First of the season

May 18,  Wednesday – Northport –

I went out to check the boat in anticipation of tomorrow’s trip. Nothing worse than having people out and have something amiss.

It was finally calming from the high winds of the last few days and the tide was approaching the top. Once I checked over the boat, rigged the rods, and stowed some gear, I cruised to the Point. There were a few terns working the water, as well as a few rises. Rises?

I set up to drift by the yellow house and, with the wind out of the east, it was a slow and easy one. The rises turned out to be huge Sea Robins smashing bait they were chasing to the surface. I took some video hoping to catch a good rise and after 5 or 6 attempts finally had a decent few seconds for Instagram. People seem to like video on that platform.

Sea Robin on the rise
Sea Robin on the rise

I got back to my fly fishing, using the Green and White Clouser (what else?). I had a pre-school-schoolie in the boat shortly.  Then a bunch of these rising Sea Robins hit the fly. They were very big and strong, bending the rod into a deep arch. I picked up another schoolie and the action seemed to go all to the Robins. I headed East.


Winkle Point pre-schooler
Winkle Point pre-schooler

I drifted outside first, following my own rules about fishing the water that’s before the water you want to fish. More Sea Robins and a few short hits.  Porgies? Maybe. I reset the drift in closer and had a bass chase the fly to the boat.  I worked him a few times but no return engagement.

I went closer to the wall and then started working the other side.  I had one about mid drift, a bass that is, and then decided to cover the rest of the shore line.  The tide was just past the top and the water exiting from the harbor would seem a logical place for a bass to hang out.

We always catch snappers here in the late summer as it is a big scoop of a beach offering a place for the bait to hang out in the grass.  That grass is barely showing now, as the season is young, but the scoop is there. I missed two and had another Robin before hitting the fish of the day.

He hit and I struck him twice having just missed a few. He was on and running.  I looked at my reel and the line was white – into the backing.  Wow.

He fought deep and came to the surface in a few swirls, well away from the boat.  I gained some line and then some more.  He took some back, and so it went.  I was telling myself to be cool. To tire him out. Not to get too excited as my adrenaline was spiking.

I reach for the net and he runs again. I drop it and tend the line. A few more runs were in this guy before he showed himself. Fat fish. Just shy of a keeper but big around the middle. I took a quick photo and put him back. Nice fish.

Duck Island Striper
Duck Island Striper

Now I am juiced. The schoolies were nice, and this guy could be considered a schoolie himself, but he sure fought like a graduate student.

I was casting and anticipating a hit when I caught myself.  Calm down, relax.  Stop stripping so fast. Let it sink. I took a deep breath and before it was all the way in a fish hit and I blew the strike.  So much for relaxing.

The tide was running out and the action slowed.  I re-positioned to cover more water, but no more today. I hope they are this cooperative for Jason and Mike tomorrow.

Tom's Fishing Stories

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