Hoo boy! Just what I was hoping to hear: a Providence, RI, fireman caught an alligator this week, not in the Florida Everglades, but in the Woonsquatucket River in Providence.
Recent reports of alligator sightings and at least one attempted attack had been met with skepticism until the Fire Department arrived on the scene to corral the 3-foot gator and make the river safe for whatever else is brave enough to live in the Woonsquatucket.
Wow! This global warming business is getting out of hand. As if the fishing hasn’t been slow enough, now we have to contend with toothy reptiles out there chomping down on gamefish.
But what really worries me is that this might be the beginning of a trend. Now that we’ve been invaded by alligators, could saltwater crocodiles be far behind? Is fishing going to continue to be a safe, peaceful pastime, or are we going to get to the point where reaching into the suds to haul out a striped bass will carry the same risk as stopping off for a cold one at a croc-infested Serengeti watering hole? Will jetties be strewn with fishing gear left behind by hapless anglers who ended up as crocodile chow? One hopes not.
Oh-oh...... Guess I missed this part of the story: according to the experts, the Providence gator was merely an abandoned pet, and was not part of a reptilian invasion of the sacred waters of southern New England.
Hmmmmmmm........ Please disregard the previous paragraphs.
Wasn’t it nice to feel a little nip in the air this past week? A few nights with temperatures down in the 50’s are a good reminder for the likes of yours truly to get those leaders built and flies tied for the upcoming fall season. Now if we can just dodge the hurricanes and tropical storms........
Er......this just in: Looks like we can forget about dodging storms. At deadline, Hurricane Irene was poised to put a premature end to the tourist season and throw the fishing into chaos.
Carrie asked me whether the storm will wreck the fishing, and the truth is, I don’t have the slightest idea.
One thing we can take to the bank: It’s not going to hurt the fish. Not the smart ones anyway. To be sure, a few will succumb to overconfidence and use the deluge to explore flooded streets and become stranded, but most fish are smarter than that. They’ll stick to familiar territory and leave the human environment to the humans.
But back to the fishing. One of the great mysteries of life, at least among my circle of associates, is why false albacore have, in recent years, chosen to remain mostly outside of casting range, even when forage has been plentiful among the rocks.
Not too many years ago, a top shore fisherman could boast of 25-50 tuna landed during a single season. Unfortunately, for the past few years, landing 10 has been an unreachable goal for nearly all of us.
It’s not that albies are being overfished by the commercial crowd. As far as I know, they’ve escaped that fate, and the population seems to be as healthy as ever. In fact, boat anglers have been catching albacore hand over fist the past couple of years.
So what’s the problem? Some of the deepest thinkers in the flyrod fraternity have wracked their brains and come up with all kinds of theories; everything from premature bait migrations to an overabundance of bluefish to gamma rays emanating from the Planet Zorch.
Frankly, I don’t believe any of it. (with the possible exception of Zorchian gamma rays) My theory centers around the fact that during the good years, there was some kind of underwater structure that funneled the fish into our clutches, and over time, that structure has been altered to direct them elsewhere.
With any luck, the predicted hurricane will shift enough sand around to bring back the good old days. At least I hope so.
One thing is certain: Irene’s going to shake things up. For the better? Only time will tell.