Sunday, April 24, 2011

Stripers Hit in Raritan Bay, Blues Will Soon

Nick Honachevsky's column, "Beach Talk," reported in The Fisherman this past week that stripers hit the sands in double digits for anglers fishing the Raritan Bay beaches. Most of these fish are smaller schoolies, but with a ratio of 20 or 30 to six to eight keepers over 28 inches the week previous. It's fairly easy to do, but no guarantee exists that you will be on fish, and lugging heavy equipment around, baiting with clams, and so on, prohibits much searching for fish. But you can inquire of others or spy on them to judge if bass are hitting when you arrive, and move on if you please. Just find an open spot somewhere between Union Beach and Keansburg, cast off the beach, place the surf rod in a sand spike, and wait for the rod to bend--or be pulled out of the spike. A simple fish finder rig--about 30 inches of 25-pound test fluorocarbon snelled to a 6/0 circle hook, with a three-ounce pyramid sinker on a slider above a snap gets you started.

I'm going after work sometime next week, but targeting bluefish because the confidence I have in my spot near the mouth of the Shrewsbury is high enough to make me really want to travel the distance--and struggle with 10-pound marauders which, pound for pound, fight harder than stripers. By now I'm sure some bluefish have made it into Raritan Bay on their annual migration, late this year due to chilly temperatures.

The reports are exciting. But you never know until you try. And to catch fish consistently--you have to have some sort of ratio of failure in the background. The essence of fishing is not hooking up with every try. That would be as stupid and unromantic as a brain in vat. Fishing is the search, exactly what is meant by "fishing" for something. I'll go with high expectations next week. But you can bet it's possible I'll return with a report similar to my first Meadowlands foray.

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