Then, now and tomorrow

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Since I have been fishing since last moratorium (but not during the last moratorium) I am pretty confident that what I am abut to write will hold true. And if it doesn’t, well,  then its going to be another prediction that never came true and I pulled out of my butt.


The schools of bass are getting smaller and smaller. The bite (if you are on it) is nothing like you are used to it. Often times its just one tide and fish are gone. Long gone are days of a week long solid bite where you could have tuned your clocks to the time the fish would arrive at particulate stage of the tide. I am truly sorry for those of you who have not experienced seeing a hundred guys lined up on a workweek Thursday morning in the inlet


The bass will not be extinct. I don’t think that will happen but you will have to search for them harder then ever before. And because there is less of them, the competition for available food will wane amongst them. No longer do they have to compete with hundreds of other bass in the school. Makes sense, no?


Now here is an interesting question. Will the bass sit on the bottom and ignore your lure becouse of less competition? Strangely enough, I would say yes. If bass wasn’t sure about your lure but another was going to beat him or her to it, they would reflexive react. Will they do it now? I don’t think so. I think there will be more fish in the area you fish and you will never know. Which means that your presentation will be even more important going forward.


Where will big fish be? I have no idea. But I can tell you with more or less certainty that they will become more active around new and full moon’s in May and June at Montauk. Check Paulies FB page and then correspond those dates with moon periods and you’ll see what I am talking about. (ps, I can only talk about places I am familiar. No desire to be like some keyboard fisherman who will give advice on Martha’s Vineyard from their home in NJ after they visited once). This happens just about every year and people then act like “wow, I need to get my butt out to Montauk”. How about a little forward thinking and planning? After all, same few guys cash in their chips every year.


Nor’easter, or hard sustained NE winds in spring will give up few big fish in Montauk. It never fails. In fact, a hard NE winds for at least few days will lit up the same place in the fall but you’ll have to find them. Last year fish were all over the south side for few days during hard NE in fall  but not in the lighthouse area. There are not enough fish/not big enough school size to be everywhere.


Fall run will be a shadow of its former self as it was last year. Other then two weeks in earl November the beaches were devoid of life where I fish. The days of getting to the inlet at the beginning of the outgoing in the dark and watching peanuts/mullet/herring gushing out and fish on their tails will be something we’ll have to explain to those getting in sport today. Bluefish might fill this void but they are not nearly as predictable as bass.


Place like False Bar, where you can almost guaranty some type of fish once the current turns to outgoing any time from mid September on is going to be something that we will fondly remember. Last year people were telling me they thought they had a bump. Or maybe they hit the rock, they weren’t sure. Fish will be there again once stocks recover and maybe bluefish will fill the void, particularly on full moon nights but that almost guaranteed action with bass will be thing of the past.


Sadly, I think two things that I enjoyed most over the years, mullet ruin and Nor’easters on South Shore are almost nonexistent already. Or I should say, have been dormant with action for many, many years now. So I don’t anticipate that to change. There has been plenty of mullet (and nor’easters) over the past few years but neither produced much of the bite.


Depressing?  Yeah to some extent. If you are a guy who likes nothing more than a good blitz you will pay the highest price. If you already prefer to hunt for your fish, you will be ok. You’ll get your share but the numbers will pale in comparison to years of abundance.


Unfortunately , this is how democracy works. If we had tyranny, a dictator dude would say ” No Bass For You” like the Soup Nazi on Seinfeld and that would be that. Democracy on the other hand is made out of a lot of layers, trying to insure everyone has a voice. Buts its a slow grinding machine that does not often act in time when quick action is needed.

Keep writing letters, going to meetings and keep fighting for this great fish. No one else seems to be giving a damn which is a shame.


As Lee Wolf has said “Game fish are too valuable to only be caught once”


Here is the aerial view of Cuttyhunk, the full video will appear in few days in the issue # 216 of the Surfcaster’s Journal Magazine




5 comments on “Then, now and tomorrow

  1. Joe GaNun

    Never having witnessed the glory days I can say that even during the 7 years that I have spent on this positive addiction I have seen most of those changes. There is that huge gap in the population sizes that really scares me. Rats, a few cats and an elephant hear and there. I’m heading to Montauk in a few hours looking for a skunk that may be waiting for me.

  2. John T.


    I am sure you hope that you are wrong, or that I could prove you wrong, but sadly I am pretty much sure you nailed it. As I have said a few times in the past couple years it’s beginning to look more and more like “Montauk or bust”. Now, that’s not to say that M is a GUARANTEED location for success, but it stands the best chance of offering up some fish. The days of me sticking to my North Shore “guns” appear to be over and I’m just gonna have to get used to burning more gas if I want to experience any shred of consistency. Sure, there are slways shots of decent fishing if you hunt for them, but that hunt is going to need to be more intense than ever before.

  3. Ryan D

    I’ve been fishing for the last 8 years and seen a big difference in south jersey. None of my friends will fish with me cause I’m always moving trying to find fish. A guy I do side work for did not catch a fish last fall and he is a fisherman. He told me a striper tournament on lbi was won with a blue fish and a small one at that Idk how true that is but hes a good dude and I believe it. A problem I see with my generation is they keep everything legal and have the attitude of the older generation didn’t think of us with trout so I’m taking everything I can. I keep a few here and there but they are eaten that day and not stacked in the freezer.

  4. B-


    We completly agree, and it is not just Montauk feeling this pain. Recently at Cuttyhunk we caught the least amount of fish seen in 15 plus years! The guys were good fisherman, and they know Cutty well. Most fish caught were schoolies. A few were prime 30 lb class breeders that were released. We’ve never seen so few fish available to be caught around that famous island. We’ve watched the number decline at least for the past 5 years as the veterans talk about the golden years. We almost wondered if a trip in 2015 would be worth it for fishing. I understand that national fisheries decisions are based on data that is at least 5 years old. Maybe it is time to update the process before it is one again nearly too late. Why do we listen to deparments with knowledge so behind what daily fisherman actually see what is going on? Maybe we need to police ourselves a lot more? Most won’t though. A lot feel they deserve those fish, while the rest of us shake our heads in shame. Unfortunately another moratorium in probably in our future. Hopefully it won’t be too late.


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