Jump to content

NY bunker and bass

Rate this topic


hairyfishhead

Recommended Posts

These past 2 Fall runs have me scratching my head a lot about bunker and bass in NY. We see boats on bunker pods offshore hammering bass day after day, but the surf is quiet like a ghost town. Those same blitzes don’t come into a surfcasters range, we just always watch them go on a few hundred yards out. Pop over to NJ, the bass and bunker (especially peanuts) are in tight and blitzes can be readily found.

 

What do you think causes this difference in bass and bunker patterns? Different weather or wind?? Different structure or habitat? More bunker there or less bass here these days? Just social media hype??? No right or wrong answers, I’d just love to hear some other guys thoughts on this recent trend.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

We have a lot less bass on Long Island, especially the central part of the island, since we are dependent on the Chesapeake fish.  Northern NJ, Jbay area, north shore of Long Island in addition to the Chesapeake, get the Hudson River bass.  The charts I have attached show the differences in the spawns between the two.  As we can see the differences are pretty significant.  It is not a coincidence that the majority of the bass we saw on the island were slot sized due to the strong 2015 YOY index.  It's going to get a lot worse here is the coming years due to the extremely poor YOY classes for the Chesapeake.  Places out west, including the Raritan Bay, will be in much better shape due to the strong Hudson River fishery. 

 

I know there were fish around but for me, this is the worst Fall I have ever had and it wasn't just me.  When fishing there was usually quite a few others and no one I saw this entire Fall had done well the times I had gone out.

 

If you think about it, it's not that difficult to figure out especially when we already went through this in the 80s. The more bass there are, the more places they will be.  A healthy fishery is not confined to offshore and a few geographic areas. 

 

MD_HudsonRiver_compare_2023.PNG.d34d888c657e968347536f04c4cea369.PNG

Link to comment
Share on other sites

You must have just been on the wrong beaches at the wrong time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m worried about the bass population as a whole, but almost every time I got out during daylight this year I managed to find some fish blitzing within casting distance, often on peanuts.

 

 

You can’t really go by social media, no one is posting when they skunk.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, jps1010 said:

We have a lot less bass on Long Island, especially the central part of the island, since we are dependent on the Chesapeake fish.  Northern NJ, Jbay area, north shore of Long Island in addition to the Chesapeake, get the Hudson River bass.  The charts I have attached show the differences in the spawns between the two.  As we can see the differences are pretty significant.  It is not a coincidence that the majority of the bass we saw on the island were slot sized due to the strong 2015 YOY index.  It's going to get a lot worse here is the coming years due to the extremely poor YOY classes for the Chesapeake.  Places out west, including the Raritan Bay, will be in much better shape due to the strong Hudson River fishery. 

 

I know there were fish around but for me, this is the worst Fall I have ever had and it wasn't just me.  When fishing there was usually quite a few others and no one I saw this entire Fall had done well the times I had gone out.

 

If you think about it, it's not that difficult to figure out especially when we already went through this in the 80s. The more bass there are, the more places they will be.  A healthy fishery is not confined to offshore and a few geographic areas. 

 

MD_HudsonRiver_compare_2023.PNG.d34d888c657e968347536f04c4cea369.PNG

I've always found that if you want to know why fishing is good--or bad--in any given season, all you need to do is pull out the juvenile abundance index and you will get your answer.

 

And if yoiu want to know  what fishing is going to look like in the future, look at the JAIs and could 7 years ahead for 28-inch fish, 10 years for 20 pounders, and 20 years for high 40s/low 50s.

 

The two charts provided here explain today's fishery very well, including both the dearth of small bass in most places and the trong run of larger fish in  the New York Bight.  It also explains why a lot of us are going to be taking up skeet shooting in three or four years.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

TBH this fall was pretty much like all my falls the past 3 decades.

Many days watching it go bye, it’s always been this way.

Social media skews they way it really is. Yes there will be blitzes on the beach but you can’t be everywhere all the time when they happen.

Here on the South Shore you need a north wind to bring the bunker close in. We had that but the fish still stayed just off shore. I feel that if we had big blues this fall that the bunker would have been pushed in more than they were and there would have been more opportunities for bass on the beach.

NJ is good on a west wind which we had also. Don’t be sucked in by the guys with the go pro’s on their heads. Those same blitzes happened here.

And don’t get hung up on bunker. Peanuts, butterfish, sand eels all are a important part of the run. Wish herring were still in play.

We live in a age of instant gratification. Everyone sees the videos and expects that to be every day when they walk out there. Consider yourself lucky if you get into 3 to 5 of those days. 

Nothing puts a bigger smile on my face then Bass busting at my feet but this is not the norm.

I enjoy the hunt just as much when they are not blitzing and any day on the water is a good one.

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Ok so it seems we all remain split on the “why” haha and that’s fishing in a nutshell for ya. But @LowEnd thank you for a good long term perspective on it all. I was just surprised how many times I fished out front this fall under all kinds of conditions/tides but the bass and bunker always stayed away from me… no sandeels hurts too.

 

I do agree with @jps1010 and @CWitek about the state of the fishery having an effect, but I also can see why some NJ guys think that everything is fine. I popped down to NJ a few times on my own and ended up in outstanding fishing that I didn’t find at all in NY. That’s what still has me baffled the most. 

Edited by hairyfishhead
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 mins ago, hobobob said:

There is a divide somewhere on the island that send them fish off shore. The bite and blitz you are seeing are fuel by peanuts and bunkers.  Majority of them is day time bites. Sucks for us working stiffs. 

 

Yea it's between Montauk and Jones. I feel like the majority of the real good fish will go as far as shinny or moriches and then stay off shore and jet straight for the jones area.

Edited by HarryHood711

Where do you go when the lights go out?

Link to comment
Share on other sites

All the way out east I believe get the Hudson River bass coming from the north shore and the Chesapeake Bass.  To the west, they get the same Hudson River and Chesapeake fish.  I believe the Hudson River fish venture as far east as the Rockaways and maybe a little further but not much.  It seems the central part of LI only gets the Chesapeake fish which is in pretty bad shape which will only get worse in the coming years due to the very poor spawns.  However, I will defer to @CWitek on whether or not that is his understanding as well.

 

Not too long ago when they weren't doing well, I had some from the NJ telling me the fish changed their migration routes.  Now that they been doing better, I guess the fish decided to go back to the their migration routes?  I don't believe that for a minute.  They are doing so well due to the Hudson River fishery, combined with the last few decent years classes from the Chesapeake.  If the Hudson's spawn's were as bad as the Chesapeake, they would be in much worse shape.

 

 

 

 

Link to comment
Share on other sites

4 hours ago, jps1010 said:

Not too long ago when they weren't doing well, I had some from the NJ telling me the fish changed their migration routes.  Now that they been doing better, I guess the fish decided to go back to the their migration routes?  I don't believe that for a minute.  They are doing so well due to the Hudson River fishery, combined with the last few decent years classes from the Chesapeake.  If the Hudson's spawn's were as bad as the Chesapeake, they would be in much worse shape.

Yeah I hear you on that hypocrisy. Not too long ago it was “the fish are all just way offshore” but walk a NJ beach now and the bass are literally at your feet with boats 100ft out catching fish too… there has been some research to support that more bass are offshore than we knew as well as that Hudson bass stay more localized than Chesapeake fish, as you said. But some Hudson stock fish still do pop up all over the coast from my understanding. 
 

Despite a frustrating Fall, I’ll never get sick of chasing these wildly adaptable bass!

Edited by hairyfishhead
Link to comment
Share on other sites

14 hours ago, jps1010 said:

All the way out east I believe get the Hudson River bass coming from the north shore and the Chesapeake Bass.  To the west, they get the same Hudson River and Chesapeake fish.  I believe the Hudson River fish venture as far east as the Rockaways and maybe a little further but not much.  It seems the central part of LI only gets the Chesapeake fish which is in pretty bad shape which will only get worse in the coming years due to the very poor spawns.  However, I will defer to @CWitek on whether or not that is his understanding as well.

 

Not too long ago when they weren't doing well, I had some from the NJ telling me the fish changed their migration routes.  Now that they been doing better, I guess the fish decided to go back to the their migration routes?  I don't believe that for a minute.  They are doing so well due to the Hudson River fishery, combined with the last few decent years classes from the Chesapeake.  If the Hudson's spawn's were as bad as the Chesapeake, they would be in much worse shape.

 

 

 

 

It's not quite that cut and dried.  The relative abundance of the Chesapeake and Hudson fish play a role, too.

 

The DEC prohibits commercial fishing west of Wading River on the North Shore and west of Debs Inlet on the South Shore because that's typically where most of the Hudson fish, with supposedly higher PCB content, reside.  

 

But when the Chesapeake fish are less abundant, the range of the Hudson fish expand; almost like osmosis works, to balance the mix of salts on either side of a permeable membrane, the Hudson bass expand to spread out competition along the coast--there is no point for the fish to bunch up and compete in New York  Harbor, when a dearth of Chesapeake fish provides less competitive feeding opportunities farther east.  When Massachusetts was conducting its genetic study a couple of years ago, it found many Hudson fish in Massachusetts waters.  In the early '80s, Hudson bass also dispersed into New England waters.

 

But generally, Hudson fish don't migrate to the extent that the Chesapeake fish do.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

10 hours ago, hairyfishhead said:

there has been some research to support that more bass are offshore than we knew 

That's not really the case.

 

Biologists always knew that bass occasionally sojourned offshore, particularly when herrring, etc. were abundant in deeper water.  But the fish don't stay there.  They wander out, then come back inshore pretty quickly.

 

The best research on the question came out of Massachusetts.  They went offshore, and caught a number of bass on Stellwagen Bank, then implanted the fish with acoustic tags.  A great majority of the fish were detected passing by acoustic arrays later that year, and very close to 100% of them were detected by the next year.

 

The notion that there is a body of fish that remains offshore, as you often hear some folks claim, is not supported by any reliable data.  In fact, the last benchmark stock assessment stoped using offshore trawl surveys in the population model, because so few fish were detected.

"I have always believed that outdoor writers who come out against fish and wildlife conservation are in the wrong business. To me, it makes as much sense golf writers coming out against grass.."  --  Ted Williams

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to register here in order to participate.

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now


×
×
  • Create New...