Location: Enschede - The Netherlands
|Posted: Sun 09/04/11 4:06 pm Post subject: Rhode Island 2010
|Now that fall is in the air I still remembered that I had to finish a report on my Rhode Island trip last fall that was made possible due to involvement by Jeremy of Flies and Fins for which I am still extremely gratefull.
So here is my report about a Striper novice lost in Rhode Island
Hopefully I can make another trip in the future.
My intended destination for my annual vacation would have been Florida but because of the oil disaster in the Gulf of Mexico I decided to change my plans.
At work my boss once again tried to block my time off with as reason that I would be "indispensableď,
off course complete nonsense otherwise I would have had better pay ages ago.
Two weeks was the maximum time I could get for a trip in October, too short but it had to do.
So I pondered about an alternative destination and the Caribbean was the first thing on my mind,
further exploration of that part of the world made it clear that it would be too expensive in my book.
Then Stripes came to mind, my first Striper trip went pretty well and I always had the urge to try
it for a second time.
I turned to one of my American fishing friends and asked him if he had some good tips for an
affordable Striper trip.
Well it turned out he had, his parents had an apartment for rent at a coastal town in Rhode Island.
The place was located not far from the beach and a saltwater pond, even some freshwater
opportunities where not far away.
So my holiday destination would be Rhode Island.
I contacted the parents and arranged that I could rent the apartment for the first two weeks of October.
Next I completed my travel arrangements, with Iceland air I would travel from Amsterdam to Reykjavik in Iceland where I would change planes to Boston, Massachusetts.
From Boston I would take the Amtrak train to Rhode Island.
The whole planning and arranging went pretty well until I received a mail from my landlords that they would not be present at the apartment when I would arrive since they had to travel out of state.
Off course I immediately send a mail back with the question who would be available at the apartment
to open the door but I did not got a message back.
It seemed like my plans where about to be derailed so just in case I wrote down addresses of hotels in
the area for the worst case scenario.
At the stopover in Iceland I tried to get some clarity about my lodging in the US so I send a text message
to my acquaintance for instructions.
I was happy when I got a message back that the doors of the apartment would be unlocked.
My travel could continue unhindered after this message.
In Boston I got through Immigration without delay, after customs it was of to the cabs for a trip to
Boston South Station.
The train tickets where pulled out of the ticket machine at the station and off it was on the northeastern regional to Rhode island.
90 minutes later I was close to midnight at a little train station on the RI/CT border.
The next hurdle would be to get a cab in this little town late in the evening.
To my surprise it did not take long before a cab arrived, what made me wonder was the fact that the cab had no navigation fitted.
I had planned for such mishaps so I had printed a small map of the area where my apartment would be located.
The road to the beach was easily found since it was well know to the driver but that darn side road was nowhere to be seen in the rural dark night.
After driving around with no clues for a while the cabby produced his own navigation system out of a bag and within minutes we arrived at the house.
Now we had to find the house at nr.23 which turned out be difficult, I had passed it on my first Rhode Island trip two years ago but that was in broad daylight.
After three driveby's I noticed that in one yard a flats boat stood on a trailer, I thought that it might be the right house but was not sure.
I told the cabby to stop and said that the door should be open so I had to check it out.
I walked towards the door and indeed it was unlocked, then again this was Rhode Island and maybe people where very honest there.
The last thing I wanted to do was to surprise a gun toting homeowner or get a warm welcome by a pitbull so I rang the doorbell but nothing happened.
I was told in advance that the fishing gear I had ordered in advance was located on a table in the dining room so I yelled " hello" just in case and entered the building.
Luckily I found the dining room with my fishing gear and not the pitbull.
Since I was already 20 hours on the road the only energy left was for a quick shower before I went to sleep.
After a long sleep the first thing I did was to thoroughly check the apartment, I was not disappointed.
After some shopping I decided to check out the beach.
A stalled tropical wave in advance of my travel had messed up the weather, with wave heights
predicted to be "shoulderhigh" I knew that flyfishing the beach would probably not be possible.
My best chance would probably be the saltwater pond but first I had to find my way to it.
Two years ago I did fish the pond but than I was located due south of my current location so the
area I was now in was totally new for me.
I figured that just walking westward on the beach would get me to the breachway and then to the
pond but large rocks made it difficult to continue.
When I noticed a path between the big houses on the beach I figured that it was a public access
so I followed it and finally ended on a road that looked familiar to me.
The road I found was the same I took two years ago on the way to the boatramp that lay at the point
where the breachway entered the pond.
I followed the road and ended up at the pond where I could see a large sandy flat that looked ideal for
wading. The water was very clear, a small channel than ran along the flats was clearly visible.
I decided to fish the channel at high tide and waded quite a bit into the pond, too bad I did not
encounter any fish.
There where a few other fisherman around on kayak which was probably a very good mode of
transportation in the pond.
Those guys where fishing the northern shore of the pond and since they stayed quite long in the same
spot I figured they where into fish.
At sunset I called it a day, as I walked to shore I came across some guys that had fished from the kayaks.
They had indeed gotten into fish, a kayak was a nice thing to own.
At sunset I decided to head back to the apartment.
There where no telltale signs of fish at the beach, I only encountered a pretty dead bluefish laying on the sand.
At the house I noticed that the felt soles of my wading shoes where about to part with the rest of the shoes, I had an idea they would not last that long anymore.
The first fishing day remained ... fishless.
The weather forecast was not something that got me excited with the wave height listed as "head high".
The strong westerly winds made flyfishing impossible so I decided to stay in and get the apartment sorted and organize some food.
The gas station up the road boasted it's own deli which provided me with some good sandwiches.
With a campground nearby all the basic canned foods and assorted items where available.
Stocked up with supplies and headed back for that o so important cup of coffee.
Another day with weather that was not for my liking, lots of rain and strong westerly winds made flyfishing impossible.
Now I regretted leaving the spinning rod at home, that was the punishment for being a purist
Since I did not came all the way over the big pond to stare at the water I headed to the beach
anyway to see that the ocean was in washing machine mode again, foam and waves and no anglers
to be seen.
There was however always the breachway and the channel that connected the ocean with the saltwater pond in the interior.
I did manage to chuck a white deceiver in the main channel, at least I was fishing.
After half an hour I finally got a hit on the fly and could hook and land a small Striper of about 50cm.
If there was one Striper than there had to be more but unfortunately I did not get into any other fish.
As the wind grew stronger and the temperature started to plummet I decided to call it a day.
The bad weather continued so I headed right for the pond.
Since floating line and streamers did not yield anything I decided to switch to a fast sinker and fished a floating crease fly.
The change helped as I did get something, to bad it where just bluecrabs.
Stripers and Bluefish remained an illusion and so I had another skunk day.
Pounded by steady rain I headed to the beach, the waves where now low enough to be able to wade along the beach.
In the boulder area at the beach I spotted for the first time baitfish in the wash so hopes where up.
At one spot the show really started as I got a hit on the fly at every cast.
After a few hours I had hooked and landed twelve Stripers.
In the mean time one of my felt soles had departed from the wading boot to be never seen again which meant I could no longer safely traverse rocks.
I had to cut my trip short in order to get new wading boots asap.
Back at the house I texted my Orvis dealer in Maine "Need wading boots , tomorrow here in RI".
Quite soon I got a message back "Boots in stock, delivery tomorrow" - that was what I call service.
As usual the wind was blowing full force on the beach making flyfishing not an option.
I did try to fish the rocks but after a while I figured I could better try the breachway and pond.
I waded out far into the pond and fished the channel with a pink snakefly.
As the wind was also blowing across the pond I switch to a sinking line to make at least a decent
length cast into the wind.
When I reached the first channel mark I got a hit on the fly and could land my first Striper of the day.
At outgoing tide I got bite after bite, from all these takes I could land seven Stripers.
At incoming tide the whole action was over, it was sunset already so I called it a day.
[img] http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/Marcel_Karssies/2010/RI%202010/DSC00724.jpg [/img]
On this morning the sky was cloudless and the sun was shining bright.
To bad there where no baitfish on the beach or gulls working fish.
I crawled through the boulder field and caught a small Striper, at least no skunk today.
The beach was dead so I headed to the saltwater pond where I talked to two local flyfisherman.
I wanted to know how they regarded the season and the answer was as expected "slow".
I explored the pond this time to the full extent en reached the far corner where the mix of sand
and broken shells changed into a bottom with clumps of seaweed.
I had expected fish in the far corner but it stayed quiet, when I headed back the local flyfishers
had already left for greener pastures.
On the way back I fished the channel again with the sinking line and the pink snakefly.
Halfway to shore I got a hit from something, it sure was no Striper.
That something turned out to be a Needlefish, pretty amazing.
Even more curious was the way I had caught that Needlefish since its beak was to small to grab the large hook of the snakefly.
The Needlefish had actually chased the snakefly and got entangled in the leader with its many sharp teeth.
Besides the Needlefish no life signs where seen in the pond.
When I turned on to the beach I got sandblasted, still strong wind.
From fellow anglers I learned that gulls had been working bait for a time but that was well offshore.
Another bright sunny day in Rhode Island.
As I put my rod together at the car park near the dunes I heard an ugly sound as I pulled the leader
through the rings.
El crudo had just broken the rod tip, bummer.
That was quite a stupid thing to do so I totaled my beloved T3 before I even fished with it.
All that lasted was to go back to the house and get the replacement rod.
Back at the beach I fished the boulder field and for a short while I was in contact with a rather
fish that threw the hook.
The rest of the day remained fishless.
When I returned near dusk at the house I saw to my surprise that two cars pulled in the driveway of
the house I was staying in.
Double booked ? nah that would be impossible.
The occupants of the cars got out and they actually knew my name, how odd.
It turned out that they where relatives of the people where I had rented the lower part of the house from,
they would be my upstairs neighbors for the coming days.
That they came at this day had off course to do with the upcoming Columbus day which is off course
totally unknown in Europe.
Off course I could refrain from stating that Leifr Eiriksson had discovered the new world
Another bright sunny day for the Striper patrol.
At the start of the boulder field I actually spotted a few Menhaden in the surf so surely predators had to be close by.
But no, the predators where probably elsewhere.
When I changed from beach to pond the wind was so strong that for the first time I saw waves in the pond.
The tide was still high but I tried to reach the channel anyway.
The high water and waves caused trouble as my stripping basket was filling up all the time.
At the Northern shore of the pond I saw diving gulls and cormorants so there was something going in.
I waiting in vain for schools of fish to head into the main channel, skunked again.
[img] http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/Marcel_Karssies/2010/RI%202010/DSC00825.jpg [/img]
[img] http://img.photobucket.com/albums/v218/Marcel_Karssies/2010/RI%202010/DSC00828.jpg [/img]
That whole Striper thing did not work out as I had hoped for since the main actors decided to stay away.
It was time to put plan B into action.
I had not bought a freshwater license for nothing.
For plan B I had purchased an Orvis 5-weight rod from my dealer in Maine where it was on sale.
From home I had took a small reel and some freshwater streamers with me.
The target for today was a large freshwater pond close to the house I was staying at.
I packed my gear, took the bike and traversed the highway to get onto the park road.
It did not take long before I passed the main gate and paddled along the camping grounds
to find a road to the pond.
I followed on of the streets and landed amidst a bunch of RV's at the shores of the pond.
It was Columbus day so the area was packed with Campers and their loud offspring.
As so often watched the locals with amazement, my outdoors experience surely did not
include sitting outside your large RV watching TV with a big generator running.
Well everybody its own I guess.
I found a free spot in between two RV's, got into my waders and soon fished in the clear water
of the pond and enjoyed thoroughly the spectacular fall colors of the trees.
The bottom of the pond consisted of white sand, it was fall but there where still traces of reeds and water lilies to be seen.
The kids from the RV next door where also fishing but not very successful.
I had more luck as I soon caught a little Chain pickerel on the streamer.
My success was not unnoticed as I heard the kids mumble "that guy has a fish".
A second cast yielded another Chain pickerel, looked like Pike in the USA moved about in the same environment as in Europe.
Actually I had expected to catch Sunfish or Bass instead of Chain Pickerel.
The next fish species turned out to be a Yellow perch, the US counterpart of our Perch.
The whole racked behind me got to much after a while so I waded out to a spot where some large boulders where lying in the water.
The shoreline behind those boulders was RV-free so silence at last.
The Ospreys where circling above me, the Canadian geese where floating on the pond and all I could see was water and fall foliage.
When I came near the boulders I noticed a large pipe running into the pond.
I thought "sewer pipe" but it turned out to be a connection for the fire brigade to pump out water.
A cast along that pipe yielded a hefty strike and after a good fight I could land my largest Chain pickerel so far.
At the boulders I lost one larger fish in the reeds.
I was surprised by the absence of baitfish, I had expected to see some kind of roach or
minnows in the pond but they where not to be seen.
Further out in the lake the bottom changed to stone and fish where not to be found anymore.
I headed back to the big boulders and fished the likely spots once again to only catch a very small
version of a Bass.
This freshwater exercise yielded 15 Yellow perch, 2 Chain pickerel and a small Bass.
This was a welcome change to being skunked at the beach and not bad considering I had never
fished a pond like this, I would surely be back.
On the way back from the park I paddled down hill, a Stop sign marked the entry to the main road that eventually led to the highway.
As I rode down the hill and wanted to break for the stop sign I noticed that the breaks where not working.
So I shot on to the main road, I was lucky that there was no oncoming traffic.
If I could not fix the breaks than maybe it would be wiser to walk down the road next time.
Since the freshwater outing of the day before was so successful I decided to give the beach another try.
On the beach I talked to fellow anglers who had caught Stripers early in the morning.
I made my way up to the mouth of the breachway and talked to a couple from New Hampshire who told me that they had spotted lots of bait inside the breachway.
They had just caught two Striper from that spot so I headed straight to the breachway.
When I arrived at the spot no other anglers where to be seen, only a few people on the other side of the breachway where waiting for outgoing tide.
I saw the baitfish and launched the fly into the incoming current, after two casts I was into a Striper.
A few casts later I was in to a second fish that came off.
At outgoing tide the baitfish and the Stripers where gone.
Out of the woodwork the local anglers appeared and started tossing large plugs at the ocean side of the breachway (with no results).
I headed for the pond where I spotted gulls and cormorants working bait in one of the corners.
The action was far away but I still tried to wade to the spot.
As I was halfway a boater also spotted the action and ran full speed in the same direction.
As he approached the action died down immediately, bummer.
The boater disappeared pretty soon, I waited to see if the baitfish group would reassembly.
After half an hour the racket started anew but this time into the marsh.
I followed quite a while but it all went wrong when I came into the entrance of the marsh ponds.
Suddenly the bottom under me went away and I sank into the mud.
With some difficulty I managed to stay afloat and reach hard soil again, a close call.
Well I learned the hard way that you have to take care in the marsh.
It was already dark as I walked on the beach to the house.
To my surprise I could see hunting fish in the surf as the moon was out.
I tried to reach the fish but the swell was just to big to safely get into the water.
This was yet another moment when I regretted that I had left the spinning rod at home.
At first I wanted to fish the beach but then I reconsidered and choose to fish the State park instead.
It was quiet on the pond as Columbus day had passed, only a few RV's where left.
There was still racket at the shore but this time caused by the Chipmunks chased each other.
In the clear water I could hook the one after the other Yellow perch, all fish where however very small so I opted to fish for Pickerel after a while.
The southern corner of the pond boasted a lot of reed which would surely be a good hideout for the Pickerel. The problem turned out to be the bottom, it was soft and towards the end I had another marsh experience = I sank in quite deep.
I moved back to the safer areas and managed to catch a few more Yellow perch and a Pickerel.
Since I had to do some shopping I stayed not too long at the pond.
Once again I hit the beach, my fellow American anglers report no fish in sight.
The weather forecast predicted that the first fall storm would make it's way to the shore I was on.
There was nothing going on at the Breachway war but the skies darkened and wind and waves grew stronger by the minute.
Fishing the fly was almost impossible, with some trouble I managed to launch the fly between the rocks.
Even though the last stretch of beach to the breachway looked very fishy I could not feel any takes or see signs of Stripers or Bluefish.
I climbed on one of the big rock ledges and made a few casts but the breaking waves looked dangerous to me so decided that it might be safer to stand on the beach instead.
There where not many anglers about since the storm was coming.
I did have a talk with one of the homeowners and asked him what this private beach exactly meant.
So the beach was only for use by the home owners at the beach but the tenants had no problem with anglers in the off season.
In summertime the residents would sometimes call in the police to break up the underage drinking party's at the beach.
When the cops would chase the kids the person I spoke to would confiscate the booze, good move
As to the subject of Stripers, you did need a good portion of luck to catch them.
This season was probably not so good although people still where catching fish on some of the days.
When I walked back to the beach the Atlantic once again was in washing machine mode, foam and waves.
A few guys where still chugging plugs in the surf but I could not spot anyone hooking up.
From my first Striper trip I knew however that even in a big storm Stripers would be feeding so being out there made sense.
This was the last day that I would be able to fish.
It was pretty stormy during the night and even in the morning a strong wind was blowing.
According to the weather forecast the next few days would be stormy.
To spend the last day on the beach seemed like a waste of time.
The strong westerly wind would also exclude fishing in the pond.
After I had did some last shopping I decided I would give the pond at the State park another go.
The pond looked like I would expect it in fall, the Camping folk had all gone - the sky was gray and the wind produced whitecaps on the water.
The wave action had stirred up the water so clarity was diminished, it took some effort to launch the flyline against the wind.
Fish where still present because pretty soon I landed my first couple of yellow perch and pickerel.
On the previous outings my favorite fly had been a small zonker streamer, on this day it was time to try something completely different.
I tied on one of my Enrico Puglisi Streamer an, maybe these big ties where the ticket in the slightly murky waters.
I soon found out that the Chain pickerel where pretty interested in the big flies as one after the other aggressively pursued and attacked the fly.
Numerous fish where caught and I also got a first hand indication what kind of baitfish would be present in the pond.
One of the larger chain pickerel spat out it's breakfast in the form of a baitfish.
This baitfish was a shad, I was pretty surprised since back home shad are exclusively a marine species with the exception of spawning time.
After a few hours in the chilly full wind I decided I had caught enough fish at the pond.
Since I still had to sort out and pack my gear for the trip back home I decided to call it a day.
It was time for the trip back home, the train en route to Boston arrived as scheduled.
This time I had booked a business Class seat, some luxury was nice on such a long trip.
As I traveled to the east I enjoyed for the last time the pretty fall colors of the forest in Rhode Island and Massachusetts. At every crossing of a river or creek I wondered what fish I could have caught there.
The flight from Boston to Iceland was pretty uneventful.
At the stopover in Reykjavik I once again made a stop at the concession stand for some snack and
once again the lady behind the counter returned change in Icelandic Crones.
Currency worthless except for the fact that Icelandic coins boast fish on them making them nice souvenirs.
When the plane finally touched down in Amsterdam everything was business as usual.
So that where two weeks down in Rhode Island.
The whole striper fishery did not go the way as I had hoped or planned.
22 Stripers was what I counted with no big fish among them.
At least I caught some fish and the whole freshwater business made up for lacking results in the salt
Without hesitation I would say that I surely will end up in Rhode Island again.