Well, another tournament weekend came to an end as the 26th annual Eddie Beauvais Blackfish Tournament wound down. Those who fished it, fished hard. Not only did contestants compete against each other, but also, it turned out, the weather was the chief competitor. Fortunately, the tourney went the week, which gave 'tog pullers a few extra windows of opportunity.
Nevertheless, competition was keen and, setting aside all of the prizes, food, and storytelling, it was the bragging rights more than anything that were at stake. After all, this tourney started 26 years ago for just that reason-in addition to raising money for blankets for our fighting troops.
'Toggers who pulled up to the scales were certainly weather-worn and often wet, wind-blown, and tired. After the scales closed on Saturday at noon, a crowd descended on the Guilford VFW for the banquet and awards ceremony that commenced once the weight tallies and standings were sorted out. Needless to say, the food that followed would have tempted even the harshest of home cooking critics.
Unofficially, the top prizes were awarded and first place ($500) went to John Frione (21.4 pounds) with a last minute 11.35 pound weigh-in, second place ($300) went to Chris Jensen (19.10 pounds), third place ($200) went to Paul Rescigno (18.5 pounds), and last place ($100) was awarded to Steve Barron (2.42 pounds). In addition, all received engraved crystal trophies. Afterwards, an almost never-ending raffle took place with several rods, reels, nets, digital scales, fillet knives, tackle boxes, cash, etc., handed out.
It is the second year in a row that Frione entered this tourney and had a 'fine tog weighed in near tournament's end. What luck! Congratulations! Unlike large big-buck tourneys where winning is sometimes corrupted by shady shenanigans, small ones like this has more to do with bragging rights, the drive to have fun and, oh yes, win. Good to see that those snarly tentacles have not reached here yet. Let's keep it that way!
Once again, kudos to Aven and Michele (Beauvais) McBride of Texas for their support and participation and all others who contributed to the success of another Eddie Beauvais Blackfish Tournament. Looking forward to next year's event where a few new twists have already been discussed.
On the Water
New moon, some rain, and that darn wind created havoc on the Sound this past week. Waves kicked up to five feet and small craft warnings were in the marine forecast repeatedly. Fortunately for a few fishers, the wind came from the north before shifting during the day. That gave the few fishing fanatics a couple hours to wet a line close to shore, somewhat encumbered and uncomfortable.
Even with the dip in air temperatures into the 30s (first frost notwithstanding), water temps still held around 63 degrees. Consequently, most of the fishery remained intact, including the bait schools. Striped bass picked through those schools holding in the tidal rivers and gave anglers the opportunity to experience some quality fall fishing. Even some of the reefs showed renewed life. The typical fall baits and artificials are producing, but not in past numbers.
Since bluefish are actively feeding, soft plastics used for stripers should be fished with caution unless severed tails aren't upsetting. Recently, the flood tide generally offered the best inshore fishing, whereas drifting or trolling the further offshore reefs during both tides put fish in the boat equally. Deep water reef fishing for black sea bass continues to be strong, although the weather has taken its toll. Porgy/scup, on the other hand, is slowing down.
After everything is said and done, blackfish/tautog still holds center stage. Overall, there appears to be fewer double-digit white chins caught than in previous years. Four- to six-pounders seem to be the norm, although there are a few 'tog-pullers who have earned bragging rights in their own circles. Weather has kept most 'toggers hugging the jetties and breakwalls and other inshore rock piles. Some ventured out to dunk crabs on a few of the offshore reefs, but paid the price. Nonetheless, with the fall 'tog tourneys (like Eddie Beauvais's 26th one) in play, the scales along the shoreline were kept busy.
Fresh water anglers have been experiencing fairly good fall fishing in-between weather events. River trout have been taking meal worms, crawlers, swimmers, spinners, streamers, and some nymphs and scented baits. Shetucket salmon are biting on flies, single hook spoons, and spinners. Large- and smallmouth action has been fair, crappie/catfish OK, pike decent, carp active, and panfish still biting-in short, worth the trip on a calm day.
Note: Email us pics of your proudest catches to share with our USA and International fishing friends.
For all things fishy including licenses, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline's full-service fishing outfitter, where we don't make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better...