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Westport outfitters fishing report April 17, 2012
2012 Fishing Season-Inaugral Report
Well folks, you asked for it and here it is…the 2012 Inaugural Westport Outfitter’s Fishing Report. Before we get to the report, a few things; next weekend April 21st at 11:00 A.M., our own Captain Mike Platt will be presenting on fishing the Norwalk Islands and how to maximize your time doing so. On hand we will have local charts as well as a guest appearance from Alex Peru, founder of Long Cast Plastics and the Albie SNAX and Swallow Lures. Please RSVP to email@example.com. Springtime is a great time to fish soft plastics for they are unmolested by the vicious bite of bluefish and of course present a more lifelike food source as opposed to a hard bait. We like Sluggos to get the job done and per your requests, we have started making our pre-rigged Sluggo boxes again. Come down and grab one for two reasons, the first is to save you time on the water and the second is to show you exactly how straight these baits need to be to fish them properly and effectively. Now is also the time to bring your reels in for service and cleaning. Last but surely not least, the store has never been as packed with new stuff than this year. We have nearly every saltwater Shimano spinning real in stock, as well as Quantum and Fin-Nor and the new TFO rods designed by Gary Loomis start at just $99.00! Tube & Worm lead core combos fully rigged and require no keels to get you down where the fish are quickly. We are looking forward to a great year and hope to see you all soon…onto the report…
So if I had a dollar for everyone that asked me over the winter if I thought the season would get off to an early start because of the mild weather, I probably would be paying someone else to write this report, as I went tarpon fishing, but as fate would have it, I never got paid, but I did have an answer. Did everyone look at their trees in December? I did and if you did you would have seen buds starting to poke through about three months early. But don’t trees know that the mild weather could have just been a fluke and that the tree brain was smart enough to know this and recall the buds until spring? The answer is no and is directly correlated with fish. Like the trees, fish don’t really have a biological clock that triggers when they begin their migration up or down the coast. Their movements and growth patterns are directly correlated with water temps which of course are directly correlated with air temps. Many have commented how big the trout are that were stocked by the state a month back giving them kudos for putting their licensing revenues to good use, nice thought, but the size has nothing to do with the state spending more money on larger fish. Most of the hatcheries in Connecticut are outside, in an uncontrolled environment, subject to the elements. The trout that were being grown literally outgrew their tanks and had to be released into our rivers and streams early for the simple reason that the state could barely afford to keep feeding them. And how did all this happen again…the mild winter. However, just because we can point to these several examples, it still does not mean we will get an early season because what we forgot to mention was the bait angle. Like other species, the bait too needs to be on the same page and thus far it looks like it is. From New Haven to Greenwich and everywhere in between, schools of adult bunker have been seen in pretty good numbers. Some are saying this is because of the mandatory 31 percent catch reduction for commercial boats south of CT harvesting these fish for their omega threes among other resources. My personal opinion is that since the introduction of this measure just this Fall, that the schools and the number of schools that we have seen are not directly correlated (yet).
Remember last spring when we also had those large schools of Mackerel in the western sound? You don’t? That is good, since we have not seen Mackerel in the sound in decades but that too has changed this year, where reports of Mackerel from Milford, Old Saybrook and points in between have been recorded. Last and surely not least, Alewives, a favorite spring bait for hungry bass are in pretty thick thus far, with hundreds being counted on the Saugatuck and thousands being counted on the Mianus at the ladders. This is a great sign for more than one reason…
So with all of this data, will we get an early spring run. By all of my accounts, we actually already are. There has been bass getting caught for nearly a month now. In fact just last Saturday we had a great A.M. in the river right behind the shop with several fish in the 35 inch range on storm shads and Sluggos. Up towards Bridgeport, reports emanating from our good friend Jimmy O’s shop have said much of the same, with some nice bass being caught off the Fairfield beaches during the day and at night. We need not recall Irene and the no-name storm that put a beating on Fairfield County, other than the fact that both of them really twisted up some of our wading areas just offshore, including Penfield Reef and Compo Cove, as well as Southport Beach. Before you head out this Spring, you may want to do some reconnaissance first since your favorite rock or bar might be gone or covered.
So at this time of year, although you may be tempted to go set up on some structure, now more than ever in my pinion is the time to be hitting the estuaries, but not just any estuary, but those that become fresh water eventually, for those are the ones where you will find bait fish like Alewives and silversides looking to spawn and the bass won’t be far behind. Soft plastics are a good start (insert pre-rigged sluggo boxes here) on the spin rods and some larger darker shaded flies for the long rods.
The one weird link in this whole discussion of an early spring sits about 40 miles to our west and that is the mighty mighty Hudson River. A large portion of our big spring run of bass usually comes from the Hudson and thus far the activity on it has been meager at best. This is after Governor Cuomo banned commercial striped bass fishing on the river in the Fall. Despite this and a warm winter, the fishing has been very slow where our own Captain Mike Platt has had his boat for nearly three weeks and fishing almost daily. Not even sandworms have been able to get these fish to eat!
Back home here in Westport the Flounder fishing has been painfully slow, but that can almost be expected at this point do to the fishery as a whole and the lack of folks that actually partake in it and decide to hold out for Fluke instead.
With opening day for CT next weekend, the rivers have been stocked and are ready to go. Only thing to be aware of is that since these fish were put in at least three weeks early, they have seen a lot of flies, lures and the like, so if you do decide to partake in this “party” they call opening day, you may need to brush up on some patterns to fool this finicky fish.
Well folks, that is about it. The game is now, don’t let someone else tell you the fishing is on, but instead go out and make your own report (then send it to us). Keep in mind that the stage is set almost perfectly for a blow out spring and it could be game on just after one tide, so the persistent angler will surely be one that is well rewarded. A lot of you called and emailed in and asked for a report so we have obliged as we will every week throughout the season, however I want to highly encourage all of you that faithfully read these to get up on Facebook and “like” the Westport Outfitters page. The nature of these reports are like all, information that may be a day late and a dollar short for they are static. Facebook will allow us to provide you with real time information. It also will allow us to communicate with our fans in a moiré personal way, highlight specials and offer promotion for our “friends” only. Look forward to seeing and hearing from you all soon. For your convenience I have pasted the FB page link below. See you on the water…
Eric C. Johnson
Westport Outfitters, LLC
609 Riverside Ave.
TAKE THE FAMILY FISHING
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