Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheel House
Fishing continued to build this week. Jamaica Bay represented with some noteworthy catches. Aboard the charter boat "Karen Ann" on Sunday, David Rios decked a hefty Weakfish 17 plus pounds on a live bunker. Stripers and Bluefish rounded out his catch.
Looking across the bay, rods were bending in just about every direction. More often than not, big Bluefish were the reason. It reminds me of the Spring Bluefish run we had back in the seventies and eighties off of Nortons' Point. They were real tackle busters.
It was something you looked forward to after a cold winter. You know for a while that the inshore Bluefish fishery wasn't all that. It fell off somewhat; so seeing this action is a little special to us old timers. Wow I'm an old timer. Hmm is that a good thing? Okay, while I still have my memory, I better continue with this column.
In Jamaica Bay, I think as long as the schools of bunker continue to provide a steady meal, they won't be going any were soon. Their not too difficult to locate as they rip through the bunker, it's kind of neat to watch.
Up front along the inlets and to the west, Bass and Blues are being caught, with the Bluefish being more dominant as of this writing. Anglers trying to narrow their catch to Stripers have been fishing clam baits along the Rockaways. Two methods are usually used; the first is setting up on good bottom, anchoring putting down a chum pot and drawing the fish in. The second and more active are to follow the clam boats working along the beach.
The Striped Bass gorge themselves on the leftovers from the clammers. For those not schooled in this approach it's not that difficult. As the clam boat drags its gear to harvest, it breaks up clams and in essence provides a moving chum slick. Boats usually drift the line of which the clammer is working. At times it can be real good by producing some nice fish. The reality is just like anything else; you need to put your time in. Experience has no substitute.
Random Fluke have been popping up. Hopefully they'll be some decent fish to go along with the new regs.
Back to the Bassin' for a moment. The usual spring run from Raritan Bay, Gravesend and Great Kills still hasn't blown open. Some fish have been coming up around Old Orchard lighthouse,e but not in the numbers we have come to expect in the spring.
All we can do is continue to try and hope a body of fish moves in. I have spoken to many of my friends from these areas, and they seemed to be a little concerned with the inconsistent catches. My thoughts are that it is still early in the season, and once we warm up, it should be good over there. It's ironic in the past few years that the spring run of Bass was usually earlier and better than ours. These fish can be tough to figure out. Until the next tide.