Monday, May 13, 2013

All Stripers Beware - Cinco De Mayo Night Fishing with Bayaar in Brooklyn on the Sea Queen VII

There comes a time when the ocean comes alive.  When the bait and birds are plentiful and the favored dilemma of "WHERE TO FISH??" plays into my mind each and every day.

Believe me, every rainy and cloudy forecasted day on Weather Underground makes me want to hunt the topwater bite for Largemouth Bass.  Every High and outgoing tide makes me contemplate which inlet/jetty/sod bank/submerged-or-not structure to target.  Every late dusk with a perfect sunset tempts me to drive down to the shore and bucktail for fluke, or wish for a BIG TIDERUNNER by-catch.
There is no better time for multi-species then now, it's MAY and it's time to fish.

For every familiar fishing experience I encounter I can re-collect a scenario or outing where it wasn't familiar.  Where it was new and exciting.  Where UN-chartered water and vessel come into play.  Not owning a boat is still "OK" when we have access to some of the best water the United States of America can offer an angler. 

Fast Forward two hours after we come back into the dock....
"EMMONS?"  Announced my bright eyed parking attendant during the late night/post-midnight hour of 1:45AM.  I nodded with acknowledgement that the individual I was speaking to had experience privy to a FISHERMAN that has experienced what NYC has to offer.  As I found out a day later, his roots to the city fishing scene went beyond websites but to the actual dock locations of one of many long-standing and famous party boats hailing out of once-more-famous Sheepshead Bay in Brooklyn New York.

My initial decision was to fish on the FLAMINGO III a day and a half earlier however discovered they don't fish weekday evenings anymore (or at all).  Second came the decision to meet Captain Dave of the BROOKLYN IV however as is the saying goes: "when the going gets tough, let's help the fellow captain out" went into play.

Back to the trip...
I rolled up on Emmons Avenue with rods tucked and reels loaded.  Cooler filled with ICE and the stage set for an epic evening of CINCO DI MAYO Modelo and the cheerful manner of my fishing partner of the evening Bayaar.  It was my second trip out this season with him and without hesitation he jumped at the chance to catch some table-fare. 

With enthusiasm Captain Dave directs us to the FREE lot behind the plaza where Applebee's is located.  This is the lot for patrons of the party boats aka paying fisherman can park within a security fence around the perimeter.  Feeling lucky I thank the captain and we make our way over to park, unload, and roll the cooler boatside.  Immediately we get the welcome from mates and fellow anglers asking us if we are fishing and whether it's for stripers and on which boat.  A young mate helps direct us and we get a hand with the cooler while we step aboard.

I gotta thank Bayaar at this point as I was at first hesitant on leaving the boat and getting one very important thing we didnt plan and pack.  FOOD.  Going back to experienced familiar or not, this was one of the ones where I was not familiar.  I've never paid to catch striped bass and never hopped on a headboat for them either.  At least not specifically.  So it was one thing that I could appreciate alot in having a buddy to fish with.  Chips, Pasta salad, Sodas, and chicken fajita panini's.  Awesome.

The crowd is light and the evening becoming chilly.  We had a week of good warm weather and SUN beaming down on us so it was a time for the weather pattern to change and the migratory fish to stage up before their next run up and alongside long island.  Cigars, beer, wine, and a certain bottle of Hennessey make it into the cabin and along with the laughter and microwave setting off we make it quickly out of port and onto the sunset-scape water of lower Manhattan. 

Making wake, the mate cheerfully responds to my request to buy weight, leader, and a fishfinder.  Being prepared is important to fishing new waters and in this case I wasn't.  However the boat was and without any charge our two bait rods were rigged up with a four foot leader #50-60 and a 4/0 J-hook with 6 oz of lead.

We fished in 15 feet of water near New Jersey.  I couldn't see Ellis Island or Lady Liberty however many shorelines within a mile and a nearby lighthouse perched on its own rockpile.  No need for secret locations as the fellow anglers mentioned they had stuck to this spot as it had produced for the earlier part of the weekend.  Beside us at the port stern corner was a fella named John.  He had fished the prior three nights and had done well with fish up to 20 pounds.  Great conversation and experience with a new crowd.

We anchored and ran about three times in the vicinity.  The first and last spots did well for the boat.  Only two shorts were caught.  I ended up catching the first fish/keeper and second to last fish.  Which was short two inches.  Clam was our bait and was fresh from the shell.  The chumslick was light but consistent.  Over all a nice keeper at 32" and some time shared with a buddy.  I will be back and hopefully have the same experience as I did this time.  Too bad Bayaar felt the blues coming out of the harbor, but yea...that all part of fishing and it happens to the best of us.

Gear used:
Rods: G.Loomis HSR932, St. Croix PM76MHF, Custom Seeker Herc 6'3"
Reels: Shimano Trinidad 10a (EVA knob), Daiwa Saltiga 15, Shimano Stradic 5000FJ (10bb)
Line system: Sufix 832 #30, Daiwa Samurai #50?, Sufix Performance #40 (jig setup)
Depth: varing 10-20 feet


Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fluke Jigging Aboard The Peconic Star Express, Opening week May 2nd, 2013 - Greenport, NY

May 2nd, 2013 - It had been a hot bite for the past week in and around lower Manhatten and into Sheepshead Bay and there was so much temptation to get to the bite I've forgotten about opening day for fluke in New York.
With over a few good locations to fish, the month of May offers undoubtedly the best time to hunt multi-species in the Northeastern United States.  I called up Kilsong and he was open to share his local and non-local reports as always.
Here is the link to the last trip we took on the Peconic II:

FLAMINGO! BROOKLYN IV!  ...these are a few names I haven't heard in a long time.  I'd like to take the time to say that NYC has some of the best fishing this side of the nation.  Although the above party boats (headboats for all you CT folks) are in different locations, Brooklyn's harbors were one of the original fishing communities of yesteryear.

Back to Fluke.


I met new crew member Bayaar in NYC and we made our way to western CT.  Jie & Li (distant cousins set apart by dissonance at birth) and with a delightful early May evening breeze we decided to head to Greenport, Long Island to fish the Peconic Bay.  Home of giant fluke.  Home of the 33lb record with a girth and thickness of two new york city telephone books stack on top of each other. (do they still print these???)

Driving from Connecticut to the end of Long Island at 1am let us get to the port before anyone had risen.  The boat was at it's best and we were met by the mate on-board (Dennis) by a smile and astonishment that it was we arrived four hours before loading time...

Gear Used:

SMITH AMJ 54L 5'4"
Lamiglas Tri-Flex 7030CT 7'0"
Lamiglas Tri-Flex 7030CT 7'0"
G.Loomis HSR930 Hot Shot 7'9"
G.Loomis Pro-Blue (Make it Rain edition)
St. Croix PM76MHF 7'6"
Seeker Hercules GTS70L Custom 6'3"

Shimano Ocea Jigger 1500PG
Shimano Trinidad 10a (white knob)
Shimano Ocea Jigger LD 2000II
Shimano Trinidad 10a (round EVA knob)
Van Stall VM150
Daiwa Saltiga sa15
Shimano Stradic FJ5000 (10bb custom)

While waiting till morning I tried my best to stay awake.
At best I was tying FG knots and fighting off the temptation to sleep.  3:20am....4:40am...5:30am...7:05am FINALLY came and we hoped aboard the Peconic Express.

The drift was light and the load was as well.  We met about 12-13 other anglers willing to try their luck at the legendary bay.  The season was early and water still cold.  Funny thing about fishing the bay is that the depth being 40 feet has two thermoclines.  Surface temperature was around 52-54 degrees but I suspect the deeper water was around 48 or so degrees.  The fluke season had just opened the day before (May 1st, 2013).

Fishing was by drift and with a good breeze to put us on the fish.  One short fluke on Li's rod came up and soon thereafter I was hooked into another.  The full day of fishing received a nice wind to drift situation.  If you have ever fished the bay it's all about covering certain areas.  The same ones everyone else would cover.  We saw about 8-9 other private and for charter boats alongside us.
First and second fish were both landed on CM Tackle fluke bait rigs with a medium/long drift setup.
Beautiful fish just "short" of the New York state regulation 19 inch limit.

The crew did a nice job of tending to anglers and create some fun conversations !!  Always a pleasure on the Peconic fleet.

Boat did okay for numbers but many fish were short.  Mate Dennis mentioned the good bite should be within a week.  We know that the good bite is when the baitfish are here and wind/weather has been nice.  We average about 1 per angler.  For our group Li, Jie and I caught fish.  Li had four "just short" and I had one short and two keepers at 21 and 22 inches.  Jie battled a short as well.

It was Bayaar's first time out and I will comend him on his efforts to stay on the rod.  Many guys will just hang it up and forget that it takes the line to be in the water to catch.

Fishing is an outing.  Catching is all about "time on the water."  :-)

Our group were all smiles.

Mate Dennis recognized me, he asked where my father was as he thought I usually fish with him.

Above caught on CM Tackle Bait rig with 6" Chartreuse Gulp Mullet.
Below Caught on Spro 6oz green jig tipped with killies and real squid strip.

Thanks for reading!  Next Stop Brooklyn Nighttime Striped Bass, stay tuned...