SALTWATER MIGRATIONS / POST SANDY

Questions about Saltwater Fishing

SALTWATER MIGRATIONS / POST SANDY

Postby coughingcow » Tue Feb 19, 2013 12:48 am

Mr Dahlberg,
I hope this note finds you well. We actually met a few years ago on a shoot in georgia. I wanted to reach out to say hello and thank you. The short times we were able talk during the trip were a pleasure—your tips and insights often come to mind while I'm surfcasting.

I was wondering if you have any thoughts or information on how Hurricane Sandy may have affected the migration patterns of saltwater species along the east coast (and beyond). My friends and I typically target Striped bass during their spring and fall run at various inlets, jetties and old reliable spots along the mainland. Whenever possible, we head to our beloved barrier islands which, for better or worse, took the brunt of sandy's beating—living up to their moniker.

We're hearing that progress is still slow-going for many or most of the families and businesses that were impacted by the storm—up and down the shore. During the fall, My friends and I stayed out of the way while rehabilitation efforts began. We fished 2 or 3 three times together—down from about 15 or so during the course of a normal season. In any event, when our bait shop posted that they had reopened in late november, we loaded the buggy and headed due east. As usual, we discussed how the variables of that the particular day would impact our fishing and chose a spot based on the tide chart.

Upon arrival, a local family smiled and waved as we clumsily stumbled in our waders, managing to carry our buckets, rods, spikes, and coffee mugs past their side porch. It had been a while. We chatted for a bit, and they told us they were "happy to see the place getting back to normal any way it can," and to "drop off a striper if you catch an extra—they're our FAVORITE."
"Sure thing, first keeper's yours. We're just happy to be here again," we told them.
"Good Luck."

Unbelievably, we had the most productive day of fishing we've had in the 50 or so times we've cast out together as a group, pulling in schoolie after schoolie for hours on end. This has never happened before. Ever. We wonder if it was an effect of the storm—not only the fact that we actually CAUGHT a lot of FISH, but the number of small bass that hit our spiked bait lines seemed unreal. Not a single fish was caught on the lures that we have historically done well with in the fall. We assumed that the natural baitfish typically found there at that time of year had gone elsewhere. We didn't catch a single keeper...but we were thrilled to be back in the surf again. Questions filled the air on the ride home:

"Think there will there be more cows around this spring because of the smaller number of fish taken during the fall run (post sandy)?

Did the southern points inherit our overflow and take a record amount of trophy bass this year?

Are WE the new MARYLAND!?!?! HAS EVERYTHING CHANGED?..."

In the grand scheme of things, it may seem absurd to be thinking about fishing for striped bass, or wondering whether the baitfish will ever be back, or if...

...the fishery be the same as it has been in recent years? How much did the patterns change? And what about those little schoolies that zipped by us today—think they skipped the Montauk & Maine, dodged customs and headed straight to the Canadian side of Niagara falls to wait it out until the coast is clear? Will surfcasters have the edge over boaters once and for all? ... Will there be so many fish blitzing along the beaches...and so many fisherman...that we'll have no room to enjoy ourselves anymore?

To some these questions may seem nuts—especially when considering the awful tragedy brought on by the storm. But as fisherman—people who are truly connected to our rivers, beaches and sea life, what else can we do but wonder? Thinking up every possible scenario until we're out there again to see for ourselves. Until we're finally able to take our buggy out on the sand again where we'll be spilling coffee, trying to avoid wind knots, fumbling spikes, and discussing the infinite number of reasons why:

"...THIS might be the best fishing day we've EVER had. WHY? WHY YOU ASK? BECAUSE...it's cloudy and we all know, stripers don't have eyelids..."So they're more active when the sun's not in their eyes. As a matter of fact, they LOVE IT. They love to eat when they're not bothered by the sun... Especially when the water's rough and those suds show up. Oh yeah, and it was a full moon on tuesday BUT the wind was out of the south west and i don't know which way it's blowing right now, but i'd bet that whatever direction it's heading will affect the drift in the pocket... which, if my memory serves me correctly, has a tendency to push the clams closer the jetty where the big, slow lazy ones hang out...and they love clams, so we should..."

And so on and so forth. Can't wait to be back out there again.
Thanks again, hope to be in touch soon.
Lou
coughingcow
 
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