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Jul 24 2009

Northeast Saltwater Fly Fishing and Light Tackle Fishing Reports: Updated July 24 2009

Published by at 7:03 pm under Fishing Reports,Northeast Fishing Reports

philhigh1_1Welcome to the 2009 Northeast saltwater fishing reports, better late then never as some say. Capt. John McMurray will not doing the fishing reports on the Lateral Line Blog this year. Between his time commitment needed for his duties at his recent appointment to the Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Counsel and the recent addition of twins to he and his wife’s responsibilities, things are a little crazy around his house. Capt. John will still be providing us with weekly reports from his home waters in and around Jamaica Bay, NY, but you have me as your host. I will be publishing this report weekly until the end of November and we will begin again in the spring of 2010.  I cannot promise to rant as much as Capt. John, but I will try to preface the reports each week with some sort of fisheries news, information, and comments from the Northeast. If you have something you think I should cover, please shoot me an email. The Governor of Maryland recently appointed me to the Maryland Sport Fish Advisory Commission and as part of our monthly meeting we are briefed not only on Maryland sport fish advisory things, but also what is going on coast wide.  I will try to bring anything I find as interesting to this report. (image courtesy of Capt. Phil Cronin from Capawock Charters out of Martha’s Vineyard, see below for his full report. You can click on most all the pictures and if there is a bigger version they will pop up in a new window)

If you are a fishing captain or guide from the northeast and would like your report included please drop me an email and I will let you know the details so we can get you included. I also want to thank all our saltwater fishing guides who have returned from last year and will be providing reports. Please remember that all the guides that supply fishing reports for this report on a consistent basis have their links listed on the right hand side alphabetically under their home waters state; please visit their sites and support their businesses when you can.

One last thing, you will find that these reports mainly concentrate on saltwater light tackle and fly fishing for striped bass, bluefish, and false albacore. This is probably more then anything because that is what Capt John does as well as myself. Where and when possible I will do my best to cover other methods and other species such as fluke and offshore for yellow and blue fin tuna. I think you will find that the light tackle and fly guides will give you a good pulse on that is going on.

Now that we have all that out of the way, let’s roll.

Northeast Saltwater Fisheries News
The buzz in the northeast fishing world this week seems to be coming from Massachusetts where a bill has recently been drafted to make Striped Bass a game fish. Stripers Forever is heading up this initiative and this week has been asking for support from all anglers to write the Massachusetts legislators expressing that you support this bill. If you fish these waters, even if you are not a resident, and support this initiative visit the Stripers Forever website to learn what you can do to voice your opinion.

Northeast Saltwater Fishing Reports
*note the northeast fishing reports work their way up the coast from south to north starting with New Jersey.

New Jersey Saltwater Fishing Reports
The Beach Haven Charter Boat Association reported in from Beach Haven:
Despite water temperatures that have been changing as much as 10 degrees from one day to the next, the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been putting together some nice catches.

Captain Adam Nowalsky of the “Karen Ann II” sailing from Great Bay Marina
reports continued good weather and catching for anglers in southern Ocean County. Fluke continue to migrate out of the bays, with mostly smaller fish remaining in the bay. He says the majority of the keeper sized fluke are now coming from the ocean. The sea bass bite is dominated by sub-legal fish. This is a good sign for the future.

Virginia’s fleet of menhaden reduction boats were off Long Beach Island last week, working their way back south.  If you see a fleet of a half dozen larger commercial boats with smaller sets of boats around them and a spotter plane flying overhead, give them a wide berth because they don’t have much courtesy for the recreational
fishermen while setting their purse seine nets.

In fishing highlights, Captain Adam said the Bender family from Bethlehem, Pa. led by 7-year old Luke ”The Boaterman” had a nice catch of big black sea bass. Another day he had a group of Seton Hall Alumni for “A Day With The Pirates.” They had a good catch of mostly black sea bass with Jerry Walker leading the way.

Captain Dave Wittenborn of the “Compass Rose” found his fluke bite slowing with west winds and accompanying cooler water temperatures. Captain Dave solved that problem by fishing offshore some 8 miles where the deeper water was warmer. He said it was “Drop and reel” with a lot of shorts, but some real nice sea bass up to 5-pounds.

Last week’s fishing was inconsistent for Captain Frank Camarda and the “Miss Beach Haven.” A lot has to do with water temperatures and the amount of grass and seaweed in the water. On the ocean trips there have been some jumbo sea bass up to 4 lbs and fluke to 6-pounds. Nina from Bordentown was Saturday’s pool winner with a 6-pounder. Sunday’s conditions were poor most of the morning, and they concentrated on sea bass until a breeze arrived and the fluke started to bite. High hook was Tom Hook from Manahawkin.with 3 nice size fluke and a couple of sea bass. Pool winner today was the duke of fluke himself, Ted Alves of Mount Holly, with a 5-pound fluke.

New York Saltwater Fishing Reports
john2_stripedbassCapt. John McMurray from one More Cast Fishing Charters reported in this with this hot report from in and around Jamaica Bay area:
Going off…  In July?  Yeah man…  It’s been good.  Usually July is what we’d consider a slow month here, but during the last week we’ve had solid blitz action off the beach.  A body of fish, most of which are in the 30-plus inch range, seem to have followed schools of butterfish and squid in.  Each morning we’ve been turning the corner to find fish blasting schools of butterfish. They’re eating flies, plugs and jigs, but we’ve been getting most of our larger fish (up to 36”) on poppers.  When they are blitzing like that you could pretty much throw anything at them though.  The blitz thing has been dying once the sun comes up and the knucklheads come out and run their boats over the birds.  But there has been a consistent pick of fish on some of the shallow bars, and there are some fish right around keeper size up against some of the better known structure.  We’ve been doing quite well throwing poppers and scoring quality fish on just about every trip. There have been some sight-fishing opportunities on the back side of Breezy also, but it hasn’t been consistent, and usually when the forces of nature align, I’ve been stuck with the larger boat.  That’s because, as of late we’ve been focusing our energy gearing up to run offshore.  Unfortunately, every time we’re scheduled to go, the weather ends up not allowing for it.  Frustrating, but that’s the way the offshore thing works.  That said, we’ve run into some skipjack and bonito about 15 to 20 miles out before the wind has forced us to turn around and come back in.  While these fish aren’t in great numbers and thus are hard to target with fly or spin gear, their appearance leads me to believe that we’ll see them in real solid numbers in our inshore waters shortly.  So stay tuned and we’ll let ya know what’s happening on that front.  In the meantime, as I mentioned, the inshore fishing aint bad…  At least not for this time of the year.  And if you’re down with livelining bunker, there’s a ton of it out there and during those days I’ve been fishing solo, I’ve been doing pretty well with the larger bass.  So, give us a ring if you want to get out. Until next week, catch’em up! Capt. John McMurray

Capt. David Blinken of North Flats Guide Service fishing out of East Hampton, NY reported in:
As the summer fishing approaches it’s mid point we are seeing typical conditions. Smaller and fewer bass, with typical picky eating habbits. Fortunately, there are still a few larger fish around to keep things interesting. There has been an unusual lack of bluefish, which by now should be filling in the blanks this time of year. Lack of bait might have something to do with that.
When one can find the blues they have been large and more than willing to please.

This weeks highlights were a 18 lb blue in a foot of water and a 31 inch bass caught on a 6wt rod using a size 6 shrimp pattern. There were peanut bunker around last week on the outer bays but they have gone way up into the Peconics There is a smattering of sand eels and spearing  around with some shrimp in for good measure. Till next week, tight lines, David Blinken

b5_stripedbassCapt Brendan Mccarthy from Urban Fly Guides checked in with this report from in and around the New York City area:
Now, on to the local fishing I have been doing…  Had a nice past 4 days. Fished JBay Friday with Bruce from Nebraska. Nothing very big but pretty steady action on a super nice day. His first stripers ever, which is always cool. Saturday sightfished with Jim Hirsch in Peconic/Gardiners. Great weather, lotta fish to cast at, not a ton of eats. Good fun though. Sunday with Chef Kerry Heffernan. Cloudy till 10, amazing till 3 and then blowing 20 plus after that. Managed a bit more than a handful with sight fishing. 32 incher biggest. Cool take and all, as Kerry did a great job leaving the fly where the fish could get it(most people, myself included, would have recast the fly and spooked him) He kept just jumping the crab fly off the bottom and the fish didn’t seem to be able to find it. Once we landed it, you    can see why. Had a big Green crab in its throat and was blind in one eye. Kinda related to the guy as that is how I have been    feeling with no sleep lately!

Bill Canavan and his brother Gerry came to fish Gardiners on Monday and had the most beautiful weather I have seen all year. Problem is there was not that many fish around. Ended up with only about 10 shots and very picky fish with it being so calm. Wind really kicked up at 2pm or so. Got an easy 15 pounder in a foot of water on a pink sluggo. Threw it as a goof and it hammered it and ran for the channel. Almost spooled a light spin reel but got’em back to the boat and the “Hook” pulled. very hot fish. So I bitch about bad weather all of June, now it has been perfect and I don’t really see the fish?!?!?!? Lata,Capt Brendan McCarthy

PS Check out this photo I took of the Brooklyn sunset from out of my sunroof on the BQE, it totally got a cool shot of the little striper I have on my Car Antenna. Very weird!!

Yea Brendan, hot shot. Readers, you find it at the end of the reports at the bottom of the page, I thought it was cool to end with it.

Capt. Chris Hessert from Manhattan Fly Charters reports in from the New York City Area:
Ran off shore again…warmer water but still room to move up. 2AM Sunday departure…talk about running without headlights! wow! pitch black once open water… really need a high powered beam out there. Regular lights just make it more difficult to see so I just shut’em down.    Set the spread about 4:30, covered Shark reef, south to the Little Italy out to Monster Ledge and the Mud Hole. Green water and very clear, good amount of life, 6 Fin back Whales and 4 turtles and plenty of bait….alot of peanut bunker on the surface. really need the water to turn cobalt blue from this light green. Did manage to get the “stink off the boat” with a decent sized Bonito. Radio chatter was below average. Reports came in in the afternoon some large fish in 150 class were taken about another 20 miles southeast, thats the next stop given an opening in the weather…that will be about 140 miles round trip! and even more incredible! gas, at my marina came down 30 cents! a good omen!.

Connecticut Saltwater Fishing Reports
sandy1_stripedbassCapt. Sandy Noyes from Rum Runner Guide Service reported in from in and around Stonington:
This was kind of a typical mid summers week for fishing. Thirteen year old Joe brought up his Uncle Sean for a days fishing on Sunday. There were a few fish to be found but we had to work very hard to get them to take a fly. The good news is that they are of a fairly decent size. They are still chasing small herring and some small squid. The rest of the week wasn’t much better. There are fish but you have to work for them. Capt. Sandy

Rhode Island Saltwater Fishing Reports
Capt. Mike Duclos from Tiderunner Charters reported in from Long Island Sound from the Watch Hill reefs of Rhode Island to Orient Point, New York area:
Hit or miss have been the mode for the past week, one day the fish are visible and feeding, the next the water seems almost sterile with the absence of birds and fish on the surface. Stripers have definitely moved into summer mode, so a little more effort is needed to hook up. Reports of the tiny shrimp hatches that frustrate so many anglers have started this week in the Watch Hill area; catching the Stripers slurping them necessitates using a very small dead drifted tan to grey fly in a size 8. It can be frustrating but when you get the rhythm it can be very successful. Bluefish on the top first thing in the morning at the mouth of the Thames and also in the Race near the Middle, they are not particularly picky but sometimes hard to stay on as they chase the bait. They are feeding on small bunker and sand eels, watch the terns to see the size of the bait they are picking off the surface. Have a great week and tight lines to all. Capt. Mike Duclos

Massachusetts Saltwater Fishing Reports
Capt. Phil Cronin from Capawock Charters out of Martha’s Vineyard send us this hot report:
philhigh4_4Just when you think it’s over…In my last weekly fishing report I suggested that perhaps we had entered the “tween time” when the bass fishing slows down. Well you would never know it from this past week. The bass fishing was fabulous. Not everywhere but in one particular area on the north shore of the island we hit the jackpot. Acres of linesiders feasting on juvenile herring and friendly to both light tackle and fly rodding.
The action we found lasted hours and was as good as any bass blitz I have seen. The feeding frenzy went on all week but you had to be there at certain stages on the tide to really get in on the action. Thousands of birds and twice as many bass dining on hundreds of thousands of herring made for one hell of week. I took three different groups to the same area and all scored well, returning to the dock with sore arms and happy faces.

The bass in the blitzes were not huge but on light tackle and fly the 24 to 34 inch fish gave an exciting and challenging fight. Doubling and tripling up were not uncommon. It was a charter captain’s dream to have such action by experienced and inexperienced anglers alike. I don’t know how much longer this will last but if it ends today I am only glad I had the opportunity to participate in such a great bite.

phil3_stripedbassEarlier in the season I mentioned that my spinning lure of choice this year has been the 6” Arkansas Shiner Slugo. It has been without a doubt the best producing slugo I have ever used. The terrific likeness to our sand eels in both coloration and shape has made it irresistible to bass. The reason I mention it now is that I had the privilege of taking out a VIP from Arkansas this week. Steve was a wonderful angler and handled all aspects of fishing for Vineyard stripers with enthusiasm and professionalism. When I told him we were going to use a plastic lure called the Arkansas Shiner, he beamed with excitement. After catching double digit numbers of bass his look of joy turned to a look of pride as he realized just how good the lure named for his own state was. I gave him a fresh new one to take home to Arkansas and brag about. I’m sure his wife, the Senior Senator from Arkansas will find equal pride in it.

Two Atlantic bonito have been landed by different captains in the last couple of days. Both were in near shore waters off the eastern tip of the island. What that generally means is we can expect more consistent action in the next week or so. When they hit the inshore waters then the real games will begin. Bonito, or bones as we call them, become the sought after species for most all fly rodders and light tackle enthusiasts. Who knows; maybe in next weeks report we’ll have some photos of happy anglers with their bones in hand. Oh, and might I mention that I’m going to use specially rigged Arkansas Shiners for the bonito and albies as well.
Tight Lines and Singing Drags, Captain Phil Cronin

Capt. Brendan McCarthy from Urban Fly Guides snuck up to Martha’s Vineyard for a few days and reported in with this tasty report:
I had a great time fishing on the Vineyard the past week. Went  my kids and stayed with my very first client, Pete Kelso, who is in  love with the island and is a really great angler and very dialed in  to the spots, bait, tides, etc.. He usually fishes out of a Yak so  was happy that I brought my flats skiff up with me and I could pole  him around all week.  He says he has bad balance and isnt much on the  polling platform, but since I got a poling skiff in 95, I have been  hearing that same crap from all my fishing buddies!!1 was totally intense and there were an insane amount of big fish on the flats and we got em to eat pretty good from Petes local knowledge and the generosity of my pal Dave Skok who I missed by one day up there. Also
fished the Elizabeth Islands pretty heavily while there. Very hard to  leave but heard of some killer Bass fishing in NYC so that should  soften the blow…Here is Pete that bow hoggin maniac!! (just  kidding, I just suck too much to get alot of good ones..)

got_stryper_plasticsCapt. Alan Hastbacka from Got Stryper Guide Service out of Chatham, Mass reports in:
Fishing has been really good. The first of the week started slow, but got better as we got closer to the moon.  Due to the commercial season and boat traffic, taking a run means the difference between a few fish and a ton of fish.  All the stripers have been on my plastics (Got Stryper Baits), mostly the 11″ and 13″ pink, peach, blood red, and dark amber on the surface.  The tide has been running so hard some days that some fish have had to come on the jig.  Knowing the tides has been the name of the game.  The bass want to eat at one spot on one tide, and at another spot on the next tide.  Lots of mid teen to high 20lb. class stripers have been crashing the rubber on top.  The best fish of the week was a 30lb. fish that just hammered the 13″ pink on the second cast we made in the rip.  Two twitchs’ of the rubber and it got vaporized in the first curl of the rip and the fish was 2 feet out of the water.  Pretty impressive for a fish that size. Until next week, rip some lips with some plastic. Capt. Alan

Capt. Joe LeClair from North Eastern Anglers fishing out of Cape Cod reports:
While at the boat ramp this morning I was talking to a fellow. He told me the fishing was just terrible and nobody was catching anything. I thought to myself either this guy wants everyone to pack it in and head home so he can catch them all or he really thinks the fishing sucks ??? I looked righ at him and with a dead serious face said, “well if you call catching striped bass to 45 lbs. and bluefin tuna to 200 lbs. a bad day, then you are correct, nobody is catching anything” and with that we headed back out into the blue-green waters that were calm, warm, and beautiful and I remembered why I love living on Cape Cod in the summer. It is because we get the good fishing when the weather is good. We do not have to wait until the fall when things get nasty again for the bite to turn back on like they do in Montauk. We do not need to sweat it out in 100 degrees to catch a Tarpon on the flats in the summer in the Florida Keys, and we do not need to trudge through knee deep snow to find a cold winter Steelhead like they do in upstate New York. Nope we have the best fishing of the whole year right now during July and August when the weather is beautiful and the waters are calm and I am totally enjoying it…

Yesterday we had schools of Bass slurping sand eels on the surface for the last three hours of the day. It was very visually pleasing to see them sucking down and the scream over to the fly as soon as it lands. The Bluefin Tuna are very, very fussy right now. I am only seeing them feed well for a couple hours a day.

Capt. Lynne Heyer of Cross Rip Outfitters reported in from Nantucket with this report:
I just heard of Stripers on the surface along Tom Nevers last night. Blues are pretty steady along the South Shore during the day, hot spots for them include the Golf Ball( behind the Airport) to Tom Nevers. Great Point is also fishing well for Blues and some Bass. The sightfishing on the flats is still holding strong. We are all waiting for the Bonito’s to show. I have a report of bait and birds on the Bonito Bar but no fish as of yesterday.

New Hampshire Saltwater Fishing Reports

Maine Saltwater Fishing Reports
Capt. Eric Wallace of Coastal Fly Angler send us this report:
ericwall_stripedbassSome Big bright Fish have moved into the bay this last week, they are hanging in the areas we found them last year, just tons more, they are loaded with sea lice and have been fly and leader shy, I’m loving this type of fishing!!!! today we had very bright skies and where able to do some of the best sight fishing we have had this year. We Moved lots of fish in the low light and landed 3 fish 28 inch or bigger on the sight in the sun and less then 3 ft of water on the sand flats, , A few fish came on the hollow stinger set up we have been using the past few years when the fish are picky but the ugly Muppet crab pattern was the winner again today!!! My angler today has fished the Fl Keys and Cape Cod with me and today we saw more fish in less then 2 ft water then our 20 plus trips combine, Just one of the tides this week I never wanted to end.

Overall I would say Maine’s striper season is re-charged!!!! with a June full of rain slowing down what started off as a very good season, Looking forward stable weather and maybe so blues will show up and help crew up the unreal amount of bait we have and then the stripers might get a little snappier at our flies. (Note just south of Portland reports of a 73 lb striper was taken on live bait and a customer of mine landed a 51lb on a slugo this past weekend in some pretty skinny water just before sunset).


Well that about wraps it up for this week. Here is Brendan McCarthy’s cool shot that was mentioned earlier in the report, a good way to end. Until next week, catch’em up!


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