Fishing with Bob:
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. 🙂
Dogs like fishing too:
Toby has come to love fishing as much as us.