Monday, August 1, 2011

Small-ball Fishing

Getting simple can be fun

My little Boston Whaler
Friends and frequent blog readers know that I have two boats. Freedom, my larger boat, is a 26’ Sailfish center console sport fishing boat great for longer trips and larger groups. My smaller boat, which is unnamed so far, is a 15’ Boston Whaler that’s low to the water and great for getting into “skinny” water (shallows). It works really well for one or two people to get to nearby fishing spots.

This past weekend I had been thinking the weather, wind and tides would be right and I’d take my big boat out for some ocean fishing, but some mechanical problems kept Freedom at the dock. I was alone, so I decided to change plans and prep the little boat for some nearby fishing.

Nice fluke, about to be released
As I prepped the little boat, I saw three of my friends getting their larger boats ready for some ocean fishing.  I thought briefly about asking to join them, but all three appeared to have young family members along, so I decided to let them have a family day and stick to my plans.

Watch out for teeth!
Prepping Freedom for a day of fishing takes me about 30 minutes. The little whaler was ready to go in less than 10. That’s because I took so much less gear.  While I might often take 2 or 3 rods per person, rigged for different kinds of fish, on this day I took just one rod. I selected a medium-weight spinning rod that I could use for fluke fishing, but that could quickly be changed over to top water casting if I saw bluefish. On Freedom I might take two tackle boxes in addition to the 4 on-board tackle trays, and I might stow 4 kinds of bait in the bait well, but here I took one small tackle box with a minimal mix of rigs and lures, and just one kind of bait.

Sea Robin
Off I went. I didn’t need to stick to the channels because the little Whaler draws less than a foot of water. So I zipped around the bay and took short paths to fishing spots. Over the course of the day I heard some of my friends on open VHF radio channel 68, talking about ocean conditions and fish.  But mostly, I caught one fish after another. All the fluke I caught were “short” – fluke have to be 20.5” in NY to be keepers and these fish were all 17-18” so not even close.  But I really enjoyed catching them, and all were released healthy back into the water to be caught when they grew up a bit more. A few Sea Robins were mixed in, but then on a catch and release day, even these junk fish are fun.

By the end of the day I had landed 20 fish. I was back to the dock quickly, and clean-up was fast and easy with no fish to filet and minimal gear to wash and put away.

A day out on a larger, well-equipped boat like Freedom, with a chance to catch larger ocean fish is a pleasure. But so is a simple skinny-water adventure, and I was glad to be reminded of that fact this past weekend.  Sometimes simple can be great!

(and a P.S. to my friends fishing Shinnecock Bay: there are a lot of fluke these days at Rampasture Point just west of bouy 15. Go get 'em!)

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1 comment:

  1. i will be on board with you before the summer is over-- maybe even attached to water skis like i was in 1975.