Thursday, June 16, 2016

"Personal Best Striper" by Alexi

No long drawn out musings necessary here.  I'll get straight to the point.  I had a plan and it worked.

At the end of my last post I was hinting at the fact that some big fish were still around, that our spring run wasn't over yet, and here I had a chance to target them and I took it.  I think Steve even said the night before, this will be your "personal best trip,"  and it was.

I woke up at 3 AM to be at the launch by first light.

one rod, no gear

When I fish in the ocean I take as little gear as possible (which often means I might forget something).  In this case I forgot to bring any extra leader.
I did bring: water, energy bar, one rod, one big popper, one small stretch lure, several snags, one large storm shad, my boga  grip, binoculars, marine radio, the big game fish clip and the fish-finder..  Everything is attached to the boat when I launch and land.

South Seaside Park: view from the ocean

After two hours of trolling around the stretch lure I started to mark the occasional fish in about 50ft of water.  I switch to the shad to try to get down farther in the water column.  The boats were congregating pretty far off, and as I slowly trolled towards them I noticed some splashes.

I immediately switched from the shad to a snag, and pulled up next to the small pod of bunker.  First cast I snagged one.  Reeled in, re-hooked it, cast it out and started to troll it in and around the pod. Minutes later I was hooked up.

After several sounds and views, and thinking this is definitely my biggest fish, I hoist it into my boat.

8:03 A.M.

For those who ask "where do you put your fish?"

Back area of my kayak usually occupied by my crate and cooler bag

I had one other hook up after that but lost it due to user error.  I had a small tangle deep in my spool, and though I spent some time clearing a bunch of line when I was trolling the stretch lure to make sure I had plenty of clear line to work with, apparently it wasn't enough.   The next fish sounded straight down and took line until my spool hit a knot.  Then it just snapped.

After that the sun was showing it's strength, and though I kept my catch cool by covering it with a wet hoodie, I felt the need to get it in the cooler and on some ice.

42" 36.4 lbs

Saturday, June 11, 2016

"How's your Spring been?" By Alexi

It's technically still spring.

"How's your spring been?"

Hmmm, "A lot of exploring."  I say.

That's another way of saying it's been slow.  (Except for the epic blue-fish bite)


I went out with Nick to a new area last week.   Exploring, trying to suss out a new possible camp-site in Southern New Jersey.  The Island we were looking at was owner occupied, so we stayed away.


The first thing I couldn't help but notice when I was approaching the proposed possible camping area was a flock of not-so-happy Cormorants.  I would not say that they are a pretty bird.  The only grace they have is when diving, otherwise their flight is erratic.  A sea of black, awkward in flight, squaking birds doesn't make for a pleasant potential campsite.

Hidden in this grass is thousands of killies

Next were the Herring Gulls, they make a god-awful noise.

possibly Herring Gulls

And, mixed in with everyone else was the Great Egret.  This island was FULL of nesting birds, and though I think we could have squared off with them and squatted on their land, we decided to wait until later in the year when their nesting is done.

Looks Fishy 

I managed to pull two 20" bass from the banks.  One on topwater, one on a weedless bass assassin.
There are no pictures of these fish, so you'll just have to believe me.  

Slowly but surely I think I'll end up fishing every estuary from Cape May to Barnegat Inlet.  This trip fills in another little piece to that puzzle.  

When considering how my spring has been, I ask myself, how often did I target large bass?  I only fished with eels in the back once or twice, and only surf-launched once and there were no bunker to be seen.  Am I just a shitty fisherman?  Have I resigned to picking up trash around the Sod-banks? What happened to "fishing in the dark?" 

 While the blue-fish were a welcome diversion, I wonder if my game has been thrown off by them.  But, then I remind myself, it's technically still spring....

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Chincoteague, Va My vacation story, by Alexi

Fishing was slow, so we picked up this barnacle encrusted crab pot float and called it a success!

Ari getting in on the topwater action



      Every year millions of folks on the Eastern seaboard flock to the shore.  It's an age-old tradition dating back to who knows when.  When you look down into the ocean from above it often looks like a blank slate.  It's because we are not aquatic animals.  Only avid divers know some of what is hidden underneath, and even they only get to see a fraction of it.  If we were aquatic creatures we'd look up and never know about the Rocky Mountains and the vast forests or desserts.  The sea-floor is larger, and un-seen is un-known, only because many humans are short sighted.  The impact that humans have had on the visible planet has been devastating.  The impact we've had on the unseen oceans has been even worse.  One family occupies a rental shore house for a week,  keeps a few short fish, crabs, clams, or whatever, and doesn't think the impact is so large.  The next family comes and does the same thing, and so on and so on times millions....
    States have tried to manage their fisheries.   Their rules and laws are written on the brochures for all to read... and for some to dis-regard blatantly.  Most management efforts are there to insure the future of the species for all to enjoy.  They are usually designed to give the fish a chance to reach maturity to breed at least once, or to protect them during breeding, so that there will be some around for generations to come (if we are lucky.)
     So this vacation season I leave you with this advice:  pick up trash, (it's way cooler,)  don't poach, get a license, follow the local regulations!