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2008 Fishing Reports
Dec 13: No Mas!
Boy, we really tried to hang in there this year, but the weather just got too bad too quickly. We were averaging one day a week due to wind conditions and the water in the back began to freeze presenting the very real difficulty of getting the boat out of the marina to where the fish are. Just finished winterizing the boat in temps in the low 30's and as I write this I am sitting by a blazing fire trying to thaw out. I'd have to say that this fall was a substandard one. Sure, we had our good days but it wasn't what I would consider a good fall. Mostly that had to do with the weather conditions. Starting in Oct the wind blew over 20-knots pretty consistently. For the fist time in my entire life, I'm considering getting a bigger boat. And, while we caught a handful of good fish in the back bay, it never really materialized like it has in prior years. I think that was a bait situation more than anything else, but while it might be bad for business for me to admit it, I do fear that we are beginning to see what might very possibly be the result of the every increasing fishing mortality on striped bass. God, I hope I am wrong about that. With all that being said, we did have a pretty good spring. For the entire month of May we were banging fish well north of 30" in some pretty shallow water on poppers. That was good fishing. June was pretty good as well. We even saw some pretty good blitzing action in July! Not much in the way of tunas this year. The skipjack didn't show, no bluefin and the false albacore run only lasted a few weeks. All in all though, I can't complain. We fished a lot this year, had some good days and some not so good, but we always had fun. That's what's great about this thing we do. Every day is different. Thanks to all our clients out there for making it a successful year for us. We are very grateful that there are people out there that are just as crazy as us about fish. We should begin fishing again in mid to late April depending on what the weather does. Give us a ring, or shoot us an email and we'll get you on the books early. Gotta have something to look forward to during what looks like a long cold winter. Happy holidays... Stay well.
Nov 18th: Still Going Strong, but "Dam, This Wind!"
Had some truly spectacular days these last two-weeks. What comes to mind immediately is the "fogged in" day with Quentin last Friday. It was one of those days where you can hardly see the bow of the boat, and you pray your GPS doesn't sht the bed. We made it to where we wanted to go at about 6-knots. Fortunately, it wasn't far from the marina. The problem with that sort of fog this time of the year, aside from the obvious, is that you can't look for the tell-tale birds if you can't see them. Instead, you have to be very quite and listen. This fog was so thick that I don't even think the birds could see surface feeding fish. Still, by listening intently we followed some subtle splashes, and found some big pods of bunker, and subsequently some large fish feeding on them. As the day progressed we found some smaller bait with large fish busting them on the surface. Some of the best surface action I've seen all year. We managed to stick some fish in the high-teens and even low twenty pound range, all on the surface. Of course, I decided it would be a good idea to go out the following day in a virtual monsoon where we managed only a few schoolies. That's been fairly typical this fall. Good one day, terrible the next. But when it's good, man is it good. There are plenty of fish on the outside as well, although mostly schoolies. But tons of birds fish on the surface and the occasional keeper in the mix. Undoubtedly it's been darn good on all fronts when the weather cooperates, but November is always sketchy on the weather front. I feel lucky if I can squeeze in a couple of days a week. The weather forecast looks terrible for the next few days. Hope to make it out on Thursday and Friday though. Pray for less wind! Stay tuned, will let ya know how I do. While some folks are throwing in the towel, I'm thinking there will be at least another month of good fishing, and we'll be on it. Maybe those bluefin will show up again! And yes, we do have dates in Nov as well as Dec, so give us a shout.
Nov 3rd: Off and On Again, but Solid
That's really the only way to describe the last couple of weeks. One day we hit them real good and then the next it's tough. The weather hasn't been what I'd call optimal for late Oct/early Nov, but indeed it is typical. Lots and lots of wind. And to make matters worse, there weren't really fish in good numbers in the back until today really. So, this week was a lot of being cold and wet as we fought the elements to fish outside. But, yeah, today there were loads of fish (both big and small) under birds in some of the regular spots way in the back. On Sat we managed to stick a 40" fish in just a few feet of water blind-casting in a historically productive spot. Nothing showing, no birds, just blind luck. (Or I guess we can chalk it up to the excellent guiding : ) ). Outside there has been a consistent pick of schoolies under the birds but I'm hoping I'm done with that and that now I can run 5-minutes from the marina to catch fish in the Bay. Loads of peanut bunker back there and the bass are on them! Indeed that's good news. Those fish are late to get back there, but now that they have arrived, I'm betting they will stay a while. Indeed that is a good thing. Now is the time to get in on those pre-work trips as we're sticking a lot of fish at dawn, minutes from the marina. We've got dates. Give us a shout.
Oct 22: Bass arrive in the Back Bay... Finally!
Unfortunately, I've been stuck in various parts of the US attending Fisheries Management Council meetings, board meetings and training sessions. It seems like these folks intentionally schedule these events during peak fishing season. Thankfully, that's all over with for the time being and thankfully there are bass in the back of Jamaica Bay. It's about time! For the last two months Jamaica Bay has been loaded with peanut bunker without hardly anything harassing them. The colder air temps have finally allowed the water temp to drop to the point where it is conducive to aggressive feeding activity... In other words, bass blitzes! It's nice when this sort of thing happens 5 minutes from the marina. While it's still not quite peaking, indeed the action seems to get better every day. I expect it will get really good in the next week or so. Let's just hope the weather allow us to get out. We've still got plenty of dates left in late Oct and Nov, so give us a shout if you want to get out.
Oct 5th: Go'n off! From Montauk to Sandy Hook
Just got back from my yearly week in Montauk last Friday. Was crazy good out there, but the wind was a bitch. Still, despite the less than desirable conditions there were major bass blitzes every day and plenty of albies around to keep us busy. Before leaving for Montauk, the false-albacore fishing back in New York Harbor was pretty darn good. Danny tells me that the wind and rain from last weekend mucked up the water pretty good. But by the time I got back on Friday, it had cleaned up, and we were into solid albies on Saturday. We took some good sized bass as well. By the afternoon it was totally going off! Major false albacore blitzes. Today (Sunday) wasn't so good. Despite what the weatherman said there were downpours in the morning and lots of east wind. We ended up calling it a day at an early hour. Then, at around 1:00PM Capt. David called to say that the albies were blitzing good! So, indeed it's still going. Now is the time to get a Northeast Grand Slam (striper, false albacore and bluefish). In fact we've been getting them on just about every go out. We've still got some prime dates available in the coming weeks. Shoot us an email or give us a call.
Sept 14th: Albies! They finally arrive:
Wow... It was getting embarrassing having to post reports on bluefish and small stripers for the last month. Thank God the albies arrived today! Good pods of speedsters eagerly taking flies and Slug-Gos. And, in the early mornings we're scoring pretty good with bass that are in the 24 to 28" class as well as some big bluefish on the breaking bars. The mullet are in good and the whitewater is producing. These fish should only get bigger as the water cools. We got our first Grand Slam of the year today and it will indeed get better from here on out. We've still got some prime albie dates left, and it's on right now! Should last well into the second week in Oct. Get on it while you can!!!
Aug 16th: Blues, Blues and More Blues
Bummer... Still no sign of pelagics, and man, we've been looking hard. Fortunately, there are good amounts of big bluefish, and fortunately they aren't offshore like they were last week. And, we've been picking away at the bass along some structure, so really the fishing hasn't been terribly bad sans the lack of pelagic action. The good news is there are crazy amounts of bait. Schools of bay anchovies like you wouldn't believe out front and the usual seasonal dense concentrations of peanut bunker in the back. Unfortunately, so far it's just been blues and the occasional bass on them. The big bait concentrations really just happened this weekend. So, it's only a matter of time before those false albacore and hopefully some bonito find them. The pieces are definitely in place. It's gonna blow up any day now. That I'm sure of. And the fall? If this bait sticks around, I suspect it's gonna be a good one. And we've still got some choice dates open for it, but they won't last. So ping us soon. And stay tuned.
July 21 - Summer Patterns Set In
Indeed, time to admit the summer doldrums are upon us. The bass, while still around, have been conspicuously hard to catch. The good thing is that the bluefish are enormous. We've had to run a ways offshore to get them. but we've been consistently catching bluefish north of 15-pounds, and some real bruisers approaching 20-pounds. There are still bass to be caught in Jamaica Bay, but the water is very murky and the bass are small and finicky. The flats behind Breezy Point which usually fish good this time of the year are offering no visibility at all, thus no sight-fishing. Thank God for those bluefish! Can't tell you how many we lost last week as they just bit us off, or swam us around structure. Some real bruisers this year. Wouldn't want to be swimming with these things. Still no sign of pelagics, unless of course you were willing to run out 90-miles to the Canyon. Still no "blue" water within striking distance, but we'll keep an eye on it. No inshore pelagics to speak of either. I do expect they will show up soon enough though. Certainly by August, so stay tuned. If you want a crack at some of these big blues though, do contact us. We can totally put you on some of these acrobatic bruisers. Still lots of availability for the fall run. You know how to reach us.
July 1 - Strange Things Afoot
You can deny it, knock it, call it a conspiracy by the alarmists, but it's a fact that the earth is warming. And, well, while it certainly isn't a good thing, we've been enjoying the effects these last few days. For the last week we've had big black drum in our little neck of the woods. Usually an inhabitant of more southern climes, they aren't unheard of here, but they are indeed very rare. Every other year or so, someone will catch one or two on clam-bellies. But I have never heard of them in any substantial numbers. Nor have I heard of great schools of them finning on the surface like permit. But that's just what we've had here. I imagine they won't stick around too long. Hell, they might even be gone by now as fishing on the ocean side has been out of the question with the steady heave we've been getting from an offshore storm. But wow were they cool when they were around. I think Capt. David Azar hit the nail on the head when he said they looked like a herd of cattle. These were big fish. In the 60 to 70 pound range and they were eating plugs and soft plastics! While the pics don't do them justice, it would take at least two of us to lift these things into the boat. Cool shit! And, did I mention that there are still plenty of bass around? Lots of'em. Mostly schoolies, but definitely a few bigger fish in the mix. Water is getting warm and I expect we'll begin to see some pelagics soon. If this year is anything like last year, we'll see those bonito any day now. Stay tuned!
June 16 - Still go'n good
Man am I spent. Been fishing real hard. Up at 3:30AM every day and underway by 5. But it's been good. With the exception of a few down days where there wasn't much more than bluefish, the ocean side has been pretty darn good. In fact, today was probably the best I've ever seen it! I had to pick my clients up at the Inwood train station at 4:08AM so we were well underway in the dark at 4:30AM and at Breezy Point at 5:00AM sharp. Epic Montauk-style bass-blitzes. Complete mayhem. Man I wish I had brought the video camera. It was sick! There were butterfish, squid and some sort of weird bait that I've never seen before. Turns out they were "king gar" or "needlefish" Scomberesox saurus. Pretty crazy... These things were flying out of the water everywhere while bass and bluefish (both big and small) were going bonkers on them. Huge boils... Big bass flying out of the water. Getting doubles on every 3rd of 4th cast. Love that sht! Inside there are fish also! Small bass and larger bluefish have blitzing Atlantic silverside (aka spearing) with some frequency. One would think it would begin to slow down with all this warm weather, but so far it's showing no signs. Perhaps the most memorable day this week, however, was with the Bressmans. These good folks have been steady clients for the last 6 years and always seem to bring good karma with them. I almost canceled because of the threat of serious thunderstorms, but we managed to get out Saturday afternoon. The wind subsided as soon as we got to Breezy Point and the ocean turned to glass. The sun dropped and Michael Bressman proceeded to connect with a 34" fat bass which grabbed the fly right by the boat. And, in a salute to Father's day a large pod of dolphin gave us a show... Now dolphins are nothing new in my book, but when they show up as the sun gets low, and they roll on a windless smooth surface, it's pretty spectacular. We were all awestruck. Now, enough of the sappy stuff. It's on! Give us a ring or shoot us an email if ya wanna get out.
June 9 - Hot, Hot, Hot
A lot has happened since May 27th (again again I apologize for the later update, but sometimes it's not easy to fit it all in). Most notably, the huge rise in air and water temp. The creeks have pretty much shut down due to a combination of major influx of large adult bunker and an increase in the water temp by a good 10-degrees. As you may imagine though, you can still drop a livie down there at dawn and a big bass or bluefish will grab it right-quick. At any rate, live-lining aside (and the live bait fishery has been quite good) there are plenty of big bluefish and a handful of schoolies in the back-bay willing to take a fly or plug. All the bass action on fly/light tackle has moved to the outside. Sure, we're burning more fuel to get there, but it's been worth it. Keeper-sized bass have been blitzing fairly consistently on sand-eels and silversides. Most fish are in the 28" range, but we've gotten a bunch over 30" and a few in the mid-30" range during the last week. It dose tend to be a morning bite however. I did see a few bass in the white-sand flats on the backside of Breezy Point over the weekend, but not in any numbers worth targeting yet. As the sand-eels get into those white-sand flats, expect the sight-fishing to get good. And this should happen soon. Another thing we can look forward to is the potential of another great bonito run, like the one we had last year. Keeping my fingers crossed on that. Lots of openings over the summer months. Shoot us an email if you'd like to get out.
May 27th - Man this year is awesome!
Sorry for the late reporting this time around, but I've been fishing hard. With the exception of a few "off-days" in-between the fishing has been sick! I just can't believe we've had big bass consistently in shallow water like this. There are still grass shrimp around in good numbers, herring are popping up as well and the bunker (while not as abundant as in prior years) are still around in pretty good concentrations. Almost all the good fish this week were caught in the creeks with a handful under the bunker schools in open water. There have also been some fairly good blitzes on spearing in the bays. What's great about all of this is that we're catching fish just a stones throw from the marina. Fortunately for us, we aren't burning too much gas... Unfortunately, as the fish are bound to do with this warm weather, everything will eventually move outside. And when that happens we'll be forced to charge a small fuel surcharge. No other choice. At any rate, I don't want to dwell on the negative. The fishing has been just awesome this spring, and I'm really psyched about that! Soon we should start getting better concentrations of sand-eels, and when that happens the sight-fishing game will be on, and that is super fun. We've still got plenty of days open for that, so shoot us an email.
May 16 - Despite the East Wind Things are Still Going Strong
Not the best weather this week. I was okay with that as I had a wedding in CA I had to go to last weekend. Of course there was that sick satisfaction one gets from hearing most folks got blown out. I was back underway on Wednesday though and it picked up right where I left off. The grass shrimp hatches weren't readily apparent, but those larger stripers were most certainly there. They seemed to be on some larger bait. Something long and slender, perhaps herring. But more importantly they were still in the shallow water, and there were still hammering poppers! Without a doubt, my favorite way to fish. Wednesday and Thursday fished great. Couldn't ask for better days, with very little wind and plenty of stripers well north of 30". There were also some mini-blitzes in deeper water on spearing, but these held 10 to one bluefish. Today was a bit difficult with lots of east wind and sideways rain. Still, we managed to catch a few good bass on poppers. And speaking of bluefish, there were some real big ones mixed in with the bass on those mudflats. Took a monster tossing a Slug-Go during a down-time tide change. I have to say that the fishing this spring is the best it has been in the last 5 years.
May 6 - The Best Grass-Shrimp Hatches in Years!
Wow! I was gonna wait till Friday to do this report, but I just couldn't wait that long. For the last 4 days grass-shrimp have been hatching thick at dawn and dusk, and the bass have been on them in a big way. Too many fish north of 30" this week to count! And if you know anything about a grass-shrimp hatch, you know that they happen in some very shallow mud-flats. Thus, we're getting these fat spring fish to eat poppers in just a foot or two of water! Based on the last four springs, the grass-shrimp hatch seemed to have been a thing of the past. I had written the lack of substantial hatches off as a casualty of climate change, pollution or some other factor I had no control over. But I stumbled over a big one on Saturday and we had fish in the mid 30" range on just about every drift. Same thing on Sunday and the same thing today. I can't F'n believe I have to leave this action for a wedding in California the weekend! The nerve of folks getting married during peak fishing season! So inconsiderate. David and Danny have some dates available though. Shoot us an email if you want to get out last minute. It's good, but I don't know how long it will last.
May 2 - Things improve
A load of fish in the back this week. Plenty of double hook-ups and at times, the marks on the fish-finder were just ridiculous. Saw the first of the season's grass-shrimp hatches on the mud-flats yesterday, but surprisingly, there were only small bluefish on them. The bass are still deep and are on some sort of small bait that I'm marking, but have been unable to determine the species. My guess is that they are spearing. I'd think that it's just a matter of time before they figure out that those grass-shrimp are up in the mud-flats. When that happens, we'll be banging fish on poppers in just a couple feet of water. Maybe by the weekend. Still a ton of bunker around. The guys live-lining them are starting to see some fish north of 20-pounds. What we're doing with light-spin-gear and fly-gear are mostly small fish, but we are getting some fish in the 28 to 32" range. The size should only go up with each week. Oh, I almost forgot... There are large bluefish mixed in with the bass. Boy are these things fun on a flyrod... All-in-all, not a bad start to the season. I'm optimistic that it's gonna be a good one.
April 25 - Getting Bigger and Better
The fishing was pretty good this week. Loads of schoolies around just like last week, but there are some bigger fish in the mix. The amount of bunker in the back bay is extraordinary and the guys livelineing are scoring big. Not much in the way of small-bait so far, which can make flyfishing somewhat difficult, but still we are finding good numbers on the fly and this will only continue to get better. Without a doubt, this season has started much earlier than the last three... And that's a good thing!
April 17 - It's on!
Splashed the boats last week, and it's really good to be back on the water. For the last several days we've been into solid light-tackle/flyfishing for schoolie bass and even a few "keepers" in the mix. The weather this weekend has been great and each day we are out, the size of the stripers seems to get incrementally larger. The back bay is load with bunker, and while I haven't gotten a chance to drop a livie down, my guess is there are some pigs in the bay eating these big baits. And it won't be long until they get active enough to eat a fly or soft-plastic. Water temps are unusually high for this time of the year. My guess is things are going to break open in a big way within the next week. Stay tuned!