Friday, February 15, 2013
02.15.13 Trying to figure out where the striped bass...and an Orvis package on the steps
It's a beautiful balmy day here on the Jersey Shore. Great day to go fishing. I made my way down to the rocks to fish the end of the incoming tide. It looked good, but that was about it. While there I made some observations which may explain why I didn't get a bite, or haven't brought a fish to hand since February 3rd.
The first thing I have noticed is the lack of crab parts up on the high tide mark on the beach and from birds eating them on the rocks. Today I watched as a smaller than number of birds swam around the groins and diving and coming up empty. I think the rock crabs have taken refuge elsewhere. I also brought along my trusty thermometer, HERE, and swam it in the water for a while.....it read 38 degrees. That may just be cold enough, coupled with a reduced food source in the water, to keep them around.
Last years mild temps and the tremendous amount of rock crabs and sand eels had Jersey Shore fisherman in nirvana. What a difference a year makes. So I think it's time to go back to a "normal" approach to plotting where our spring fish just might be.
Most articles and books state that the optimal striped bass temperatures falls between 55-65 degrees. We saw last winter water temps hover around 45 which kept the bass here and eating. When temperatures in the back bays hit 45, then 50 into mid 50's we find bass eager to search for and eat bait that both swims and burrows. When the water approaches 58 degrees, and if the other factors like salinity, turbitity are in line, then spawning begins. Just by the nature of increased temperatures from south to north the Chesapeake and Delaware striped bass will spawn and be on the move before the Hudson River striped bass.
So here we are February 15th waiting for our spring season to begin. How close are we? Let's look at the temps.
Raritan Bay at Keansburg 38 degrees
Ambrose Light 41 degrees
Deal 38 degrees
Hudson River below Poughkeepsie 32 degrees
Barnegat Bay at Old Barny 38 degrees
Atlantic City 39 degrees
Cape May ( Accurate ?? ) 44 degrees
Trenton 38 degrees
Chesapeake Light, VA 44 degrees
Keep an eye on the temps, and the start date of course, and you'll be a little closer if figuring out where and when you get your first March bass, since I am sure you have already caught one in January and February!
Just a note - Our Delaware River and back bay season begins here in New Jersey March 1st. But don't think you'll be getting the first shot at Delaware River striped bass, Pennsylvania is open year round (I'll be doing a blog post on that mess in the next few days.), but Delaware at least has the same regs that NJ does.
And on the "left on my doorstep" part of the blog today. I had ordered a new Orvis Guide Sling Pack after previewing it at the Fly Fishing Show in Somerset. As you have seen, or fished with me, I am a big fan of the Orvis packs and have them in various types and sizes. This one is built to hold all the essential gear, tools, and outerwear you could need. Check out this cool overview I found online.
Orvis Guide Sling Pack Review from The Rogue Fly on Vimeo.