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christopherr

Sandy- The Striped Bass Kill

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I have a lot of questions......

 

First and foremost.....I've heard a few stories of dead bass laying in the streets and lawns of where Sandy hit the hardest....How true is this? I could see this happening because I've seen bluefish caught in tidal pools during big swells, and after storms that eventually died in their saltwater ponds.

 

Also, there was a post sandy picture of a school of bunker caught in a fence which made me think about the possibility of a large Bass Kill due to this hurricane.

 

I've talked to quite a few old timers who only fish the Hudson and they say they haven't seen a single bass on any type of bait. I've talked to guys in RB and only a handful of bass caught by people who by this time of the year usual have many bass put on the beach. I've talked to guys who fish the Delaware and they have only seen a few bass which is not normal by this time of year...

 

The reason I ask this is because the hurricane hit during NJ "Primetime"....the end of October which for most of us in this whole state usually means good or decent fishing from the Hudson River/ to Cape May which means that the main body of fish should have been all over NJ. Could there have been a big bass kill?

 

Everyone keeps telling me it is the water temps, and I keep hearing "Oh but the temps are low" and well,.... I've just spent 45 minutes looking at all my logs with places I've caught at and their temps at the time of capture and I've caught a lot bass in water that is 38-50 degrees, even when it was fluctuating both day and night (both drop or rise and on artificials).

 

I've logged a lot of time in the last month and almost a week and I can only say that this is the worst start to spring I've seen. I've had a total of 7 hits and a total of 2 fish caught; a skate and a catfish.

 

I'm not looking for an opinion from the guys that are basing their opinion on how the bite is near a plant out flow, or a single sod bank some where in BB, I am trying to gauge the whole picture here and it seems that there is a huge lack of bass. Were there huge bass kills in NC/SC that we didn't hear about over the winter?

 

:confused:

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Im pretty much at ground zero. Haven't seen or heard of any fish kill w fish in the streets. Fishing has been a bit slow 1st 1/2 of the month. But it's picked up considerably in the last 10 days. No where near a power plant. If what RJ says is true w most of the Hudson fish being flushed out of the river I could see why rb is slow. Don't fish there. We're just about right on schedule in bb

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My personal feeling is we are on the middle of a downward slope that will be a pretty good decline in the striper stocks. We as fishermen just take too many and the comms, well who really even knows their impact will all the illegal catching they have been caught doing the past few years. I still meet guys fishing for bass every year who think the stocks are getting bigger and the fishing is only going to get better.......

 

I doubt Sandy has anything to with the lack of bass though. When I first started fishing for stripers 8-9 years ago I remember years like this one where the run didn't get started til a couple weeks into April and thats what I think is going to happen this year. I think the past couple of years with warm winters and early springs made people think that was normal but in reality it isn't. Don't worry though, the bass will show........ Just in fewer numbers every spring as more are caught and killed. Simple numbers game really.

 

 

John

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I didn't hear of any bass kills down in NC this year, but they too had colder than normal water temps most of the winter.  I followed the reports down to the Virginia Beach area - where it seemed they had a below average catch total this season on the charter boats, limited fishing based on weather and then it appears the biggest body of fish moved offshore.  The fleet from Oregon Inlet didn't pull many bass at all this year, according to their reports. Im not sure how the commercial fishery did down there though. I' I'm hoping it has more to do with the water temps than anything - based on everything I've read this year this is the least amount of pressure the bass have received in years from the fisheries from NJ down to the Carolinas - at least from October on... I think the next month will tell the tale.  I've put in 2 trips so far with nothing to show for it.


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The avg price for a lobster in my ShopRite is $7.99 per pound. This week is $14.99 with a big sign next to week, "We apology for the cold weather,"...I am assuming that the story this year is the cold weather and not Sandy....

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Christopherr,

every year is different. filter your logs for spring only + water temps because it is different in the fall when the water is dipping below forty then in the spring when it is below forty.

i personally wouldn't pull the panic switch on this spring yet and say that sandy killed a majority of our migrating fish (although i am not saying it didn't happen just not likely imo).

in normal springs i remember getting a few hits here and there in March on jigs, a good night was 4 or 5 fish. by mid April 8-10 fish nights were common. a couple week delay is entirely possible especially with the cold long winter we had this year.

.02

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I may be wrong, but I don't think a storm would take out a large amount of fish. They've been dealing with heavy weather events forever and getting through them. I recently watched a video about a Jersey trout stream's recovery after Irene. The river was raging, but after it all blew through the fish got back into their routine. It's so cool how fish can hunker down and get through it. What may have changed for sure are our spots, and maybe for the worse fish catching wise. That might get us thinking there are less fish. I think that, the weird weather, and what John said earlier about the stocks are more likely the culprit.

 

It also reminds me of the beach replenishment issue. It definitely screws up our beach fishing. After a pumping project we've got buried jetties, no more bars with holes, just a steep drop off....like trying to read a beach, but the beach is a blank page....you guys know how it is. But its not like bass get buried by sand and die, I think they just get out of the way, and take off. And for a while nothing is left to hold fish there until the beach comes back with all its soft structure, exposed rock, and bait.

 

Also, I surf too and there are deep holes and large bars off the beach now. With each spot changed for the worse, there may be new ones or old ones that have gotten better.

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Current population estimates are what, like 40 million fish? Where would they have washed up that no one would notice?

 

Seriously though, think about places that get hit with Cat 5 hurricanes. The fish don't get wiped out. What we experienced (regardless of how damaging it was) was weak in comparison.

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The majority of bass migrate offshore.What we fish in the fall near shore is only a fraction.I don't think all those fish got killed.Fish have been on earth longer than us and they did'nt do that by swimming towards danger.



Just my uninformed opinion,but,I think the storm gave them a temporary reprieve from rec and comm fishing for part of a season...that can't be all bad.



Temps in BB ,according to the USGS site have been between 41-45 this past week depending on tide,still a bit cool


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JMO - The lack of on the beach and back bay catches is due to the extended cold spring we had. The NJ Beaches were giving up bass right up to the first really cold Canadan Clipper cold blast to hit us in the last week in January. It has been bitter cold and snow storm after snow storm since then of us here in the Noreast.

 

The Hudson River is reporting schoolies catches as far north as Bear Mtn. and some scouts were caught at Tivoli, NY, on blood worms. Tivoli is a village north or Rhine Cliff, NY 105 miles north of the Battery in Manhattan just a few days ago.This years matches the slow start for Spring 2010 and 2011 according to my records.

 

You can not equate the poor swimming bunker caught in the surge on shore to the powerful swimming striped bass. Give it another ten days and you will see an upsurge in the numbers of fish caught or missed.

 

Chris your records are only based where you personally fished. Your individual affect on the numbers is tiny and not something to build a case upon. Antidotal information is the least likely supportable information because of the small scope and all the other factors a single angler can be affected by. Wrong time of tide or day, wrong bait or lure, different water temperature is the only broad based part of the puzzle that your and all the others have experienced that is constant along the Jersey Shore.

 

If you look at last Springs water temperatures compared to this years temperatures to day the difference is between high 40 degree average compared to the mid 30 Degree averages. When the water temperature goes below 40 degrees fish move to deep pockets and holes to rid out the cold.

 

Relax. The fish will be here, just slightly delayed. I'm concerned about the 2012 YOY class of HR SB. All those 6 inch fish we found in hte surf right after Sandy, were the preferred "Bait" size of every predator making the coastal migration in November. & December.

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Most fish know whats coming as they can sense the low pressure. I read a shark tagging study down in Florida of NC?  the sharks left the shallows before a hurricane hit, and returned after it passed.



I doubt fish were "killed" by the storm. I read that comms were even going further offshore to get SKATES!  not that we really trust them..



 



 



Have patience.


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Don't hit that Panic Button just yet,, Still early and like mentioned every year is different for one reason or another.. The Next 2-3 weeks will tell alot about the bays and then during May out front // After that we will have a pretty good guage if something is wrong or not...

 

 

Steve

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Chistopherr,

 

Only two possible explanations:

 

- You're a lousy fisherman

 

- It's a Communist plot

 

I suggest you subscribe to the second. It will alleviate any heartburn! :)

 

P.S. It's the water temps, IMHO.

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