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2009 Fishing Report

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Last updated 2/09

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2009 FISHING REPORTS

Dec 21: TIME TO ADMIT IT'S OVER

Well...  The bluefin thing lasted a couple of weeks after the last report, but really, they were uncatchable.  Instead of the pods of dozens fish crashing bait on the surface, there were just a few rolling here and there.  Sure we had some shots, but really, to catch these things you have to throw into dense aggregations of aggressively feeding fish instead of ones and twos...  I had heard of a few being caught on the troll, but even that was tough.  Only guy out there willing to share his secrets said he was using a 40-oz drail to get down.  I wasn't that desperate.  At any rate, it was fun while it lasted.  I suppose we should consider ourselves lucky to have hooked up so many times and really lucky to have actually landed one.  There were lots of guys out there that didn't even get a strike.  I do hope we see them again next year, but given all the pressure these fish are under, I'm not holding my breath.  When (or if) they do show, we're all geared up and ready to chase them.  On the bass front, December was pretty much a bust.  So was late Nov for that matter.  We really didn't even get that traditional run of schoolies we usually get.  I had heard of some big fish moving though, but we just didn't manage to be at the right place at the right time.  But it should have been much more consistent.  It wasn't.  Jersey had some fish in Dec so maybe the just went right past the NY Bight.

At any rate, all-in-all, not a bad year.  The spring was tough with not much in the way of good weather, but we squeezed out a bunch of really good days.  That said, late June, July and August were uncharacteristically good.  And once Sept rolled around, the albie run was superb!  A good month and a half of solid fishing on that front.  We had some good bass days in Oct, but I'd have to say that the fall bass run left a bit to be desired.  Perhaps we'll make up for it next year.  Until then, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year.  I'll be adding new gear and getting the boats ready for spring.  Going to Costa Rica to fish for Roosters in March, and upon my return, hope to splash the boats that first week of April.  Already looking forward to that. 

Nov 23: OBSESSED WITH BLUEFIN

I've been able to think about very little save bluefin since Saturday.  Since the last report there's been very little in they way of fishable weather, yet it lay down nicely on Sat and Thomas Pak and I shot out to see if those large, incredibly fast, incredibly beautiful fish were still there.  Indeed they were.  Hooked up after chasing them around for a bit.  A nice strike on Slug-Go, and then the extraordinary run and the panic to get the boat in gear before the fish dumped the entire spool of line.  Unfortunately, after about 10-minutes, the braid dug into the spool and the line got caught for a quarter of a second...  Snap!  That was it.  There were numerous other shots at these busting fish and we finally connected again.  This time we were on the fish for a good two hours, getting it close to the boat on at least 3 occasions.  But as any seasoned angler knows, the longer you pull on a fish the larger the hole in the fish's mouth gets.  In hindsight, we should have put the screws to the fish when it got close.  But we didn't and thus the fish spit the hook, and we went home empty handed, but with a really good story.   Sunday, I headed out with Tim Blackburn.  A flat calm ride out to the tuna grounds and I was stoked.  It looked like we'd have perfect weather to chase these fish.  And we did....  For about 5 minutes.  Then the wind picked up and it got real gnarly, real quick.  3 to 5' chop.  There were pods of fish popping up under the birds, but there was no running and gunning with that kind of weather.  Still, about 4 hours into the trip we manage to stick one.  This fish didn't behave like the others we've hooked this year.  Instead of going for a few good runs and then settling down for the two hours of circling the boat, this fish took a tack and just kept going.  I had to constantly throttle up to follow it.  My guess is that it was considerably larger than anything we had hooked prior.  As we were on the fish, the seas were getting larger and I began to wonder if we could conceivably fight this fish for the required 2 to 3 hours that I'm sure it would take.  Tim needed a breather after a half hour.  I took the rod and started applying a bit more pressure than I usually would in hopes that I could turn this fish.  Bad idea.  It pulled the hook after about 20-minutes of that.  Frankly though, I'm really wondering if we had any chance of landing that fish anyway.  As I mentioned, it seemed quite a bit larger than the others and it took the Slug-Go on the 30-pound rod instead of the 50-pound one.  Again, we went home empty-handed.  But there was plenty of action and we both agreed, well worth it.  Sometimes just seeing these monster fish crash bait is worth the price of admission.  And to actually hook one and feel the power?  Man I get goose-bumps just thinking about it.  These fish are truly awesome.  And I'm betting they will stick around into December!  I'm totally obsessed.  Counting the hours till Wed.  If you want a shot at these fish, give us a call: 718 791-2094.  Oh, and the bass fishing.  It's okay I guess, but really, I  can think of nothing but bluefin.

Nov 10:  WOW!

What a week!  Despite a day or two of "off" fishing, it really lit up since the last report.  The November bass blitz really kicked in last Friday.  Was quite good on Saturday also.  A ton of fish in the high 20" range with enough 30-plus inch fish to keep things interesting.  Then on Sunday it kind of crapped out.  It's back up again though as Danny killed them today.  Even stuck some real good fish in the back.  Good to know as I kind of thought the back-bay was done.  The real news however is the tuna fishing.  There are some good pods of big fish relatively close to shore.  Stuck the one below yesterday.  After chasing around a few schools of fish busting bait, they came up good off the stern and the first rod within reach was a 20-pound Temple Fork rod with a Van Staal 150 spooled with 20-pound Berkley Fireline.  Three Volkswagen sized fish took swings at the Slug-Go before this one grabbed it.  Took us three hours to get the fish to the boat.  It's truly amazing that the line didn't part.  Chalk it up to a very experienced and patient angler Steve Leisman.  We both took terns fighting an extraordinarily strong, not to mention large, fish on what would be considered extremely light tackle.  Quite an accomplishment that we landed it.  And the strike...  Sooo cool.  These fish are truly extraordinary.  I hope they stick around!  We have dates available.  Shoot us an email, or give us a call.  Oh...  And gotta give a shout-out to Capt. Chris Hessert from Manhattan Fly.  He turned me on to the whereabouts of those fish.  THANKS CHRIS!

 

Oct 30: FROM BAD TO GOOD

Wow, this last week was a tough one.  Not only was the weather consistently bad, but the water turned an awful shade of brown due to all the rain.  All those peanut-bunker we had in the back all  but disappeared in the space of 24-hours.  Thankfully, all that dirty water has flushed out and I'm relieved to report that it's back on again.  An unusually large amount of sandeels have moved in and bass have been on them good in the morning hours.  All the action seems to be on the outside at present.  Unfortunately, the back is dead, because the peanut bunker that usually inhabit the bay this time of the year are totally absent.  Why, I have no idea.  I'm still hoping that they show up out of the blue, but that's unlikely...  Usually, once they are gone, they're gone.  But indeed it is still a possibility.  I suppose I can't complain about the fishing though because it's been pretty good on the outside.  There are some real quality fish around also.  Indeed it's been kind of a weird bass run thus far.  I'm hoping and expecting Nov to be the best month.  It usually is.  Let's just hope the weather cooperates.  We've got plenty of Nov dates available, so give us a ring or shoot us an email and we'll get you out. 

 

Oct 20: ALBIES OUT, BASS IN

Wow...  What a year for albies.  Can't remember a better one.  But with the recent spat of cold weather they have left town as expected.  But the stripers have more than replaced them.  And the real good news is that they are in the back solid now...  Not just schoolies either.  Some real good ones.  Nice when you only have to trek 5 minutes from the marina to find fish, and it's been real nice being able to run the skiff again.  At heart I'm a total small-boat guy.  Loads and loads of peanut bunker back there this year and the bass are tearing them up in some pretty shallow stuff.  Let's hope they stick around.  Judging by the amount of bait, I'm sure they will.    Oh, and there's also some scary big bluefish in the area. 

Oct 6:  I WAS WRONG!

We hammered the albies this morning!  Blitzing bay-anchovies really good.  Stuck well over a dozen fish in just a few hours!  Unfortunately, it looks like lots of wind for the next couple of days.  Bummer!

Oct 5: ALBIES ON THEIR WAY OUT BUT BASS FILL GAP

Some real good albie fishing since I last checked in.  I spent 5 days in Montauk last week and I can confirm that the albie fishing we've had in the NY Metro area was considerably better than it has been out there.  A strange year out east for sure.  Defiantly leaving much to be desired.  Before I left though, we were killing the albies.  Some really good blitz action on just about all tides.  Even had them for a few days in just 10' of water up against Coney Island.  That was pretty cool.  But experiance tells me that they are on their way out.  Last couple of outings I didn't see a one.  I suppose we could get another run of them though.  It certainly wouldn't be unusual.  Regardless, I can't complain about the albie fishing we had this year.  The good news is that the bass have shown up in a big way.  Loads of fish in the 26 to 30" range gorging on sandeels and a few fish in the mix that are larger.  Perfect flyrod fish.  Even heard a few reports of much larger fish being caught offshore under schools of bunker.  The bass fishing is only going to get better from here on out, and the fish will get larger.  Such an assumption is as close to a definite thing we have in this business.  Stay tuned.  Oh, and there are some real good reports of bluefin offshore.  Unfortunately or fortunately depending on how you look at it, the good inshore fishery is keeping me "at bay"...  Literally.  But I do hope to get out after them soon.  So, if you want to give it a go, give me a ring.  We've still got plenty of good fall dates open.  So give us a ring or shoot us an email. 

 

Sept 22: GOING STRONG

We're still having a really good and really consistent albie run.  Albies have been showing just about every day, but it seems to be very tide dependant.  What tide?  Would rather not disclose due to what seems to be an unusual amount of boat traffic this year.  But when they come, they come in force and they seem to be eating quite well.  There is more bait around this year than I've even seen.  Massive, and I mean massive amounts of sandeels, and if that weren't enough there are good pods of bay anchovies and peanut bunker moving around, sometimes unharassed.  It's just been a matter of figuring out when and where the albies are gonna find the bait.  Fortunately I think we've got it down (knocking on wood that it doesn't change).  The bass fishing has been pretty good at dawn also.  There are good numbers of mullet around and when we get a good amount of ocean swell, those shallow water spots that produce whitewater have been fishing quite well.  There are  some scary big bluefish chasing mullet also.  It's been real tough to catch these fish on a fly, but we've had some success teasing the fish out of the whitewater with a hookless popper and then having the angler throw a fly towards the plug.  But we've been killing them just throwing big poppers.  Like every cast till the sun comes up.  Some really spectacular strikes.  In short, save a few off days, it's been consistently good.  And we're really just getting into the fall.  Indeed, there's a lot to look forward to.  Just us a ring, we have some prime dates available. 

Sept 12: ALBIES BASS AND BLUES!

Well, we're still solid into Albies.  But we've got some mullet now so we're catching good numbers of bass at dawn and bluefish are crashing poppers throughout the day.  Yeah man, it's been pretty good.  Believe it or not, there are more albies around, than there was last week but they are… well, they’re acting like albies. Coming up good numbers in short erratic/unpredictable spurts and they are very finicky. Word is out now so there are lots of boats chasing them around and that tends to make them very wary. Even the party boats, for the first time since I've been fishing them, seem to want in on the action.  That said, we're still getting a good number of fish on each trip, but we’ve been having to work for them. The good news is that the mullet are in, so some of the shallow areas have been loaded with stripers and big bluefish during the dawn hours. Works out well for me as I can work those fish for an hour or two, then go bang my head against the wall with the albies. Re availability, we've got some, so give us a shout. 

 

Sept 2nd: SICK ALBIE FISHING!!!

The photos speak for themselves.  A few exceptional days.  A great start to the albie season.  Give us a call...  We have dates available. 

Aug 31: ALBIES ARRIVE!

Well...  I had expected these two monster storms that just passed to mess the fishing up for a bit, but this last one seems to have done just the opposite.  It pushed in some crystal clear warm water and with it a ton of bay-anchovies and and a ton of albies.  Yep, you heard that right.  The false albacore are in and they are eating!  Consistent blitz action through-out the day.  We've got plenty of dates open if ya want to get a crack at them.  Give us a shout!

 

Aug 18th

Man am I beat up.  Certainly don't feel like the young guy I used to.  Weather's been really good and I've been running way offshore.  The bluefin bite has been really good, but unfortunately they aren't close.  Thus, we've been leaving the marina way early and getting back late, and because the prevailing winds can sometimes kick up, the ride home can be bumpy and hard on the body.  All this said, it's been well worth it.  Frankly I'm still trying to get the offshore game wired.  Indeed I learn something new every trip.  Yet we're still having success on each run.  Right now we're sticking fish in 150' of water by dropping down 4-oz jigs to the bottom and working them back up the water column.  Man these bluefin hit hard and fight even harder.  Keep in mind that the photos below are some examples of fish that we were able to get the boat.  There were some that we just couldn't put the breaks on.  I've definitely had to upgrade my gear as a result.  If you are interested in doing an offshore trip, please do give us a call...  It's totally on right now and we seem to do better and better each offshore run.  Inshore?  Not so good.  At least as of yesterday.  Seems that last week's really good bass bite inshore has totally ceased.  Of course yesterday may have just been an off one, which is entirely possible.  Not sure what happened prior too as we've been offshore harassing those tuna.  We did see what I perceived to be a few bonito break the water, but it aint really happening on that front yet.  Any day now I would think.  Hopefully tomorrow!

Aug 9th

Still go'n good!  I can't remember an August where the inshore fishing has been so good.  Plenty of bass under the birds in the morning.  Most fish are in the 24" range, but each morning we seem to be finding a few fish that are in the 30" size range.  Real quality fish, particularly for this time of the year.  A week ago they were on butterfish, but now they seemed to be keyed in on a brand new influx of peanut bunker.  Lots and lots of peanut bunker around.  The bass blitzes have pretty much been dying down by 8AM when the sun gets high.  Which is fine as I've been shooting over to some of the local structure spots and throwing poppers up against the rocks and banging some monster bluefish.  These fish are well north of 10-pounds with some upwards of 15 to 17 pounds.  They are really strong and some jump like tarpon.  Super fun and super aggressive, eating both flies and plugs readily.  This is a slow time of the year for us as the fishing isn't generally thought of as being good, but I can tell you first hand, that it is indeed good!  So give us a shout if you want to get out.  Plenty of dates open.  Oh, almost forgot, the offshore thing seems to allude me every time I plan to get out.  The weather just hasn't been on my side this year.  But the word on the street is that the bluefin and mahi are pretty thick out there.  And the mahi are certainly catchable via spin and fly gear.  So keep that in mind.  It is indeed an option. 

 

July 27th: Going off...  In July?

Well...  July, isn't really known for it's good striped bass fishing in this neck of the woods.  But last week it was pretty sick.  In fact, Tues though Thursday was pretty much off-the-hook.  A large body of bass followed schools of butterfish in and there were all out blitzes lasting well into the PM hours.  Some blitzes spanning acres.  Birds, boils... the whole thing.  We were getting them on poppers, but you could have thrown anything at them.  And get this, you go a little east, and there are large bunker schools getting destroyed by stripers.  Didn't have the opportunity to drop a live one down as all my charters were flyfishers, but I bet it wouldn't have lasted long.  Good stuff...  And not much in the way of boat traffic either, which is quite surprising. Didn't fish over the weekend, but I'm told things slowed down.  My guess is that such a slow-down was due to boat traffic more than that fish maybe just moved on.  I still haven't been able to make it far offshore as I've had inshore charters on all the nice days, but judging by the reports, it seems to get better and better every day.  Hope I'll get a chance to make the run this week.  Stay tuned. 

 

July 20th: Working our way into pelagics

Wow...  Think I set a record for lag time in between reports, but things piled up and I got way behind.  Excuses excuses...  Hasn't been too bad during the last month.  In fact, July has been pretty good thus far.  Plenty of school bass action as of late.  There has been a consistent pick of fish on some of the shallow bars, and there are some fish right around keeper size up against some of the better known structure.  We've been doing quite well throwing poppers and scoring quality fish on just about every trip. There have been some sight-fishing opportunities on the back side of Breezy also, but it hasn't been consistent, and usually when the forces of nature align, I've been stuck with the larger boat.  That's because, as of late we've been focusing our energy gearing up to run offshore.  Unfortunately, every time we're scheduled to go, the weather ends up not allowing for it.  Frustrating, but that's the way the offshore thing works.  That said, we've run into some skipjack and bonito about 15 to 20 miles out before the wind has forced us to turn around and come back in.  While these fish aren't in great numbers and thus are hard to target with fly or spin gear, their appearance leads me to believe that we'll see them in real solid numbers in our inshore waters shortly.  So stay tuned and we'll let ya know what's happening on that front.  In the meantime, as I mentioned, the inshore fishing aint bad...  At least not for this time of the year.  And if you're down with livelining bunker, there's a ton of it out there and during those days I've been fishing solo, I've been doing pretty well with the larger bass.  So, give us a ring if you want to get out. 

June 15: Rollercoaster

Once again, sorry for the late reporting here, but time is tight.  Will try to be more prompt.  These last two weeks were a rollercoaster ride.  Things were really good once we got into the thick of June.  Not only in the back, but out front as well.  We had the usual good action with plugs and poppers, sliders etc up against the sod-banks in the mornings, but the real news was on the outside.  Major bass blitzes last week.  From Monday all the way until Friday there were acres of fish from Breezy east and west.  Some days were just insane.  Looked like mostly spearing, but we also saw some fish cough up squid.  Once Friday and it's associated east wind rolled around, there were still some bass on some of the lumps, but the majority of the fish under birds were 2 to 3-pound bluefish.  Good to eat, not so good to catch.  Things slowed down quite a bit in the back as well.  There are still some fish around, but it has been tough these last couple of days.  That said, we've had a lot of east wind moving though here and the weather has not been good.  That's gotta have some effect.  I also believe we've got bodies of fish coming and going though the NY Bight and Jamaica Bay.  Thus, we're due for a new body of fish to move in.  Hope that happens sooner rather than later.  Certainly is plenty of bait around to keep them happy when they do show.  Stay tuned. 

June 1: A Real Good Week

Well, we've finally gotten some warm weather and unsurprisingly, the fishing has picked up dramatically.  We've been finding blitzing schoolies on a regular basis along with the obligatory cocktail bluefish blitz.  But the real news this last week is the sod-bank fishing.  Much, much more consistent.  We've been catching some real nice fish throwing big noisy poppers up against the sod banks.  Some extraordinary strikes.  Not only bass but some crazy big bluefish as well.  There is a lot of small bait around (finally!), most of that being spearing.  Still some bunker around but they are not easy to snag.  Still, when we've been able to get bait, the livelining has been good.  Kinda hard for me to get excited about livelining though when the shallow water light-tackle/flyfishing stuff has been on.  Anyway, that's the report.  I'm in real bad need of sleep, so it's gonna have to be a short one.  Stay tuned.  Should continue to be good in the back-bay for another two weeks or so, then I'll start running out front in the Contender. 

May 26th: Not the best, but certainly not the worst

Wow guys...  I'm sorry it took me so long to update this time, but I'm finding that taking care of 8-week old twins while getting up at 3:30AM every morning to fish, and then working a full 8 hours at the day job can really kick a guy's ass.  That said, I ain't complaining.  Indeed, I love this stuff, and as I've always said, there's plenty of time to sleep when you're dead right?  So let's get down to it.  The last two weeks were not great.  Which bums me out a little because it should really be peaking.  That said, we still had some really good days.  Indeed the fish were bigger since the last report, but there were definitely fewer.  Even the live-lining has been tough.  The pattern seems to be two days on and one day off.  Why?  Beats the shit out of me.  But if I had to guess, I'd say that it has a lot to do with the massive swings in weather we've been having.  It's been cold front after cold front, separated by a few days of nice weather in between.  My experience is that fish don't like the rapid pressure changes, but honestly, I just don't know, and anyone that tells you they do is probably full of shit.  Thus far, last season beats the crap out of this one.  But, it's still early in the game and a lot can change, and I'm betting that it will.  I'm still thinking we'll get another push of big fish in the back bay and they'll be eagerly taking poppers fished up against the sod-banks.  We've had some luck doing that this year, but not near as much as we should be having.  I'm also getting some solid reports from out front.  We haven't really made that run, save once over a week ago, but that should turn on very soon, and we'll be on it with the Contender.  Stay tuned, it's still real early and things are likely to break open any day now.  Could get real good, really quickly.  

May 12th: Solid but not quite consistent

As you can see from the photos below, some absolutely extraordinary days since the last report.  We've had fish on small  bait, we've had fish on large bait.  Overall this last week was darn good.  That said, it wasn't as consistent as I would have liked it to be, but I can live with that.  After all, what fun would it be if it were good every day?  There have been some grass-shrimp hatches way in the back in the early hours, but they seem to completely disappear, along with the fish, when the sun comes up.  Still, we've been having good action on 9" Slug-Gos and long wavy flies, but the popper thing doesn't seem to be near as productive has it has been during prior years.  Farther out towards the front, there are much larger grass-shrimp hatches, but there doesn't seem to be anything on them but small to medium bluefish. There are a really good amount of bunker in the back and we've been getting bass to hit artificials and flies under and around the big schools, and we've scored some really nice fish this way.  Yet, on some days there seemed to a definitive lack of action.  Why that happens, I just don't know, but we'll keep at it.  I expect we still have a week or so to go, before things really turn on.  Stay tuned. 

 

 

May 6th: Full Bell

Really good week despite all the rain.  Been getting out every day.  Really only had one substandard day since the last report, and that was this morning during a pre-work trip.  While we weren't able to connect with anything but bluefish, there were some big bass crashing bunker all around us.  Can't bat 1000 I guess.  Other than that, we killed them this week.  Some real good flyfishing over the weekend and before that.  Fish are not real keyed in on poppers yet, but we did manage a handful of really good ones, including this one (video of a bass hitting a popper in Jamaica Bay...  Make sure to turn up the volume).  Most action, however, was on intermediate lines. We also had some "bait and switch" action this week.  By "bait-and-switch" I mean it quite literally.  I'll snag a bunker, then bury a hook in it and feed it out with just enough pressure that it swims on the surface away from the boat.  When a big bass comes up and starts eyeing it, I'll reel it in slowly until we are within casting range and I'll have a client throw a big bunker fly at it.  We connection with some real nice fish this way!  And man does that kind of fishing get the blood going.  Good stuff.  Also did our first live-lining trip on Sunday.  And as is usual with that type of fishing, we did quite well.  It should get quite a bit warmer as we head toward the end of this week.  Hopefully we'll see more in the way of small bait, particularly grass-shrimp.  I expect the top-water fishing to get much better when this happens.  The point is, this fishing is only gonna get better...  And I'm super-stoked about that.  A good beginning to the season.  I think it's gonna be a good one!  Stay tuned, and give us a ring, or shoot us an email if you want to get out. 

 

 

April 27th: IT'S ON!!!

Well...  We started seriously fishing last week and while we got off to a bit of a slow start as of today (Monday April 27th) it is totally on!  We stuck some really good fish today in the skiff in some really shallow water and quite a few were over 30".  We missed a few that looked like they could have easily gone 35/36".  Couldn't tell what kind of bait was around, but it appeared to be something quite small.  Maybe grass-shrimp..  Maybe small spearing.  And speaking of bait, there's bunker all over the place.  Chatter on the pier seems to be that the big bass aren't quite on them yet, but judging by what I saw out on the water today, I'm betting those larger fish got on the bunker today.  Saw some folks that appeared to be hooked into really big fish.  So, we are off and running.  If today is any indication of what's to come, I'm expecting we'll have another great spring in Jamaica Bay, and I'm really stoked about that.  Last spring was sick!!!  Oh, and almost forgot.  We added a new boat to our fleet this year.  Check out the photo way below.  An essentially new Contender 23T with twin 150hp Yamaha 4-strokes on the back.  This boat really flies!  And with it's fuel capacity and range, I'm hopping to do many a tuna trip this summer.  Stay tuned!  But for now, we're concentrating on our bread-and-butter.  The shallow-water fishing in the back-bay.  And that fishing is just starting to go off.  So...  Get out here.  Danny and David have lots of availability.  Give us a ring.