Fall can be a phenomenal time of year for many different kinds of fishing here in the Northeast. One of my favorites is slip float fishing for trout and walleye. The slip bobber is an effective yet under-utilized tool in our neck of the woods, mostly, I think, because anglers don't know all that much about them. I have an article in this month's On The Water magazine that sheds a little light on the technique while taking readers through my evolution of float fishing from childhood to today. The fine folks at OTW made it their cover story and chose what I think is a great shot my friend Aaron snapped a couple falls ago. Please pick up a copy at your local bait and tackle shop if you see it.
The whole clan was together again this month after a year and a half without being under the same roof. We spent a week to remember in Brewster, Massachusetts, in a house within walking distance to Cape Cod Bay. It was an extremely chill vacation with a lot of bonding between my two-year-old daughter and the West Coast faction of our family.
Being on Cape Cod and all, a little fishing had to be done. I first tried finding life on the nearby flats, but never made a cast. I suspect the water was on the warmer side for sight-fishing to stripers during the daylight tide window I was given. At least the Cape Cod Canal was kinder. I brought my younger brother for two sunrise sessions. It was his first taste of the Canal and I couldn't have been happier for him when he connected just a few casts in. It was a small bluefish that puked up two different sizes of peanut bunker. Not exactly the target species we were after, but the sunk was off. With a little confidence under his belt, wouldn't you know he comes tight again a few casts later, this time with a bass. It was on the smaller side, but it was his first from Cape Cod waters and it was awesome to witness.
When the sun came up, some fish started breaking on the surface at the tail-end of our casting range. We switched over from swimmers to poppers and gave it the old college try. A few takers came unbuttoned before I finally brought one to the rocks. Not huge by any means, but they still put up a decent scrap in the Canal current. We came back two days later and tried again, finding more breaking fish and more people trying to reach them. They were schoolies and out of range for the most part, but a bona fide 50-pounder was taken early that morning on an eel--the angler posed nearby us for a deserving photo shoot. You never know what's swimming by on the Cape; you just have to keep casting.
The annual WICC Greatest Bluefish Tournament on Earth is less than a month away. Though I've never entered before (not owning a boat doesn't help), I have daydreamed about getting the $25,000 payday for reeling in a gorilla bluefish. The last four tournaments have seen winning fish weighing between 17 and 17.88-pounds. Those are serious choppers. The western Sound is usually in the running for the tournament winner and chunking with fresh bunker in deep water is a good way to connect with a contender this time of year. That's exactly what a friend and I did one night this week after a few days of stiff wind finally subsided. We had only two hits all night that resulted in one break off and one hell of a fish landed--a monster blue that pulled down my Boga comfortably past the 16-pound mark. A few more weeks of gorging on adult menhaden and that's probably a money fish in this year's tournament. After an incredible fight, I released it back in 60 feet of water somewhere in western Long Island Sound. Go get that $25,000 fish!