It's crunch time! With less than a week to go before Christmas Eve and the last day of Hanukkah, holiday shoppers are scurrying around. There might be some deals left, but what is not left, is much more time. Guaranteed delivery is off the table with most Internet sites while brick and mortar stores are trying to move as much inventory as possible before Santa arrives. There may be a few worthy last-minute sales, but certainly, the time for searching for that certain special gift is fleeting fast. More importantly, most shoppers work and have little precious time to spare.
Fortunately, in the world of fishing-whether looking for a simple stocking stuffer or something more substantial-there are many options available, most of which will be a safe bet and appreciated. However, for the last minute shopper (and I know how you feel), the value of a good suggestion from someone experienced is priceless.
Here, we will toss out a few good suggestions that anglers find indispensable. Always popular is a multi-tool, which is a folding carry-along that's usually equipped with a pliers, knife, file, screwdriver, and a variety of other tools. A 'lipper' that holds a hooked fish's jaw while the angler safely removes the hook is another good one. Either having been worn out or dropped overboard, a new fillet knife is always a winner-sometimes, even a quality pocket knife will do the trick. And for the do-it-yourselfer, there is always a reel cleaning kit, something that will be used over the winter.
During these busy times, a little extra thought into which holiday gift will be for your special angler will ultimately be greatly appreciated, even if it is a simple, but effective lure or a gift card. Happy Holidays from Captain Morgan and crew!
On the Water
Leading into the weekend, the skies just kept unloading buckets of rain. No complaints, though, as any major snowfall missed most of the state, leaving not much more than a dusting throughout the shoreline. Northeast winds were factors with gusts topping 45 knots. Air temperatures did take a dive into the teens with wind chills registering down into single digits, causing slipping and sliding on the roads with multiple accidents.
During that weather episode, fishing tanked. However, as the barometer rose, striped bass that have re-entered their wintry tidal river habitat came alive. Hungry from their brief feeding interruption, they soon began renewing their energy. There were some keeper-size fish caught, but most fell below the 28-inch mark. If the tidal flow was caught right, one could have hooked into four to six fish, or perhaps none, as the case might have been. Swim shads, jig heads and twister tails, bucktail jigs, and sinking and deep swimmers were the successful lures.
If you have a vessel available to you and want a few hours of relaxation and enjoyment, head out at low tide for a seal watch. You may have to cruise around a bit, but sooner or later, you will find these playful marine creatures. They bask on the rocks during low tide and feed as the tide rises. Check out the islands, jetties, and even deserted docks, and while motoring along, keep an eye open for a curious bobbing head or two as they either search for food or frolic in the Sound. Occasionally, one can bump into them resting at a marina or chasing herring well up into main tidal rivers. Checking out our seal population this time of year is definitely a fun thing to do.
In wintertime, keeping the ice off your freshwater fishing rod guides is a never-ending battle, especially when the air temps drop below freezing. A dab of rubbing alcohol or perhaps some environmentally friendly antifreeze will easily do the trick to clear them. This is what Atlantic salmon or trout anglers had to contend with if they were out and about on the rivers during the chill. Fishing just prior to the storms, or as soon as they passed by, were the best times. That even held true for black crappie generally found suspended. Here, wind was more of a factor considering most slab hunters were out in small boats or kayaks. To maximize your catch, check moon, barometric pressures, wind, and water temperatures to determine your best window of opportunity.
Note: Email us pics of your proudest catches to share with our USA and International fishing followers.
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...