Monday, May 27, 2013

Spring On The Farm

For a fly angler and trout bum, it is hard to beat springtime on Connecticut's Farmington River. I'll let the photos do the talking...



Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Out Front

It felt good to break free from the tidal rivers on Monday evening and fish the open Sound for my first time this season. I was aboard my buddy Mike's boat of Reel Cast Charters. He'd been on a solid bite for a week leading up to our trip, with catches including striped bass up to 32-pounds and two elusive weakfish. It was shaping up to be a gorgeous night as we launched in the western Sound around dinner time. We made a B-line to a popular weakfish spot to try for a unicorn and saw a couple dozen casters lining the shoreline. I have never caught a squeteague before and, while reports this year have been better than the last few, my luck wouldn't change on this outing either. Instead my first several bluefish of the season jumped all over the metal spoons and plastic swimmers that were intended for a more prized catch. Nonetheless, it was still fun to have the toothy critters back on the scene.

Once the we had our fill of the blues, we shot out to deeper water and focused on throwing top-water lures around rocky structure. Mike had a boil on his spook right away so we knew there were fish around. We kept at it for a while and he finally stuck a nice bass right before dark. The nearly 20-pound striper fought very well and was incredibly clean and bright having just made its way in from the Atlantic Ocean.

Once the sun went down, we switched tactics and began drifting eels along the same structure. The wind and tide combination created a quick drift and we both missed some strikes while adjusting to it. Mike boated a few smaller keeper-sized bass and I struggled but enjoyed every second of it. We knew there were a lot more bass around than we were catching because we could hear them popping on small bait on the surface. After a while of no love with the live eels, I downsized to a slender swimming plug and drew a hit on my first cast. A short while later I nabbed my first striped bass of the season outside of a tidal river.

Losing the tide, we made a few more passes before heading back to the launch through a thick blanket of fog. I've been in fog like that before, but not always at night. It really dawned on me how crucial good electronics are to a boat captain in situations like those. And like someone flipped a light switch, poof!--the fog was gone as soon as we entered the harbor. Regardless of my subpar fishing performance, it was an awesome night on the water. It sure felt good to have the salt spray on my face again after a long winter. Here's to a great and safe season ahead!

Thursday, May 2, 2013

Eat Like Kings

One of the most anticipated things about Opening Day weekend is the top-shelf food consumed in camp. For three nights and four days, if we are not fishing or sleeping, we are eating or preparing the next meal. It's three square meals a day all weekend, but it's broken up into two breakfasts and a monster dinner. We forgo eating lunch to fish during the bulk of the day, then go to town on appetizers and the main course late into the night.

Breakfast sandwiches and bowls of Cheerios with bananas are always on the morning menu. The dinners and appetizers are where we change it up a little bit from year to year. This Opening Day consisted of paella (a Spanish rice dish) served with clams on night one. We kept it simple on night two in the pouring rain with natural casing hot dogs topped with kraut. Then the grand finale was the classic steak with baked potatoes.

Fresh seafood made up most of our apps. This year's sampling included clams from Long Island Sound, oysters from Point Judith Pond and sea scallops form George's Bank. Of course you can't overlook the serious cheese spread that was cut up each night.

A little excessive for a camping trip?  Probably, but then again Opening Day isn't just any old camping trip! All this food and camp talk has me already looking forward to next year...

A nice cheese spread with my late Grandfather's KA-BAR.

Top neck clams fresh from Long Island Sound.

Clams on ice waiting to go down the hatch.

My uncle preparing his famous roasted oyster dish.

Big boy steaks over an indian fire with potatoes baking in the coals.

Kurt prepping ingredients for the paella dish.

Sea scallops wrapped with bacon held together by tooth picks whittled in a pinch.

Slicing up natural casing hot dogs before they go over the fire.