Fishing Saltwater on the Fly –

Even if you haven’t traveled the adventurous avenue of fly fishing, if you sport fish, this is one item that should be definitely included on your summer calendar. Through the efforts of Samantha “Sam” Pitcher, the assistant director of development at the American Museum of Fly Fishing (AMFF) in Manchester, Vermont, especially the museum team and its supporters, a traveling exhibit was born.

The exhibit, titled On Fly in the Salt—American Saltwater Fly Fishing from the Surf to the Flats, takes one through the ages—from the birth of knuckle-busting to the present day. Some of the world’s most-renowned fly fishers, as well as ones from the past, are represented by their contributions, achievements, and recorded comments. Personalities like Lefty, Stu, Nick, Joan, Flip, and others who helped shape the sport are highlighted. The earliest of gear, flies, and techniques are also part of this extraordinary exhibit, along with a memorable walk through the sport’s evolution.

The pairing of Pitcher and Christopher Renton, the assistant director of development for the Peabody Museum of Natural History, and Nicole Palffy-Muhoray, the assistant director of student programs, have made this showing possible. Other notables who contributed include James Prosek, American artist, writer, and naturalist with the AMFF; and Foster Bam, a Board of Trustees and Heritage Award winner.

Additionally, Sean Callinan, an ardent fisher, instructor, advisor, and coach, and Yale’s Fly Fishing Club were also involved in bringing home this project. A shout out goes to Captain Tom Migdalski, the assistant athletic director and director of club sports and a faculty advisor, author, outdoor writer, and fisher for his involvement. And certainly, special kudos go to Dave Skelly, fisher and director of the Peabody Museum itself.

Whether you’re running the flats in the Keys for bonefish, challenging New England’s briny for striped bass, or even tasking the blue water for the thrill of hooking up and battling a 60-pound white marlin, the experience is exhilarating to a fly fisher. The art form of mixing feathers and fur and then turning them into something that tricks one of Mother Nature’s formidable creatures into thinking the dinner bell is ringing reaches into the soul and essence of fly fishing.

So, in between tides or on a day when weather prevents you from being on the water and yet you have the urge to stretch a line, consider a trip to the Peabody. The exhibit will be there through Oct. 13 and will then move on to the Florida Keys History and Discovery Center in Islamorada, Florida, where it will be open from Nov. 10 through February 29, 2020. A suggestion would be to call ahead for exhibit hours and any admission costs.

On the Water

Long Island Sound inland water temperatures reached 55 degrees amid fluctuating cool and warm air that blanketed the shoreline. Sea conditions also were tenuous as water conditions baffled fishers who were looking to take advantage of the May run of fluke. Some days were calm, others bordered gusty with small craft warnings, while still others created difficult fishing conditions when current ran against wind.

From Greenport to New Haven, flukers were out attempting to tease the early run of summer flounder into taking their bait—squid being the prominent one, drifting attached to a variety of rigs and fished near the sea bottom. Finding a break in the weather suitable for a drift was key and, in spite of it all, fish ranging to eight pounds were caught, although most hooked were closer to the minimum size of 19 inches as opposed to a doormat. With the amount of bait entering the Sound, along with the existing weather pattern, we will have to see how this season plays out.

In spite of our weather flip-flopping, striped bass remain hungry and are aggressively taking live bait and a mix of lures, including flies. Most of the action remains below the surface with calmer days seeing improved top water activity. Tidal rivers, beaches, and bays are where you should be fishing, while exercising a controlled slow retrieve and imparting the occasional twitch, pop, or jerk when using artificials. Flies, like deceivers, need to be moderately and steadily stripped, perhaps allowing the fly to periodically stop and drop. Inshore reef activity has improved, so drifting live or chunked bait, jigging, and trolling lures or umbrella rigs could hook you up.

Our beloved striped sea robins are searching the bottom for food while porgy (scup) are starting to draw attention. Water temperature is now at the low end of their ideal range (55- to 77 degrees), so be prepared for improved fishing as they spread out—not only in mid-Sound, but also closer to shore. Seaworms, clams, or squid are the best options to use, although some biodegradable scented baits work well. The limits here are 30 fish at eight- to nine inches for enhanced areas. Weakfish continue their spring run, winter flounder are nibbling in the bays, and channel edges as menhaden and shad show up.

White perch are biting better in the tidal rivers, while more American shad are running the Connecticut River. Hickories are in some of the minor tidal rivers as blue crabs bide their time waiting for water temps to warm, although some smaller ones are around. Rivers are moderating, but still offer challenges to trout anglers, whereas lakes and ponds have been offering better fishing in windless conditions. There is good largemouth action, some smallies are being caught, aggressive pickerel have size, and perch are biting. Catfish and carp are having their moments, as a few more pike target shiners. Water flows and levels are improving.

Note: Email us pics of your catches to share with our USA and international fishing friends who keep up with the latest fishing news and frequent social media.

For all things fishy including reel repairs, swing by the shop (203-245-8665) open seven days, located at 21 Boston Post Road, Madison. Until next time from your Connecticut shoreline’s full-service fishing outfitter, where we don’t make the fisherman, we make the fisherman better…

Tight Lines,

Captain Morgan

twitter @captmorgan_usa


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