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NJ stripe bass fall run one of the best in years

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codfish

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1 hour ago, GeoffT said:

Last fall was much better, by boat, kayak and surf.  I'd say this fall has been average with a few epic days. Too bad the South NJ inshore waters are too shallow and devoid of bait so it gets bypassed frequently. 

 

The water quality ocean side has been excellent these past few years. Good color and I could see my feet pretty well five feet deep. The bays and rivers tend to be dirtier because of muddy bottom.   Just a tremendous amount of bait: bunker, peanuts, sandeels and rainfish. Sightings of whales, porpoises, bluefins and even seals are becoming more common. 

 

There's really no need to travel north with the world class fishery in my backyard. :wee:

I can only say for myself fishing Mass waters was poor at best unless you fished sand eel baits, my area was void of Mackerel and pogys maybe it was just the area I fished:headscratch:

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New Jeersey/westeren Long Island has seen good runs for the last few years.

 

All the fish from New England and New York passing by at about the same time, colliding with a lot of bait.  Truly large bass from the 2001 and 2003 year classes, with maybe a handful of surviving 1996s still around.  40s from the big 2007 year class in the Hudson.  Low 20s from 2011, and plenty of slot fish from 2015.  Big shorts from '17 and '18.  

 

Good fishing right now is predictable, given the data.  Of course, a lot of the Jersey anglers claim that there's no problem with the bass stock, and the data is wrong.

 

Come 2027, most of those big fish will be gone, and poor recruitment will leave the slot empty.

 

The ocean will become a very different place.

"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

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On 12/4/2023 at 8:14 PM, codfish said:

I can only say for myself fishing Mass waters was poor at best unless you fished sand eel baits, my area was void of Mackerel and pogys maybe it was just the area I fished:headscratch:

I chased stripers up and down the coast this year and can say that this was typical. Not a lot of traditional bait this season: either stayed offshore or no longer exists, but a variety of crabs and sand fleas were the hot menu item this season.

 

If you fished accordingly the fish were finicky but attacked aggressively with the correct bait shape and size of the day...I fashioned my most successfull crab jigs from amber speaker wire for the legs the he body came from a worn-out scrub pad my wife left in the kitchen sink.

 

I took it with me and looked on the bottom of the tidal creek and then cut the scrub pad with braid scissors into a shape that matched whatever I saw. Then I twisted up several strands of stripped copper speaker cable, wired the little crab-shaped piece onto a flat crab jig, then spun up the legs and claws...trying to be perfect was counter productive..general shape, size, color(dish-stained blue sponge worked best) and presentation trump realistic looking rubber crabs all day long. Easy peasy: whip up your customized crab jig on the go, standing in place, up to your waist, eyes on the prize the whole time.

 

Once you get all the prelims straightened out, it's back to business as normal: Fish dialed in, catch a few, then throw a a variety of hookless baits and watch what they do. Thats the best part...I'm a wet suit guy and sometimes just floating in a tidal creek, playing around with a school of big fish like that is enough after hooking up several times.

 

Just like anything else, striper fishing is a piece of cake once you get things dialed in. Catching is the easy part.

Edited by petespeak
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22 hours ago, GeoffT said:

Hopefully by 2027, gorilla and gator blues will make a comeback to make up for it!

For that to happen, we need to see a lot of smaller blues now.

 

Not sure that I'm seeing that.  Although I did have a bunch of 12-inch bluefish in my shark slicks for maybe a week and a half or two weeks in early July, those were the only bluefish that came into the chum all season, even in places where they used to swarm

 

Had some inshore, but not in huge numbers.

"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

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4 mins ago, CWitek said:

For that to happen, we need to see a lot of smaller blues now.

 

Not sure that I'm seeing that.  Although I did have a bunch of 12-inch bluefish in my shark slicks for maybe a week and a half or two weeks in early July, those were the only bluefish that came into the chum all season, even in places where they used to swarm

 

Had some inshore, but not in huge numbers.

Blues are definitely acting odd last few years. 

The lack of blues in any kind of numbers in RI the past few years has been conspicuous. 

Meanwhile I caught the first bluefish from shore in Maine that anyone in my group has seen in 20 years. 

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19 mins ago, mikez2 said:

Blues are definitely acting odd last few years. 

The lack of blues in any kind of numbers in RI the past few years has been conspicuous. 

Meanwhile I caught the first bluefish from shore in Maine that anyone in my group has seen in 20 years. 

We're dealing with a rebuilding stock.  It's no longer overfished, but it still just a little above the biomass threshold.

 

Because they spawn well offshore, we could well be looking at the effects of a warming ocean.  Nothing has been demonstrated yet, but the Gulf Stream is slowing somewhat, which could be impacting the pattern of currents that bring the larvae inshore, which might affect both the numbers of fish that make it to nursery areas, and where those fish finally reach the shore.  Although that's just speculation.

 

The little bluefish that came into my shark slick this year were something that I never saw in 40 years of shark fishing off Loing Island.  Never had anything under 3 or 4 pounds before, and also larger fish.  So yes, they do seem to acting a little odd, compared to their past behavior.

"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

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  • 4 weeks later...
On 12/3/2023 at 10:50 AM, 27conch said:

Not sure what Petespeak is smoking, but here is the truth.  First off the ocean water is as clean now as I have ever seen it.  I have lived here for 64 years now.  Beach replenishment has certainly killed the beautiful structure we used to enjoy, but there are still good spots to be had. The beaches are fishing well at times, but no where near epic stage and certainly not nearly as good as years ago.  What you had last year, which was much better then this year, are isolated days of really good fishing, followed by long lulls.  If you happen to be in the right place, at the right time, you think you died and are in heaven. In the really "good old days", the epic fishing would last for weeks or until the next front shut things down.  Once the water would clear up, it would start right back up.  We also had huge schools of monster bluefish in the surf, which we don't see anymore in the Fall.

 I didn't get the same message in Petespeaks post. He did mention nice spots like IBSP and out front locations, he also did refer to Raritan Bay as being a main source of stripers (correct) and that it is dirtier(correct) than most other NJ bays or beaches (correct). In defense of Raritan Bay it is a more coffee colored water because of the muddier bottom in some locations and because of being adjacent to NYC and in the main shipping lanes for much boat traffic as well as being over fished from both the NJ and NY sides. It doesn't show well visually as he clearly and correctly stated.

 

I haven't fished much in the last few years because of lack of interest which is because of lack of fish. Perhaps, I'm wrong but the spots I fished for 40 years from Sandy Hook to IBSP just don't produce regularly like they once did. I'd just as soon drop a few crab traps and lines off a dock for entertainment.  So, my opinion that the fishing is nowhere near what it once was (early-mid 90's) can't be counted because I didn't fish enough in 22' or 23' to offer an opinion.

 

I do have a plan for 24', gonna concentrate more on back waters in Ocean County and will fish only small offerings, 1 ounce and under, 7' rod, and as little daylight fishing as possible, some dawn and dusk but nothing from 8am till 5pm. I might even limit the number of lures for the season, I'm thinking I can find enough local action to justify the effort. 

 

I like the beach and to be down there but if I'm not catching, I'd rather just go for a sunrise/ sunset walk. A few Storm Shads and small bucktails, a  5"Red Fin, 16A Bomber, 4" Mega Bait, Choopy Needle and Swimmer and a Mag Darter should be sufficient, maybe a Kastmaster  and Hopkins for distance when needed. 

I still think the numbers stink, hope I'm wrong.

"Thats as big as a fish that size gets" - Russ Wilson
RIP JM
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