So as usual Leif keeps me in the know with fishing conditions, catches, and the proverbial big one that got away. He, as always, puts the time and and pounds sections until something gives in. We've had a slower summer than past ones, usually early morning poppers and crab flies would be very productive for the bass that decided to hang around the Jersey Shore for the summer. Not so much thus year. There are some fish around, rooting around for crabs and white bait out front, on the worms at night near the dock lights in the Manasquan and Raritan, and even on the Navesink, where the water is dam near 80 degrees.
But generally, bass fishing is way down, from south to north, from in (the big rivers) to out front, its just bad, and sad. With fall around the corner we wonder what will this year bring? Mullet, yes. How good? Who knows. Could be just like years past. Good mullet, good bass. Good mullet, almost good bass, Nor'Easter shuts it down. Bad mullet year, good bass. Or now......jut bad bass.
So right now we have Spanish Macks, bonito, and even cobia around. Thinking this fall will be more of an albie run than a bass run, no surprise there. Last years albie fishing was off the charts. Not only albies, but good sized ones. Last year I had an "epic" day on the boat with Joe with bass, big bass, 20-30-40 and 50's blitzing big bait that required big flies and strong rods. That may still happen once a fall but its not the norm anymore.
Sand eels....nope. When I think sand eels I think 2011....yes that year. That makes me sick thinking of the IBSP massacre I saw on many days. It seemed for a while it was on-year off-year with peanut bunker and sand eels.......my prediction is not this year.
Peanut bunker run? Nope, maybe 200 will run down the beach. Not like it was in 2016. What we will see is the 2015 year class of striped bass, those 20"-24" fish we have been catching this spring,
summer, and this fall that is the only hope of saving the striped bass. Speaking on that, the ASMFC has just released their options to save the bass from extinction. Public comments, not letters, will be heard soon. Just an FYI......its already been decided and the fix, as usual is in. The numbers, the data, have been skewed and the manipulation of those numbers and the reductions for recreational and commercials are a joke. Here's what funny guys.....
Lets say that for years hunters were allowed to kill two deer each per day. They took them by gun, bow, even falling from trees and stabbing them with Bowie knives. But, over the years the deer got smaller and in less numbers. The hunters and hunting guides kept at it just thinking the deer grow under the trees. So the deer managers did a survey and found that, in this area of the state, there used to be 1,000 deer per mile, now there is only 250. The hunters still hunt with the same bag limits as before.....businesses down and freezers less full. So the managers decide "to do the right thing". No more two deer a day, only one now, and it has to be a buck and it has to have 6 points. Guys, reducing the limits of striped bass in both sectors is a f-ing joke when the bio-mass and YOY surveys show there are less striped bass. YOU MAY BE KILLING MORE BASS EACH YEAR PERCENTAGE WISE!!!!!!! And the end of the story is.....hunters started targeting squirrels.
So I went fishing. Got my lines all juiced up and repaired a welded loop gone bad. I even tied up a "special" crab fly that was sure to work. Got down in the dark and started with a popper, dual baitfish fly in black and purple, white popper as light arrived. Then went to the secret weapon. I fished two stretches, twice over the end of the outgoing and incoming tides. Good N wind, nice sized swell, lots of white water....nothing. I was really looking forward to catching a striper, in August, on that fly. I might have one more shot on Monday.