25 Feb 2012
Has this been a strange winter or what!!! I still like winter and am glad to live in New England. But, if we are not going to have a real winter, can we go fishing please?????
The marina re-opens in 11-1/2 weeks and the mackerel should be here in 13. Soon after that our beloved striped bass should turn west from their migration north and our season will begin!
Much has been written about the decline of the striped bass population. There are as many theory's as fishermen as to the decline in numbers. Some want a slot limit, some fewer fish kept, some hate all commercial fishermen and some seem to think the only way to catch a striper is on a fly. Personally,I think that the first course of action should be better enforcement of the current regulations. 1. Stop the illegal netting and selling of illegally caught fish that can fill a tractor trailer. 2. All recreational fishermen should stop going to North Carolina and spending their hard earned dollars in that state until their commercial laws are changed. They allow commercial fisherman to drag nets through vast schools of wintering over, pre-spawn cow stripers and then cull out the largest 50 & discard the rest dead! It is all completely legal!!!
Those two things alone would go a long way to improving the fishing in New England.
On the GOOD NEWS front. The YOY (young of the year) index in Maryland was the 4th highest recorded in history! Those little guys will start swimming out of the Chesapeake in 2 years at 81/2" to 10"s and in 3 years our schoolie fishing should improve dramatically! We can break out the "trout rods" again with our single hook jigs and have a ball!!!!
One of the most consistent ways to catch a legal, 28" plus striped bass in the daylight is with a well presented live mackerel. For that to happen you need to be on the water earlier than the crowds, know several potential "hot spots" for macks and have plenty of chum. This is why I leave the dock at 6:30 AM (though some teenagers think it is because I'm simply evil), why I track the bait on a daily basis and also why I have a freezer full of chum ready to go for the 2012 season. In 13 years of charter I have never been skunked. It will happen, I know it will, but I am convinced that I've held off that ugly day by being out early and by being prepared. Yes, I was a Boy Scout.
For now I think it is time for me to go back down to the cellar and play with my fishing tackle. By May 1st every reel will have been completely broken down, cleaned, lubed, rebuilt & re-spooled with fresh line. The rods are all cleaned, lures cleaned, new sharp hooks applied and over 150 circle hooks tied to fluorocarbon leaders.
And yes, I do still dream of catching my first 50 pounder while do the work.