10/11 West side - East side (From a boat this time)
After hearing about all the fish around by those brave enough to venture out in this crappy weather I decided that walking the canal was a bit slow for me, and it was time to splash Riptide and slog around a bit.
I worked all night and at 0700 Capt. Joe arrived at the house. I did my best superman phone booth change and soon I was out of work cloths and into warm sweats and rain gear. We ran to Bourne and splashed the boat. What a shock we were the only boat in the marina other than a RIB someone seems to have left at the 5 min tie up dock ALL day.
WE run out to the West end and are immediately greeted by numerous flocks of birds and fish breaking from the canal to HIC. I fly out beyond Stony Point to see if there is anything in the bay. Nothing on radar and no signs of life. We run back in by the MMA and hammer some school bass and blues for a bit. The fish are coming in waves and just as you'd loose a pod another would appear in the distance down by the RR Bridge.
Our goal today was not to drag out in the cold wet weather for school fish. We were hoping to get something of size. Most of my offerings today were geared towards getting one big fish not allot of small ones, but the smaller ones still ate.
After working what seemed like all the pods of fish in the area and finding mostly smaller fish we decided to leave them and head to the East End and points beyond.
WE ran through the ditch and saw folks of birds and breaking fish nearly the entire length. Some areas held more than others but for the most part any spot on the canal you chose to fish was showing some kind of life. Many were just plain loaded with breaking fish and birds.
At the East end we were greeted not with the flat, cold, wet conditions of the West end, but instead we found 3' seas and a fairly stiff wind to go along with the cold wet conditions. WE ran along the shore towards the UDL and things seemed pretty slow. We almost turned back a mile shy of the UDL but we chose to press on. Good thing too. When we got there the east side of the UDL was loaded with birds and fish busting right in the wash. Anyone with a cane pole could have reached them from shore as they worked their way West.
We eased the boat into the shallow water, careful not to get pushed ashore by the north wind. We cast to the pods and found fish of similar size as on the West end. Even big lures low and slow could only muster up fish in the low to mid 30" range. Most of the fish were in the just near legal size. Fun absolutely! What we were looking for? Not really.
We fished the birds then worked a distance behind them looking for the bigger slower followers with only 30" fish to show for it. Finally after following the fish and birds for a distance West we headed back to the canal. On the East end we found some decent fish breaking off the North Jetty, but they wouldn't eat for us. They weren't huge, but we saw a good number of fish in the 15# range on top. I marked them throughout the water column and we fished them from top to bottom without any joy.
We pushed back through to the West end and on the trip back we saw less birds and fish although they were still at nearly every spot, just not as heavy. We worked some more fish at the West end for about 30 minutes before it was time for a warm lunch.
Final tally 30-40 fish from 20" to mid 30"s. A few blues in the 5-8# range also showed up. We could have geared appropriately and fished the smaller ones and landed 100 each without much effort, but that wasn't the plan. The lures of choice were Big Wood, Big Rubber and 3oz Lead and Pork. Most of the bigger fish came dragging the rubber slow and deep on the edges of the birds. We fished from 60' to 3' of water. The temps ranged from 54 to 64 (East to West). The conditions were awful as far as comfort was concerned. It was a heavy misty drizzle, every surface on the boat and us was dripping wet in minutes. Wipe the windshield and it was soaked in a minute or two. No staying dry outside today.
Overall a typical Oct day with all the school fish you could want. It was good to get time to fish with Dad (Capt Joe) again before the season is over. Hopefully in the next few days I'll get out some more and be lucky enough to intersect with a school of bigger fish moving through. AS you would expect ALL the fish were in Vacation mode, everything was moving West/South at an urgent pace. No fish hanging around here, everything is on the move!
Capt. Terry Nugent