If fly fishing is a sport of delayed expectations — the long winter, the thousand casts — then April, the historic start to trout season and often the month when early schoolies arrive, is typically the month of fulfilled expectations. This year, that may not be the case.
Scott, store manager for The Compleat Angler, replied to my inquiry that stripers were around southern CT as of a week ago. Looking at maps of surface temperatures, an optimist would say schoolies could arrive in Boston harbor as early as two weeks from now. But that would likely be optimistic.
Last year, following New England’s mild winter, my friend Bob caught his first striperin Boston harbor the first week in May — and it was a beauty, at that. This year, however, I doubt he’ll repeat the act. This year, New England is divided in two: between those who have salty satisfaction, and those who just can’t get no.
A few days ago, I started to get optimistic. The surface temps were warming fro the north side of the cape all the way up into Boston harbor.
That little dot of yellow in the harbor got me cleaning my saltwater lines, and rigging my new rod. If not a ray of light, it was the byproduct of one. Today’s map, taken at the exact same time of day, has me packing it all back up.
I’ve seen photos on social media, and heard stories of people catching migrating fish in the tri-state area — where we in Boston call “down South” and where the Downeast lobstermen I knew growing up used to call the “deep south” — but, to be fair, this cold snap has surface temps down all the way down the coast. I’m not one to quote poets often, but T.S.Eliot famously wrote that “April is the cruelest month.” And so it has been.
Today, it was in the 40s. Tomorrow, it will nose towards 70, and stay there through the weekend. The cruelty, I hope, is slowly coming to an end.
A bit dramatic, you say? Fair. But until I’m tight to a schoolie on a flatwing or a Pamet special, I’ll be waiting for my drug, the tug.
Bob’s first fish from last year. A beauty.
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