East River flyfishing with The Man in the Striped Pajamas.
Gartside the boss
Stripers are so posh. Gorging themselves on lobsters
I gotta change my slacks
This video makes me hot
That’s pretty badass.
Fishing reports are one of my weaknesses. Friday afternoon as I was leaving work my wife sent me this:
I spent Friday night reading maps, checking weather reports, and ferry schedules. Saturday I wrapped up chores, gathered my gear and hit the road.
The whole day felt like a race against time. Saltwater fishing is controlled by tides. I’m a weekend warrior so I fish when I can and I try not to sweat the clock too much, but when you’ve got the last ticket for the last boat of the day, there is an added sense of pressure and with a beautiful Saturday afternoon in June chances of heavy traffic where good. The timer on the GPS had me sweating worse than the 97% humidity.
Patrick Swayze was smiling on me and I made it with 20 minutes to spare for a nice sunset cruise.
Making the boat was only the first leg of the race. I got to the dock just before 8:00 and grabbed a quick dinner of some fried seafood downtown. From there I planned to ride my bike to the other side of the island and fish through the night. Sunset was at 8:30 and the weatherman had predicted a thunderstorm at 9:00. So I was racing the clock again to lay eyes on the spot I was going to fish with at least some light and hopefully get my gear on before it poured.
There are some paved roads on the island but they are mostly dirt, are poorly marked and don’t mix well with skinny tires. I got a little lost but made to the beach in the fading light.
This is BIG water and definitely holds BIG fish. I’m not gonna lie, it is intimidating: high wind, big surf, big boulders, deep water, darkness. I collected myself, put on my biggest eel fly, and went to work.
I fished hard until around 1:00AM without a touch so I layed out on the beach and took a nap. I woke up a little before false dawn and got back in the water.
I worked my way up the beach from rock to rock until I found a spot that just screamed bass.
There is a shallow point with the main sweep moving left to right into a drop off with a nice rip. Just sling a long cast to the tip of the point, let it sweep into the rip and start stripping. Sure enough, they were there
The first fish was a nice fat bass that easily took me into the backing and had me dancing up and down the break line trying to use the waves to beach her.
Next one came on the very next cast. She did a somersault out of the water as I set the hook. Not as big as the first but another healthy fish
Close up before release
I saw a few fish slapping the surface, jumping out of the water, harassing sand eels way out beyond casting range but didn’t hook up again so I packed up my things and headed to another spot.
Block Island is full of rolling green hills, long rock walls, grazing live stock, tourists and drunks. I swear I could have be in Ireland, it is a magical place.
The tide was just about slack at the next spot and I didn’t feel much like unpacking all my gear so I headed in for some eggs and coffee. On my way back to the harbor I stopped at the only tackle shop on the island, Block Island Fishworks, which is a great little shop with plenty of regionally tied flies. The guy at the counter said that the reports were nothing out of the ordinary for him and had plenty of more stories to tell. Armed with a few new flies and some fresh intel I went down to the harbor and changed my ferry ticket for a later boat. The over cast weather was just too fishy to pass up.
Or was I just chasing reports again with my wallet a little bit lighter?
Prospecting in the light is a hell of a lot easier, but for whatever reason, probably tiredness, things were not going my way in the morning. All morning I was tangling line, wind knots, wind blowing line out of my bucket, line getting caught around my feet, dropping casts, you name it. To make matters more frustrating I found one of the most fishy stretches I had seen yet and fished the hell out of it with out a bump. I can say with certainty that there were no fish in this section.
So I walked the beach and took in the scenery and masturbatory shots of my gear.
I didn’t land my 50 so I can’t confirm any of those reports but I will continue to try on
the Isle of Unicorns