2022 Campout #4 - Montauk State Park
Updated: Oct 22, 2022
The air outside has a chill to it, the leaves are starting to change, and beginning to fall... That can mean quite a few things but to me it means it's time for the annual Montauk State Park trout fishing trip! Looking to continue on the success of previous years, this year I will be hoping to hit the lofty goal of 10 trout in 5 days!
As it always has been, the weather was once unpredictable however, unlike last year, this year would see seasonable weather! This is definitely my favorite camping weather to say the least! Despite having a half day of work in order to get on the road sooner, I barely arrived before dark and still wound up setting up camp in the dark. Typical. Again, it wouldn't matter much to me as I have grown accustomed to setting up in the dark. After setting up, it would be time to crash knowing full well an early morning would be greeting me the next day and with it, the hunt for more trout!
The first day at the stream proved a success with two trout landed! As there weren't many other fisherman along the stream, fishing pressure was light but still, that I was only able to catch two, it just goes to show how much I still have to learn about trout fishing.
Despite my morning success, I had my reservations about the coming days as this would be the last of the "light" fishing pressure days as the weekenders would be rolling in throughout the day and would be there tomorrow morning, rubbing elbows with me and casting everywhere I wanted to be. But that's just how it goes most of the time. You do have to be respectful as everyone has as much of a right to be there at the stream as you do. That means giving others their space to fish and they should do the same.
Trout fishing is something I have been doing for quite some time now, mostly at Montauk though there have been other places as well, but it's still very hit or miss for me. My tactics, if you can call them that, rely heavily on color preferences which I sometimes question whether they even matter at all. I would like to think colors matter as many animals and insects change colors with the seasons to better blend into the changing environment, you also need a lure that matches what the fish would expect to see as well. Who really knows though as I am far from an expert at this point!
Before long, we were heading back to camp to start on breakfast and later lunch before heading back out to the trout stream for some fly fishing. It was at this point in the trip I would realize my chest waders developed a crack/hole in the right book and started leaking immediately after setting foot in the water. This was not going to do so I switched over to the hip waders which, despite being my oldest waders, were still working great! Unfortunately, these did not help me get to where I needed to be in the water and, therefore, I failed to catch any more fish for the day. No matter, having caught two for the first day, I just needed to repeat this success four more times to meet my goal of taking home ten trout. Easy enough, right?
Back at the stream the next morning, events would unfold to prove what I had hoped I could do! The soft goal was to land two more trout and yet, I was able to land three! That put a boost in my trout numbers affording me a less productive day of landing one trout if I needed it. I'm almost certain I would need it too knowing how things go.
This morning, as a surprising change, I found myself fishing next to a (somewhat) local elderly woman and her husband who were both a delight to talk to! They both admitted to not being very regular visitors to the park ... and it showed. The woman had noted to me that the crowd that morning was the most people she had ever seen at the river and what a surprise it was to her it could be so crowded. I laughed to myself because it was about half as crowded as I have seen it in earlier visits. What really made our conversation interesting was her admission that she hated being stuck between people where those on each side of her were catching fish like crazy while she was standing around with nothing. Given I brought in three, you can tell how that turned out for her... Yep, she left empty handed while her husband took one trout and one blue gill which happened to be in the water this morning. Nice people and sorry their morning didn't turn out better!
For anyone who read last year's Montauk entry, you will already know the infamous Gal Pals. Yes, this morning the Gal Pals made their first appearance though, unlike last year, they were much more inclined to keep a respectful distance from everyone else at the stream. How thoughtful!
The afternoon would take us into Salem for a resupply run of food and gas and then back to camp again for the evening as we would await the next morning at the trout stream!
Though the Gal Pals were regulars from last year, this year brought out a pair of nightly visitors we would later name Fluffy and Gordo. Fluffy and Gordy were the local skunks that would sift through the sand looking for food every night. Completely harmless however, you were certainly fearing the worst...
Fluffy and Gordy weren't the only daily regulars this trip. Every morning we would spot deer keeping their distance but poking around the stream getting a cold drink of water. I was fortunate enough to catch them crossing the stream at a distance!
The third morning at the trout stream brought very cold temperatures to start and, as a result, fishing pressure was particularly light for a weekend. Despite the more favorable temperatures for the trout and the lighter fishing pressure, I would unfortunately use up my small safety net and only land one trout. Better than not bringing in a single trout for sure but I was hoping to carry the triple trout success of the previous morning into this morning and save my safety net for later. Oh well, what can you do? Probably learn how to trout fish for real someday I suppose. Just not today!
The rest of the day would see me take a break from afternoon fishing effort as I would await the arrival of one more to our group! Not having the best of phone signals, I would have to hang around Wi-Fi awaiting progress reports on departure and ETA. After the poor fishing effort of the morning, I was ready to take a break. I would also need to break down my "big enough for me" tent and setup the bigger "built for two and more" tent for use the next couple of nights. Needless to say I was excited to have my wife join in for a couple of nights and have a chance at catching her first trout ever!
Next morning we were all back at the trout stream and it was predictably light fishing pressure. Unfortunately, that did not help things at all on the fishing catching goals. With only minimal interest from the fish, we would return to camp for breakfast empty-handed.
In a somewhat desperate attempt to not record a zero for the day, we would again head out in the afternoon to new places hoping for better luck only to be left empty-handed again. Not for reassurance by any means, we at least had one more morning to make something happen.
Again at the stream for the morning buzzer, we gave it our all and again, only a few hard strikes with a few biting but letting go after leaping from the water, we returned to camp empty-handed once more. This is usually the part of the trip where I start to question what happened just days before. Did I really catch those fish? Am I kidding myself with my "skills"? How can I catch six trout in 3 days and nothing in the final two? I definitely have a lot to learn to say the least. For that, there is always next year!
Montauk, see you next year!
Span of 6 days; Approximately 421.6 miles; Approximately 25.846 gallons of gas used; Approximate average MPG 16.55; Approximately $87.91 spent on gas.