Saturday, May 11, 2013

Trying for Hudson River Striped Bass, Kingston New York

I had this trip in mind ever since I read an article in The Fisherman by Milt Rosko several years ago about the amazing Hudson River striper fishing near Kingston in May. My wife came along with our black Labrador, Sadie. She enjoyed being on the river enough to suggest we do it again. I had offered that she try and fish, but she says she wants to try fly fishing, so maybe first things first.

It's not the charter captain's fault all I caught was a seven-inch white perch by dipping a bloodworm. We marked dozens or hundreds of bass and for everyone around, also marking stripers, the bite proved very slow. We fished both live and cut herring on bottom, weighted by six to eight-ounce bank sinkers, in 20 to 27 feet of water for four hours total, trying three different spots. I lost a striper of about 25 pounds at boatside; it took a live herring. Two other hits on cut herring gave me significant jolts, one of these I know was a striper by the trout-like, tentative feel as the fish ran with the bait.

Saw a nice striper about 25 pounds caught by trolling with downriggers.

At least we had action. The fish I had on put up a long, dogged fight. It did not want to come in, big enough to have that chance of the hook pulling on its side. I would have released it anyhow. Hudson stripers eat tomcods full of PCBs. The bass have been in the river only a month or so, but long enough that I don't care for me or my family to follow the State of New York's suggestion that we eat four half-pound servings per month. Besides, these bass are probably not spawned out yet.

I asked our captain what he thought about the striper population. He said from a Hudson River perspective, it's on the rise. From what I've gathered, the Hudson River is the second largest striped bass nursery, next to Chesapeake Bay, but I couldn't find a percentage comparison. Chesapeake Bay is a very large place compared to the Hudson, although there's tidal flow here all the way to Troy at a certain dam. I don't recall the name.

Fishing in general for stripers on the Hudson will be good until June. Some are even caught from shore, but a boat or a charter captain seems to greatly advantage.

Thursday, May 9, 2013

Trying for Round Valley Bass, Spotting Rainbow Trout, Hearing a Songbird

The reservoir's not warmed enough for the bass yet. The pond on the right side of the dike is, but I got no hits. I tried both. The pond is some 25 feet deep at maximum; the reservoir 160 with half or so of its surface acreage over 80 feet deep. It's also gin clear. Depth and clarity mean it warms much slower than other waters like the pond next to it.
Spotted a 22 inch or so rainbow trout in the reservoir, swimming right against the rocks of the dike. A lot of trout were spotted by other anglers today, but no one caught any. About two weeks ago, I tried the pond in 53 degree rain and heavy wind. On my way out, I pulled into the gravel lot to snap a photo or two and an angler was at his trunk. They were catching a lot of small brown trout on spinners right off the launch dock, and one of the guys had just lost a five pounder. Today a lot of sun meant nothing like that was about to happen, and even the bass in the pond refused to cooperate.
I did get some interesting photos. And I had heard the pileated woodpecker back in the woods behind the pond, surely the same I heard last week, and possibly the same I spotted a year or two ago. I also heard a very interesting songbird that was not a wood thrush, but had the same depth of tone, so I was pretty sure it wasn't a warbler. 

Wednesday, May 8, 2013

Weightless Plastic Worm for 4 1/2 pound Largemouth Bass

This bass hadn't spawned yet, unless it had devoured a big lunch--19 1/2 inches, over 4 1/2 pounds, third cast with the Chompers. I use an inset hook at Mount Hope Pond, since the abundance of cover means getting snagged otherwise. Also caught a two-pounder.

Got there about 11:30 and left an hour later just before the deluge. Guess my little romance with Mount Hope and Round Valley begins now. From May 8th last year, I had 16 consecutive outings without getting skunked. Each outing is recorded in a handwritten log that uses shorthand symbols. I can dip into memory of outings from 1974. The shorthand encapsulates what comes alive. The margin for notes helps, too.

No weight for the Chompers, just a barrel swivel to connect 15-pound fluorocarbon to 15-pound Power Pro. I use six-pound test at Round Valley. The Chompers sinks slower than Senko-type worms.

Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Sunset Largemouth Bass on Spinnerbait

Think they're spawning, but in this pond the bottom is so silted it's a wonder they can. Missed a lot of short hits from bass in close. One jumped off. Caught a couple of two-pounders or close to it, a 2 1/2, and another just over a pound. Another sunset foray at the neighborhood pond. One of those hits created a tremendous boil, sort of like a hippopotamus shaking a bug off its back, but a bass doesn't have to be five pounds to do that.

Nice to get outside and especially to feel the thrills of missed fish and one of them leaping free. You never intentionally lose a fish, but when they foil you, it raises interest even with the pangs of loss.