A sad, sad day

What if you threw a party and no one showed up? I am sure that’s how it felt this weekend at Montauk Point NY to many. For those that they will be saying, I know I was there , whats the point, a lot of our readers were not there. Some have never been to Montauk. Some see it as a bucket list destination, and some swore it would be the last thing on this world they would do.

So what did happen ?

Let me back up a little.

Columbus day weekend…

If i could pick ONE weekend a year in January where i would be 99.9% sure fishing is going to be at least decent in Montauk through the course of the entire year I would pick Colobus Day weekend.

Not for the size or for the numbers , just because its always been productive for me. Yeah, I’ve gotten skunk here or there but others found plenty of fish somewhere else.

Gathering of Anglers is an event that grew out of Korkers Cup. Basically all NY Surf Clubs are invited to compete for the weekend at Montauk Point . 48 hours of surf fishing and three largest striped bass from each club are tabulated and the club with largest combined weight is the winner. The minimum is 10 pounds and ALL fish must be released. It usually takes place on Columbus Day weekend

Now , not every member of every club can or wants to participate but fairly good number of them do including most of my clubs roster. Its a weekend to share camaraderie and catch few tides in the so called “Mecca of Surf Fishing”. Lots of grilling during the day, and lots or rock hopping at night. Some years fishing was so stupendous at daytime most just did not bother of even trying fishing at night, their arms were too sore.These are not your average weekend warriors, these are guys that joined surf fishing clubs to expand their knowledge, to be amongst people that share same passion. These are what I call “lifers”

Some clubs (especially mine) have downright challenging probationary period in order to evaluate a new member. My point is, regardless of what some social media clowns might say, these are good fisherman. They been doing this for a long time and know their shit.

So which club won, what was the biggest fish and biggest combined score.

No one won

There was not a SINGLE fish caught or entered into contest.

I’ll repeat that one more time

Not a Single Eligible Striped Bass was caught during the entire weekend by any of participating clubs.

I’ll let than sink in…and when someone tell you how great the striped bass fishery is and we are just bunch of crybabies you can tell him to go youknowwhere.

This my friends is sad day in annals of surf fishing


and oh, in case you wonder what Columbus day use to look like …this is one of the picss


28 comments on “A sad, sad day

  1. Dennis

    I don’t belong to a fishing club…..but I was fishing the north fork this weekend.
    Most guys sit in there trucks until someone has a fish on then they mug him.
    Mist people seem to target albies…….wait until the sun comes up.

    Oh btw……I didn’t catch any bass either…?

    1. John Toro

      That’s actually pretty common for many North Fork guys. They’re not fishing their brains out, they sit in their trucks until they see something going on.

  2. Jerry mosca

    Spent the last couple of weeks out there on my yearly surfcasting vacation literally did not have one bend in the rod , SAD is an understatement!!!!!!! Keep killing those breeders and nothing will be left!!

  3. Bill H

    Wasn’t there this weekend but have been fishing the point since the 70″s when my Dad and I slept in a Plymouth valiant and lately a comfy Ford Expedition. I could usually put together a little action but last couple years not so much. Your headline is spot on, Very Sad.

  4. Bigjim

    All I can say is people don’t understand the state of the fishery I try to fish from Maine to CT and just spent time on Cuttyhunk lots of small fish and it is sad to think about it but we are headed back to another moratorium but by the time they change it may be to late to save them VERY SAD

  5. zhromin Post author

    I was not there either. Honestly last cast I made it was in June. I decided that if I was going to try to do this marathon thing it requires my full attention.
    But I am stunned of what I am hearing, especially after fairly good early spring in NJ

  6. meyogi

    I hope it’s not a sign of the times But, Fish Tales Bait & Tackle has shut its doors for good here in Sayreville,NJ. After three short seasons , and he did everything he could, but between the weather and the poor tally of the season He couldn’t make a go of it.Open at 5am to 7pm, his best times was between 5am and 7am. After that he could have gone to work. Still , got a lot a repair work out of that shop.

  7. Jimmy Z

    Z, what about bluefish? Have you seen them at all? I know where I am in CT., I haven’t seen any big blues.
    There are a ton of small bass and blues but nothing large.
    When there are no bass in Montauk, that’s a big deal

    1. Matthew Carlson

      No bluefish either. Anything caught was small. You were lucky if you caught any bass, and all of them were 5#s and less. Any blues were cocktails.

  8. Richard Schenkewitz

    Spent the weekend out there. same report. And to answer the above question, no, the bluefish to use Paulie’s words are “MIA” as well. Very sad.

  9. Matt Holmgren

    I too always do well on Columbus Day at Block or elsewhere in the Northeast but I only managed a runt yesterday after visiting all the breachways yesterday. Pathetic.

  10. jerry mosca

    And the comercials want to open up the EEZ , and if Zelden gets re-elected he supports the idea , this is just amazing , We should have never been back to this point , in cases like this History should never repeat itself .

  11. moleary

    I agree with all the comments here about the fishery being overfished by both the commercial and recreational fishermen and not just striped bass. I have seen way too many anglers keeping short fish and out of season fish. Many calls to DEC but they don’t show up. We need their help here cracking down on the poachers and commercial fishers that just take everything they catch. As far as Columbus day, I did go out to Montauk in the hope of one of those blitz situation that you pictured. Didn’t see that anywhere I went. I did happen to find one spot that produced some numbers for me and actually had a 30″ Striped bass. That makes my second keeper size from the beach this year. Sad, Sad, Sad…..I hope that there is just a small blip in the population here but fearful of something much worse. Boats in Montauk are catching big fish in numbers yet they don’t make their way to the beach. Maybe just too much bait out in the deeper waters? Praying what we are seeing on the beach is not a true representation of the population. Being fairly new to this sport, it could be just my ignorance to the past history/populations.

  12. Edward J. Messina

    The saddest part of the story is that the ASMFC, those responsible for managing our fisheries, have not had a single success they can point to since their formation in 1952. Additionally, why does anybody need to keep 15 blue fish or snappers per day? Blue will soon be as scarce as Striped Bass!

  13. Dave Whitney

    Can’t blame it all on the commercial guys. Look at the for hire and party boat fleet. These guys kill them all for a buck in their pocket. Compound that with poaching of shorts by guys who spend more on bait and beer than it would cost to buy a meal of fish at market and its no wonder the fishery sucks!
    The Striped Bass is doomed.
    More than sad,

  14. zhromin Post author

    I know its not “cool” thing to do as its easy to blame comms but to me, all this damage was done by recs (including rec comm guys, that fish two days a week and sell and poach to high heavens) and for hire. For hire fleet has targeted and decimated large spawning fish and with very few exceptions they will kill the last remaining fish in the ocean to make a buck

  15. Frank

    I live on the east end and without question there has been a serious dent in what used to be the norm associated with Mecca. Vito called it years ago, predicting a decline in stocks while I felt comfortably satisfied with the amount I was catching.

    I used see blitzes several times a day throughout the season. Now I rarely see any surface action. Has the structure changed? Have the number of bluefish declined so bait is not being pushed towards the shore? Is the water too hot? Are Montauk hipsters keeping the bass away?….. I really do not know for sure what’s going on, except we have to do everything possible to change the new status quo for the next generation (and for us).

    For me that means, fish less and keep less. It means doing my all not to make the planet any warmer then it is naturally tending towards. Yes we are in an inter-glacial period, but why not be responsible stewards of the earth.

  16. jerry mosca

    the decimation done to breeders up at the canal for the last two years is painful to watch , guys were taking 1 40 in the morning before work and then a 2nd 40 or larger after work , I saw dead breeders all over the bike path on each side for as far as one could see. I saw guys throw back smaller keepers 1 after the next just to kill a huge fish , it was sickening to watch , such a depressing year here on Long Island . But I was amazed how well Florida manages its fish , we should take a page out of their book!

  17. John Toro

    In the last few years my trips to MTK have declined. A few years ago when I still had my camper I was already spending less time there days at a time because after the first couple of slow days it just got frustrating hearing about better action 15 minutes from my house. I eventually got rid of my camper and started using the local hotels. Same thing – not enough action to keep me around for even just a Friday night to a Sunday afternoon. Next, it was infrequent day trips around the best moons (usually later that right now). Again, same situation. Last year I think I was out there 3-4 times total. I haven’t been out there yet in 2018. BTW I’ve been surf fishing for at least 30 years.
    I think I’m going to focus on sand beaches, south shore inlets and north shore.

  18. Dave Whitney

    Z, besides the greed that is affecting the bass as pointed out, I can’t help but to feel that Mother Nature is out of balance. Man’s hand on this planet is playing a huge part on that and she (Mother Nature) is letting us know. Soon the oceans and earth will not be substainable.
    While I caught many bass this year all released,1 in 28 has been legal size or better. Had many seasons when that ratio was 1 to 10 or better.
    The Striped Bass may be seen sooner than later only in the museum like the saber tooth tiger.

  19. Striped Bass Truth

    Not to pile on but the fishery is FUBAR.

    The reasons are many and most will debate them.

    But we kill hundreds of thousands breeding bass every year.
    This over time adds up.

    Look at the landing rates vs the replacement rates, it is a very easy call to see the fishery is upside down.
    If this were snook or salmon there would be a moratormium already.
    But the culture of striped bass is meat based, not conservation based.

    Guys killing posting and bragging on FB.
    The charters in total denial as they keep the killing of PCB laced stripers going.
    Party boats doing the same.
    The commercials are just trying to make a dollar and as long as striped bass fetches $30 at whole foods it will continue.

    @stripedbasstruth is working hard to expose the truth and try to shed light on the hypocrisy.

  20. bRichards

    “Grinding it out”
    “You got to put your time in . . . ”
    “You have to fish new patterns”
    “Gotta know what you’re doing”

    I’m going to track down and punch the next instagram hero who says something like the above, because this report is the present REALITY of surfcasting for striped bass. The “reality” of striped bass fishing is a little different when you have a rod sponsorship, a reel sponsorship, get intel from guys up and down the coast, and get drop anything at a moments notice and drive across hell’s half acre to get in on a bite.

    Or, your backyard is the epicenter for what remains of the biomass *cough*Cape*cough*

    The reality again, is that catching a big fish (40 lbs or better) from the surf used to be a satisfying, and rewarding effort, that was the product of putting your time in.

    It is now by and large, a gruelingly terrible, thoroughly un-fun, fool’s errand.

    “Gotta put your time in man . . . ”
    Go @#&^% yourself man . . .

    1. Lee Solomon

      Thank you for saying what I have been wanting to say for some years now. These guys who have “status” should be at the forefront of conservation and that doesn’t mean just releasing a 40 pounder. IMHO they should also be a vocal proponent for the fish that are in some ways paying their bills. You can’t sell rods if the fish are gone. Hopefully, we can go the way of Florida. I have not been down there in years but as a kid, it was fantastic and I hear it’s still good. They must be doing something right. Didn’t Alberto move down there?


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