[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-QLHjNzp/0/L/i-QLHjNzp-L.jpg[/img] [size=85]Crabtops will get the significance of this song[/size]
This starts off about a month before the bake. The weekend after labor day is usually when the little tunny start becoming targetable from shore. Crabtops and I got some intel that the jetty near MTK had a strong showing of Aldo so we met up one Saturday morning to try our luck. I don't have any shots of Crabtops or my fish as we were fishing different sections of the wall. I left a few hours before Crabtops did and I think I had four for the day and he had two. After I left, he scored another seven more in the next couple of hours. I should've taken the ferry across Long Island Sound back to Rhody instead of driving across Long Island and Connecticut to get back home (7 hours with traffic); would've allowed me to stay longer but four core from shore isn't anything to complain about. Anyway, here are some shots of some dudes who also caught.
This dude had never caught a tunny before. I gave him a whitebait mushy that I had caught a few on. He landed this fish about 15 minutes or so later.
2nd fish later in the day.
This is one of Crab's buds. His first albie on just as I was leaving.
Then we ran into some knot trouble.
Then Crabtops defty avoids stepping on his own rod.
Finally the hero shot.
In my locale, we have about 30 days to target albies from shore. Most days end in failure; no fish spotted, fish spotted too far from shore and/or nothing on the blind cast. I can't remember how many mornings before work, after work and full days on the jetty I put in this season but it felt like I put more hours in this season than ever. However, there was one day at my local jetty that was the greatest albie show I've ever seen from shore. I caught as many as I did with Crabtops the other day and so did at least 30 other guys on the jetty (spin and fly). The fish only showed one time the whole day. Everything was on the blind.
Lot of tying sessions during every free moment away from work and the jetty. You lose a lot of flies fishing the rocks, especially with my preference for a sinking line.
First fish of the day.
Random dude landing one.
Now you see him.
Now you don't.
This was probably the best hardtail season from shore I've seen since I moved to New England in 2002.
One thing bothering me before the bake was the wind. The past three years we've pretty much lucked out fishing within the last 10 days of September and the first couple of days in October. The wind usually starts blowing hard every day after the first week or two of October. This year it started early, like within the last 10 days of September. There were some calm days, especially the weekend before the bake which had me regretting the dates we picked.
So, for the first time in four years I didn't have to pick up anyone at the airport. This gave me the chance to take the ferry from New Engerland to Long Island. Fucking absolute pleasure it was. Basically cut 5 hours of driving one-way.
New London, CT.
Landing at Orient Point, NY one hour and twenty minutes later.
Then the ferry from the north fork to Shelter Island.
Then the ferry from Shelter Island to Sag Harbor.
Fallen and the Ohio contingent were out on a boat the day I arrived so I swung by the jetty near MTK to try my luck. I saw the forecasts and it looked like
sporty conditions. Then I got a first hand view.
[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-knkrMpd/0/L/i-knkrMpd-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-Bhb5KPh/0/L/i-Bhb5KPh-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-ngmKM5P/0/L/i-ngmKM5P-L.jpg[/img]
Felt sorry for this little guy.
Struck out at the jetty. Saw one dude land one on a spinning rod, so they were definitely around but the water was a little dirty from the swell. That night, we all met up for dinner in town and made our introductions. Fallen had been out during the day. He can tell you about it in his TR. Basically, there was a feeling of dread (at least for me) about the conditions for the weekend. 20-25 knot winds, seas 4'-7'. Fuck!
Crabtops, Mr. Crabtops Sr. and I met up the next morning wondering what the day would bring with Capt. Derr at the helm.
We knew what we were in for.
[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-Dwn3bvK/0/L/i-Dwn3bvK-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-DVjDMCH/0/L/i-DVjDMCH-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-tNsStS5/0/L/i-tNsStS5-L.jpg[/img]
But there were fish around.
So we got our asses in gear.
And made the best of it.
[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-3PPZF7j/0/L/i-3PPZF7j-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-pgMTmpf/0/L/i-pgMTmpf-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-g3xdc7j/0/L/i-g3xdc7j-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-rFhndmj/0/L/i-rFhndmj-L.jpg[/img]
Even the captain wasn't diggin' the slop.
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But we all caught and no one hurled.
Day two on the boat would have me paired with PXATIM and Capt. Blitzbound. The swell was much less, 3-5 footers but the wind blew like a bitch, worse than the day before and this time from the opposite direction. At least we would have wind with tide. This was Tim's first time targeting tunny from a boat. The day before while Crabtops, his dad and I were out getting our asses kicked by Neptune, Tim went to the jetty to see what he could do from shore. He didn't have a stripping basket and I forgot to give him mine the day before. If I didn't have a stripping basket with me on the jetty and couldn't rig something up, I'd of said fuck it and gone home. Least I could do was give him the first bow shot.
Windy as a motherfucker.
It didn't take him long to get the hang of it.
[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-hFZpKkV/0/L/i-hFZpKkV-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-g3bVPbr/0/L/i-g3bVPbr-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-RD36Mmk/1/L/i-RD36Mmk-L.jpg[/img]
We had to head in early before the wind would oppose the tide.
Later that day after Tim and I had dinner we swung by the lighthouse so he can say he was there. The view was a little telling for me. The wind and seas had laid down that evening.
Block Island's Southwest Ledge in the background. Can you spot the douchenozzle in the foreground?
I checked the forecast and it looked stellar, all things considering; 5-10 knots in the morning building to 10-15 konts in the afternoon, seas 2'-3'. Tim had taken the next day off from work so he said he'd be on board the next morning with Capt. Tondra and myself.
Never thought I'd see these conditions during this trip. And it was pretty warm out to boot.
Tim didn't waste any time.
Shame that reel doesn't go to 11.
[img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-Z2MJLDg/0/L/i-Z2MJLDg-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-ThbK3f9/0/L/i-ThbK3f9-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-NHW6G2c/0/L/i-NHW6G2c-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-4XVGmXF/0/L/i-4XVGmXF-L.jpg[/img] [img]http://jasonpzimmer.smugmug.com/photos/i-9QDdKqZ/0/L/i-9QDdKqZ-L.jpg[/img]
Yeah, we had the best day of the whole trip. Plenty of fish between us. Tim can tell you about his encounter with a sea mammal. The guides were feeling frisky too. Lots of critiquing of boat handling skills. I thought we were going to see fistacuffs on the water. Even heard over the VHF one capt. challenge another to meet him at the commerical dock at the end of the day.
2014 wasn't the orgy we had in 2011 or 2012. It certainly wasn't the sandeel and dredging show (and no appleknockers) of 2013. Somewhere in the middle with some rough seas mixed in. Noticeably absent this year were the bass. I think I had a few on that I lost while doing some dredging. Waters too warm for them to get them keyed up? Maybe. Over harvesting, lack of sound fisheries management and degredation of the Chesapeake Bay spawing grounds? Don't doubt it for a second. Two years in a row where the bass were thin and this year we had the bait to hold them around. We'll see what happens.
Oh, one more thing. Good shit happens when Crabtops and I fish together. Thanks bro.