For some reason it seems everyone is chomping at the bit to get out fishing! No better stress relief than a fun day on the water with family and friends catching your supper. The juvenile Striped Bass are already on the move back west. We just need some steady warm days to really get the ball rolling.
All those small Striped Bass that came by Montauk Point last fall will be on their way back, once the water temperature gets right. They will have grown a bit longer hopefully as was noticed back in the Fall. Striped bass grow quickly the first 5-7 years of their life and as they get to around 10 years old they start slowing down. Striped Bass much like Grouper down south and other species of fish, will go from males to females when they reach a certain age and size. The big 35 and bigger sized Striped Bass are mostly females. These are the breeders that will replenish the stocks for future years to come. Although an inconvenience, the slot size that we now have to observe with the Striped Bass, is actually the best size to eat! Try eating an old Steer, or a 5 year old chicken. It’s going to be tough. Releasing a really huge Striped Bass and watching her swim away is a great feeling. You reach over the side of the boat, gently slide your hand along the gill plate being careful not to touch the red gills putting your thumb into her mouth and lift. When releasing the fish lift her up as high as you can and thrust the fish head first into the water thus triggering it’s response to swim. When it’s tail starts pumping it’s under water and they’ll never flounder on the surface, they’ll head straight to the bottom. Try it, I guarantee it works, and the Striped Bass will really appreciate it.
Another great fish biomass comeback is the Bunker (menhaden, pogy). Hoards of these baitfish have been so thick along the south shore you could almost walk on them. They provide a lot of pelagic fish and sea mammals a hearty meal. Whales, porpoise, sharks, tuna all feed on these oily little fish. Humpback whales were feeding on these Bunker 300 yards off of Main beach in East Hampton. It was quite the sight to see! When the Bunker work their way to the east, the Striped Bass are always waiting. From the Elbow out to the Porgy Lump when the Bunker are pushed to the surface by the Bass, it looks like depth charge explosions on the surface. Very exciting and the Striped Bass will eat just about anything when they are in this feeding frenzy.
NYSDEC (department of environmental management) have not posted the regulations for the 2022 season as of yet. As I wrote in last months issue the proposed regs. for Fluke are 18.5 inches, 4 per angler opens May 4th through September 30th. Striped Bass will remain the same 28″-35″ 1 per angler. Black sea Bass go up 1 inch to 16″ 3 per angler June 23rd through August 31st then 7 per angler from September 1st through December 31st. Porgy to be announced. Very Important!!! No keeping any Mako sharks for the next 2 years, this is a Federal law which carries a heavy fine if caught. As usual, we will announce all regulations once they are etched in stone!!
Get ready everyone, the 2022 season is right around the corner!!
~ Tight Lines, Captain Skip