The Friday before Memorial Day weekend we headed out on our first “Fishing with Bob” trip for 2011. We had a fantastic day as far as the weather was concerned but the fishing was not so good. The continuos rain we have been getting caused limited access to the river. Basically we were stuck fishing at the 3 or 4 parking area/conoe launches. Normal water level affords a lot of river bank access and rock hopping to get out in the river. This was just not the case this day. As if not being able to fish as we would have liked wasn’t bad enough the ticks were ferocious. I was constantly flicking them off of my legs.
Now that I have the complaining out of the way. I did manage to catch one BROWN TROUT about 12″ long on my lucky WHITE ROOSTERTAIL from last season. My Trout was the only fish we witnessed being caught and judging by our conversation with fellow fisherman it was the only Trout caught by anyone.
When we realized the fishing was going to stink we became eager for lunch. Lunch consisted of some wonderful New York Strip Steaks from Amity Meat Market on the Woodbridge and New Haven line.
These steaks have become a tradition along with some massive baked potatos and buttered corn.
What really makes these steaks taste good is the fact that they are cooked on a real wood charcoal and not briquettes.
Aside from the tradition of fishing and steak there is the ritualistic beer and beef bonding session between Toby and Bob.
Lastly I upgraded Bob’s rod and reel. I gave him my G.Loomis GL2 and my DAIWA Advantage 2500A reel. He was using an old Quantum reel that had so many miles on it the line had worn grooves in the various bail parts.
This was also my first time out with the St Croix Rod and Shimano Sustain FE Reel but I will save that story for another day.
It looks like we will try to get back on the Housatonic in July or August.
Twice a year the little woman, Toby and I head off to the Housatonic River in Cornwall Connecticut to what we refer to as “Fishing with Bob”. Fishing with Bob has its roots dating back about 20 years from when I kept my Ranger 363V Bass Boat at his home in Newtown, CT. Bob and I used to go bass fishing weekly on lake lillinonah. Twice a year though we would break from our bass fishing and head to the Housatonic River in Cornwall for some trout and smallmouth bass fishing.
Here in 2010, my boat is long gone and Bob has since moved away but the twice yearly tradition of “Fishing with Bob” has remained steadfast.
This year as we began planning our second trip to the Housatonic I knew that if the weather didn’t change by the day of our trip that we would be facing a river that was experiencing one of the driest summers on record and the water level could be a few feet lower than normal.
Fishing Day September 10, 2010
Nothing like a fishing trip to make it rain. We hit the road around 8:30am. Upon getting off route 8 in Torrington the sky became dark and threatening. Sure enough before long we were getting some downpours and fog pretty much until the time we reached Kent. Interestingly a few miles later in Cornwall there was no sign of rain and it appeared not a drop reached the ground at our fishing location. The sky was still overcast and there was a slight breeze. We found ourselves wishing we had worn something other than shorts and t-shirts. We met up with Bob and exchanges hugs and greetings and headed to the river.
Fishing Part 1:
The river was very low, lower than I had anticipated. In fact I had only seem the river at this level one other time previously and It was our best day ever for smallmouth bass ever. I was encouraged. Normally we are limited to a handful of places to fish from and a limited amount of river bank to move about but the low water level makes the entire section of river that we fish accessible. I was pretty happy.
Typically I start off with my 2″ black/gold original floating minnow. It’s a great lure for just about any type of freshwater fish here in New England. This day I decided to be different and started with a black/chartreuse beetle spin. The beetle spin has worked really well for me on this river in the past. Also at this point I’m really seeking smallmouth bass and not interested in trout. Well the beetle spin did not produce anything. Not only did it not produce a fish but I didn’t even get a strike or follow. Nothing. During the next half hour or so I tried several other trust lures with similar results. I did however make an observation about the river conditions that might have been affecting the fish. First off there were minnows and fry everywhere. The second thing I noticed was Crayfish everywhere. I could see them carpeting the riverbed as well as their remains on the rocks from birds and animals who were dining on them. I suspect every predator was eating well and my plastic lures were pretty unappealing.
Disappointed, Bob and I decided to regroup and break for lunch.
Lunch has become a tradition just as much as the trip itself. This day we would dine on some thick and juicy New York Strip steaks cut fresh before my eyes at Amity Meat Market in New Haven, CT. To go with the steak we had some huge baked potatoes and buttered corn. All the food was cooked over real charcoal and not briquettes. To wash down the steaks Bob and Toby drank some Sam Adams, the little woman had Mikes Hard Lemonade while I had a coke. I was the designated party pooper.
After lunch we decided to skip the urge for a nap and try fishing a little further down the river.
It was a good move.
Fishing Part 2:
We headed down stream to the place where we normally end the trip. The river was deeper, faster and a little more concentrated here. I immediately started with my Rapala this time. To my shock 4 HUGE TROUT followed the Rapala to my feet. They would do this consistently. Off to my right Bob began to land some nice trout. I started switching out lures to find something to get the trouts attention in to see if I could get on the fish like Bob was.
I believe Bob was on his 6th trout when I tied on a Yo-Zuri Gobi. I the Gobi produced two trout in two casts. I decided though that because the hooks were so small and difficult to remove that I was risking the trouts lives. I needed something different.
Coincidentally last spring the nice gentleman that owns the river bank where we park had given us a lure recommendation for trout in this area. He had suggested a lure that has withstood the test of time, an inline spinner. Most folks know inline spinners by their brand names Mepps and Rooster Tails. This day I chose the Rooster Tail. It was the right choice. I began catching trout at a pace equal to Bob’s. I noticed the trout were almost always grabbing the lure as it’s retrieve arc changed direction from across the current to against it. I decided to cast in a fashion where my lure worked it’s way down stream in about 3 foot increments. On my furthest cast I intentionally bounced the lure off a rock. I was almost instantly snagged on a rock or the bottom, or so I thought. I was about to give up and break my line when the little woman suggested trekking down stream to get lure. I knew she was right. After several minutes of rock hopping I finally got a little down stream of the snag and my line began to move on its own. The fact is I was not really stuck. I had managed to hook a fairly large male brown trout. It took me a few minutes to get him to my feet. As much as I would have loved to get him out of the water for a picture I was more concerned with not harming him and having my 6lb test breaking leaving him with my lure in his mouth.
One I resumed fishing I caught another good trout, not as large as the big one but about 14″ and very fat. This was turning out to be quite a day. We stayed a little while longer caught a few more fish and decided it was enough and time to call it quits.
I think I caught about 8 trout, a decent 12″ smallmouth and a lure sized smallmouth. Bob caught 12 trout but he wasn’t counting. 🙂
Each year fisherman spend millions of dollars on fishing tackle. We are constantly bombarded with new fishing lures promising to be better than anything before it. The lures have photo finishes to look like actual fish, they have bodies that replicate the swimming action of bait fish and fry.
I personally buy into this hype continuously. However several recent fishing outing have reminded me that often times the oldest lure designs still stand the test of time. While bass fishing a few weeks ago nobody around me was catching anything. I threw most of my favorite lures without success as well. Finally as a last ditch effort I switched to a Heddon Torpedo. The Heddon Torpedo has been around for almost a century. Before you know it the water was exploding with bass.
This past Friday drove the point home again while fishing for Trout on the Housatonic River in Kent, Connecticut. We were catching a trout here and there and we can see a lot of trout following the lure but they just weren’t taking the lure. My fishing partner switched to an Al’s Original Goldfish and began to catch a trout every few casts.
I thought it would be interesting to try the various lure’s in my tackle box that mimicked the Al’s Goldfish the closest. No luck, for whatever reason The trout remained mostly uninterested. That got me thinking. When we fished this exact location last spring the landowner had made a lure recommendation. Based upon that recommendation and as an afterthought I ordered the lure he recommended a few days before this fishing trip. This lure is the Worden’s Original Rooster Tail.
Fortunately the Rooster Tail arrived the day before the trip and made this one of my best trout fishing experiences in decades if not ever. Not only was I now catching trout but I also caught on of the largest Brown Trout of my life.
Today as I sit here typing this out I wonder if some of the other classics might has done as well. Classics such as the Red/White Daredevil, Mepps Aglia or maybe even a gold Phoebe. I guess Ill have to go fishing again to find out.
Fishing Tackle, Tips, Techniques and Other Exagerations