Friday, June 24, 2011

Surfcasting...From A Boat

A large portion of Connecticut's shoreline is privately owned, which can make things tricky for surf fisherman on Long Island Sound. A big thing we have our favor is the public trust doctrine, which states that the area below the mean high tide line cannot be owned and belongs to everyone. Still, accessing this area can be tough if you have to trespass over private land to get there. An obvious way to get around the shoreline access issue is to fish from a boat and I was fortunate to be invited on one such trip a few nights ago. 

My friend and fishing guide, Captain Mike Roy of Reel Cast Charters, splits his time between surf and boating fishing. He trailers his Steiger Craft to striped bass and tuna haunts all over New England, but the eastern Sound is where he spends most of his time. On our most recent trip, it was an hour before slack low tide as we arrived to a nice stretch of rocky beach in front of multi-million dollar homes--not somewhere you would just waltz into on foot. Right away Mike stuck a small bluefish on a Lordship Agitator just as dark was settling in. Then we tossed a variety of offerings towards shore that were neglected, including eel-skin plugs, rigged eels, Slug-Gos, loaded Redfins, and bucktail jigs to name a few. Mike switched to a live eel and eventually hooked up with the first target species of the night--a decent striped bass of 13-pounds. We soon made the switch to live bait and started a slow and steady pick of stripers that continued through the night. 

Mike brought us to a couple favorite way-points in his GPS and we found willing fish at each stop. At the tip of one rocky outcropping, there was a rip where we drifted through and hooked enough bass that it warranted changing back to plugs. Eel-skin poppers got the attention of a few fish, but live eels still culled out the larger of the bass caught. In all, we landed six keeper-sized stripers up to 20-pounds. Not an epic night, but certainly a fun-filled trip with consistent action. At false dawn, we arrived back to the dock pretty much spent and made the hour drive back home for needed shuteye. I sure love surf fishing, but I'm already looking forward to my next boat trip. 

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