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bob_in_CT

A Night On Block Island

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I haven't done any striper fishing in a few weeks and I had the itch. I tried to organize another Block Island all nighter, but no one could get permission from their wives to make the trip. I almost decided not to go, as a solo trip would mean that I had to bear the entire cost of taking the car over on the ferry. I did the math for the solo trip, and it turned out to be about $40 cheaper if I were to leave the car on the mainland. I wasn't thrilled about the prospects of being stuck out there all night with no car, especially with a 60% chance of thunderstorms. It would also mean I needed to pack lightly. I packed up everything I needed into my back pack and got on the 7PM ferry.

 

It seemed like I was not going to win the weather lottery as I encountered pouring rain in Stonington and it rained for most of the ferry ride over. The air temperature was only in the 70's, but with 100% humidity it felt like it was 90 out. The boat ride over was also a bit rough and I couldn't get on dry land fast enough. I picked up a cab and was at my destination by 8:30PM. Fortunes seemed to be turning for the better as the rain had stopped and the clouds were beginning to clear.

 

At the first spot, there were already at least a half dozen other anglers right where I wanted to fish. I didn't so much mind though, as they all looked like tourists and I figured they would soon be gone, especially if they were not catching.

 

My eyes scanned the surface of the water for any signs of life. I hadn't been there for five minutes yet (in fact I hadn't even stepped in the water) when I saw a small spray of baitfish right in front of one of the other anglers. Then I saw a subtle swirl a little further off to my left. Luckily I was able to find a little casting space over there.

 

It did not take long until I felt the line go tight. The fish made a good run but I could tell it wasn't that big since I was able to hand strip it in. The bass was a 23" football and it was certainly nice to get the skunk off right away. The bass were there, but they were not making their presence known too well. An occasional subtle swirl was the only clue that there were actively feeding fish about. Soon after the first fish I was into another. This one was a bit bigger, around 26" I would guess.

 

I was the only one fly fishing, and I was the only one catching anything. The bass were focused on sand eels, and if you weren't throwing something that looked like a sand eel you were out of luck. The fish were also in very close. I was getting strikes right at the rod tip.

 

When it got dark there was a fireworks display over on the mainland. I continued to catch bass after bass by the light of the rockets' red glare. By the middle of outgoing tide it was pretty dark out and I had the entire beach to myself. The feeding activity also intensified. The subtle swirls gave way to crashes and boils all around me. The water must have been thick with bait. The bass were also getting bigger now that it was dark. I was still getting mostly 24" to 26" fish, but there were some more 30" bass and bigger in the mix. I saw (well actually heard) the backing a number of times on some of the bigger bass. The fish would run and run until I would hear the click, click, click of the backing knot passing through the guides. The biggest fish I was catching were feeding right in the wash, close to shore. I was standing on the beach casting, and at no time did I have more than the front taper of my line out. The action was non-stop until midnight. Things went quiet and I hadn't caught a fish in a while. I was exhausted and ready for a break, and this was as good a time as any. I stopped to have a quick drink of water and rest my casting arm. I also decided to try another spot at the end of the outgoing tide.

 

The second spot was a rocky jetty. The waves were slapping right against the rocks and it looked very fishy. I gave it about a half hour. I think I saw one fish and had a short strike. I quickly moved on to another beach. Right away I saw something splash in the beach break off to my left. I made a cast out parallel to the shore and was quickly tight to a fish. A few minutes later I took another bass that was feeding a little further off shore.

 

By this time it was low tide and I needed a good long rest. I decided to stop blind casting and just look for signs of feeding fish as I walked the beach. All was quiet and by this time the clouds had moved on. I sat on a log and enjoyed a fine cigar as I gazed up at the brilliant star lit sky. I was extremely tired, yet I could not sleep. At one point, I tried to lie down and take a nap, but as tired as I was, I could not force my eyes to stay closed. Even the relaxing sound of the surf could not overtake the adrenaline rush of catching all these powerful striped bass. So at 2AM I decided that break time was over and it was time to get back to the fishing.

 

I went back to the spot on the beach where I caught those two fish earlier. The tide was starting to come in now and the surf was building a bit. I spent fifteen minutes casting with no takes and no signs of anything around. I was getting ready to move on when I felt the building pressure on the other end of the line. The morning shift was on! The 24" bass came to hand fairly quickly. On the very next cast I hook up again. I could tell that this one was bigger than the first. I guess that one was about 30" or so. A couple of casts later and I missed another one. It looked like the action was back on, or so I thought. I did not get another hit at this beach. I spent the better part of an hour working the beach and it was now 3AM. I decided to move again. The next destination would be a spot on the Great Salt Pond. I was on my way to my destination when I thought for sure I saw a swirl right next to shore in about six inches of water. So rather than continue on, I decided to stop and see. Sure enough, there was bass feeding in the tiny waves that were lapping against the sandy shore. I repeated the same technique I was using earlier of standing on the beach and casting a short line. The water was calm here and the fish were pretty easy to see.

 

The faint light of daybreak was already visible far off in the eastern sky as I continued to catch these bass that were feeding right up against the shore in shallow waters. Once the light reached a certain level though, things just shut right off at this spot. Since it was getting lighter out, I went off in search of fish in places where there would be some depth or current. The next spot of the morning was a rock pile that was getting battered by the waves. This looked very fishy and might hold bass at daybreak.

 

I worked the rocks for a while without any action. I moved to a few spots and started to figure that it was all over. At the end of one retrieve I felt the take right as my fly came close to a submerged rock. At first I thought I snagged the rock, but rocks don't run. I was into the backing in a matter of seconds. The fish ran out and then surfaced at the end of the run. I began to reel and try to take back line. My heart stopped as I had felt a moment of slack line. I reeled furiously and I was so relieved when I felt the tension come back. In my experience, big stripers really aren't fantastic runners. You typically get one good run and then the rest of the battle is a tug of war, and this bass was no different. Once I got the fish in closer it decided to make a second run right up along the rocks. I had to hop rocks to keep up with the fish. I figured I was never going to land this bass from my vantage point. The bass was running up and down along the rocks and eventually it would wrap my line up. The water along the rocks was shallow near me and I could fight the fish and land it there. The only problem was that there was no good way to get down. The bass seemed to calm down a bit so I kept the tension on as I sat down on one of the big rocks and slid on my ass right down into the water. I managed to make it without injury or losing the fish. The up close tug of war continued for a few more minutes until I could feel the fish beginning to give up. I was pretty impressed when I finally got a look at the fish. It certainly wasn't the biggest striper I ever caught at about 37", but the girth on this fish was incredible. This would be the biggest bass of the trip.

 

While I was reviving the big fish for release, there were bass jumping and crashing all around me. After the big girl slid gently back into the depths, I was back in action. I caught four more fish from the rocks before they seemed to disappear. It was pretty light out and the sun was beginning to show from behind the clouds. I saw a few more boils and I cast at them, but no more fish. I knew from past experience that once the sun comes up it is pretty much over.

 

I was off the water before 6AM, and with two hours until the ferry home, I had some time to kill, so instead of paying almost $20 for a taxi ride, I decided to walk the three something miles. It took me a bit over an hour, but it wasn't a bad walk at all on such a nice morning.

 

The fishing was outstanding. Except for the time I took a break, there wasn't a single hour where I wasn't catching. I took fish at every spot I fished, and except for dusk and sunrise, I didn't see another angler out the entire time, and I won the weather lottery after all.

 

 

 

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Amazing story - well told. Would have loved to see pictures.

It must be great to be able to just jump on a ferry to get to Block.

 

Regards,

Herb

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View PostAmazing story - well told. Would have loved to see pictures.

It must be great to be able to just jump on a ferry to get to Block.

 

Regards,

Herb

 

 

 

I got pictures. I just haven't uploaded them yet. I will post them tonight.

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Outstanding post! I'll be there the week of Labor Day from Tuesday to Saturday.

 

Come on over and share that mojo.

 

I'll have the car and a couch you can nap on.

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Give you a lot of credit going the route on your own. How many would cancel the trip if they didn't have company?

Answer: Most of us. highfive.gif

 

Great trip! Nice write-up. Enjoy the piece.

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Nice trip Bob, sounds much fishier than BIAN V, and kudos to you for going solo and trooping around by foot. I have never been to Block and really want to get out there, if you have an open spot next trip out, let me know.

 

Also looking forward to seeing pics.

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That was inspirational...no messing with a car rental or taxi or hotel room. You did the bare essentials and got the most important thing out of it, great fishing. I think I'd like to do exactly what you did. I'll be in touch

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Here is the entire island

DSCF0141.JPG

 

The island was shrouded in fog as we approached. Pretty cool.

DSCF0144.JPG

 

The North Light

north_light.jpg

 

Everything I needed for the trip was all right here and ready to go!

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Sunset

island_sunset2.jpg

 

 

The first big bass of the night. This fish took the fly right at the rod tip. I saw the bass feeding in the wash and was letting the fly hang and drift with the current. That was enough to encourage a strike. I saw the backing on this one.

BI_striper2.jpg

 

The biggest bass of the trip. This one hit right up against a wave battered rock. Saw the backing once again The fish was 37" and the picture doesn't do it justice as to how fat it was.

BI_striper_7_10.jpg

 

Swarms of sand eels in the water. These were about 2" long but I did snag one that was closer to 4"

DSCF0154.JPG

 

The magic fly!

magic_fly.jpg

 

 

Some random scenery

DSCF0157.JPG

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