Editor’s note: Last month’s column focused on initial preparations for a canyon run. In this installment, we look at the best ways to gather current offshore intel and the gear you’ll need, and run through some of the finer points of high-summer trolling action.
Maybe you’ve painted yourself into a corner, promising your nephews a shot at a fish thrice their combined weight. Maybe after a couple of months of hard scratching inshore, you need a change of venue. Maybe it’s something more universal: the pull of the seaward horizon, a primal need to clear the inlet and instead of hooking right or left you just keep going straight — 50, 100, 300 miles past the last road sign.
“That guy’s not looking so good,” Ray says, motioning to a figure hunched over on the starboard side. Seasickness is a reality when you fish for striped bass at night, in large part because the places that have the most and biggest bass also have strong currents and pronounced bottom features. Put the latter two together, and there’s potential for sporty sea conditions.
In the immediate situation, a tide change half an hour ago has pitted a strong breeze out of the south against a south-running ebb tide at Block Island’s southwest corner.
Appropriately enough, it is often the sharpest fishermen in a given area, the ones with the most refined sense of the grounds and fish and the all-important issues of timing, who tend to be its most committed — and most effective — stewards.
We Americans have what we see as a long set of traditions — cultural, ecological and, of course, economic — with codfish. It was the codfish, after all, that drew European colonists to North America, and codfish that bankrolled the first waves of New World settlers, from Massachusetts to Newfoundland. A codfish, then, is seldom just a codfish.
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Tim Coleman died May 3, in Weekapaug, R.I., doing what he loved to do best at that time of year: scouting the salt ponds and outer beaches for spring striped bass. He was an exceptional saltwater angler and a prolific writer. Thousands of readers lost an advocate and authentic storyteller for fishing in the Northeast, and anyone fortunate to have known Tim lost a good friend.