Our Waters Are Alive with the Sound of Reels and Rods
My husband Jan and son Jason were chomping at the bit the first Saturday in May, not for the Kentucky Derby but for their first fishing expedition of the season. Having set their alarm clocks for daybreak, they set off in the early morning chill and picked up a friend and breakfast sandwiches at Jerry’s Post Road Market. Boarding their fishing boat before 6:30, they motored leisurely through the 5 mph no-wake zone in the Rye Boat Basin and caught their first striper by 7.
“You’ve already won because you’re out there. It’s peaceful and the crystal-clear water is like glass,” said Jason. “Then, all of a sudden you hear the drag of the line ripping… zzzzz. It doesn’t get any better than that.”
Several 30- to 45-inch caught-and-released striped bass later, the outing exceeded their expectations. “The rod bent eight times,” as they say, in the waters south of Mamaroneck’s Buoy 42 in about 45 feet of water. They used Mojo trolling lures acquired at Rye’s Tyalure Tackle and Bait Shop on Theodore Fremd Avenue.
“Fish move, so should fishermen.”
“The fishing is excellent this season,” noted shopowner Nuno DeCosta, whose brother caught 30 stripers on the day we spoke. “A mild winter coupled with some hot days in April were a catalyst to get the fish going. Fishermen were having success all winter long.”
Apparently, a lot of “holdover fish” did not feel the need to migrate south this winter, so anglers had a surplus to snag before the official start of New York State’s fishing season. DeCosta was fortunate enough to have customers frequent the shop during the quiet winter months, during which he tripled his inventory of additional rods and tackles.
“For some, fishing is social. For others, it’s an escape that offers the opportunity to contemplate life,” he observed. “In winter, fishermen get cabin fever, so the shop is a fix for them.”
For striped bass, the season officially started on April 15 with a limit of one fish measuring a minimum length of 28 to 35 inches per person. Tyalure’s hottest lures for stripers, besides the highly effective Mojos Jan and Jason used, are the Al Gag soft plastic paddle tail and flutter spoons by TacklePusher, the official trademarked brand of the store.
Tyalure, celebrating its one-year anniversary this month, is as pristine a bait and tackle store as one will ever come across with immaculate displays of top-notch merchandise at various price points. DeCosta also carries fresh bait — worms, bunkers, and crabs when in season —, as well as frozen squid and spearing.
Many customers are hooked on Tyalure’s wide range of peripheral merchandise, from coolers and marine-grade bean bag chairs for boats to whimsical apparel. Arguably, the store’s greatest allure, however, is the owner’s passion for fishing and unrivaled expertise regarding all aspects of the sport — what to catch, what to use, where to go, and how to go about it.
“Once fishermen have decided what rods, reels, and lures they’re using, don’t start second guessing,” he explained. “The key is not to spend too much time in one area that is void of life. If I’m on a boat, I wouldn’t spend more than 20 minutes in one spot. Fish move, so you should move on, too.”
These days, he recommends heading to Captain’s Island off Greenwich; Hempstead Harbor on the Long Island’s North Shore; City Island; and the waters off New Rochelle.
In addition to stripers, porgies and fluke are already making their appearance. In the next couple of weeks, there will be an influx of bluefish, and the black sea bass season starts June 23. The Department of Environmental Conservation’s website lists all fishing regulations.
It’s also worth noting that anyone 16 years and older is required to obtain a fishing license if fishing from a private boat on Long Island Sound. Licenses may be obtained at Tyalure, free of charge for saltwater fishing, $25 for a freshwater license, with a discount for seniors.
Once license is in hand, anglers can take advantage of this Sound Shore community’s great fishing. I know I’m joining Jan and Jason the next time they go out.
As for DeCosta, “I value my time and enjoy the salt air and being out in the sun. If I can get out for a few hours, I’m going no matter what the moon or tide is.”