( Originally posted by Bill Schotta )
When we saw a good January weather forecast for Saturday and Sunday, Don Evans and I decided to try the CBBT. Good Move. In 40 years of salt water fishing, about five trips stand out as truly spectacular. Now there are six.
It was recently said that a certain guide could locate fish in the parking lot. Don Evans did precisely that. As we pulled into the Kiptopeke State Park launch parking lot Saturday morning, Don said, "see the fish". As I looked out through the windshield of his truck, there was a large group of working birds about a mile beyond the concrete ships. Don said: "get ready we are about to pound some big stripers".
Now I havenÃ‚â€™t fished the CBBT for years, and when I did it was with heavy tackle, and the water was always rough as a cobb. I thought we would be fishing deep water and raging currents with 2 oz lead heads.
These fish were in 18 feet of water, with some rolling on the surface. Our first casts yielded a double, same with the second and third. I guess I was the first to break the string of doubles. We had a surprising number of fish over ten pounds, and a 40 incher during the first hour.
After things slowed, we went to fisherman's Island where birds were working near shore. We were in 6-10 feet of waterÃ‚â€”time to bring out the fly rod. These fish jumped on flies, and when you hooked one in this shallow water there would be followers. Some of them huge. I fished tandem flies and had numerous doubles. Even got Don to add a fly to his Assissin rig.
Don put on a Bomber plug with a modified lip and was sight casting to fish near the surface. Later in the afternoon, Don wanted to show me some structure spots at the bridge/tunnel. Every spot we went, we caught fish. There was no lull, as experienced on many trips. We quit at dark and ran back to the launch. It got a little windy right at dark but not bad. Most of the day was near calm. We did not count the fish, but each caught well over a hundred. Only saw four other boats the entire day.
Sunday 10-15 knot winds and rain were predicted. As we got to the launch at 8 AM, the seas were calm and the birds working in about the same area as Saturday. It was immediate hook-ups again. These were different fish, however, bigger than the day before.
This time I got the fly rod out sooner and used it nearly the entire day. Caught a number of 30Ã‚â€-35Ã‚â€ inch fish on flys, but Don had the fish of the trip. He caught the largest striper of his distinguished career. The fish was 48 inches and massive. Of course the Force was employed. We weighed the fish at 34 pounds, but I am not sure his scale was accurate. This fish was huge. We took both digital and conventional photos, but neither have posted pictures yet. See what we can do. Fortunately by the second day, I put some film in my camera.
A few trollers came into these fish and finally spooked them. We moved to the shallow water around FishermanÃ‚â€™s Island again, and the fish were there in greater numbers and size than Saturday. It started to rain about 1 PM and we both said that we did not particularly want to fish in the rain in January. Three hours later we quit. Every time we would start to head in, we would see big fish swirling and have to try them.
This was truly one of those special trips. Don and I estimated that 75% of our casts yielded fishÃ‚â€”good fish. These were not hard fish to catch. Most of the guys on the board could have done the same thing, had they been there.
I have no idea how long these fish will stay, but I am certainly willing to give them another look. Many fish were loaded with sea lice.
There is a lot of talk on the board about the Susky Flats in the spring. I have fished it off and on since 1960. Only two flats trips in all that time compare with the CBBT this week end, as far as the number or size of fish available.
I can understand why Superfish enjoys fishing with Don so much. He knows his stuff like no other I have fished with. He also made a real effort to put the boat and me in the best position for fly fishing. Many trips blend together in the old memory banks, but this one will remain forever.