From The Helm

A Report is Supposed to be about Fish!

Fishing hasn’t been kind to most, including ME!  It’s been a lot more COLD than hot.  It seems like if I choose curtain 1 the fishing are hiding behind curtain 2.  This happens to everyone, ESPECIALLY when you press yourself to get onto the fish.


Earlier in the week, we had LIGHTS OUT Bass Fishing in Raritan Bay, today; Not A Touch.  So what do you do when the fishing is hot and cold, on and off?  You GET BACK TO BASICS.


  1. You fish shoals and structure. You fish these areas with a moving tide.  You work them hard with plugs and LIVE BAIT aka SPOT or Bunker.
  2. Don’t over think it. Fish ALWAYS go back to those key areas where you’ve caught them before, don’t give up on those areas when the overall bite seems poor.  Make sure you work them, specifically in the early and late hours.


Fluke Fishing:  When the Party Boat Captains say the bite is off, trust me…it’s off.  I think it’s a combination of weather and just an overall limited volume issue.  It seems like every week we have 2 or 3 days that a storm passes with high winds.  It churns up the water and shuts down any developing bite that was slowing progressing.  This means the fish are there, but we are missing them up front in the Bay and Inlet.  So you need to get light, VERY Light and find those holes in the back channels and cuts and pick out a fish or two.  This is real blue collar fishing right now…you need to dig in and put the time in.  There is no magic solution at this point.

Striped Bass:  The Bass bite inside Fire Island has been about shorts.  They are in the bay, but they are mostly schoolies under 28 inches.  On the outside it’s a dessert.  There are fields and fields of bunker pods to the west of Jones Beach, but nothing seems to be under them except for an occasional whale or a porpoise or two.  There was a very good or excellent bite far west in Raritan earlier in the week.  This bite seems to have moved into Jamaica Bay.  I suspect that within a few days of decent weather we’ll see this bite move into and around Debbs.  Once this happens fishing at Jones and Fire Island could light up for about a week or so.  It also means the night bite will be much better for those who like to work their lucky bay spots when the sun turns down.  Mojo and Spoons seem to be working on the outside, along with umbrella rigs (be prepared for bluefish action).


Weakfish:  Weakfish like CALM.  They like moving water.  They also feed best at Sunrise and Sunset.  This doesn’t mean you can’t get them mid-day, it just means the bite is usually better when you have calm conditions and quiet conditions and the fish aren’t under stress.  So check the tide charts, the wind charts and hit the areas of Kismet, west channel, Ocean Beach, and Point of Woods.  If you can work SPOT you will improve your chances 10 fold for getting a nice size fish.  If not, with the better clarity conditions Pink or White seems to be the colors to use when fishing plastics.  RED seems to be a bit better if you are working stained water.  If you are marking bait and fish, before you give up on a location, swap your colors around and don’t leave out Chartreuse.


The Forecast:  It’s seems like we have a week of POSSIBLE RAIN and THUNDERSTORMS almost every day during the week with temperatures in the 70s.  On forecasts like these its all about responding to the conditions.  If there is a window, take advantage of it and get out.

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