Captain Roger Gendron (www.ctislandoutfitters.com) took a Captain's Holiday on an off day and went -fishing, the old-fashioned way!
I chose one plug. A hand-carved cedar popper from Phase II lures in Westport. Talk about old school, these lures are “truly” hand made. A number of other brands have been marketed as hand made, but were turned on a lathe producing production type quality. Phase II lures are not turned on a lathe, they are whittled, one at a time by a long-time Westport resident and local sharpie, who also sells them to tackle shops door to door with a hand shake and a smile.
The plug I chose for this adventure is called a “Scooter”, and is about 4” long, painted yellow with a red face, and through-wired with a split ring and 3/0 hook, covered in hand-tied buck tail (see picture below). Dick (the craftsman) bores a hole in the tail section to add weight. It flies like a missile but still floats! The head sticks out of the water and rolls over when yanked for a nice splash and gurgle affect, while the weighted tail section, and hook, stay in the water where the fish can grab it. Lovely.
When I arrived at Penfield reef, the Shark Bar was completely exposed thanks to the extra pull of the super moon. It rose from the flat water like a huge gray whale back groomed perfectly smooth from the ebbing tide, and I would have first tracks. The scene was positively bucolic, but I didn’t have my camera because I was keeping it simple. Or because of the fog produced by the generous Margarita(s) I had imbibed the night before at a landmark establishment where I had spent (misspent?) much of my youth.
As I walked out to the tip of the bar and out into the water, the activity became more vivid and adrenaline began to replace the surreal ambiance. Terns were diving, cormorants were dipping, and soon fish were breaking. I kept walking. Eventually I could see they were Bluefish. I began casting and retrieving but to no avail. I walked out a little further but could not draw a strike. There was so much bait available the fish could afford to be a little selective. But the water was warm and the sandy bottom was easy to walk on and I kept moving, knowing I would have to get close to a breaching fish to cajole him away from such a smorgasbord.
I only had the one lure, but plenty of time and absolutely no pressure to catch a fish. I was now up to my waist in the water and fish were now breaking behind me as the water filled in the trough between the bar and the reef. I decided to sight cast to rising fish rather than ”call” them with hurt baitfish sounds of my plug. I kept the bail of the reel open and my trigger finger on the line.
Within a few minutes a fish broke well within the reach of the ¾ ounce decoy tied to my line. I lofted the Scooter to the ring in the water and tugged at it the moment it hit the surface, and then it disappeared. I had almost forgotten how much fun it is to bring a fish right to your side when you are standing in the water. Water which is now up to my chest and completely covering the bar, time to go.
I kept the little bruiser to smoke, and strapped him to my bike rack. I got some pretty funny looks as I rode home through the neighborhoods and town in wet clothes and a flopping fish bungeed to my bike.