There's one thing you can do without power ... go fishing

There isn't that much fishing news this week as businesses and people were digging out from the storm, boats just getting back in the water and power restored for some, not all. All the reporting stations I was able to speak with, though, said they will be open for business for bait and tackle for the long weekend.

Don at King Cove reported they lost a couple of their docks and as of Wednesday had yet to get electricity restored. They are selling bait. One local bought some sand worms and fished them off his dock off River Road on the Pawcatuck side of the Pawcatuck River for a 38-inch bass.

Another shore angler caught a bass in the low 30-inch class off Quonny Breachway on a plug and, when cleaned, found a 7-inch whiting in its stomach, a species Don hasn't seen in many years. We used to have great whiting fishing in our area in the late fall but that was another fishery, like our local cod, that was lost due to mismanagement of the National Marine Fisheries Service.

Joe at the Fish Connection in Preston had power restored to their store on Wednesday, saying they suffered some loss of live and frozen bait when the power went out but otherwise they were in decent shape, unlike people around West Haven, the Hudson Valley and Vermont that had devastating losses to homes and businesses.

The large waves from the storm cut out the beach to the east of Watch Hill, said Joe. In spots where there was sand, there are now exposed rocks and one spot where there was a three-foot drop from a stone wall to beach is now a six-foot drop. Shore anglers were out right after the storm, catching bottom fish from the Mystic River Park and Ft. Trumbull pier.

Mark at River's End in Old Saybrook told me that both Harkness Park and Old Saybrook Town Beaches have yet to be reopened to public because of damage from the storm. The public area at Hammonasett "took a beating" said Mark and that too may or may not be opened up to fishing in time for the long weekend.

Another customer reported three feet of sand over roads leading to some of the Madison beaches, plus another brought in reels to be cleaned after being under saltwater for 24 hours when his beachfront home in Old Saybrook was flooded. With all the runoff from Vermont starting to come down the Connecticut River, Mark said the lower part is starting to look like a floating junkyard and it will likely be a while before it returns to fishable levels.

Over at Shaffers Marina in Mystic, Captain Allen Fee credits help from a lot of friends and customers that kept damage from the storm to a minimum. They still didn't have community power restored but were keeping their bait freezer running on a generator. One of the casualties though at Allen's house and others along the river were lawns covered with saltwater. His and others now smell like the bilge of a boat that hasn't been cleaned out in a long time.

Right after the storm, people were out fishing from the Mason's Island Bridge and the river park. Other activities were a busy ramp at the marina as people put their boats back in to take advantage of the nice weather the last couple days.

I spoke with Al Golinski on his cell on Wednesday, out on the water for the first time. He and his wife were anchored trying to get live scup for striper bait but were not having much luck in water that was still very, very murky.

Mark at Hillyers Tackle said they were up and selling tackle to people who reported catching some small bass off Harkness Park and others that were chasing bonito around outside Jordan Cove. That was the only real news as people are just now getting back to normal, but Mark stressed they are open for business and stocked for the last big weekend of the summer.

Shore anglers caught some bass to 36 inches around Watch Hill Light a couple days after the storm went by. One of my sources in this area reported the surf at the height of the passage was about the same as a very bad nor'easter during the winter. The highest gust at Westerly was 57 mph and most of the time they wind stayed a steady 25-45-plus.

We were very lucky; just ask the poor souls in Vermont about Hurricane Irene.

Tim Coleman is The Day's saltwater finishing columnist.


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