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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 5201
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 10:09 am    Post subject: Connecticut River - Baldwin Bridge 09/22 Reply with quote

The Birthday Blues

DirtyDawg10 (aka Derek) usually takes a day or two off from work around his birthday to go fishing. This year, we planned to hit the mouth of the Connecticut River on Wednesday, 09/20, but Hurricane Jose said, "No way!", with wind gusts forecast to be in excess of 30 miles per hour, so we postponed our trip until Friday, 09/22.

It turned out that we needn't have bothered; Friday's weather was a near replay of Wednesday's. In fact, it was slightly worse. The wind blew steadily out of the north at 15 to 20+ miles per hour, except for a lull from 2:00 pm to 2:30 pm that felt like the eye of the storm passing over us. However, the air temperature rose throughout the day from 68 degrees to a balmy 77 degrees.

We were on the water from 9:25 am to 3:40 pm. The low tide was at 6:41 am and the high tide was at 12:58 pm. The water was murky and the water temperature hung between 67 and 69 degrees. When we left the ramp at the Baldwin Bridge State Boat Launch, the north wind was already rolling breakers down the river. I hoped to get out of the worst of it by heading down to the flats along the west bank. My boat is an 18-1/2 foot bass boat, so it's not ideal for rough water in the salt. We started fishing at the island just downriver from the railroad bridge and threw Daiwa Salt Pro Minnows (floating) on braid without leaders. Although we marked some fish on the bottom, when I fish the mouth of the Connecticut, I prefer to look for a topwater bite.

We worked our way down the west bank. Although we saw baitfish occasionally jumping out of the water, we didn't get anything; no follows, no nibbles. Then, as we approached the inlet that's halfway down to North Cove, Derek had a follower that appeared to be a bluefish. On his next cast, he had two more followers. We put the Ultrex on Spot Lock and, a short while later, while ripping and pausing my SP Minnow, I got a hit. Although it felt heavy like a big blue, it didn't behave like one. When I got it to the surface next to boat, we saw that it was a keeper-sized striped bass, not a blue:

It was a solid 28 incher and it wasn't alone. I boated another 28 incher within the next few casts. However, we were there to celebrate Derek's birthday, not mine. But it didn't take him long to get in on the action, too. The fish crushed his lure when he paused it right next to the boat, baptizing both of us with salt water:

His 33 incher ended up being our lunker striper for the day.

30 minutes later, I hooked up, again, but, this time, I knew immediately that it was a big bluefish. How could I tell? Unlike a big striper that just feels heavy and pulls steadily, a big blue will take off like a rocket, and pull hard and fast. And pull. And pull. And, if you're lucky, it'll leap completely out of the water like a tarpon. And leap, again. And again. The fight is worth the slime, blood and puke that ends up all over your boat:

The 30 incher was kind enough to keep most of its lunch in its gut.

The bite died, so we ran down the bank to North Cove and took a break from the worst of the wind in the "harbor of refuge". As is usual for me there, although we saw tons of bait on the finders and jumping out of the water, we didn't see any sign that they were being molested by anything.

At 12:30 pm, we headed back into the breaking waves and back up the west bank to the inlet; nope, still nothing there. I scanned the river for any sign of feeding activity and saw a lone seagull fishing at the edge of the flat, where it drops sharply down into the channel. As we headed straight across from the inlet to the edge of the flat, I noticed splashing in the whitecaps. It took a second to register that we were in a blitz, but I yelled to Derek to get a lure into the water as I put the Ultrex back on Spot Lock. He hooked up immediately. It took me a couple of casts, but I hooked up, too. Double! I was using a 5000 size Shimano Saragosa spooled with 65 pound braid, while Derek was using a 2500 size Shimano Stradic spooled with 20 pound braid, so, yeap, I got my fish in first. After a long few minutes, Derek got his in, too:

A 29 and a 30 incher:

And, yeap, Derek's was bigger than mine. Embarassed Plus, he hooked up, again, on his next cast. But he blew our streak of five keepers in a row when he boated only a 27 incher. Rolling Eyes

The bite died after the blitz ended, so we fished down and up the edge of the flat. At 1:30 pm, Derek hooked up with what was obviously a really big blue. He fought it completely around the boat for several minutes, before it spit the lure as he brought it up to the boat. Sad An hour later, though, he managed to finally get one into the boat:

Fittingly, the fish puked its guts all over Derek, as if to say, "Happy Birthday, Asshole!"

We decided to retrace our track and motored back up to the island near the railroad bridge. Once again, we didn't get anything until we approached the inlet, where I hooked up with an embarrassingly tiny schoolie:

Yeap, Derek wasn't impressed at all. But I followed it up with another big blue:

Neither of us had anything to eat all day, and coffee and beer alone weren't cutting it, so we headed off the water to grab linner at The Blue Hound in Ivoryton.

Sometimes, the birthday blues aren't a bad thing.
Don't forget to wear sunscreen and don't litter!
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Joined: 27 May 2009
Posts: 2238
Location: Granby, CT

PostPosted: Sat Sep 23, 2017 11:25 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Great report! It was a great day on the water.
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Joined: 24 May 2010
Posts: 285
Location: South Windsor

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote


Love the business casual look while you are fishing.. LOL..

Heard LL Bean is looking for middle aged models..

Looks like a great day on the water!!!!
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Joined: 06 Oct 2009
Posts: 5201
Location: Avon, CT

PostPosted: Thu Sep 28, 2017 7:44 am    Post subject: Hey, Rob! Reply with quote

One of my pale Polack fishing buddies pointed out to me that you could either wear long clothes or use sunscreen. I really hate using sunscreen, so I go with the long sleeves and pants.

Plus, it makes women want me. Laughing

Unfortunately, it makes my wife want me. . . to do yard work. Sad
Don't forget to wear sunscreen and don't litter!
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Joined: 22 Jul 2011
Posts: 582
Location: Ellington

PostPosted: Fri Oct 06, 2017 8:07 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Phil, you do an awesome job with the birthday thing. I've never forgotten mine a few years back. The middle of January fishing for stripers on the Housy, such a blast. Great report as always.
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