Mention the word smoothhound to a sea angler and it will send a tingle down his or her back. There’s something about these long, lean fighting machines that will set the heart racing! Add that to a shore caught hound off a shallow beach and the recipe is set.
There are tons of articles being written that tell you about rods, reels and bait. Heck, I’ve written a bunch of those types of articles myself, but there are very few articles that concentrate on what I call, “the other essential gear”.
Northern New England is not your traditional surf casting area. Yes, the New Hampshire and Maine coastlines do have sandy stretches, but for the most part it is rugged, rocky, cold and wet. For a more traditional surf casting experience one needs to travel to the southern New England states of Massachusetts, Rhode Island and Connecticut.
It is the middle of March and my freezer is empty and the lure of fishing is more than I can deal with. Tomorrow I head for the coast and try my hand at Winter flounder, better known here in New England as the Blackback. During the winter this fish spends most of its time in deeper water, but in the spring these flounder head into the shallows to spawn and it is these spawning fish I will be targeting. While the waters may still be a bit cool, this has been a crazy year so it is worth a try.
Sometimes in life you get opportunities you simply cannot pass up on. This happened to me, James Wigglesworth, when my dad returned from a World Sport Fishing trip to Guinea Bissau last year with tales of giant tarpon that were untameable, huge nurse sharks and more snapper, barracuda and jacks than you could shake a rod at.
Cast after cast I made to the grassy edge of a small island. On the retrieve my lure, a gold Johnson Silver Minnow, stopped dead in the water and a split second later something pulled on the other end and started taking line. My six and a half foot, medium action rod was nearly bent double and all I could do was try to keep the rod tip up and hang on. During the struggle the rod tip broke, but there was nothing I could do about it at this point. When the battle was over I was able to boat a 27½ inch red drum, or “Red” for short.