see a fish splash every 30 seconds or so.

   I grabbed DJ’s fly rod (he long since got bored catching and was sitting in a comfy spot texting). I didn’t get any hits for a long time using a homemade black deceiver. I tried stripping fast and slow. Finally after at least 30 frustrating minutes I tried pausing the fly and letting it sink then moving it again. That did the trick, I hooked my first ever fly rod striper. Unfortunately, it was my smallest fish of the night. I could have easily overpowered it with my freshwater five weight. I’d say half the trout I caught this year were larger than this striper. It didn’t matter too much to me, the monkey was off my back.

   I casted out again and caught my second striper, about the same size as the first. I caught it with the same stop and go technique. At that point it was 11:30 and I had an hour ride home.

Failing for fallfish

None of these yet this year
    When trying to catch as many species as you can in a year you’re bound to have really cool unexpected catches as well as frustrating experiences. This is what makes the challenge fun. Even frustrating days turn into good memories once a challenge has been conquered.

   Until recently, the most frustrating fish that I’ve targeted was brown trout. I drove to Plymouth and the Cape three or four times this spring, fishing ponds they were in only to come up empty handed until the fourth time. Once I caught the first one I nailed another dozen in the next hour. Memories

   Over the course of the spring and early summer I’ve taken a few trips to target fallfish. Fallfish go by many names including chub and dace. They are the largest native shiner to the area. Last year, two places I fished were absolutely infested with them. It was almost impossible to catch carp because they would attack the method ball of oatmeal and bread like piranhas. There were so many around that when I was figuring out what species would be easy or hard to catch, I had them in the column with sunfish, rainbow trout and largemouth bass.

   Not so for me this year. I’ve gone to both of those locations on two different occasions; both times I’ve come up empty.  I also tried a spot in Woonsocket my friend Todd told me about. It is a river right below a dam and waterfall. Again, no luck. Then on Thursday night after I caught the green sunfish, I went to one of the spots that was loaded with fallfish last year. I fished for almost two hours without catching one.

 I probably don’t need to catch a fallfish to reach thirty species, but since it was one of the fish I thought would be a sure bet, I do hope to catch one. 

Sunday, June 8, 2014

Quest fish 19, 20, 21, 22, 23


Sea Bass

Bluefish (on ice to be smoked)

Cunner (choggie)

Sea Robin

Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Fishing Buzzards Bay

I went out on Buzzards Bay with my friend Eric and his son Zach on Friday afternoon. Eric had to work in the morning so we planned a trip for later in the day. Eric is an early morning guy that likes to be at the ramp at 6 am. He was itching to get his boat in the water for the first time this year, and I was itching to catch a sea bass. The only way we could go out was for an afternoon trip.

   After we put in at 3:15, we headed south for a few minutes. The waves were rougher than predicted making the ride pretty bumpy, but still perfectly safe. We went to a spot that Eric had marked on his GPS that he had success before. Although I always plan on getting blanked when I try something new, Eric was positive I would catch a sea bass.

My first black sea bass
    Eric and his son used a two hook fishfinder rig while I opted for a bucktail jig. I knew sea bass could be caught on a lures and I really wanted to catch them that way. Keeping in mind that I really didn’t know what I was doing, I dropped my ¾ ounce bucktail over the side. I tried to keep contact with the bottom and let a little line out when it started to rise on the drift (thanks Dave!) Luckily and fortunately within a minute I had my first sea bass. It was 14 ½ inches making it a keeper. I was thrilled to have caught one on my first drift. This gave me confidence that I was doing something right. I proceeded to catch a bunch more (all shorts) on the bucktail

   While this was going on Eric and his son were using bait. They were using squid on one hook and crabs on the other. They caught a few sea bass (shorts) but they were really putting on a clinic on how to catch blackfish.  Zach struck the first couple tautog. Then Eric caught a couple, back and forth they went with sea bass thrown in for good measure.

   After a few sea bass I switched rods to the one I had rigged up for bait fishing. I kept on pounding away at short sea bass, but for the life of me I couldn’t catch a tautog. For at least four drifts I tried. I did manage a little scup to add variety to my day. Not catching any tautog was surprising since sometimes Eric and Zach would be hooked up at the same time. I took some teasing about it while they were reeling in another one. All in all they caught 11 including five keepers. Some of their keepers were huge.

A couple of nice blackfish

   Around 7:30 we headed in when a large dark cloud formed. We made it back really quick since we were going the same direction as the waves. I had an awesome time. Not catching a tog became more of a running joke than anything. “ Dom the Captain can put you on fish, but they can’t make them take your bait”. I would rather have caught a sea bass anyway. I’d never caught one or even seen one before so I was really happy with that. Also I can catch tog from shore but not sea bass so I could still add them to my species list. What a fun afternoon!

In case you go…

I can’t give a lot of advice about boat fishing Buzzards Bay since I’m by far an expert. Here is what I picked up. Buzzards Bay is loaded with spawning sea bass from late May through early June. Find any structure and you should find bass. Tog like rock piles. The crabs took most if not all of them.   The jig I was using was ¾ ounce but it was bit light for the fast drift. For bait we were using six ounce sinkers. They used mono, I used braid. I had very good feel for the bottom with the braid as it sliced through the water. It sunk quicker than their mono, but it sure didn’t help me as I got out fished 11-0 for blackfish.