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Nov 19 2008

Northeast Fishing Reports: NY, NJ, RI, MASS, CT, MA and NH Fishing Reports: Updated November 19, 2008

Published by at 9:50 pm under Fishing Reports,Northeast Fishing Reports

WRAPPING IT ALL UP
I never really understood the majority of anglers’ behavior this time of the year.  While the fishing gets better, folks begin to drop out.  Boats are being shrink-wrapped, and gear is being stowed while the peanut-bunker amass and the feeding activity increases.  I suppose there is the “freezing-your-arse-off” factor, which indeed can make things less fun, particularly when it’s windy.  But there are still those gem days where the wind sits down, the water is glass and the air temp stays in the high 50’s.  And those are the primo striped bass days.  The ones where you can watch fish chasing down menhaden on the surface and where one can stick 20-plus pound bass with some frequency on topwaters…  Yeah man, I live for those days.

Of course, as an angler, it’s always a good thing to have less folks on the water.   Despite increasing fuel prices and an ailing economy, the boat traffic was as bad as it’s ever been this year.  Thus, savoring the late fall days and the drastically reduced crowds certainly adds to the experience.  Yep…  I love the late fall.   Yet, because of the reduction in effort, the reports are growing sparse.   Thus, this will be the last one for 2008.

I wouldn’t call this season a bad one (unless of course I fished exclusively in Maine) but indeed it was strange.   Some localized pods of bass in extraordinary numbers, but not much of a distribution.  And the patterns from prior years seem to dissipate with each season.    I’m not sure what that’s about.  Perhaps climate change?  Perhaps a shift in ocean currents, or bait patters?  There are just so many variables in marine ecosystems that I sometimes think my brain is too small to fully grasp all of them.  Being on the Mid Atlantic Fishery Management Council’s Ecosystems Committee, I’ve just received a 500-page document on the subject that I’m sure will leave me more confused than ever.  Can’t wait to dive into that one.  Even the scientists it seems are having a hard time with the new Magnuson mandated ecosystem management.  Species to species relationships are difficult to comprehend, especially since they take place underwater and out of sight to the naked eye.   Indeed there is much work ahead for managers and marine biologists.

May folks use such uncertainty in fish stocks and ecosystem relationships to advocate for more harvest.  In other words, the party line for some fishing advocates is “the data is bad so don’t make the fishing industry suffer.”  That’s a philosophy I was never able to swallow.  Time has taught us that such action never works out to the benefit of fish and fishermen.  One needn’t look any farther than New England’s collapsing groundfish stocks for a good example.  Prudent management dictates taking a precautionary approach when the data is uncertain (which is quite often).  The new Magnuson even dictates such precautionary management be utilized.  Sure it may cause some short-term pain, but in the long run it will more-than-likely benefit the industry.

Fishing Reports

New York Fishing Reports, New Jersey Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Fishing Reports, Connecticut Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Fishing Reports,Maine Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Fishing Reports, Northeast Fishing Reports, Northeast Saltwater Fishing Reports, New York Saltwater Fishing Reports, New Jersey Saltwater Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing Reports, Connecticut Saltwater Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Reports,Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing Reports, New York Striped Bass Fishing Reports, New Jersey Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Connecticut Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Striped Bass Fishing Reports,Maine Striped Bass Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Northeast Striped Bass Fishing ReportsDespite some good reports from the back country, not the best fall run in New Jersey so far, but keep in mind that this is just the beginning for those guys.   Expect Nov and Dec to be their best months.  Some pretty  good bass blitzes in the New York Bite area this week, but the storm messed things up for a bit.  Jamaica Bay had a very good, albeit brief run of good-sized bass feeding aggressively on the surface.  That was quite fun while it lasted.  Still, I expect we haven’t seen the last of it.  My guess is that the fish will be back there strong again this week.  Some disbursed action under the birds in Raritan and on the ocean side.  Mostly schoolies though.  Same sort of situation across the island.  Lots of schoolie action on the North Shore as well.  The schoolie blitzes are still taking place in Montauk, but still no sign of the big fish.  One has to wonder where all the big fish are this year.  Rhode Island, Connecticut and Mass had what most consider to be a substandard fall.  And Maine, well, by now we all know what kind of season Maine had.  According to reports the fall was just as bad as the rest of the season.   Oh, I almost forgot, some confirmed sightings of inshore bluefin off of Montauk.   And off of the Cape, I’m hearing there are lots of targetable bluefin and that they are eating quite well.  Go get’em!

New Jersey Fishing Reports

Capt. Bryan DiLeo of Iowa Fortune Guide Service checks in with this Ocean City/Atlantic City Report:

“Despite the winds last week the fishing continues to be red hot in fact the fishing action jumped a level as we fished right through the Gale warning forecasts of last week. As the past few weeks have shown, the Bass continue to pour into the southern NJ back country offering the best fishing so far this season. Even though the Bass are plentiful they are very selective in what the want and how they want it, all top water one day all subsurface the next and never the twain shall meet.  On the Fly or on Spinning tackle the Bass have been responding extremely well offering clients shots at tightly packed schools as they make their way through the sloughs, down the edges and across the skinniest shallows on their journey south.   Tailing, waking, sipping Bass, laied up, my anglers really have seen it all over this past month but since Halloween there has been some real trophy double digit bass holding in the backcountry. With water temperatures hitting the sweet spot of 49-53 degrees the Bass are focused, on the feed and tracking very predictably allowing us to stay on single schools of Bass for up to 3 hours at times. All the Bass thus far this fall have been very healthy with this weeks fish all ranging in size from 24″ to 36” but I got to say to hook up with these bigger Bass it has been all about presentation.  So in all we continue to move full steam ahead as we hit the peak of the Shallow water season and the action should continue to just get better as the days go by. 

The 2008 fall run has gone into high gear.  Striped bass have invaded local waters and at times fishing is so good it’s downright silly!  But who’s complaining?  Sunday 11/2, Dr. Ron Mizrahi and I had to wait until the morning’s nor’easter passed before getting out.  But when we did it was birds and fish all afternoon!    Monday 11/3, I started out by myself and on the morning’s incoming tide fishing was good with birds working over schoolie bass and big blues.  But when the tide turned it just got silly with fish breaking all around the boat and crease flies, clousers and small plastic jigs were slamming fish after fish.  Dr. Ralph Moseri joined me for an hour and a half during which he landed 10 fish! Most bass have been banter weights but there are enough bigger stripers mixed in to make things interesting.  A fresh crop of bigger fish was reported moving into Jamaica Bay and this can only bode well for the rest of the season.”

Capt. Robin Calitri from longislandflyfishing.com checks in with this North Shore/East End report.  Check it out:
“It ain’t over!!!  There are bass and blues all over the North Shore.  The blackfishing is wonderful for the winter table fare and Montauk is smokin’.  I can never figure out why people quit fishing during November when there is so much fun to be had. On Oct. 27 Joel, Karen and Charlie Weiss had a wonderful session with surface feeding blues off Eaton’s Neck.  Karen took high honors with a hard fighting 8 pound blue. Saturday, Nov. 1 had Jim DelGrosso and Stu Hochron in the midst of blitz after blitz of Montauk Point.  Some schools were all blues to about 10 pounds, some all bass to 28 inches and many of the schools were mixed.  There were also rumors of tuna in close but we saw none.  This tuna thing meshes with a report that I got from son Scot that there were tons of tuna off Jeffries and Stewegon Bank in Mass.  They will move south and I hope to get them on their way.  Monday November 3 and Wednesday November 5 had CSICAGAIN plying the waters off Cold Spring Harbor thanks to a tip from Mr. and Mrs. Don Vogel.  It has been birds, bass and blues for Joe, Spinella, Mitch Bernstein, Emory Jr. and Emory Butts.  There are a nice amount of keepers if  you are patient and fish a large, gaudy fly deep as you see the marks on your fishfinder.  The Vogel-Weiss group is scheduled for the 14th and there should be plenty of action.  Thanksgiving weekend should be a Sound blackfish and Montauk madness finale to great season.   As a way of saying thank you I will offer these years prices to anyone who books now for next season.  I have enjoyed fishing with some great people in some interesting situations this year.  Giant storms caused some challenging boat handling off Montauk. Flying Jeff’s almost disaster at North Bar. Fishing in the lee of Gardiners with Hank and Sophocles when the Redbone was cancelled.  Working with Capt. John and Danielle McMurray for Trout Unlimited.  Landing a duo with Captain Vinny Catelano of 16 and 29 pounds on the fly. North Shore Bonito and Emory’s 11 pound weakfish.  Working with some very accomplished and generous fellow guides.   Fishing with my sons Todd and Scot.  Have a great off season and see you in the spring.

Capt. David Blinken from North Flats Guiding Service checks in with a Montauk report:

“The water temps have dropped into the lower 50’s which will hopefully bring in larger bait.
There are still many anchovies around from Gardner’s Island to Montauk point and peanut bunker are showing up in larger numbers.  As usual this time of year we have weather dictating when we can go out which ends up being about 3 days a week.  It seems like the bass will be sticking around for a while, so if you can avoid looking at the stock market and taking time to reflect on recent history in our country, there is nothing like a little fishing before ice forms in our guides.  2009 is just around the corner and we as a group have a lot of work to do in the coming months to protect the bass. We need to organize better, go to meetings and make our voices heard, and hit our foes in there wallet to let them know we are serious about fisheries management.   Remember to release those bass and keep up the fight.”


Capt. Jim Hull from Light Tackle Challenge checks in with this end of the year report:

“This season has been spectacular so far with some of the best action yet to come. Started on May 1 with our first cast yielding a 20lb. bass and the second a 30lb.class fish to set the tone. Big fish were plentiful in shallow water early on and then on structure during the summer months. Many personal bests were achieved on both fly and light tackle including David Schrader taking a 51″ beauty, Toyooki Sonoda with a 46″ fish and even my best on fly of 48.25″. For the last 2 months we have experienced an incredible mass of 6yr. old bass that are still here at Montauk on copious amounts of anchovies on this November 5. Bigger bait is showing now as well under diving Gannets with the start of larger bass. Thanks to all my sports that help make this year the best ever and a peaceful winter. See you all and maybe some new acquaintances next season.”

Capt. Ken Rafferty from flyfishingslatwater.com also checks in with a final Montauk report.  Check it out:

“This will most likely be my last fishing report for this season although the fishing at Montauk Point is fantastic. There are schools of Stripers as far as you can see blitzing on the surface, sometimes right on the shoreline. These Stripers are mixed in with some Bluefish but usually one Blue for every three Stripers. The size of these Bass are usually around 27 inches long. There have been some larger fish landed but the water temp is still in the low 60s and the migration has not yet begun. There are no Mackerel or Herring schooling up, just Sand Eels, Bay Anchovies and Minnows. I am considering taking my boat out of water but would sure like to hit into some of those big sized Striper blitzes.

Since my last report, I have been out on eleven charters…all in the afternoons.
OCTOBER: 20th, 21st, 22nd, 23rd We had large swells and couldn’t get next to the shore lines but still had Stripers out in deeper water.
The 26th, 27th and 31st I fished mornings and afternoons……..afternoons were much better.
On Oct 31st…. John Mannix was on board, fly-fishing. In near Oyster Pond, he stated he had never seen Stripers swimming shoulder to shoulder as far as far as you looked, swallowing mouth-fulls of bait…..they were so thick you could have walked on them and it has been that way just about everyday since.
NOVEMBER 1st, 3rd and 4th…..afternoons from 1:00 pm till 5:00 pm with non-stop action…….get out there and catch some fish.
Once again I’d like to thank all of my regular customers and all of the new anglers that have fished with me this season…it’s been great fishing with all of you. I wish all of you a great Holiday season and a very Happy New Year and I hope to see all of you again next year.”

David Azar from Live to Fish Charters reports:
The 2008 fall run has gone into high gear.  Striped bass have invaded local waters and at times fishing is so good it’s downright silly!  But who’s complaining?  Sunday 11/2, Dr. Ron Mizrahi and I had to wait until the morning’s nor’easter passed before getting out.  But when we did it was birds and fish all afternoon!    Monday 11/3, I started out by myself and on the morning’s incoming tide fishing was good with birds working over schoolie bass and big blues.  But when the tide turned it just got silly with fish breaking all around the boat and crease flies, clousers and small plastic jigs were slamming fish after fish.  Dr. Ralph Moseri joined me for an hour and a half during which he landed 10 fish! Most bass have been banter weights but there are enough bigger stripers mixed in to make things interesting.  A fresh crop of bigger fish was reported moving into Jamaica Bay and this can only bode well for the rest of the season.  We will keep fishing until Dec. 15th…or the weather dumps on us.  To all those that fished with me this year thanks for your continued support and I look forward to fishing with you again.

New England Fishing Reports

Capt. Greg Snow from Snowfly Charters checks in with this Cape Cod/Florida report:

“I fished with my good friend Bill Murphy from Murphy’s Fly Box at  Cape Cod Bay on the 17th.  We were looking for some Blue fin tuna on spinning tackle and boy did we find’em.  Bill and I spent a few hours looking around the usual haunts and dragger fishing boats with not much luck.  We got some great intel from a good friend that was also taking advantage of the Indian summer day.  He told us that fish were busting bait only about 3 miles from our location.  Enough said!  Throttle pegged, we ran through the glassy 4-7 foot ground swell that was more reminiscent of an amusement park ride under the windless conditions.  Just 2 miles into the run we spotted some seriously large surface explosions that were unmistakably Blue fin tuna.  100-200 pound fish blowing up on the surface of glass calm conditions will burn a fiery brand into your fishing memory bank forever.  The best analogy I can give you is that its like some guy is throwing out  his old kitchen appliances from a plane at 8000 feet.  We stopped and started our drift while casting our plugs into the middle of the very spread out school.  Our hearts were pounding uncontrollably in anticipation of a thunderous strike from one of these big critters.  Then it happened.  3 to 5 fish erupted about 100 feet off the port side and Bill made a sniperlike cast dead center into the raucous.  As Bill vigorously worked his supper sized popper back to the boat there were at least 2 tunas in hot pursuit with one of them pushing 200 pounds!    THWAP!!  He’s on!  The fish made a short run and sounded making it a brutal, vertical, hour plus long battle that  ended with about a 120 pound fish in the boat.  Boy, I’m sure glad that larger fish didn’t get a hold of Bill’s popper first.  It would have been a whole different scenario hooked up with such a large fish.  The activity had dissipated and we had a 20 mile run back to port.  It was already 2:30pm so unfortunately it was to late for me to get a shot at a fish as well.  I was very content with what the day had brought so we headed home in what was now a 15-20 knot stiff breeze right in our face.  Great…  Bill’s litle 18′ Hydrasport handled it surprisingly well. Needless to say it was an epic trip that left Bill and I with a great memory and a freezer full of Blue fin tuna.  O darn!” 

Capt. Dave Rimmer checks in with this final report from Newburyport:

“There is no question that the 2008 fishing season for striped bass and bluefish in the Newburyport-Plum Island-Ipswich Bay Area had some shining moments but on balance, the fishing was considerably less productive than it had been for 10+ years. In essence, 2008 continued a slow decline that has been developing over the past 3-4 years in this area. Perhaps the most conspicuous change has been the declining numbers of striped bass during the fall run. This year there was plenty of bait around but very inconsistent and lower numbers of bass feeding on it. Fishing started off well in May, with seemingly healthy numbers of fish pushing up into the warmer waters of the estuaries and rivers like the Parker and the Merrimack. The bait was a mix of mid-sized and large herring and stripers into the mid-40 inch range were mixed in with the schools. It was excellent fishing.  June was a mixed bag across our area. Weather was tough at times as well. The Merrimack River started to produce big fish in early June but not as many of them. And they were being caught more upriver and in the channel. As usual, schoolies were often feeding on the surface at the river mouth on small sand eels. Sometimes this action was epic and more than once a 20 pound fish was pulled out of a school of breaking bass out there. Joppa Flats did not get going until mid-June and even then it was erratic. I do recall one day when a bright mid-morning sun was shining on the backs of literally hundreds of stripers in several schools, all fish 30-45+ inches. It was a challenge to spot these schools believe it or not but if you could line up a cast into them, it was money. It was an amazing site and something I have not seen anywhere else but Joppa Flats.  By July, the surface feeding bass at the mouth of the Merrimack were starting to slow down but Joppa Flats remained very good on certain tides. I had one of my best days ever in late July, landing 8 stripers from 34-40 inches in a 2 hour block of time in the early morning. But in general the estuary fishing, usually reliable through July, really shut down. Some of my guide friends were struggling to catch a half dozen schoolies per trip! And bluefish were nowhere to be found. So for many, July was a very poor fishing month. Even the rocks off Cape Ann were slow I heard.  Typically August arrives and brings bait with it, mostly silversides and small herring, even peanut bunker later in the month some years. Well some of the bait came (no pb this year) but not many stripers and spotty bluefish. August was very very tough fishing. The better days were not even that good.  So we hoped that things were just delayed and would improve in September but it never really broke open. Fishing was better for sure and bluefish became more abundant. There were some very good days mixed in and you could generally find some fish in the estuaries, but seemingly a lot less than recent years had produced. The fall run just never developed. Certainly there were a few good slots and I know some highliner-types who were trolling dead herring and live eels were getting big fish off the front side of Plum Island, but those fish were almost impossible for the average angler to catch. They would not take a fly or lure in most cases. Missing were the big schools of 3-7 year old bass busting bait on the surface. October was more of the same and by months end the fishing season was over for most of us.  I have heard many explanations about why fishing in the northeast was down this year. A Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries biologist claimed the bait stayed off the mid-Atlantic states and never came north so the bass and blues stayed with them. I hope that is true. I also fish in Maine 10-15 times a year and this year was the poorest fishing I can remember in 20 years there. Many are concerned that over-fishing and poor recruitment are contributing to the lower numbers of bass seen in the northeast in 2008. I guess only time will tell. On a scale of 1-10, I give the 2008 fishing season in the Newburyport area a 6, and that may be generous.”

That’s all for 2008.  Hope to see you back in 2009. 

Captain John McMurray, One More Cast Charters, New York Fishing Reports, New Jersey Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Fishing Reports, Connecticut Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Fishing Reports,Maine Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Fishing Reports, Northeast Fishing Reports, Northeast Saltwater Fishing Reports, New York Saltwater Fishing Reports, New Jersey Saltwater Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing Reports, Connecticut Saltwater Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Reports,Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing Reports, New York Striped Bass Fishing Reports, New Jersey Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Rhode Island Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Connecticut Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Massachusetts Striped Bass Fishing Reports,Maine Striped Bass Fishing Reports, New Hampshire Striped Bass Fishing Reports, Northeast Striped Bass Fishing Reports

Capt. John McMurray

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