'06 Season in Review - Fly Fishing Forum
Stripers and Coastal Gamefish Stripers, Blues, Inshore tuna!

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Old 11-18-2006, 08:57 PM
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Smcdermott Smcdermott is offline
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Location: Rhode Island
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'06 Season in Review

Well, unfortunately it is about that time when I start looking forward to next year’s season. Raking leaves and home improvement projects start to take precedence over the possibility of catching those last few schoolies heading south. It is also about this time that I start to think about the past season. Achievements, lessons learned and items I hope to work on next season are all reviewed time and time again in my brain until that first striper hits my clouser in the upper bay next April.

This season started, as it always has since I started fly fishing five seasons ago, in the Seekonk River. Slinger is never far away and Captain Ray and a few others are often nearby. Catching a few schoolies and working out the casting bugs finally brings an end to the shack nasties that have made me all but unbearable to those around me.

Sometime in late April I began to hit Greenwich cove and some of my favorite upper bay spots. The holdovers move down the bay around that time and you start to see a few fresh fish. This lasted into mid May when the annual silverside invasion brought about the all day blitzes for a few days. This year the fish following the run were not as big but 50-100 fish days were the norm while it lasted and by going deep you could pick up a few legal fish.

This year a friends wedding in Cozumel broke up the normal spring routine and provided an opportunity to cast to a few bones. I met our guide Alex Euan outside of our hotel the day after we arrived and we made our way to the north tip of the island. We boarded his skiff and headed toward the mangroves. This was some of the most technical fishing I ever did and to be honest I was not prepared. Unlike my first bone trip I had not practiced carrying line in my hands or making precise presentations. This resulted in a number of missed opportunities and will be something I make sure not to do again. I was lucky enough to come tight to a few small bones and chasing them through the mangroves provided a nice added challenge and a whole lot of fun.

While in Cozumel I also got to do a little snorkeling which is something I had never done before. While I understand Hurricane Wilma destroyed a lot of the coral it was still beautiful and I caught some fish with the use of my underwater case for my digital. Certainly reinforced how important having a prominent eye on a fly can be.

As seems to be the norm for the past few years I returned for a pretty wet June. I was able to hook up with Dave17 for a day and hook some nice sized stripes on tiny shrimp flies in the upper bay. It was really a great day catching fish on top on small size 6 shrimp flies. June also provided the opportunity to do some sight fishing in Cape Cod bay and attend our annual Big Brother event. Juro and I had a ton of big fish in our sights on Friday but getting them to bite was a different story. I did manage to hang a few that weekend and learned a lot about a great fishery. The Big Brother event as usual was a great success and I was lucky to get partnered with a true angler, Markeese, and his big Julian.

It was not long before the reports of SBFT south of block caught my attention in early July. I spent the better part of the next few weeks burning way too much fuel with only a few shots to show for it. I did have a few good mornings off Watch Hill including a great morning with SageBoy at Sugar Reef. Nice fat schoolies filled the morning in the fog but we found no joy on the tuna front. We did get into some nice gator blues in the afternoon halfway between Montauk and the Block.

August rolled around and then came the call, confirmed sighting of SBFT off Newport. That was all these ears needed to hear and Saturday morning Porkslice and I were easing out of Westport heading west. We found a few that day but only managed one pop off. We returned on Sunday and fought hard for one bluefin for me and a nice Skippy for the Slice. The action continued for about 3 weeks and I was able to achieve a number of firsts for both myself and a number of friends. Both Porkslice and I caught our first skippies, my best friend got a few on spin and my neighbor got his first hardtail on fly. All in all it wasn’t the bite we had last year but it was more than I expected and made my year for the second year in a row. The only downside was my inability to get a bonito on fly. They were around in great numbers but avoided my fly as they have for years. Next year!

After the bluefin left the blues invaded the upper bay and I was able to deliver on a promise I made during the Big Brother weekend. Markeese was not able to hook up off South Beach, which was certainly not for lack of effort, and I promised him a trip on my boat. Julian and Markeese met me at E. Greenwich boat ramp and we eased off into what was turning into a beautiful morning. It had poured all night, was still drizzling when I awoke and I was very nervous that Markeese’s trip would get rained out. Far from it as the skies cleared and we enjoyed non–stop action for the better part of the day.

September rolled around and my attention turned toward the hunt for Albies. As years go this was not the best but we did have a few good weekends. I was able to get my neighbor his first Albie on fly, our good friend Seuss managed to get his first on his first cast and Dble Haul got in on the action.

The hunt for albies continued into October and while there were a few hanging around the Niantic area a couple fish per day was considered a good day. A few good bass and blue bites off Weekapaug helped complete the month but in hindsight I wish I would have focused more on them and less time running around for a few albies. I do love the hardtails though and it is very tough for me to give up the hunt if I know they are around.

This November I experienced another first and made the trip down to Harkers Island. The first day we eased out of the marina and had dolphin playing in our wake just a few hundred yards outside the breakwall. I considered this a good sign and we had a great first day with 8 albies in the boat in tough conditions. Things proceeded to get only tougher from there with fewer fish around and worsening weather. Unfortunately I did not get any fish over the next five days but I learned a lot about a new fishery and clearly saw the potential for it to explode. My boat is now at the Jones Brothers factory for some cosmetic warranty work and some upgrades. I will need to pick it up this spring so I wonder if the first thing to hit my clouser next year might be one of those spring Bonito Capt. Gordon always teases us with!

All in all it was a great year aboard the Avril Marie. I got to fish with a number of new people and made some great new friends. I caught my first skip jack and got up close and personal with a few humpbacks off Race Point. I hope to work on my left handed casting this winter, set up a plugging teaser rig and spend some time with Angelo Peluso’s book in order to add a few more flies to the quiver. Looking forward to seeing some old friends at the upcoming fly and boat shows.

Here’s to a great ’06 and a better ‘07,

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Old 11-18-2006, 09:17 PM
Paxton Paxton is offline
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Sean.....great review, even greater pics....thanks for sharing your great season with us! I totally enjoyed reading it and will probably review it again the first day it snows
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Old 11-19-2006, 12:46 AM
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juro juro is offline
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Thats what it's all about brotha!!!!

Great post, awesome review and a proper portrayal of a year in the life of an angler. Well done.

Especially the follow-up with Markeese, man that is the right stuff.
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Old 11-19-2006, 01:47 AM
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striblue striblue is offline
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Greats Shots Sean...till next season....John
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Old 11-19-2006, 04:59 AM
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bonefishmon bonefishmon is offline
Join Date: May 2003
Location: Mystic River-Fishers Is. Sound- The Elbow
Posts: 1,368
Great read Sean. Sums it all up quite well. Strange season, o6'. Awesome spring fishing but the slowest I've ever had out the front door for the balance of the year. The food chain was almost nonexistant in the bay near my house in October.

So many places to fish.. friends to make.......so little time.
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Old 11-20-2006, 09:03 AM
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Dble Haul Dble Haul is offline
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Location: New England
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Great review and pictures, Sean. And thanks again for letting me tag along for some albie fishing.
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