Rockaway Outdoors/Tales From The Wheelhouse
The opening of striper season was pretty much a blowout. Close to gale winds, rain and cold greeted me as I looked out my window at 4 a.m. Thursday was fishable so that we did. The trip resulted in a panoramic tour of the bay with one keeper bass in the low teens to show for it.
The water temperature hovered around 45 degrees, although the winds did back off for most of the trip. Friday saw better conditions and with that a decent catch; Captain Rich and I netted six keeper bass the biggest some 30 inches and at least a dozen or so throw backs or shorts.
On the north side of the bay up toward Speed Creek some dolphins cruised the shallows.
The usual signs of spring began to appear. At a glance the familiar site of Smitty's bright orange row boat rentals could be seen, an assortment of private boats, a couple of kayakers working the pier, and an occasional surfcaster by Charles Park.
Regardless of the weather fishermen were on the prowl. Looking closely one can see the marshes take on a greenish hue, new waterfowl invading the bay by the day and the water sparkling as it reflects sunshine. If Currier and Ives did a Jamaica Bay print, this day would be one of them.
Saturday morning saw improved weather conditions but the fishing slacked off. Sunday was seasonably mild but not much to report with regards to the bassin'. Herring seemed plentiful up in Woodmere Bay and the bunker seemed to be increasing daily.
The fact is it is still early and the striped bass fishing on a good year doesn't get consistent until the end of this month. This isn't a "good" spring with regards to weather. I find that early spring can be approached in a couple of ways; first consider fishing on the warmest parts of the day, another tip would be to work the shallows as these areas tend to warm up quicker.
Fish are lethargic this time of year; however they still need to feed. Any little catalyst such as tide changes, wind and weather all play a subtle yet important role in your success. Keep that in mind as you pursue different fish throughout the season, fishing is a very involved activity.
The night bass boats out of the bay didn't do much better. Even the bottom fishing for blackfish and flounder seemed to be on a downward spiral. Anglers from New Jersey that I spoke with also said the bite slowed down from a week ago. Let's hope the next week we see some comfortable weather and a body of fish to report on. Until the next tide … Captain Vinnie can be reached at 516-728-6952 or visit our website at KarenAnncharters.com. The Karen Ann fleet sails daily by reservation from Howard Beach.