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DarterMan

Acres of bunker, no bass…

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This is the third time this has happened to me this spring.

 

I get down to a favorite north shore location, push out as far as I can and proceed to plug away. Not long afterwards I begin to hear the unmistakable tail slap of bunker. Well, it happened again Friday night. They were so thick I snagged 3 or 4 with my plug! These things were HUGE too! Unfortunately I didn’t see or hear any “predatory” action – I think these bunker were just all fat dumb and happy, and were just doing what massive schools of bunker do when being unmolested. Finally out of desperation I put on a snagger and let one swim for about 15mins. Not a bump. Tried it again on a “fresh”, lively bunker – zip, nada, zilch. Amazing that there is so much bait where I fish but hardly anything on them.

 

I recall always preaching "find the bait and you'll find the fish!". That mantra ain't working so well for me anymore...

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Two weekends ago some very nice fish graced the south shore. But even so, only a few big fish were caught.

 

Basically I am hearing either small fish or no bass are on the bait in most instances.

 

This weekend I fished a spot that had spearing and sand eels out the gazzoo---I was high hook with one small bass and four bluefish.

My friends both hooked one bass. Acres of bait---but nothing on it.

 

On the bright side for the south shore at least--in certain spots the bait is there and some people are at least catching schoolies.

 

It's either very late or the big fish are not coming into the bays.

 

I am still holding onto the notion that July is the new May. I have nothing to base that on, but a wing and a prayer.

 

I'll be fishing the ocean aggressively over the next few weeks. Hopefully things will pick up.:confused:

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Glad to hear it's not just me. Darterman I believe you fish a little to the west of my NS spot. I've been seeing bunker in places I have never seen them, I'm seeing them thicker then ever before in the places I know they stop at. Saturday I had 5 at least 2 acre schools pass by without a care in the world. I snagged and dropped for nothing. IDK if you seen my thread "Calling all Oldsalts" but I'm in a real slump compared to the past 2 seasons. Ya the sand eels showed last week and there are some bass on them now but it feels like we skipped spring and jumped straight into summer, weather and fishing. I was very excited about this year. This will be yr 4 for me and my knowledge/faith has grown tremendously since last season all to be totally disgusted with my spring stats. I caught more fish my first week in the surf 4 yrs ago then I did all May.... It seems like the fishing is where it should be as of this past week so I have my fingers crossed for the rest of the month.


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Same thing happened saturday, no takers for my livelined bunker. Next time Ill have a pre tied sinker rig, sneak into the school on the kayak and drop down a chunk to the bottom.

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Same thing for me on the north shore both yesterday and this evening. I haven't seen this much bunker in years, just plain frustrating that nothing seems to be under them. All I have to show after fishing 6+ hours surrounded by large, adult bunker is 1 cocktail bluefish that destroyed an extra large shad! :(

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Same thing for me at dusk on western southshore. Watched pod after pod of bunker float by within easy casting distance from shore and nothing appeared to be on them. You could see their tailfins sticking out of the water.


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Been seeing the same thing lots of bunker nothing on them.  At the very least where are the blues?  Could be a lot of things... pretty crappy start of the season for me!


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Same thing on staten islands south shore yesterday. Packed with bunker, my buddy snagged a few and liveliness but no hits. Saved a few for chunking so we went out last night . Had a few runoffs but. Couldn't hook them. Guys next to us had some action with bluefish , we left early as I was getting cold once the sun went down and forgot to bring a sweatshirt. On a different note I did. See a bunch of baby rabbits in the tall grass leading to the spot. Was fun to watch them playing for a few minutes until they spotted me and scurried off.

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40-45 feet of water south of Fire Island Lighthouse on Saturday. Loads of bunker, all looking like they planned to live long, healthy, peaceful lives. Although, to be fair, I heard that folks got a bunch of bass Sunday way, way to the west under similar schools.

 

Actually surprising how little bait, other than bunker, is in the ocean. I made my first trip prospecting for big fluke off Fire Island, and found relatively few--and small--pods of bait on the usual 40-65 foot structure.

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it's pretty obvious why there's little bass around...the fact that I still see PB mentioning "the weekend bass slaughter" means things only going to get worse.. Once their pockets start feeling it, maybe something will change..


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A little shred of optimism. Just got back from a four hour assault on some ocean sand spots. I was somewhat pleasantly surprised with four fish.

 

I have to say that they must be eating something that looks like a red and white yozuri darter. I tried every plug in the bag and the Yozuri was the only one they hit.

 

Basically I went back to the basics---looked for cuts--looked for sand walls---looked for signs of bait. There were tons of clam shells all over the sand.

 

I am hoping that some of these fat "football" fish were eating sand eels too. Anyway they were little guys ,but at least oceanside I know there are some fish.:beers:

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I'm a jersey guy and we are having the same problem here. Some boats killing breeders on the weekends but that's it. Was making my way up to long island this weekend to look for better news but don't look good.

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Once their pockets start feeling it, maybe something will change..

 

Yes. They'll try to get the size limit reduced to 20 inches so that they can target the 2011s...

 

And yes, I'm joking. Sort of...

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This is the third time this has happened to me this spring.

 

I get down to a favorite north shore location, push out as far as I can and proceed to plug away. Not long afterwards I begin to hear the unmistakable tail slap of bunker. Well, it happened again Friday night. They were so thick I snagged 3 or 4 with my plug! These things were HUGE too! Unfortunately I didn’t see or hear any “predatory” action – I think these bunker were just all fat dumb and happy, and were just doing what massive schools of bunker do when being unmolested. Finally out of desperation I put on a snagger and let one swim for about 15mins. Not a bump. Tried it again on a “fresh”, lively bunker – zip, nada, zilch. Amazing that there is so much bait where I fish but hardly anything on them.

 

I recall always preaching "find the bait and you'll find the fish!". That mantra ain't working so well for me anymore...

 

With "happy" bunker, I've found first light (that little bit of pink on the horizon) to be the trigger for any fish that's gonna eat.

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