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With the striped bass season opening in two days, ECOs Connor Dodge and Zachary Kochanowski patrolled Pelham Bay Park on the evening of April 13. The area is popular with local fishermen and complaints had been received about striped bass being kept before the season opened. Four separate groups of fishermen were found to be in possession of striped bass, including one group with seven fish and another group with six. Only one fish was still alive and released. In total, 15 out-of-season striped bass were seized and 11 summonses were issued. In waters south of the George Washington Bridge, the legal season began on April 15, and the daily possession limit is one striped bass per fishermen, 28 inches or larger in total length.
15 out-of-season striped bass seized in a single night at Pelham Bay Park
Perch Poachers Apprehended – Erie County
After receiving numerous complaints of people illegally netting perch on the Niagara River, ECOs Jamie Powers and Tim Machnica patrolled the area in plain clothes on April 11. The ECOs located a vehicle from a previous complaint and watched as three individuals worked together to scoop large numbers of perch from the water using nets and then take buckets of fish back to the vehicle. When the ECOs identified themselves to the subjects, 3,537 yellow perch, 187 carp, 14 rock bass, and 2 sunfish were found in the subjects’ possession. A total of 14 summonses for various fishing violations were issued to the three subjects. Fortunately, most of the fish survived and were returned to the water.
Last weekend conditions were nice and we caught very little. My 14-year-old son’s been jonesing for a bent rod too, so I loaded an extra (sit-in) kayak and committed to taking him "rain or shine." He’s pretty fearless about the conditions when he’s on the water with me, so I knew he’d be OK there. It was "rain," not shine, and a lot of it. Torrential rains and a stiff 15mph wind followed us across the Sound from LI. To his credit, he never complained once and he fished his heart out under those conditions for over 4 hours. He did everything right. They just weren’t biting for us. I caught two tiny stripers, each about 18 inches. He got comfortable with my rig very quickly and probably would have stayed longer if not for the fact that we were both looking forward to a hot meal and a visit to Bass Pro Shops (right next to the ferry) on the way back.
It’s not always about whether or not you caught a fish.
Capt Steven Sr reports a very weird day on the Viking Starship. We had a handful of keeper Cod along with some shorts and a few Bergalls. It was a tough bite maybe because of the east wind, strong tide or "Super Blood Moon"! It looked like there was a lot of life, but it was disappointing! Bruno Vulin won both pools with a 5lb and 7lb Cod.
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This podcast Aiden discusses clamming bridges, trolling, back-bay fishing, and jigging. Capt. Joey Leggio is well known for his accounts Fishing Long Island and his Show Chaisin’ Tail TV. Joey runs charters out of Oceanside NY and is an expert at catching almost every saltwater fish in the Long Island Ares, including Striped bass, Tautog, and Summer Flounder.
So what do you look for? You are looking for water that does not have a high exchange rate with the ocean. The ocean is much slower to warm than the bay, and warm water is the primary factor you should look for early in the spring. The whole food chain will wake up first where the water is warmest. It happens every year this way.
Several factors cause water in the bay to warm. Shallow water on the flats will warm quicker than deeper water, with flats having dark sand or mud bottoms warming the fastest. Flats bordered by sod banks that get covered during high tide are also good locations that warm quickly, as do the many drains that criss-cross them. A couple days of warm sun can raise the water temps quickly in areas like these, especially if is not accompanied by wind, which tends to wick off the heat from the upper water column when it gets to blowing.
Lastly, I prefer to have a channel near by. I like flats that border boat channels (or natural channels) because I believe both the bait and the bass use them as highways. This is not a new concept by any stretch, but it is one that seems to hold true for me year after year.
All of these conditions / locations / factors are present in many locations on the northern sides of south shore bays. All you need to do is find them and figure out access to them. What I will say is that there are many prime locations that get completely under-utilized by local fisher-persons, as they travel off to far distant locations to fish. In the west end, there are many local parks on the north side of the bay that are very productive in early spring. Then there is that well known park in Lindenhurst that gets a lot press every spring. Other bays have a multitude of streets that end on the water, little local marinas or dock spaces with parking, abandoned lots, the list goes on. All of these spots can be very productive in the spring, but it takes some investigation to sniff these little gems out, and sometimes it takes a little cat & mouse, or stealth fishing night maneuvers to uncover their true potential.
I’ve always fished almost exclusively at night, but in the spring, this will have no bearing on location. The location is always deep in the bay for me. That’s not to say you can’t catch fish on the beach in the early spring, it’s just that I don’t consider that fishing to be dependable. The beach changes from storm to storm, the structure and bait is never in the same place twice, it just doesn’t repeat itself year-to-year the way bay locations can and do. The conditions and structure in the bay remain fairly stable, year after year, so the bite is far more predictable. And that’s what you want, right?
So let’s put together the factors that get the bite going. The main three things are water temp, bait, and structure, in that order. As the water warms, the microorganisms that fuel the food chain start to bloom. The local resident white bait becomes active and begins to feed on the microorganisms, and the bass shake off the rust and begin to chow down on the white bait. The bass may nose around the mud flats also as a host of bottom fodder wakes up and sticks it collective head out of the mud. This gives rise to two possible approaches to how to catch them. Regardless, warm water is the factor that triggers the whole event and the warmest water will occur during the outgoing, especially late afternoon or evening.
If you fish days, the easiest way to find out if fish are feeding on bottom fodder, or are simply in the area, is to throw out the trusty clam/worm/chunk on a fish-finder and wait a spell. Bait is a tried and true approach to catching early season bass, especially when they haven’t fully recovered from their winter stupor.
Night is my favorite time to fish for spring bass, or any bass for that matter, because there are many times where you will only need your ears to know if the fish are around. If you fish bait at night, you will be very surprised at just how shallow bass will go in search of a meal. I’ve caught them off flats in 3 feet of water, maybe less, with nothing more than underhand lob and was taken off guard at how fast they tracked down the bait. This is “quiet” fishing, so keep the lights and noise off.
Once the spring gets going, let’s say around late April, the fish are actively feeding and have long since shaken off the rust. The white bait bite kicks in around this time in many of places I fish, and when the bass are on white bait, your ears will let you know if they are around. The reason for this is that warm water is lighter that cold water, with the warmest at the top of the water column. And this is where the food chain will be. The white bait can be varied in size at this time of year in most locations. I don’t know what governs this for sure, although it probably has to do with breeding cycles and whatnot. What I do know is that sometimes the forage is small and other times, not as small.
So if you are hearing a lot of happy slappy’s, put the clam away and break out the small profiles. Bass on a spring white bait bite can get pretty specific in what they’ll hit, so bring a variety of small slender profiles to the party. This is teaser territory and there have been many nights when it was the only profile they would hit. I almost always start a 5 ¼” SS needlefish or Bomber Long-A, and the bass’ preference can change from night to night. A small bucktail with #70 rind is also a good choice as is small slender rubber bodied baits, but for the simple reason of how they cast, and how well they catch, I mostly stick with the SS needle. And if I move to teaser, I’ll go to a larger SS needle as the launch vehicle.
Although bunker show early in the spring, there are usually not too many good-sized fish around at that time. Bigger fish show up en-masse by the end of May and into June. By then, the bunker have typically settled into many of their traditional spots and will draw those bigger fish to them. But that is a different story for another time.
In this episode, Anthony Gucciardo sits down with Matt Broderick,
Listen to George Scocca as he talks about the whispers he’s heard of a saltwater fishing license in New York State. He also pranks a local tackle shop owner, talks about the Ward Melville High School Show and describes how www.nyangler.com is now powered by Alexa. You can listen to our podcasts and get the current NYS fishing regulations, simply by asking Alexa.