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Tournamental

I consider myself fortunate in a lot of ways, not the least of which is that most recently I am able to pursue my favorite activity largely unaffected by closures and personal distance restrictions. (Misfit Kayak Fishing Team has proudly been socially distant for over a decade now 😉.) Anyway, this past weekend being the anniversary of the Jamaica Bay Kayak Fishing Tournament (the weekend after Mothers Day was not chosen by accident), the team planned to make a showing as we have every year.

We all met each other years ago at the tournament before I started guiding for Jerry at Captain Kayak (who later sponsored and organized the tournament). While we always arrived with intentions of non-stop fishing and visions of kayak fishing fame and glory, what we invariably got as well was intoxicated and over-fed on BBQ. By the end of a three-day tournament, it wasn’t so much about the fishing anymore. It was just nice to be surrounded by like minded individuals at a time when kayak fishing was arguably first getting popular as an everyman’s thing. Tournaments came and tournaments went over the years and it was always JBay because there weren’t a lot of options as far as kayak fishing tournaments in the northeast.
All of that changed
That changed over the last decade and now the repurposed milk crate outfit that my buddy Pete made – at the time so novel an idea that it was featured in a magazine article – is now sold by Hobie for about $50. Our mindset did not change regarding the tournaments, which were primarily a reason to camp, fish and socialize. Until Jerry decided to retire from retirement and the (official) tournament ended, Misfit Kayak Fishing Team had no reason to try very hard. It was just fun. Without a centrally located tournament though, it got harder for all of us to get to connect, and last year I joined the Striper Cup in the Hobie World Qualifier. Jerry closed the kayak rental and and so I figured I would have time to test my mettle and see how well I could do when I really tried. The top 10 were in a raffle for a $5000 kayak, and the winner was flown to compete in the Hobie Kayak Fishing World Championship. My efforts were the inspiration for a post back in September that chronicled the months I spent fishing "hard."

It changed me, because it forced me to answer some hard questions; How "hard" is too hard to fish? Do I make myself go out into a cold rainy night when I don’t want to – just because the tide is right and I know I’ll catch? What social events are OK to miss because you know that you will catch a 30-lb fish if you go? Are your friends your competition now, if they’re in the same tournament? It was a season-long competition, so the question raised was always "Am I missing something by not being out there?" I’ve "willed" myself out of bed at 3am often enough to answer that in the affirmative. The real question becomes "Is it worth it?" After a lot of soul searching and a lot of fishing, I found peace with myself regarding those questions, even as that tension remains today. This year circumstances have enabled me to join other tournaments. With different structures that raise still more questions. Who knew catching fish from a floating piece of plastic could be so philosophical?
Should I fish Anyhow?
One of the tournaments that rewards total lengths of all fish caught has me taking pictures (the only way to do it) of every fish. On a good night, that could easily be 30 fish. Even with a 10-fish-per-day limit. I have to ask myself "Is it worth it to drift away from a hot bite as you spend the next 5-10 minutes trying to secure a fish in your lap in a kayak to get a picture? That thought came into sharp focus the evening that I found myself actually thinking about NOT fishing because my camera (phone) wasn’t charged. That moment, that night, made me realize that I wasn’t thinking right. I’d gone "tournamental," and had forgotten why I was there. OK, that’s ridiculous and I was ashamed to be thinking that way, but what if it’s a blitz and I’m marking bigger fish? Do I take the picture of the 28 incher and bank some points or keep fishing? I was able to answer these questions the same way that I was able to solve my moral dilemma.

I was able to answer these questions the same way I ultimately answered them last summer; with a renewed commitment to keeping it "social" (I don’t need the fish) and a pause for the thought "Will I be happy with myself afterward?" Don’t get me wrong; I take my kayak fishing seriously, not just because details make the difference between catching fish and not, but because in kayak fishing details are the difference between getting back and not. But when it comes to fishing with a sense of purpose, there have to be limitations. Limitations are personal.
The Fishing Report
That brings me (finally) to the fishing report part of this. Half of Misfit Kayak Fishing Team made it to JBay for the annual get-together. We fished Friday and Saturday and conditions were great. I was surprised by a couple of things: Happily, the presence of a lot of horseshoe crabs and bait but sadly no other kayak fishermen.

Hopefully it will not be the end of an era and someone will step up and keep the tournament going. My "competition" this weekend was my teammate Pistol Pete Kelly. I outfished him by a sea robin on Friday, each of us landing four bass, and he outfished me by 3 bass the next day. Pete had the right tool for the job and even though I was drifting into 30-pound stripers, Pete was the one who brought the sand worms they were feeding on. Rule one: match the hatch. Pete had bass up to 34 inches and my biggest was only about 25.

At the end of the day, it was not unlike the ten years that preceded this weekend. Me and Pete knocking back a couple of cold ones after a great day on the water. We got our priorities right20200516_201311.jpg.

How To Fishing Blogs

A Message to Fishing Charters, Guides and Anglers From NYS

Here is a case where an organized and united group of anglers and the industry could influence the state/feds to open up tackle shops. I’m sorry if a liquor store is considered "essential" than so is the tackle shop. How many DWI’s will a tackle shop cause? What anglers enjoy fishing right next to others? It sure won’t be an issue keeping 10-people in at a time. I said this on my latest podcast and I truly believe that anglers will flock to the water and the outdoors. We can all hide in our secrete spots and easily keep a distance. It’s inherent in fishing. We want seclusion. I know I do.

I hate the term "social distancing." It should be coined "physical distancing. We want to and need to be social nowadays.

There are many of us that enjoy the solace fishing, more so than a drink. Anglers naturally keep a physical difference, and we spend a lot of money on our sport!

I know we’re in unchartered waters, but getting people outdoors seems like a no brainer to me.

Fishing Safely This Season

A fishing rod between two people

New York State is open for fishing and DEC encourages anglers to recreate locally at a nearby waterbody. New York’s lakes and streams offer great opportunities for fishing in a wide array of settings across the state. Even during the current COVID-19 public health crisis, getting outdoors and connecting with nature while angling in New York’s waters is a great way to help maintain mental and physical health.
Please continue to follow the CDC/New York State Department of Health guidelines for preventing the spread of colds, flu, and COVID-19:

  • Try to keep at least six feet of distance between you and others.
  • Avoid close contact, such as shaking hands.
  • Wash hands often or use a hand sanitizer when soap and water are not available.
  • Avoid surfaces that are touched often, such as doorknobs, handrails, and playground equipment.

When fishing, DEC recommends avoiding busy waters and following the guidelines on DEC’s website about fishing responsibly in New York State. If an angler arrives at a parking lot and there are several cars, they should consider going to another parking lot. If an angler is fishing upstream, they should fish downstream of the other angler or consider fishing another day. Anglers fishing from boats should always be able to maintain at least six feet of distance between one another. For more information about the benefits of being outdoors safely and responsibly, go to DEC’s website.
Charters and Guides
The "New York State on PAUSE" Executive Order, a 10-point policy to assure uniform safety for everyone during the COVID-19 response, includes a directive that all non-essential businesses statewide must close effective at 8 p.m. on Sunday, March 22, and temporarily bans all non-essential gatherings of individuals of any size for any reason.
At this time, fishing guides or charters of any size have been determined to be not essential and are subject to workforce reduction requirements of the Executive Order. The full and updated guidance on which types of businesses are determined essential and other designations associated with the order can be found online.

GeneralHow To Fishing Blogs

This Logbook Will Simply Amaze you

The mystery and history of the White Eagle Party Boatthat sailed out of Canarsie NY in the 1930’s
It was in the mid-1990s that I was given this logbook to make sure it was kept safe. So I safely hid somewhere so well that is was missing for over 20-years. I always found myself looking for it, and of course, it took my wonderful wife to find it yesterday. I am so relieved as I was always mesmerized by its contents.

I’m not sure when it dates back to, but it is an amazing work of art in its own right. It also gives us a peek into what it took to be a charter captain, back then. There are references to the 1930s in it. I really need to know more about this boat and its Captain. I found a photo of the White Eagle II on www.mels-place.com but that was the best I could do. Below the photo, you will see just the first 3-pages of a logbook that describes in detail what it was like to be a Party Boat owner in the good old days of Brooklyn! I’ve het to find any information on Capt: Hon William Rank. But it is simply too see he took his fishing seriously.

Just read between the lines and you will see a picture of what it was like to navigate to bottom pieces, predict weather and so much more. The book is old and fragile so I’m taking care to take a clear pic of each page so I can have my wife store it for me this time.

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If anyone has any info, on this vessel please let me know. I will follow these up with more in the coming weeks. This Brooklyn Party Boat Logbook, looks like they were using a totally different type of GPS and bottom finder than we have today.

How To Fishing Blogs

Free NY Ice Fishing 2/15-2/16, 2020

Ya gotta love those smallies. Even while ice fishing in New York. Join in as New York Anglers enjoy learning how to ice fish. He have more on ice fishing here.
You Too Can Get In On This Great Fishery!
I can’t say for sure how far north the hard water is, but many New York anglers truly enjoy this sport. The interest and participation rate of anglers getting into ice fishing is booming. There’s plenty of specialized tackle and gear and that are available to help you catch more fish. I even saw a TV commercial with Matthew McConaoughey setting up his ice fishing equipment and he sat in the Lincoln until he had a bite!

Now I’m not suggesting you take a limo ice fishing, but you may consider other comfortable options.
You Can Even Fish From Inside!
With the boom of ice fishing comes many options to fish from. From a five-gallon bucket to sit on, to a full blow vacation getaway – with holes in the floor! This sport offers a variety of equipment and huts.

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Or Maybe You Like This?

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Free Fishing Weekend – February 15-16, 2020. Learn How To Ice Fish In New York.
Obviously there’s a lot to learn to be successful at this winter sport. So it’s great to see our great upper New York State region being recognized and utilized by anglers of ages! There simply is no better way learn how to ice fish while getting results.

Ice fishing is a great way to get outdoors during the winter months. February 15-16 is a Free Fishing Weekend, where anyone can fish New York’s waters without a fishing license. If you’re an experienced angler, consider introducing a friend or family member to the sport. Or if you’ve always wanted to try ice fishing but don’t know where to start, attend a free fishing clinic near you this winter.

We encourage beginner ice anglers to download the Ice Fishing Chapter (PDF) of DEC’s I FISH NY Beginners’ Guide to Freshwater Fishing for information on how to get started ice fishing. You can find additional information, including a list of waters open to ice fishing, on DEC’s ice fishing web page.

How To Fishing Blogs

Tog !!

Took another trip on the Bluefin IV with Captain Michael Potts , awesome Joe on deck. Sporty 20-25 NW breeze made the choice to go north a no brainer. Tough slog for the first 8 or 10 miles but we ended up in the lee on the other side and conditions were great. First drop was lock and load, drop , crunch , thump , thump swing! Only a couple of keepers to around 5 lbs so we poked offshore a bit and found some better fish on each consecutive drop along with a lot of 15” fish. Ended up with a near boat limit with 17 year old Super Sam Williams taking the pool with a 10 lb 4 oz beast ,the kid has serious togging skills, barely beating Mark’s 9 lb 12 oz pig. Good times with good friends and family.
How To Fishing Blogs

New Striped Bass Regulations

The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission’s Striped Bass Board decided Wednesday to address the sharply declining numbers of striped bass along the Atlantic seaboard, including the Chesapeake Bay, by requiring an 18 percent harvest reduction relative to 2017 levels.

Approved sub-options included allowing, within established seasons, 1 fish per angler per day between 28 and 35 inches in ocean waters. Public comment on this sub-option had supported, by a more than 4-1 ratio, setting a 1 fish limit with a minimum size of 35 inches. In the Chesapeake Bay, the approved sub-option was limiting anglers to 1 fish per day with a minimum size limit of 18 inches. It passed with by a 12-3 vote.

There was also a question about whether circle hooks should be mandatory when fishing with bait. Max Appelman, striper fishery management plan coordinator for ASMFC, told commissioners there was “little doubt that circle hooks save fish.” Circle hooks reduce fish mortality from “deep hooking” as the fish swallows the bait. Of the 5,003 comments received by the public related to circle hooks, 4,930 were in favor of their mandatory use.

The board approved unanimously the option requiring states to implement regulations requiring use of circle hooks with the intent of reducing striped bass release mortality in recreational fisheries.

The ASMFC board set Nov. 30, 2019 as the due date for draft implementation plans. The board will act on those plans in February 2020 with final regulations in place by April 1, 2020. The circle hook requirements must be in place by January 2021, ostensibly to allow charter outfits and bait and tackle shops to swap out gear and stock assortments.

How To Fishing Blogs

Fresh Bluefin Tuna Poke

A good friend of mine Andrew gave me this recipe. Came out amazing! IMG_3636.jpg

Ingredients:

As much fresh tuna as you plan to eat (sushi grade is this will be consumed raw)
Soy Sauce
Oyster Sauce
Sesame Oil
Green Onion
Sesame Seeds

Directions:

Start out by cubing the tuna into whatever size pieces you like. I did about 1/4 – 1/2 inch pieces. Place your cubes in a bowl. Coat tuna cubes with just enough soy sauce to coat all of them. Don’t over do it. Add a few drizzles of sesame oil (this stuff is strong) to taste. Mix up everything. Next up add a dab of the oyster sauce – this is to add a bit of sweetness and thicken up the soy sauce mix again. Cover the tuna and put in the fridge to marinade for about an hour.

Prepare some white rice. Top the rice with the tuna mixture and add green onions for color and flavor. Garnish with sesame seeds and enjoy!