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Story 2010 CT River Swim 23

Page history last edited by Jerome Moisand 13 years, 9 months ago

Connecticut River: Swim 23



May 29th and 30th, 2010


CT river, MA


Fishing with Domm


The story


After my trip to Connecticut, I was left a bit unsatisfied by the river fishing out there (check the corresponding story). I had in mind that fishing the CT river should lead to more fish than that. So, as I had a couple of days left of vacations, I figured that I should really try to go check the MA section of the river (which I never fished before) and give it a try. I told Domm about my plan, and he was more than eager to share the experience.
We both did some homework, checked the CAG forum posts about this area, some folks volunteered directions to known swims, but... this wasn't really what I wanted to do. I was more eager to go there blindly, drive around and settle on a couple of swims of our own choosing. I had plenty of flavored maize left (three full buckets), so we could afford to prebait several places, and move around if fish wouldn't be cooperative.
On Saturday, after my son's basketball lesson (and my own swimming in the local pool, no carp in there though!), I picked up my fishing companion, and we were on our way to Western Mass. It actually started to rain where we were getting close, but luckily, it stopped when we reached our destination. At first, we had some troubles as the access to the river was sparse, and protected by fences. Finally, after a good number of u-turns and curses, we found... a fence with a hole! So we gave it a try, not being truly hopeful about it, to be frank.


We found a small path, Domm started to explore on the right side, and I went exploring the left side. Well, I found a swim, but so small and stinky that I quickly gave up and went searching for Domm (do not leave your cell phone in the car when exploring with another guy! bad idea!).

When I finally found him, he was very agitated, claiming to have discovered the most wonderful swim there is. Really? I was a tad skeptical, followed him, and... well, he did find a really nice and spacious sandy area. Plus when we arrived, I saw a nice ripple which seemed very much like a carp having jumped there just a few seconds earlier. I was still not fully convinced, the area seemed really shallow, so I sent Domm wading and he did find that the water was getting deeper 10 yards out or so (yeah, I also forgot my plumbing rod in the car, I wasn't prepared at all!). 
Domm couldn't wait to start fishing, but I wasn't fully satisfied yet. I wanted to prebait this spot first, then go find a backup swim, chum it as well in case the first swim wouldn't produce, and then come back to the first swim. I could see him rolling his eyes, but he was patient enough to comply, and we actually found another nice opening nearby, in a very scenic location. 


Now I was finally ready to start setting up our rods. It was quite a trek to bring our gear to the chosen spot (we found a better way than the hole in the fence, but this made for a long way carrying our load). Domm preferred to jump over the fence as a shortcut, and I settled for the long way around. Only problem, some kids beat us to the finish line and jumped straight in the water and started a mud fight, right where we prebaited an hour earlier! So we patiently waited, setting up our gear and rolling our eyes, and they finally left. It was 7pm when our rods were finally in place, ready to catch some river monster.


By then, I hadn't chummed the backup swim yet, and it seemed like a good time as I really couldn't see carp being ready to make a run right after all the raucus created by the kids (plus we had prebaited fairly generously). I walked to the other swim, started to plumb it (this time, I had my plumbing rod with me), when I got a phone call (this time, I had my phone with me, yes, I can -sometimes- learn from my mistakes!). Domm told me he already landed a fish. I was a tad surprised, but not overly impressed, thinking that this was probably a hungry low teen. I started to walk back to the car to go get a bucket of maize when I received another call, where Domm indicated that the fish he caught was a 23 pounder. What? Really? I really thought he was pulling my leg... As he insisted, I walked back to where he was, and he had indeed a very nice fish in a sack. It was 7:30pm by then. I sat on my chair for a little while, to check what would happen, and it was my turn to get an absolutely screaming run, and I landed a beautiful carp, 4oz shy of 20 pounds. Same shape as Domm's fish, very long, very healthy. Now I was impressed!



I finally went back to chum the backup swim, as the dusk was starting to settle, and great colors were disappearing from the sky. We waited a bit longer, and we were rewarded by one run each, another 23 pounder for Domm, and a 21 pounder for me. And real fighters. We were on the moon! By now, you're probably starting to understand why Domm dubbed this place "swim 23", right?



We were now fully set on spending the night here of course, and I had no longer any intent to go to any backup swim! The next run almost dislodged my rod from the pod, the fish went straight into a snag, I gave it some free line, and succeeded to get it out by miracle. This was more than worth it, the biggest fish so far was there, a very cool 24 pounder. Domm's waders proved very useful to release the fish as the water near the shore was really shallow. Of course, we immediately planned to catch a 25 pounder, we were getting greedy!



By then, a strange thing was happening. I had runs on a regular basis, more or less every hour on one single rod, always the same one. After the 24 pounder, I caught three during the night, and lost two more on the bad snag which was in front of me. None of the other rods moved, which means that poor Domm was left as net-man for the entire night. I also have to thank him a lot for fixing a rod tip which broke while I was stuck on the snag (the line wrapped around a rod's guide, we didn't see it, and we pulled the rod to break the -braided- line... didn't go well!). Great to have such a handyman with you when things like that happen!



Early in the morning, another rod finally moved, I started to play the fish (another big run) and the rod which produced all night came alive too. I had to scream for help in order to wake up Domm who was sleeping very soundly. We finally made it, landing both fish, and I made myself quite dirty while trying to get a "brace" shot.



We enjoyed a beautiful dawn, and more stunning views of the river. Domm reeled in and discovered that he did catch something last night. A mussel, well alive and stuck on the hair rig!



The curse finally broke, one of Domm's rods came to life, and he landed a teen, which I quickly matched afterwards. A new trend was establishing itself though, as I was stuck on teens, and Domm's next catch was a low twenty. He tried to impress the fish by making faces and showing off his tattoos, but the fish couldn't care less, and was just waiting patiently to be returned to the water. Those carp have no respect!



Another teen for me and... that was it. At least for me. I didn't catch anything else for hours and hours. Domm? He was catching one twenty after another! Four in a row! This was payback for the night!



He took a bit of a break, landed the smallest fish of the day, then closed the loop by catching... his third 23 pounder, of course! "Swim 23" it is, the name will stick. At this stage, he was dangerously catching up on me, I had landed 10 fish total, and he had landed 9. And we were getting close to our deadline of 4pm, where we had to leave and go home. It was time to act. I recast the rod which produced all night, the method ball didn't hold and broke in the air, and I just put the rod on the rod pod, too lazy to recast with a new method ball. A few minutes later, I got our 20th fish on a single bait! Now that was a really nice & unexpected final salvo! Oh, and yeah, I had developed quite a sunburn by then as well...



It was time to leave, after such an amazing session on a brand new spot (that is, at least for us). The average size was around 20 pounds, hard fighting fish; between the two of us, the action never stopped, 20 fish landed, what else to ask? Do it again, maybe? Oh, and get the 25 pounder we had greedily planned for!


We wrapped up, huffed and puffed to carry our gear back to the car, and I discovered that one of my rods was badly stuck, we just couldn't disassemble it. So we drove all the way home with the rod protruding out of the car! (with the help of some vegetable oil, I got it back to normal the day after). What a trip to remember!




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