Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheel House
It's another week of on again off again fishing in Jamaica Bay. Over the past few years Fathers' Day usually signals the end or near end of the spring striper run in the back bay. More often than not water temperatures rise and the big body of bass that we have come to know each year starts heading toward the cooler waters found in the rips off of Breezy Point and surrounding areas.
This season things aren't as predictable as in the past. In my opinion we never got the big shot of stripers that we had in years gone by.
Sure the bay had its moments but day in and day out you worked to put together a catch. The bait, bunker schools were also sporadic and once in a while non existent.
Bunker movement is probably the single most important factor in determining our spring run and the bays success or lack of it. Bunkers are with out a doubt in a decline. Growing up on Jamaica Bay I can remember bunker being just about everywhere throughout the bay, from Inwood up to the bridges, inside every cove you really didn't have to go too far to find bunker.
Nowadays you spend a considerable amount of time looking for bait. I think another reason we had an unusual spring could be the fact that as of this writing, off the New Jersey coast from the Highlands to Long Branch, there are huge schools of bunker in the ocean being assaulted by some very hefty stripers.
Fish weighing in fifty pounds plus have been landed with forty pounders no exception. Now you can see that body of fish and do one of two things; hope they continue toward us set up residence off Breezy and don't head east toward Montauk, or head south and go after them.
Being the consummate fish junkie that I am, I'm going after them. It will give me something to get nutty about for the next few weeks. Being sane just doesn't sit well with my crew. Hopefully we'll pop a few big fish and that will justify the million dollars or two we'll spend on fuel, making the run each day. The funny thing is this time next year our conversation will be something like "hey remember when gas was only five dollars a gallon"
Earlier in the week, Don from Breezy was on my boat. He and his guest did some live lining and caught a load of big bass into the mid twenty pound class. The fishing was good they kept two for the barbeque and release about fifteen or so.
That body of fish hung around for a few mornings and continued to please anglers through out the remainder of the week. On Fathers Day, Jeff and his kids did their annual trip aboard the Karen Ann, and had nine nice stripers, congratulations to Courtney who had her first bass at eight years old not too bad.
Just in case anyone actually reads and follows this column, Tony the Hawk will be hosting a group of blind anglers aboard my boat. This little event will happen on Saturday any one wishing to come by is welcome.
Fluke fishing has been great if you like releasing shorts. To say the new laws for New York are less than desirable would be an understatement. Honestly, I was never into fluke like some diehards, but for the moment, the new laws really hurt the sportfishing industry.
It is easy to penalize the fisherman, rather than those who impact the environment. I can't help but recall the lines to Joni Mitchell's song "they paved paradise and put in a parking lot" . . .