Tuesday, June 24, 2014

06.24.14 If you want a taste of a collapsed striper fishery, come to the Jersey Shore....


     Sad to say folks but its true. It's really bad here in New Jersey in regards to striper fishing. I'm not saying that in a boo-hoo "I'm not catching..." kind of way either. There's just no bass around....period. I can't tell you the last time I went....fishing....and caught a striped bass from the beach. I can't tell you the last time I saw or heard someone catch a bass from the beach. Now......


     Yes, there are big striped bass off the beaches and the boats have been on them, maybe too good, but they will come and go, very soon. These are the big 20-40 pound females that are on the bunker. Yes, several times this spring they have pushed the bunker into the beaches and the surf guys that have the intel and the time to stand and wait will get into them. I heard that it happened somewhere yesterday although my inclusion into the "Striped bass cellphone network" is lacking so I don't know where. Now.......



     Early this spring we saw a flurry of micro bass probably from the 2011 or 2102 year class depending on what size you caught. There were a lot of them, and double digit days were abound. That said, I never caught a keeper, never saw anyone catch a keeper, and really never heard of a keeper..say 28- 36" caught. Is it a lack of bait, the beach replenishment invasion along the beaches, or is it a lack of bass. The naysayers will say its a migration change and the numbers are fine. The other side sees a repeat of the early 1980's when the stocks collapsed. And the fisheries management folks just have their heads in the sand, seemingly siding with the lobbyists and politicians and "fisherman interest" groups.
Now......



     I looked back on this blog from last year and found a June 30 post, HERE. This is what I'm talking about. Hitting the beach early, starting with a popper at first light and then going underneath and catching a few bass. Maybe not everyday, but often. It would be a mix of shorts, a keeper, and then some lucky bastard would hook into a stray 15-20 pound fish.



     That's just not happening anymore. Now some will say I'm a fool, and don't know where and when to fish.....and that may be true. I was up in Martha's Vineyard and Coop of Coop's Bait and Tackle said the fish just aren't here in any numbers. Yes they will come in heavier and anglers will get into them now and again, but the baseline and the norm is declining.

     So, this morning I was out at 430 going through my favorite first light routine. Not only weren't there any anglers out, the bait and fish weren't out either. I would have been as excited to catch a 20" bass off the rocks this morning as I was when we got a 30 pounder off the boat this week.

Yes, it's that bad...... so it's back to sunrise pics for now.....sorry just got to keep it real

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