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So I picked up my new boat.

For those who don’t know, my 13 year old G3 was taken out by a falling oak tree back in January.

Insurance totalled it, and I had to make a decision. Realistically, at my age, do I have enough years of dragging my own boat all over the place fishing left in me to justify the expenditure and trouble, or do I go looking for a used boat comparable to what I was replacing. In the end, the pull of a new boat won out.

Before the tree fell on it, I had fully expected that G3 to be my last boat.  But I had long told myself that if I ever did replace that boat, it would be with an aluminum bay boat. The only problem is that I’m not a fan of center consoles. What I wanted was a 17 to 18 foot bay boat, but with a side console.

I settled on a Ranger 1862. Tough to find one with a side console that’s not camo, and I don’t want camo any more than I want a center console. So special order. And after all the production and shipping delays, it was finally delivered to Reynolds’ Marine on Tuesday, May 31. The new Riptide Terrova, had to be mounted on it, as well as the Minnkota charger and the 70 horse Yamaha and batteries from the old boat. Reynolds got right on it, and it was rigged and ready late the next day.

Picked it up Thursday afternoon.

My biggest reservation was whether or not I could get this one in the yard! The boat’s a foot longer, but the trailer is almost 2 feet longer and the trailer width is about 15 inches wider than the G3. I have to do a U-turn, then back around a blind corner and up a steep,  narrow driveway to get the boat into the back yard.

Now if I could only get to use it!

Spent most of Friday working on it with my grandson, Brett. Started out, I was just going to mount the Dragonfly 7 and install my Lefthanded Geezer Pole™.  But there were a few other doodads that needed to be installed and wired — USB charging ports and an auxiliary mount for my YOLOtek Powerstick GoPro mount — and before you know it, the day was gone.

And I still didn’t have the geezer pole mounted. Turns out I need to make a new one, as between the deeper boat and the taller console, the old one wasn’t nearly tall enough.

That was going to be my project for this afternoon, and maybe I’ll get to it, but there are other chores today, too. One thing’s for sure; Finish it or not, I’m putting this thing in the water and fishing somewhere tomorrow!


I sure am glad we got out early today

Steve Durkee and I hit the lower Connecticut River today.

Overall, it was a disappointing outing. It would have been even more disappointing if we hadn’t gotten out by 5:30. My first two fish, both caught on an unweighted, 7″ Sexy Shiner Fin-S Fish and both caught before 6:15, would be our only two keepers of the day. In fact, they would prove to be the only fish even close to keeper size that we would boat today. Both came from less than 3 feet of water. One from less than two.

We might have outsmarted ourselves by leaving that very shallow area, but with the tide dropping pretty quickly, we figured the fish would be heading out to something a little deeper. And we never saw another decent fish. Also didn’t catch another fish on topwater until we came back to that general area on the incoming tide a few hours later. Unfortunately, it wasn’t even within hoping range of being a keeper.

We split a dozen or so smaller fish on jig & plastic combos, got a few more rolls and turn aways on the topwater, and did some exploring. Never found anything resembling a school of feeding fish. Never even marked much bait. Found no water warmer than about 58 degrees, or with more than about 2 feet of visibility.We were done by noon.

 


Was today the last hurrah for the Housy?

Steve and I had planned to fish the Connecticut River today, as it seemed to us that the action in the Housy had fallen way off toward the end of last week. But with the prediction for heavy rain combined with 20-plus winds out of the east, we opted for the narrower and more protected confines of the Housatonic and hoped for the best.

As it turned out, that big east wind never materialized, and the rain was light and intermittent most of the morning. We probably would have been fine on the CTR, but we’re OK with how things turned out for us on the  Housatonic.

Lets be clear about one thing. There are not a lot of stripers left in the Housy. There’s still some, including some decent ones. But the fishing is kind of slow and tedious. In 5½ hours or so this morning, we might have had 30 fish show themselves on our surface presentations. But a lot of those shows were drive byes and turnaways rather than hits. I believe we hooked up with a dozen fish. There were 4 keepers among the hooked fish, but one of those was the only fish hooked that didn’t make it to the boat, so we ended up with 3 keepers out of 11 fish boated. Not the best day on the water, but far from the worst.

The hot bait for the day was a 7″ range bait (7″ Fin-S Fish or 7½” Slug-Go) in the Sexy Shiner color, which was at the business end of about half the shows, which included all of the hookups other than two. Seemed like they attacked that one pretty aggressively, while they came up and looked at the usual suspects (white, ice shad, etc.) and usually backed off or turned away without taking a shot at them. Bigger baits were summarily ignored. If they drew any interest at all, it must’ve been from fish that turned off before getting within sight.

Then again, I don’t have any Sexy Shiner 9″ Slug-Gos.

As I said, there do not appear to be too many fish left in the river. With the Memorial Day Weekend upon us, I’m guessing that by the time I get out striper chasing again, the CTR will be the hands down better bet.

But you know I’ll have to check the Housy first, just because its so much more convenient.


Sun, sun and more sun.

On Tuesday, I fished with Steve Durkee.  It was sunny, and our two keepers both came before the sun got over the treeline on the eastern horizon. A lot of moving and experimenting kept us on fish most of the time, but the bite was anything but hot.

Hey Carl, that's not a striper!

Hey Carl, that’s not a striper!

On Wednesday, I went out with Carl Lovisolo and his friend Patrick. We raised a few good fish to our topwaters, but with the bright, cloudless sky, they were very non-committal, and none of them felt steel, much less made a trip to the boat. The three of us managed about 50 fish, with no keepers. The highlight of the day was Carl catching a largemouth twitchng an unweighted 7″ Fin-S Fish meant for stripers.

Today I was back out with Steve Durkee. Once again the sun was high and bright, although we did have some very light cloud cover early on. Thin as it was, that cloud cover filtered enough of the sunlight to extend the daybreak bite window for a while, and I managed to hook three early keepers to 34 inches, all on topwater, and all from different areas of the river.

But once that thin cloud cover disappeared, it was over. The topwater action died first. Then the jig and plastic action. We re-ran every area we’d caught fish from and managed to catch a whopping two more schoolies after the sun got high and unfiltered. With a catch of about 35 fish between us, we were headed for the trailer about 11AM.

The one saving grace of the weather we’ve had this week is that the water in the river is finally warming up. Surface temps were above 60 when we pulled the boat from the water a few minutes past 11 this morning. Not sure how many fish are left in the river, and what the majority of the herring are up to, having had their initial attempts at spawning laid waste by the three week series of cold fronts that preceded this week’s heat wave. But I guess I’ll have to go out there tomorrow to see if I can figure it out.

When I checked the weather before leaving home this morning, tomorrow’s forecast called for mixed sun and clouds in the morning. When I got home a little before noon, the cloudy part of that mixed forecast had disappeared. Yep, tomorrow looks like another bright and sunny day.

Another.

Bright.

Sunny.

Day.

Just what I need.

 


Something’s a little off in the Housy

And that something is the water temperature. Seems like about 10 days ago, the water temp flirted with 60 for a day or two, and may have actually broken that mark for about 15 minute late one sunny afternoon.

Today, the water temperature was a solid 54~55 degrees, even after the air temp had been in the 70s for a few hours. Where there had been keeper stripers eating herring a few days ago, today there were neither keeper stripers nor herring. Where ospreys had been diving for bluebacks to take to the nest for their young, today there were ospreys circling around, searching fruitlessly for the next generation’s next meal.

Don’t get me wrong — Steve Durkee and I caught quite a few fish today. But other than one keeper apiece and a handful of marginal keepers in training, it was all schoolies, all the time. Worse yet, we had to forego our topwater approach and go with jighead presentations to catch them.

Oddly — or maybe not — our two keepers were each of our first bites of the day, and they both came on unweighted 7″ Fin-S Fish. But they were separated by 3½ miles and an hour and a half, so it’s not like we were on to some great discovery.

It seems like every spring there’s a day or two at some point during topwater time on the Housy that it feels like the action is coming to a premature end, and then a few days later, all is right in that world again. I’m hoping  that’s the case here, and that today’s fishing was an aberration. That the lack of a predictable topwater bite and scarcity of big fish is the result of a weather related shutdown and not that the fish have spent the last couple days vacating the river.

The only fish porn I can offer today is Steve’s keeper. Mine slipped from my grip while I was digging for the phone and started thrashing around on my rods laying on the deck, so I just scooped it up and out of the boat before it broke one or knocked one into the drink. But it was barely a keeper anyway.

Maybe tomorrow will be better. Or the next day. It sure looks like the water will be warmer, so that’s a start.