Last Post Before Summer, the Fishing Calls

Well, it is that time of year again. When I hang up my teaching shoes and pick up the … summer shoes. I guess. I also take a hiatus from this blog which I admit I have been neglecting. The neglect stems from a number of reasons but the most glaring I suppose is what I can only describe as a sense of political malaise that has washed over me. I do not mean to say that I no longer care about what our elected officials do or how they lead our great nation. I just find it mind-numbing these days. The left would claim that this attitude was a product of the ineptitude and bewildering piffle released daily from the President and his staff. The right would claim that it is a product of the never-ending political witch hunt and attempted character assassinations carried out daily by a news media which solely exists as a Marxist propaganda outlet. In reality, it may very well be a mixture of both coupled with the ebbing of the lunacy tide after the general election. Whatever the main cause of the dampening of my enthusiasm to write about anything political may be, it’s immaterial. The fact is; jimmy-crack-corn and I don’t care.

So, to end another school year and another blog year, I’ve decided to talk about something I truly love yet am dreadfully unsuccessful at; fishing. 

Yes, that is correct, dear reader. Yours truly is quite the avid angler. Yet, despite his numerous attempts his yield would make St. Peter weep. There have been days, nay, weeks of time where I have gone nearly everyday and have not even come close to bringing something home to eat. However, living on Long Island Sound, that might actually not be such a bad thing. I am going to discuss four different types of fish and the correct ways to catch them. Hold on to your seats, it’s mild excitement time!

Striped Bass / Striper / Shiny A**hole Fish that Doesn’t Bite for Sh*t : (Pescado douchebago) This absolutely delicious fish can be caught from mid-Spring to early Autumn in Long Island Sound. They go south in the warmer months much like half of the geriatric population of this state. They have a firm, white flesh that makes chicken taste like gutter water. It is my favorite fish. So good. I want some now. Problem… is that they had a meeting three years ago and decided to leave me out of the loop. For too long have I toiled at landing one of these delectable beasts. I have used striper rigs, fish finder rigs, I’ve done bottom fishing, jigging, surf casting, I’ve tried going for them at the mouths of rivers in brackish water, up the rivers during the right time of year, from the beach, along sea walls, from boats, in high sun, under clouds, during the incoming tide, slack tide, using bunker chunks, mackerel chunks, clams, sand worms both synthetic and real, surface lures, bottle poppers, bucktails… Kids, I have done it all. These little awful bastards mine as well be unicorns. They are my white whale. That being said, plenty of people do catch them and my best bet is to offer to buy them once caught. However, I feel that this year I may get lucky. Why? I don’t know but without hope the fisherman is just a dope with an expensive stick swearing at the water on the beach. Best Rig: prayer

Bluefish / (pesce oily-disgusto-matic) Don’t really give a damn about catching these. When they are snappers, they are fun as all get out to catch. They put up a fight and it’s not unheard of to catch 10+ snappers in a single fishing session. Tailors and Cocktails (juvenile blues) are fun as they put up more of a fight and I am told they are delicious. Big blues put up an enormous struggle and are really fun to fight once you get a good set with your hook. Problem; is that they have teeth like Jaws and will bite the ever-living shit out of you if you don’t have a decent hook extractor. Also, they taste like what low-tide smells like. Oily, dark and fishy. Blech. The people who love the taste of bluefish make me laugh. Every one of them starts their personal bluefish recipes with the following statement: “you have to soak it in lemon juice or buttermilk overnight to extract that fishy taste”. Boyos, if you have to nuke your protein to make it edible, I’ve got news for ya; It sucks. Best Rig: bottom fishing with a fish finder and wire leader, chunks of mackerel / bunker. 

Summer Flounder / Fluke (pesce swimming-dinnerplatus) These little jerks like to hang out at the bottom of the Sound and go after whatever falls off of rich dude’s boats. They nail the bait quickly and take off so if you’ve baited your hook correctly, you won’t need to set the hook as the little moron does the job for you. Fluke tastes like nothing. It is basically a big, flat, ugly cod. But buying fish isn’t a cool thing to do for super studs like me, so basically what you’re going to need to do is get yourself a nice, shiny flounder rig. Get some minnows and go nuts. Unlike all other types of saltwater fish that I attempt to catch (only one basically, the shithead striper) I have actually had decent luck going for fluke. If you are on a boat, or even from the shore, your best bet is to string a leader off of the bottom of your rig and set up a good 1-2 ounce sinker and bounce it off the bottom gently every few seconds. If this method doesn’t work, then re-rig for something that is biting. Bluefish, blackfish, weakfish, sea robins and stop complaining. Best Rig: I already told you.

Trout (pescado this-is-a-waste-of-timo) Living where I do, I have the blessing of being within walking distance to saltwater fishing and if I am feeling particularly saucy, I can take a five-minute drive and do some freshwater fishing. Freshwater fishing is a different animal altogether and while patience is a virtue in all types of angling, you really need to have a basic mastery of zen in order to maintain sanity while freshwater fishing. Trout have their big months in the Spring but you can catch them all Summer if you follow these basic steps. 1. Get yourself a freshwater pole and setup a rig so you have a small weight holding your bait in place and set your bait about a foot off the bottom. 2. Get Powerbait trout eggs or dough bait. Stifle vomit from the smell, pinch your bait to your hook, let it sit in the water for a minute to harden around the hook, cast that sucker and prepare for boredom. I have found, that usually the best method of trout fishing is to give up after about a half hour, re-rig with a shiny bucktail and go for pickerel or bass which are fun to catch and I actually do pretty well on. The only problem is that they swallow the lure each time and trying to extract the hook usually takes surgery-like precision. I have not lost a chainsides yet, and I’ll be damned if I will this year. You see… I have a rule: If you kill it, you must eat it. Which sounds noble but in practice sucks because sometimes you end up killing some pretty unappetizing stuff. I would rather not chow down on a long, green tube of dinosaur-fish meat and that is why I am careful as hell not to hurt the fish when I land a pickerel. Best Rig: wait, for trout or for pickerel? I forget. 

So, dear reader, I bid you adieu for the summer. I hope you catch lots and lots and lots of fish. But no more than me. Because, seriously that would anger me. I am off to search for the elusive white whale yet again. And if I don’t catch one by August, then … I’ll order one from Stop and Shop.

Be well.

J.M.

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Last Post Before Summer, the Fishing Calls