Sunday, November 28, 2021

11.28.21 Ok, so Thanksgiving week came and went.....

All photos Leif Pettersen

     We waited all summer for the came and has now went. Let's call this week the start of winter. Turkey Day is over, the fall decorations are being packed away today and the blow-up Santa's are hitting the front lawns. So how would you rate this fall run of 2021? 

     Well, if you were fly fishing from a boat you had a pretty solid fall. Collectively people are saying this has ben the best fall run in years. Remember, people always say that when there are fish in front of them. One thing is for sure, the Raritan, Sandy Hook, and New York Bays continue to be a pinch point for striped bass action in both the spring and the fall now. This fall the bass camped out first eating the big bunker, then hanging around for the peanuts that started to push out around the full moon a week ago. 

     So Thanksgiving came, a day after I broke down in the boat, and the surf fly fly action heated up a touch as the school bass were chasing peanuts into the beach. Chasing peanuts INTO the beach Bech, not down the beach like in 2016. That year you could stand in Long Branch, light a butt, and watch the birds off of Sea Bright make their way down to you over the bass annihilating the bait. From what I was told, this fall you would see some birds out, wait a bit, and hopefully they would push in over the bait, a mix of peanut bunker and butterfish, and you would have 30 minutes to an hour of shots at bass to just keeper size with an occasional 28-32" fish in the mix. 

     Its the kind of fishing where someone will say "we had fish in Lavalette for two hours", and another guy will say "Fished Lavalette all day with twenty other guys and didnt see a fish caught". Why? because the were either 8 blocks apart at the same time or he left to hit the WaWa and take a leak and grab something to warm him up. Its just like that, you're not fishing tides or time or moon, well water in front of you is usually good, but its just timing when and if the bait is around and the bass are on them. There could be 100 different reports each day from the same beat. You just have to put your feet on the sand and watch and wait, or keep your cell phone on loud if you have the network like that. It seems most guys do have that, because Monmouth beaches were empty yesterday after being busy for the last two days. 

     That brings me to the slot, the 28-38 inch fish that anglers can harvest if you can find them. This fall you could find the overs and the unders but those legal fish not always easy to find. We are hammering those class size fish, I mean the guys looking for meat, they are taking the 28-38's and are utilizing the "Bonus Tag" option more-so this fall because of the new regulations. Remember New Jersey has the BT program because we don't have a commercial striped bass fishery. I am glad a quick glance into the dumpster at the Atlantic Highland Marina has a been void of poorly filleted racks of 40+ pound bass but I am not sold on the current fishery management angle. All this will be a hard sell to anglers because, "This has been the best fall ever (2021)", if you are chasing big fish around pods of big bunker. 

     And for me, no fishing this Thanksgiving, but I had a great weekend. Theresa and I got to see 5/7 of the kids, with Tara down in Texas and Ryan up with the Angels. But seeing Juliet, Patrick, Sean, Lauren and Erin was great, in fact we saw them a few times. First was Thanksgiving at my sister Jess' house where she and Austen put on a nice spread with a dinner catered from Sickle's Farm. 

    Then on Saturday we had the kids out for another turkey dinner this one since Theresa was gifted a turkey from Capital Health where she works. Everyone pitched in and helped and it was just easy-peasy fun with family including my mom who is up from Florida until after Christmas. Thanksgiving is my favorite holiday and, like the fall boat run of 2021, was a good one.