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jps1010

Fishing then and now - people's lower expectations

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Growing up in south Brooklyn I remember in the mid-80s to the early 90s when fishing would pick up with big blues around the 3rd week of August and last all the way into November depending on the weather.  I would see huge blues crashing big bunker schools out front and in the bay.  The blues I am referring to are those 30 plus inch fish and not the 1 to 2lbers that I see people catching now.  It’s really a sight to see when you have butterfish beaching themselves and big blues jumping clear out of the water in the middle of bait fish schools.

 

When the striped bass made a comeback, we had action from spring into July and then the fishing would pick up again around Labor Day and last until December.  Prior to the resurgence we would have a couple of weeks of decent action with 15” to 20” rats in the spring and in the fall.  When the 1 @ 36” was in place those same locations were now consistently yielding fish in the 15 to 20lb range.

 

Years ago, especially in the fall, the cold dreary days would equate to excellent fishing.  As a kid in school I could remember how anxious I was for the school day to end and then walking down to the water knowing I was going to have a great outing with big fish.  However, more recently quite the opposite has occurred.  I remember not too long ago in October with a 30-mpg blow in your face and the presence of sand eels yielded only 1 schoolie bass.  That is pretty terrible and unheard of 10 years ago.  I also have not heard of the insane fishing up at the canal nor the jumbo blues that were in our waters up until a few years ago.  I don’t like restrictive laws any more than the next person but without them there isn’t going to be much left.  You take years of low recruitment with the same size/bag limit laws in place, it’s going to bring us to exactly where we are now.  Believe it or not the giant grouper at one point were practically non-existent. 

Nowadays I hear and have seen online there are so many of them that they are practically a nuisance.  This changed due to the much more restrictive measures that were needed at that time.

 

The way things are going, I am afraid that viable surf fishing in my home waters will be a thing of the past.  Don’t get me wrong it is nice to be out but the enjoyment of pulling 20” bass or a 2lb bluefish from the surf using a 10’ surf rod pales in comparison to consistently catching teen sized plus fish.  Sure, there are always going to be big bass and big blues out there, somewhere.  However, I grew up around the corner from the water and got into fishing because of the proximity of the water to my house.  This is the same reason why I shouldn’t have to drive 35 plus miles to find decent fishing.  A lot of these same arguments as to why the fish aren’t around now were more or less the same nearly 40 years ago when in reality overfishing was the main culprit.

 

If you have a passion for fishing like I do, my suggestion is for each of you to write/call your governor and the associated fishery managers when the time comes.  That is our only chance to reverse this trend.  I only hope that we are not too late to return to the days when a 30” bass or bluefish are not anomalies.

Edited by jps1010

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Probably wrapped up my shark season last Friday.  Might get out again for shark, but with the weather coming in next week, and some commitments the week a

after--not to mention archery deer opening Wednesday and woodcock the week after--I probably won't.

 

Wasn't a terrible shark season, but sharks aren't the point.  Friday I went through three buckets of chum in 120 feet of water south of Fire Island.  68 degree water.  Enough bait that I saw false albacore breaking on the surface, and trolled up a few up for the folks who were on board on the way home.

 

But all day, I DID NOT HAVE ONE.  SINGLE.  BLUEFISH.  That's in a place where they used to bunch up around the chum like goldfish waiting to be fed, only leaving the baits alone when they got spooked by a mako coming into the slick.

 

Friday marked the end of the third or fourth consecutive year when I did not have even one bluefish enter my shark slicks all year, an absence that would have been unthinkable even half a dozen years ago.

 

Anyone who was at the Mid-Atlantic Council/ASMFC bluefish hearings hosted by the DEC over the past few years would hear the party boat crowd saying that there is no shortage of bluefish, they're just offshore.  But offshore is where I hang out from June through late September/early October.  I'm shark fishing between Fire Island and Shinnecock, in 120 to 240 feet of water.  Soimetimes I'm tuna fishing deeper than that.  If the bluefish are out there, I sure can't find them, even though they had no problem finding me until a few years ago.

 

So yes, as the various management bodies work to rebuild bluefish, and as the ASMFC begins to put Amendment 7 to the striped bass plan together, pay attention and get involved.  Because right now, things do not look good.

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It's sad that it has gotten this bad.  I have been saying this for years and when contacting the fishery managers about my concerns regarding the striped bass, I had also mentioned my concerns about the lack of bluefish.  The people posting on FB, instagram and even on here about catching 2lb bluefish, geez, the things I used to catch years ago would have eaten them while you were reeling them.  Yet, these are they are the only blues most are going to see nowadays.  I knew this was an issue going back close to 20 years ago.  However, I really became concerned when a few years ago people were catching 20lb blues on a much more common basis.  I have always considered a 20lb blue akin to a 50lb bass where they were a rarity.  All of a sudden they became more common?  Not at all.  The issue was there were many less smaller fish around, similar to the time when Al caught his record striper in the early 80s right before the crash.

 

I had rotator cuff surgery so I cant fish but I have been speaking with my friends to see if there are any mullet bites with bass on the beach and nothing.  The last decent mullet bite I had out here was probably 2014, maybe 2015.  How sad is that.

 

This is the worst I can recall in my 40 plus years of surf fishing and unfortunately I don't see it getting much better any time soon.  I plan on getting involved like I always do.  I hope others realize what is going on and do the same.

 

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jps 1010, i agree 100%, yes there are always slow times and good times but what happing now is a shame , but i must say , saw this coming 15 20 years ago, back then in the RB alone you had 20 , 30 pound nets , coms taking whatever swam, and recs needlessly killing more fish than there stomachs could handle. combine that with beach replenishment, no more structure,lack of real bait fish,and your right posting pics of 1# snappers or 16 inch bass is imo a sick joke. as far as the blues ? as far back since i was a kid they were always around, i cant say what happened. surf fishing coming back to what it once was ? i dont think so in my life time im, pushing 65, but for the next generaration it will take a lot work, change, and balls. but I will say i am very thankful for having many good years of fishing, I pray for the new guys it will come back

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I started fishing as a kid backing '71.

Dad had a charter boat and I would mate on the weekends.  We caught fish, plenty. Foreign dragging was a problem back then,  and a 20 mile limit was put in place. Maybe too late for some species like Cod. 

Where are the Flounder? They too used to be plentiful.  Where are the Huge piles of Ling and Whiting, not the ones I see today. Years back they were the size of baseball bats.

Everything is getting wiped out. 

We have not been good stewards of a precious gift.  :howdy:

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10 mins ago, bugsbenny said:

jps 1010, i agree 100%, yes there are always slow times and good times but what happing now is a shame , but i must say , saw this coming 15 20 years ago, back then in the RB alone you had 20 , 30 pound nets , coms taking whatever swam, and recs needlessly killing more fish than there stomachs could handle. combine that with beach replenishment, no more structure,lack of real bait fish,and your right posting pics of 1# snappers or 16 inch bass is imo a sick joke. as far as the blues ? as far back since i was a kid they were always around, i cant say what happened. surf fishing coming back to what it once was ? i dont think so in my life time im, pushing 65, but for the next generaration it will take a lot work, change, and balls. but I will say i am very thankful for having many good years of fishing, I pray for the new guys it will come back

It's down right depressing and shouldn't be the case.  I wish I was wrong but the writing has been on the wall for years now and many of us that lived through it in the 80s saw this coming but unfortunately the powers that be don't care and have only one agenda which is to kill the most amount of fish they can.  Most of us got into fishing to fish and not so we could eat.  We're not cavemen living on an island with no other means to sustain ourselves.  Why they cater to such a small user group is beyond me.  I get money talks but I believe there is more money in it for those groups the more fish that are alive then dead.  After all, how many people eat tarpon?  Not many.

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2 hours ago, bugsbenny said:

jps 1010, i agree 100%, yes there are always slow times and good times but what happing now is a shame , but i must say , saw this coming 15 20 years ago, back then in the RB alone you had 20 , 30 pound nets , coms taking whatever swam, and recs needlessly killing more fish than there stomachs could handle. combine that with beach replenishment, no more structure,lack of real bait fish,and your right posting pics of 1# snappers or 16 inch bass is imo a sick joke. as far as the blues ? as far back since i was a kid they were always around, i cant say what happened. surf fishing coming back to what it once was ? i dont think so in my life time im, pushing 65, but for the next generaration it will take a lot work, change, and balls. but I will say i am very thankful for having many good years of fishing, I pray for the new guys it will come back

It is sad.  I don't think it will come back to what it was either.

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I have seen videos of big blues storming an inlet and everyone hooking up and keeping every fish they caught. Literally 20+ blues 20” and over just flopping around in the sand. Delaware finally dropped the limit from 10 to 3. 

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No point of having such a big limit on bluefish, Every spring seems to bring in a convoy of people coming out of state and loading up on as many blues as they can in one outing.

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4 hours ago, JoeyZac said:

Once upon a time..............

 

Wow, was there no bag limit on tautog, winter flounder, and porgy? And 8 at 14" on fluke jeez. This was all before my time and it's impossible for me to imagine a fishery like that.

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6 hours ago, ATBfish said:

I have seen videos of big blues storming an inlet and everyone hooking up and keeping every fish they caught. Literally 20+ blues 20” and over just flopping around in the sand. Delaware finally dropped the limit from 10 to 3. 

I think it was 15 in De.  Who needs 15 blue fish each day????

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On 9/26/2020 at 3:29 PM, jps1010 said:

Growing up in south Brooklyn I remember in the mid-80s to the early 90s when fishing would pick up with big blues around the 3rd week of August and last all the way into November depending on the weather.  I would see huge blues crashing big bunker schools out front and in the bay.  The blues I am referring to are those 30 plus inch fish and not the 1 to 2lbers that I see people catching now.  It’s really a sight to see when you have butterfish beaching themselves and big blues jumping clear out of the water in the middle of bait fish schools.

 

When the striped bass made a comeback, we had action from spring into July and then the fishing would pick up again around Labor Day and last until December.  Prior to the resurgence we would have a couple of weeks of decent action with 15” to 20” rats in the spring and in the fall.  When the 1 @ 36” was in place those same locations were now consistently yielding fish in the 15 to 20lb range.

 

Years ago, especially in the fall, the cold dreary days would equate to excellent fishing.  As a kid in school I could remember how anxious I was for the school day to end and then walking down to the water knowing I was going to have a great outing with big fish.  However, more recently quite the opposite has occurred.  I remember not too long ago in October with a 30-mpg blow in your face and the presence of sand eels yielded only 1 schoolie bass.  That is pretty terrible and unheard of 10 years ago.  I also have not heard of the insane fishing up at the canal nor the jumbo blues that were in our waters up until a few years ago.  I don’t like restrictive laws any more than the next person but without them there isn’t going to be much left.  You take years of low recruitment with the same size/bag limit laws in place, it’s going to bring us to exactly where we are now.  Believe it or not the giant grouper at one point were practically non-existent. 

Nowadays I hear and have seen online there are so many of them that they are practically a nuisance.  This changed due to the much more restrictive measures that were needed at that time.

 

The way things are going, I am afraid that viable surf fishing in my home waters will be a thing of the past.  Don’t get me wrong it is nice to be out but the enjoyment of pulling 20” bass or a 2lb bluefish from the surf using a 10’ surf rod pales in comparison to consistently catching teen sized plus fish.  Sure, there are always going to be big bass and big blues out there, somewhere.  However, I grew up around the corner from the water and got into fishing because of the proximity of the water to my house.  This is the same reason why I shouldn’t have to drive 35 plus miles to find decent fishing.  A lot of these same arguments as to why the fish aren’t around now were more or less the same nearly 40 years ago when in reality overfishing was the main culprit.

 

If you have a passion for fishing like I do, my suggestion is for each of you to write/call your governor and the associated fishery managers when the time comes.  That is our only chance to reverse this trend.  I only hope that we are not too late to return to the days when a 30” bass or bluefish are not anomalies.

#1 problem:too many fishermen killing fish,whether intentionally(keeping) or mortality after release.Solution? Stop fishing for them and give them a much needed break.Reality? Not gonna happen.New reality? The good old days are long gone and fish populations are toast,gone the way of sea trout,puffers etc... 

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