Summertime

Some rambling Journal entries: 

July 14, 2018 – Northport –

The boat could use some gas and water.  I took the fly rod out and worked a few spots before heading to the gas dock.

I had some hits and a porgy in the boat, a small one.  Also one bass on too tiny to count.  I changed to a Clouser from the epoxy bodied fly and the hits improved including one with some backbone.  I cast again before it hit me that my fly was no longer there. 

Bluefish bite off? 

Hopeful but not to be as my knot slipped.  The loop knot I tie all the time was just wrong and my brain could not figure it out so I tied an improved clinch to the next Clouser.  A few more hits and a few on but they were so small that when I strip struck them they came flying toward me. Nice to have something.

It has been a slow summer 

I crossed to the Vanderbilt side of Northport Harbor and worked the water by the beach house and sea plane hanger.  A fish came up as I went to pull the fly for another cast but he missed. Some kayaks were about so I headed for gas at Seymour’s.

The dock had a surf boarder sitting at the end I prefer; I pulled into the middle hoping no one else would come as the wind was pinning me to the dock and departing could be tricky.  Sure enough a huge cruiser came and docked in front of me. I was impressed with how he managed to slide sideways into the spot.  I asked the surfer to move so I could back up and give this guy some room but then the gas pump turned on and I just stayed. 

As the first tank filled and the second began, the spot was open behind me since the surfer left.  That is when an even bigger cruiser pulled in behind me.  His bow was over my engine. I finished fueling and filled the water tank, washed the windows down (almost soaking my phone on the dash) and went to pay.  The guy behind me took 12 gallons. 

You have got to be kidding me  

He probably has 500 gallon tanks. I tipped the dock mate and asked for a push off, sharing my concern for the wind and other boats.  He gave me a good shove and all was well.

I took a ride around Bird Island to check out the bait situation at the head of the harbor where they hung out most of last year.  There were some schools on the sonar but none up.  A few boats have been moored where I used to drift on the east side. Damn.

Tight quarters before they came, now really tight. I motored out at 5 mph, as I should, stowing my lines and playing with the radio which does not receive signals very well, even with the antenna they put in last spring.  I did figure out the blue tooth so if I want music I can get it from the phone. 

I texted Sue to see if she was home and headed in.  Nice afternoon on the water.

July 18, 2018 – Northport – 

Mike came to the house at 1

We were on the water shortly.  We motored out of the Bay, hoping to see some bait.  There were a few flip flops but nothing worth spending time on.  We had a few hours of incoming and headed out to the Triangle.  The wind was out of the north and blowing at 15 or so.  The waves were disorganized and very sloppy.  The bow was taking water. 

We headed for deeper terrain and it calmed down a little.  Motoring west to Lloyd Neck we set up by Buoy 15 but couldn’t stand upright in the tossing and turning, not to mention no bites.  Inside Cold Spring Harbor I set the anchor near where Hunter and I fished a few weeks ago, put the chum pot out, and baited for porgies and sea bass. 

We got both

Mike with a 20 inch sea bass – it was to be the fish of the day.

As the tide peaked we set up off Target Rock and had a few bites.  Then we switched to the fly rod and I took the wheel as Mike worked each of the points and walls. Not a single bite.  Where are they?? Back over to the Lloyd Neck jetty – Nada.

It was a delightful day, good company, beautiful weather. But the fish are just absent.

Mike Parody

July 23, 2018 – Northport

It has become an annual event  

A happy one.  Mike Gibbons’ Dad comes to visit from Barcelona for a few weeks and we fit in at least one day on the boat.  Some years are more productive than others but all are enjoyable.

Annual Fishing Trip

I warned them that fishing has been off and that perhaps they should wait until August if they want a shot at blues and bass. Porgies and sea bass are the current offerings of the local salt. They voted to go for it, regardless.

The last few days have been unsettled as the weatherman calls it.  Cloudy, windy, showers. Unpredictable. I told them I was okay with it if they were.  I picked them up with Jason at the town dock at 9:30. 

High tide

I am beginning to think like a guide:  Offer them the opportunity to get a hit on a lure to begin the day, then take a ride outside and tuck in out of the wind with porgy rigs and clams so they are sure to get some fish. 

We hit the usual spots, walls and points with the three of them spinning with lures. I was hoping against hope that a blue or striper would bite but it didn’t happen.

We motored out to the Sound off Lloyd Neck where the land mass breaks up the strong southerly wind. We put out the chum bucket and went to work.  Porgy, porgy, porgy. One of decent size.  Not a sea robin or sea bass in the mix. 

Took our time, drifted a bit and then moved inside and drifted one more time.   Big Mike thought he had a hit. Jason went back to the spinning rod with a heavy Kastmaster.  Nothing.

Big Mike’s Porgy

It was a nice day and a nice time

I loved the feel of the hot south wind blowing warm under the big puffy white clouds.  Close your eyes and its Florida. They are going to Pittsburgh this weekend and Big Mike will be here for a few more weeks.  We will try to get out again. If not there is always next year.

Good friends.

July 25, 2018 – Cold Spring Harbor – 

Bill Smith of the LI Flyrodders teaches a summer camp at the hatchery.

He has been doing it for a few seasons and works 4 sessions each year.  It is a great way to introduce kids to fly fishing and trout fishing.  He has a nifty video overview he created and then they tie a few simple flies – a green weeny, a green woolly bugger and a beetle as well as some of their own innovative modifications.

  

Some casting instruction and then , on day 2, fishing at the sluice way with the flies they tied.  He asks for volunteers to assist and a few of us who have the time step up.  It is a great experience for everyone involved.

July 31, 2018 – Northport

Another neighbor decided that his dinghy should be at the front of the rack and pushed mine back to add his.  I saw fire, and that was after a weekend meditation retreat. 

Just makes me crazy

I went over and dropped it in the sand, moving mine back to where it was.  That was Sunday.  Today I tell Sue I am going out to take a ride, maybe cast a bit since the bunker are in the bay.  As I approach the rack there he is. 

Before I identified myself as the owner of the dinghy he intruded upon, he says “I couldn’t find another spot” as if he knew what was coming.  I said “Well, these two spots are taken and if you leave your dinghy in front of them they will have a hard time accessing their craft.”

Then I went to unlock mine.  I added, in a cool but not nasty tone “When I came to the rack in 1984, I went to the back.” And I left it at that.  He got the message and was nowhere in sight, nor was his boat, when I came in. 

I went out through bunker schools

They were all over the moorings and the Bend. I stopped the boat and took out the fly rod, hoping against hope that something was under the schools.  100 casts or so later I moved on.  I went out to Target Rock and then to the outside buoys,  then over to the Coast Guard. Nothing.  Nice day. 

I got to set up the Sage rod and try it with the intermediate line.  It does not cast nearly as well as the new line on the Orvis T-3.

August 3, 2018 – Northport

Nick Volpe is replacing my mooring chain  

I went out to take the boat off the mooring at 8 am and figured I might as well go fishing, or casting anyway. 

I cast by Winkle Point while waiting for Nick to arrive.  There was a lot of bait on the screen. Went out to the triangle and worked the deep water west of the OB Buoy with SPRO jig and I did get the tail bit off my Gulp! – not once but three times, but no hookup. 

While I was drifting, a couple of seagulls were squawking over something in the water that was too big for them to pick up.  A bald eagle swooped down and grabbed it. As he flapped those wings toward home the gulls took off after him, pecking and diving, apparently unafraid of this giant bird. 

I took the tail-less Gulps! and sliced them for porgy bait, changed rigs and had a porgy and sea robin on when Sue texted that there are tornado warnings in the area.  I waited for the next bite and then moved into Centerport and picked up one more porgy.

At the mooring all was well.  I am hemmed in pretty tight by my neighbors so I was a little worried about Nick picking up and re-dropping the mooring – but he is a pro. No need for the worry.

Busy week coming up

Monday Project Healing Waters at Connetquot, Tuesday LIFR Meeting, Wednesday and Thursday with Bill Smith at the Cold Spring Harbor Kids Fly Fishing Camp and Friday helping Art Flick TU with the new Wing Dam at Gate E on the Carmans.  Then to Joe Pepe’s the following week. 

I was getting a little stir crazy staying so close to home all summer.  A trip to Joe’s Raquette Lake retreat for some bass fishing should cure me. 

One-of-Joe's-"average"-bass
One of Joe’s “average” bass

For more stories why not try Letters to Mack