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End of Summer Blues - A New England TR

Started by TheYiman, September 23, 2015, 16:41:03 pm

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TheYiman

Originally, my wife and I had a repeat trip to the Upper Peninsula planned for this July.  This came crashing down when my FIL decided he'd rather cash in and retire from his job of who knows how many years than go on this trip with us.  No big deal, good for him, the timing just didn't work out anymore so that he could call it a day for good and still take this trip.  On the inside, I was pretty bummed, as I was really looking forward to chasing some remote Northerns and remembering a friend who passed away last year by fishing his favorite lake.  Oh well, if that cool destination was now off the list, we needed to figure out an alternative plan.

My wife has always wanted to go to the New England coast.  We decided to make this our replacement for the UP trip.  Flights were changed and a hotel was booked.  I just about always bring a fly rod with me when I travel, so I started researching.  Turns out, it might be a good time of year for Stripers or Blues on the beaches.  I started tying tons of Sand Eels to get my box ready.  Some 30# wire leaders were purchased in case of the latter.

We decided to try something different for this excursion, no rental car.   We ended up bumming a ride to airport from a friend, flying to New England, taking public transportation to the pier (bus and subway), hopping on a big ass Catamaran jet ferry, and finally using bikes as our main transportation at our final destination.  It was a really fun way to travel.  I'm going to try and go like this as much as possible in future.

Left the local Stripers to search for natives.


Don't have these in my town.


Or these.


We had to do the tourist thing and get the lobster.


Super fun and easy to tie.


These seals are no joke.  They will steal your catch so fast if you don't get it in.  I lost one fish to a seal, not too bad as they were everywhere.


We ate and drank well, burned off our calories by pedaling through the dunes and maritime forests, and I got incredibly lucky with the fishing.


Our first afternoon on the beach, I rigged up my 10 weight and went searching for fish.  I had low hopes as my research had told me that the best fishing would probably be at daybreak.  I ended up hardly casting and just shooting the shit with a few different surf anglers I ran across.  It was a friendly crowd, and eventually one local, Rick, said, "Wanna meet up in the morning, it should be good, and having a 4x4 can make it even better."  Cool, 0500, it was.  My wife was less than enthused about this, but assured her fishermen are a tight group and I did not think this was sketchy in the least.



I awake at 0400.  Load my gear up and bike the 4 miles to the beach parking area.  I rig up and at 0455, Rick pulls up.  I hop in and we head off to a spot that would have taken forever to walk to.  He is fishing large surfcasting gear, loaded with big topwater plugs.  he hooks up on the 2nd cast just as day breaks.  His first fish is about 10 pound Blue.  Nice! 



A few tense moments go by and, all of a sudden, a school of thousands of Bluefish all in the 5 to 15+ pound range comes slamming into the beach as far as we could see in either direction.  It wasn't long before a nice Blue tears out of a wave and destroys my big ole popper.  I tied this popper I tied on a cork from a champagne bottle from my wedding.  Pretty cool it finally worked.  I was instantly in my backing and trying frantically to tighten the drag.  These big Blues are no joke.  The school was chasing 10 - 12" Ballyhoo (?) up onto the shore.  I still don't have a positive id on the baitfish.  They looked like Ballyhoo but had a bill on the top and the bottom of their mouth.  I had never seen a fish like these before.



Next fish hit a 6" half and half.  I bet they would have hit anything.


Most fish were in the low to mid 30" range.  I had never seen or caught Blues like these before. 


The school eventually speed past us and we took off in 4 wheel drive down the beach chasing them along.  We got out front of it and went for round 2.  We both landed a few more fish and like a light switch it was over.  The dawn blitz lasted from 0600 to 0630.  It was one of the most amazing nature scenes I have ever experienced.  Frantic, frenzied fishing.  There were probably 20 anglers up and down the beach.  I was the only fly guy as far as I could see.  At one point I looked up and every single angler was hooked up.  No bullshit.  It all came together.

I rode back to the hotel to find my wife just returning from a morning beach walk.  I told her about the morning and I could tell she was a bit jealous that she had not come along.  She doesn't fish, but loves nature and felt like she had missed out on something cool.  I wanted her to meet Rick, so we ended up back out on  the beach later that day.  I really did not expect an afternoon blitz, so I left my rod back at the room.  While standing their drinking beers and eating some stuffed Quahogs, I noticed Blues running up and down the beach in the waves.  They were not hitting the surface as they had that morning but they were there and I bet they would eat.

Rick let me grab one of his surfcasters and we got back to it.  I could not believe it, a mid-afternoon blitz.  My wife was really glad to see it.  She grabbed the camera and started shooting.  She got some really cool shots.  I was stoked that she got to experience this too.  I tried to hand her the rod, but she wanted no part of how hard the Blues were pulling.  She just wanted to take the pictures.













Evidence of the dawn blitz.




Our vacation was a short Monday through Thursday jaunt.  Turned out to be a perfect length.  We reversed our modes of transportation and headed home the next day.  I never found the Stripers in their native habitat.  That's ok cause the Bluefish were a worthy alternative. 


Tiny plane for the last leg our journey.


Thanks for checking out my trip report.  I hope you enjoyed.  I am already researching a return.

bmadd

Dude, I enjoyed that the second time around too. Good looking trip and glad you caught some fish.

flatlander


TheYiman

No Albies from the beach.  There were huge schools of baitfish offshore that you could see from the beach.  The charter fleet was out there beating up the fish.  I heard reports of mainly Blues out there with some Stripers mixed in and a few smaller Tuna.  Apparently it will stay good for another month with various predators chasing bait through.

Originally I was going to get a guide.  I had trouble finding one with a small boat though.  Most folks up there run bigger offshore boats to chase fish.  I did not want to pay for all that fuel. 

The DIY thing worked out just fine anyways, even better.  V:;

driver

I have friends that live in New London, CT, and I've been contemplating taking the boat up there for years to fish the blitz.

Dougfish

That sir, was most entertaining.  bd;0
Happy that you and the wife could have such a fine trip. (And you could fish w/o guilt.)  y;

Transylwader

Fucking bringing it! Well played bru. I got your spot alreadys mayne. Headed up to Tom Brady country in the wee hours of Friday morning.
Glad you got em. Ain't nothing like being the only fly flinger in a group of bales and fukked up gear gittin some salty V:;

ptfranze

It is so awesome to see blitzing blues.  I have only seen it twice but they will eat anything when they are doing it.  Talked to a surf fisherman at Huntington Beach one day and he said he was catching them two at a time on bare hooks. 

Its quite the site to see. 

TheYiman

Those Blues teeth are so sharp they were eventually cutting/tearing through those 30# wire leaders.  They were good saltwater ones too.

You talking HB,SC?

ptfranze

Quote from: TheYiman on September 24, 2015, 11:27:07 am
Those Blues teeth are so sharp they were eventually cutting/tearing through those 30# wire leaders.  They were good saltwater ones too.

You talking HB,SC?


Yeah walked out there I think it was last summer to the Jetty and found the blues blitzing.  No where near the size of the ones you were catching though.  When I get off work I will see if I can load the video of the huge blitz Driver and I rolled up on last year while albie fishing. 

TheYiman

Cool.  Grew up surf fishing all over SC beaches and only caught random ones.

ptfranze

Here is the blue blitz Driver and i found while albie fishing last year...it was huge




sanjuanwormhatch

I went to NE for the first time a few years ago and came away very impressed. 

TheYiman

Cool picture.  I wanted to take one of the dawn blitz, but I got too carried away catching feesh and forgot all about it until the blitz was over.

ptfranze

Can you only see a picture?  I have a video that shows up on my mac but on my work computer all I saw was the picture too.  Anyone know how to load a video so everyone can see it?


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