May 4th Fishing Report
Dear Fishermen and Friends,
The big news this week is that our saltwater fishing season has begun! On Sunday, Capt Jason Mleczko caught a small striped bass that was loaded with sea lice. He’d put in his time all week hoping to be the first to bend the rod and he earned it. Predictably, the fish was caught on the south shore as the wind laid down. Most people expect these first little fish to be on the North Shore in the warmer water, but that is almost never the case. These first “schoolies” come in waves and are all across the south shore, before the push through to the North Side. We consider schoolies to be smaller or juvenile stripers which are between 12 and 18″. These fish are generally 2-3 years old. Remember, to keep any of the Striped Bass they need to be 28″. We refer to these fish as “keepers.” Target the schoolies with small jigs or metals. They will be right in the wash and are not picky. They are also not heavy, so you can use lightweight line.
The natural question from most people when hearing about the first fish is, was it early or late? Actually, this year, it was right on time. Our first fish are generally a wave of fish that migrate from offshore waters. These fish that are in here now, are not part of the big “migration” that comes up the coast. These are happy smaller fish, that are blazing their own path. They usually show up with a week to go in April as the south shore water temps are in the high 40’s. Many of the old-timers actually time it with the blossoming of the first cherry tree’s. Which again makes these fish right on time. I’ve seen the first fish caught as early as April 11th and as late as May. (last year) Our next bigger wave of fish will show up at the beginning of May, and we should expect to see the first keeper caught around May 5th.
These schoolies will unfortunately only be with us for a week to ten days before moving on and then we’ll likely have a lull, before the bigger mass of fish show up who will be here to stay. Those who put time in over the weekend should be able to get some great numbers. I’ve had April days where I’ve caught 20+ fish in a couple of hours. Once the first wave of fish push on, we’ll see some big bait move through our waters. Next week, look for Mackeral all across the North Shore. Big bass are not with this bait, but it is a fun time to stock up on bait for the season. Also under the Mackeral, for a good two weeks will be Tautog and huge Black Sea Bass (which won’t be in season yet).
Something fun for all ages is our early season tournament run by a great friend of the shop. The Spring Sea Run opener is a tournament that runs through May and is focused on early striped bass fishing. There are awards for the largest and smallest fish and points for all fish caught. The best part is that all proceeds go to local charities. Please sign up, even if you are only fishing for a day here. This tournament brings awareness to our fishery and supports local organizations.
So, while most people will be excited about the start of Striper Season, our most seasoned anglers will still be focused on the ponds. You see, it’s fun to do something new with the bass, but in reality our pond fishing is about as good as it gets right now. These sixty degree days are awesome to get the smaller fish really happy and we are seeing pond temps shoot up daily.
I still cannot understand why more people don’t embrace this fishery. You can take a child out and catch more fish than they can count, or you can quietly go out and stock fish on your own and challenge yourself with different line weights. This past weekend Boden Pickman, a 4 year old, caught a 2lb pickerel on his own, with his dad. That’s not a day either of them will forget. On the same day, another old friend called an old me that he caught the biggest white perch of his life. It’s awesome when a pastime can ignite the same flame in a 4-year old that it can in a 50 year old. Maybe that’s why were are all so passionate about it!
So whether you want to go chase some of the first stripers, go pond fishing or go target mackerel in our inshore waters, just go enjoy the fact that we can be outside with family and friends and that our fishing season is officially underway!
Capt. Cam Gammill
Capt. Corey Gammill
Capt. Nat Reeder
Dr. Mike Ruby
May 5, 2017|