>> SEPTEMBER 4, 2017 <<
Looking back, this is some summer we just went through in 2017, and all too many in the New York and New Jersey fishing nexus have done a good amount of beefing on socialized media about the lackluster fluke, sea bass, striped bass and blue fishing during the past two months in the NY-NJ Bight. But for a moment, lets step back and take a look at what is going on down at the fishing docks and shoreline areas where it is so apparent that there are fewer people going fishing during the summer. Here is a 'Kodak moment' I captured early in the afternoon this past Friday of Labor Day weekend....
I normally walk the South Beach boardwalk during the summer with my daughter, and this past Friday it was a wonderful day for a long stroll....and one would think for a day of fishing in the proverbial 'Mothers Lap' south of the Verrazano Bridge in Lower NY Harbor. Looking across familiar waters, I counted just two 'plastic' boats drifting and dreaming around Hoffman and Swinburne Island. Staring out for any small boat activity along the inbound and outbound Channel, and right on south towards where Old Orchard Light was once seen, I didn't see anyone else fishing, and mind you we walked for over an hour back and forth and barely saw a boat or two scurrying about along the beach area.
There are a few who read the NY INSIDER blog who have fished here for decades and will pass along a few stories on how it used to look around this area at this time of the year. Many times it would literally be a fleet of not only small private boats, but also party and charter boats drifting or on the hook, and the boat traffic at times was noticeably substantial to put it mildly.
Some would say, "hey EC, maybe there are no fish around"........ like we read on some socialized media feeds.
Maybe.... but not even some undersized fluke to bend a rod....or snapper blues to jig.....or scup to fiddle around with for an hour or two in this whole area?
Heck it was a beautiful early Friday afternoon, and though I enjoyed the walk my daughter, I can also tell you I had constant thoughts of being on the water, as well as thinking about how much time I spent on these very waters among other fishing boats.
Again I say maybe....maybe it's just me, that inshore fishing in our part of the pond has changed so very much as I saw on the start of Labor Day weekend....
While I am harping on this topic....
Just the other day, I spoke to one of the fishermen in the Bay who complained that it looked like he was not going to get out night fishing with one of the Sheepshead Bay party boats.
It was almost five minutes to seven and between the three party boats west of E. 23rd street, he had rough counted maybe six fishermen scattered amongst the three party boats...and he added that it was most likely less than six fishermen. Another party boat east of E. 23rd street, well known for discounting its trips, had six fishermen.
He then said, "could you believe this right before Labor Day with the sun still shinning, you have less than 12 fishermen show up to go night fishing in Sheepshead Bay?"
Also this past Friday, I heard a story that left not only the caller, but myself shaking our heads. In fact a question came up on what does a customer do while on an inspected vessel that is about to be boarded by the fish Po-Po, and right before you, you have undocumented fish going from the pail to over the rail. What choice does a customer make at this point and should he worry?
I had to make a joke at that point about "not getting off the boat," but it should have been "not putting oneself in a situation of getting on the boat and using common core addition with your fish count." The fishermen relaying the story to me was not on the boat, but passed along the so-called events from the previous day.
To cut through to the chase, I was asked, "isn't it possession by the angler while at the dock," and I said "yes, I believe so," at least from what I know from my prior experience. I further explained that when it comes to landing fish within state waters, it is the personal possession of whatever regulated species that is in the 'control' of the person.
So, what happens if you just walk off the boat without your cooler?
Good question, and that is a 50/50 proposition on what legal action enforcement will take at that time.
So what happens if a customer brings along two coolers, one his personal with the legal limit, and the other left onboard with the.....contraband?
Someone has to account for those fish left within the container/cooler, and you know who will get stuck with what is within the container/cooler it if no one lays claim to it...........
Anyhow, something to ponder...."what do you think?"
AT LEAST IN NEW YORK
For those who view into color fish and bottom finding devices, it has been extremely apparent that there is a good number of biscuits around at this time. Depending upon the 4 sub-regions around Long Island (Long Island Sound, East End, South Shore and NY-NJ Bight), the percentage of the CATCH of BSB that will make the minimum 15" legal possession mark, will extremely vary, especially for those fishing in the NY-NJ BIGHT.
I have heard two separate reports of legal sized BSB moving off to some surprising deeper depths then one would figure at this time of the year, but 2017 has been a extremely different season as far as the migratory patterns of many species. Needless to say, enjoy the next three weeks fishing in the EEZ for BSB....the closure not only comes pretty quickly, but more so, at the wrong time for those who enjoy catching quality biscuits within a reasonable distance of ones dock.
WELL, THAT"S WHAT THE PARTY BOATS ARE SAYING
I believe many of us have seeing the fish-reports coming from a number of the top water fishing fleet from the Garden State, and no doubt it has been not only some of the finest bonita fishing in the NY-NJ Bight we have seen in a number of years both on the number of fish caught, along with fish that have been landed to be up and over 6 lbs. Not bad, right?
The funny part is that I received a report from a boat that was on the hunt for bonita today and this is what he had to say:
I gotta laugh about this bonita fishing.....
What they call good, would have made me move 3x. I went alone today. Late leave.
Got to the Reef and found XXXXXX XXXXX, XXXX XXXXXX XXXXXXXXX and XXXXX XXXX, anchored tight on the northern hills. They're railed.
I troll through them, around them, and alongside of them. Close but far enough away not to get yelled at or get into slicks. Never see them get a bite.
XXXXXX XXXX picked up and moved over a quarter mile. That's how good it was. They had nothing. I just read their reports and it was "very, very, good fishing" according to them. Are you kidding me?
Went north east and had 2 YFT. Well I think they're YFT. Hard to tell when they're that small! Maybe 8 lbs total weight. Tiny.
That's it. But the water was gin clear.
Take it for what it is worth at this time. I would just remember though, "you cannot chase yesterday's fishing reports....." even though you can easily come up with a doughnut to on any given day.....
YES THEY ARE - FROM THE DOCK TODAY
Good to see, one over three...that's 300 lbs. Hint, hint to those who want to dig in and catch one of the finest tasting 'whip tail' that venture through our very local inshore waters.
Since we are on this topic, over the summer I had received two pics taken by captains from different boats. The tag line to each pic:
Gulp works for these things too!
I did speak to someone in the bait business, well known to those from this area.. His knowledge on the topic is pretty extensive and he sent this back to me after I was finished ranting about the price of skimmer clam bait these days:
What we use as bait locally, is big money in human consumed seafood from other parts of the world.
Green crabs - big money in France
Horseshoe crabs - big money in Thailand and China
Squid - most places overseas would never consider wasting it on bait
Clams - expensive everywhere outside this country if they are wild harvesting
Mackerel - another seafood product like clams, not wasted as bait
Sea Robins - called Gunards in Europe, cost the same as live blackfish here
They are raising Barramundi now in Idaho, Going to be a big push on this fish against the tilapia popularity. They're switching from hogs to fish.
Add to this the various FORAGE FISH GROUP along with spearing, a once southern European delicacy.
Interesting to say the least, and one can understand that from a cost perspective for a for-hire vessel, maybe it is cheaper carrying Gulp and similar products in the very near future as the price of various bait products continues to rise faster than inflation.
THANKS TO CAPTAIN JASON COLBY
If you like to eat salmon (who doesn't?), I want to make sure you know about this "very high quality product" available now at Costco.
No antibiotics, skin-on 7 ounce portions, all center cuts and individually vac packed.
I have been buying this product for my own home for awhile from a Boston wholesaler where I used to work. I'm telling you all this because this product is quite good enough to eat raw (my plate of sashimi shown above) and the wholesale price (by the large case) is over $12.50/pound. Costco is selling 35 ounce packages for $11.88/pound!
If you do not want the skin, just open a piece and run it under cold water for 20 seconds and peel the skin off. That only takes a couple of seconds. This salmon has a very high fat content similar to what the Japanese buy for top dollar (as much as $20/pound for whole, gutted fish) when they first enter the Copper and Yukon Rivers (Alaska) in late May.
Absolutely the best salmon you can buy!
Little Sister Charters
When it comes to eating, I love it. I guess a trip is coming to Costco soon!
PRO GEAR 3500
Just wanted to update on a gear set upgrade for those who own 4/0 size Pro Gear Reels...
In this case, I started to wear out the gears in one of my oldest 3500 reels to the point where it was not only the noise, but the loss of smoothness in the gears when reeling. I wasn't happy with the performance so I first replaced the original gear set to a set of used Newell 4/0 replacement gears for one trip.... and though I felt I had reasonable torque when reeling, I didn't like the grinding sound they made...no surprise either when it comes to Newell gear sets.
I then ordered from Pro Challenger the 113H - 4 to 1 stainless gear set (though you can order from SCOTTS and installed them in the Pro Gear 3500. Needless to say, not bad at all as there is no grinding and little if any gear...especially when compared to the noise would hear when tension is placed upon the Newell conversion gears.
The price for the Pro Challenger stainless main and pinion may raise a few eyebrows at 60 dollars, especially as they are to be installed in a reel that has been discontinued for over a decade. One has to wonder if that is worth the cost. I believe it is. The only difference which I can point out - is barely negligible in that the Pro Gear gear set is retrieves more line at 4.25 to 1 as compared to the Pro Challenger 4 -1.
This is not a perfect replacement, but it works well enough and is another option to keep Pro Gear conventional reels fishing.
Ps I - Penn offers their Special Senator bronze main 3.25 - 1 gear set. I have not installed one in a Pro Gear Reel, but i have heard that it also works (which it should since both companies 4/0 reels share the same bridge sleeve and assembly).
Ps II - For those who want to know how much line is used for the 440/533 NK Newell Reel Yo-Yo kit project, thanks to Ed B.
Spooled by Trophy Tackle:
Newell 533NK-4.6 spooled with Seaguar 50 # white hollow core 575 yds about 1/8" from top of spool
Newell G220-3.6 spooled with JB 40 # white hollow core 265 yds about 1/8" from top of spool
Newell G229-3.6 spooled with JB 40 # white hollow core 400 yds about 1/8" from top of spool
What can one say, but you still have the best part of the fish to take home!
Over the past few weeks I have not heard more than a report of catching blackfish while fishing for other bottom species. There also has been little news about any changes to the regulations for the rest of the 2017 season.
As for where the hot spot(s) will occur in the NY-NJ Bight, one can look at the so-called hot bite areas from the past couple of years when the season opened in October. The list runs from the Sandy Hook Reef, inshore Long Branch and later inshore Sea Bright to the East Beach A.R.
Other then that, I must say it has been unusually quiet with any catches of blackfish.
If you have not been following the fish reports from Captain Greg at the Southern Command Center, a new and very promising tackle busting fishing grounds has been located:
Here is a shot of the sounder from Halfway Ridge on the way back from Pulley Ridge. Very excited to get out there and do those trips.
As Captain Greg recently noted:
We will be offering a new trip fishing in the area halfway between Pulley Ridge and the Tortugas, This trip will be a combination of both trips. We are wrapping up the particulars now but here is a quick description-
My favorite part of this job is finding new places to fish. Since day one, my mentors drove home a simple points; never take your eyes off the fishfinder, always look for new areas and always keep learning. Clearly, these tactics has served us well over the years.
Over the last 24 months, it has become apparent to me that we’re passing over some very rich areas that show great promise. In particular is a stretch of broken bottom approximately 25 miles beyond the Dry Tortugas.
I have been driving over this area extensively and I’m extremely happy with what I have seen. In fact, unbeknownst to passengers we’ve even made a few exploratory drops along this ridge and have seen an excellent showing of black and scamp grouper, large yellow-eye and mutton snapper. After extensive research it is now time to dedicate a couple of exciting three-day trips to Halfway Ridge....
Anyhow for more details, GO HERE:
Come on down to be a part of filling the box on the upcoming YANKEE CAPTS offshore fishing trips...
The sun has gone down and most will be looking forward to an Indian-like summer and moderate winds come this fall. So far there was one major hurricane down south and there is another as big hurricane brewing east of Cuba. Who knows if this is the start of some very unsettled weather in September through the month of October. Fishing should greatly improve during this time and hopefully many of you will catch some personal special fish...
Until next time....