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.
In this thread I will show what irregular reel breakdowns/cleanouts/re-lubrications lead to, for reels that are heavily used in the salt water environment. I receive LOTS of reels in for service, or tuning upgrades, most of which I’ve serviced before. I’m a little picky as to which/who’s reels I’ll work on, as I’ve learned over the years that for what I work for (basically free labor in most cases, just the cost of parts), its not worth hours of my time to have to undo the effects of a poor maintenance regime.
The reels I’ll show in this thread are owned by guys I know and in some cases fish with, who will remain nameless, basically because I like them all. A lot. But that’s no excuse for not following the maintenance schedule that in most cases they themselves have asked for. Oh well, I can only make recommendations, its up to them to make it happen.
For the most part the reels that I normally see are actually engineered for FW use. Oh sure, a manufacturer slaps a few "Corrosion Resistant" bearings in some of them and calls them SW-safe, but that’s really not the case, as the following will show. Reels of this type include all the Abu Revos and Revo Toros, the popular Daiwa Zillions, Lexas and Lunas, all the many Shimano low-pros and Calcutta variations and of course last but not least all, and I mean ALL of the Abu round reels – which happen to be my "Speciality," as Inspector Clouseau liked to say.
The first reel is a doozy. A formerly gorgeous Daiwa Lexa 300PWR that gets fished hard and put away wet, inside the damp cabin of the owner’s boat, no less. I do not doubt that it gets a rinse after every trip, but this is simply not enough, given the use and storage that it endures. This reel was almost completely locked up, and the free-spool was basically non-existent – the spool barely turned at all. Normally I would reject such a mess, telling the owner that its best to send it back to the manufacturer for overhaul, or more probably, scrapping. But this reel is owned by a friend of a close friend, who asked that I give it a shot before shipping it off to Diawa. O.K., so I’ll give it my best effort.
When I get into a reel, especially a low-profile, I always begin with the left side plate – really, the one on the opposite side of the reel from the handle. My thinking is that any mechanisms inside that side plate are relatively simple to service and are not normally exposed to the same large amount of SW intrusion as the components inside the handle/gearbox side. Umm, sometimes not. Take a look.
So what we have here is a reel that was put into service straight out of the box, running only the "factory original" lubrication – and its easy to see the outcome. A severely rotted magnetic braking system and "corrosion resistant" spool bearing. Nice stuff, no? The magnetic system was toast, no saving it, so out it came. No need for it anyway, as the user doesn’t use this reel for casting. The left side spool bearing was removed (no small task, as the stainless outer race was rot-welded to the aluminium side plate. Soaked first in WD-40, then degreased with automotive brake cleaner, then blown out with compressed air, and finally re-lubed with a few drops of 3-In-One oil. A spin-up revealed that the bearing, while slightly noisier than a new version, was serviceable. A cleanup of the rest of that side plate, and good to go. Normally I would use Reel-X on a friend’s bearing, or TSI-321 if I KNEW he was diligent about his maintenance, but not in this case, the heavier 3-In-One will provide better corrosion control, at the expensive of a slightly "slower" free spool – a non-factor in this case as this reel is intended for bottom fishing, with fairly significant sinker weights.
Next up was the handle – just removing the handle nut cover screw cleanly was a minor miracle. Usually, if not hit with a SW-proof lube prior to beginning SW fishing, that screw, being made of chromed brass or stainless steel, will galvanically weld itself to the much less "Noble" aluminum handle shank. Some people incorrectly refer to this type of corrosion as "electrolysis," but that is the wrong term for this type of deterioration. In this case, using two different screwdriver sizes, I was able to get that tiny screw out of the handle. That almost NEVER happens.
Here’s what it looks like when no lube is schmeared on the handle shank, before locking down the brass handle nut:
Not super horrible, right? removing that nasty milky stuff however reveals some serious degrading of the aluminum. To separate this particular reel’s handle from the drive shaft was no easy task. It had chemically welded itself onto the brass shaft – and to remove it I had to use a mechanic’s steel punch and large screwdriver’s handle as a "hammer" to drive the shaft down and out of the messed up handle’s hole. My buddy was shocked at the violence it took – as his reels are flawlessly maintained and never need this sort of triage. Actually he was stunned by the entire cleanup process. Such a nice, but somewhat naive guy he is.
Anyway, salt water has penetrated the anodizing and attacked the aluminum of the handle. Not much can be done about this, other than cleaning up the crud and squirting down the damage with WD-40, and then wiping it all off with a brake cleaner-soaked towel. If done so, it normally ends up like this:
A thick coating of Yamaha marine grease will provide raw aluminum protection – on re-assembly:
Time to get into the gearbox – the guts of the reel. There are four screws that secure the right side plate to the frame. Again, using a combination of different types of screwdrivers, and some fairly substantial hits to the top of the screwdrivers to loosen the screws in their bores, they all came out without major drama. Normally side plate screws in a reel that’s in this kind of poor shape will strip while attempting removal. This then requires carefully drilling them out on my office’s mill, followed by re-tapping, utilizing a set of metric micro taps that I keep around for such nastiness. But Praise the Lord, these came out without incident.
End Part One
In this episode, our host, George Scocca discusses what it’s like to go on a 16-day offshore trips on the Excelle, out of San Diego, Eyeglass Joe, with a current report and a look at what the future of the Bluefin tuna might be. Add to that, his crazy Regulations and Fishing and Relationships clips and you have everything you’d expect from an New York angler itching for tight lines!