In the Cape Cod Fishwire for Reel-Time.com this week I spent a little more time than usual actually delving into the issue of rotten inshore catches of striped bass off the Boston coast. Basically I note (with statistics) that two of the past 4 years have been some of the worst spawning years since the 1980’s, when the fish almost ceased to exist. Not a good thing…
To the North in the Boston Fishwire, I have good reports of tuna and even some bluefish showing off Plum Island. The stripers are making a better show of it in both Boston and Plymouth Harbors, but its still a dog of a season for most of us. Check out the commercial catch stats I posted in the Cape Cod report…very interesting.
In Boston, we’re still waiting on a real appearance by the bluefish. Very strange, they haven’t been so late that I can recall. It kind of reminds me of the stories the old timers told me back in the 1970’s that they remember not seeing blues in the 30s and 40s north of Cape Cod.
School bluefin are showing out at Stellwagen, so the games in Cape Cod Bay and off Cape Ann should start very, very soon.
On the Cape, the bonito have moved in to Menemsha, so figure in the next week someone strikes green in Falmouth, then from there, the entire south side starts to light up. The funny fish are in and things get bizarre from here.
Peter Vican caught a 75.4 lb. striped bass off the reef at Block Island over the weekend. Well, it was the Block Island reef, as the story in the Providence Journal says, he normally fishes off Block Island, and in the tradition of real striper fishermen, he apparently wasn’t even willing to admit he was in the Atlantic Ocean.
The current world record striped bass on hook and line is 78-pound 8-ounces and was caught by Al McReynolds during a storm off a jetty at Vermont Ave. in Atlantic City, NJ using a 5 ½ inch black-back silver Rebel plug on Sept. 21, 1982.
In the past couple of weeks, we’ve seen several large striped bass, well over 60 lb. come out of the waters around Block Island. Here’s a hint for you:
Big stripers school together. If you want your shot at a world record fish, now is the time to be fishing the Block Island reef.
There you go. The best advice you’re going to get from anyone today, for sure!
Sad news indeed, and unfortunately news we’ll be hearing more often. In Massachusetts, from which I write, we’re wringing our hands over the past couple years of poor herring returns. As a striped bass fisherman, I worry about the herring, as they are a primary early season forage species for the stripers.
It’s the sportsman’s paradox, that we must often restrict our sport, in order to improve our sport. Few know this as well as an east coast striper fisherman, as we’ve seen our species go from boon in the ’70s to bust in the 80’s and a slow, painful road back in the 90’s. Our fishery is strong now, but there were days when I felt sure that we’d never see the fishing I saw as a teenager again. And in some ways, we’d best not…
Jim notes the paradox in his inimitable style:
As a sport fisherman who really enjoys chasing salmon off the Golden Gate, or further North off the Humboldt Coast, I have very mixed feelings about the salmon fishing closure.On one hand, I will really miss tussling a slab sided King to the side of my boat, however, taking the pressure off the remaining salmon stocks for one or two seasons may result in my being able to catch free running wild salmon at a later date.
I can only hope California has the success we’ve seen on the east coast.
BTW, my predicition is that this week will be the start of the 2008 striper season in Massachusetts. We should see the arrival of fishable numbers of schoolies on the south side of Cape Cod, in the usual spring spots, the rivers creeks and bays. Remember to remove your barbs, this is going to be catch and release fishing until early to mid May. Once you’re sure the fish are in, this is a really good time to take a kid fishing for some of the fast early season action.