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Lunker City Fishing Specialties

As much fun as two guys can have on the river without catching a keeper

Steve and I dropped my boat into the Housatonic at high tide Tuesday morning. My plan was to fish each school or pod of fish that looked promising, and if one of us got to 10 fish without either of us catching a keeper or a fish close to keeper size, to move on, looking for the next likely spot. Steve agreed that it sounded like a good game plan.

First time I dropped the electric in the water was on a very large school of fish that seemed to be packed solid.

It didn’t take long for me to catch 10 schoolies from that load of little stripey guys. Nothing keeperish, so it was off to the next area. I was up on Steve 10 to 6 when we pulled up on the next big school we came to. When we left that school, Steve was up on me by about 8 fish.

Bypassed a spot we wanted to try because there was a boat already fishing it. We were tied at 30 when we left the next spot. We still hadn’t seen anything that gave us hope for a big fish or two.

The next bunch of fish we found showed promise — at least from the depth sounder markings. In the Wi-Fish image (cell phone screen capture) from the Dragonfly on my front deck, the down vision image on the right side of the screen the length of the arcs near the top and bottom of the mass of fish right in the middle of the scan indicates some much larger fish than all the dots and shorter ascs represent. Couple that with a few better (but not nearly keeper size) fish mixed into what we were catching, we ended up staying a bit longer on this batch of fish. When we left there, we were at 60 apiece.

We stopped next on some smaller pods of fish in shallower water. Needed to try something different from the massive schools we’d been targeting so far.

That didn’t work out as well as we’d hoped. Not only did we not catch any big fish from those spots, we didn’t catch all that many smaller ones, either.

Tried some shoreline drop-off fish after that. Caught them pretty easy, but again, no size to speak of.

All the while, we were hop scotching our way down river, hoping to find some action at our favorite November area, where we’ve been catching fish the past 5 trips or so. When we arrived there, we had already caught 100 fish each.

We could have stopped fishing and headed for the trailer, and it would have been a good day. But who wants to go home at 10:45 in the morning on a gorgeous, nearly dead calm day?

So we put the boat on spot lock and proceeded to hammer them. We still didn’t catch any big ones, but there were enough 22 to 25 inch fish in the mix to keep us happy. When we finally left that area, a bit more than 3 hours later, we policed the boat and stowed everything, as we were done for the day, as we were done fishing. We stopped at 200 fish. Each.

The clickers really got a workout counting fish on Tuesday.

The clickers really got a workout counting fish on Tuesday.

Especially later in the day, when we were fishing mostly shallower water (less than 20 feet deep) we seemed to be having great success generating strikes with my “false hook set” retrieve. That’s where you use a fairly hefty head (usually 1 oz), let the lure hit bottom on the cast, then swing like you’re setting the hook. Hard.

The idea is to jump the lure several feet up off bottom and several feet towards you. The key is to wind enough to keep the line tight as it starts to sink back toward the bottom following the sudden jump. The bite usually occurs right as it starts to sink.  I’ll mix a few false hook sets into a standard twitching/swimming retrieve on almost every cast when the fish are responding well to it. And on Tuesday, they were responding very well to it indeed.

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