Tag: Bass Barn forum

The essence of November


A Striped bass I caught while targeting speckled trout.

A  striped bass I caught from the sand, 11-10-2014

The first breath of the November woods ends my saltwater fishing season. Bowhunting  has my full attention at this point. I logged well over 100  saltwater fishing trips  this year, I will post a season review soon.

Striped bass continue to be the best bite in Cape May County waters. However, do not expect to drive the beaches and find them schooled up under the birds. The beaches have produced very few stripers this season, reserved for the skilled and dedicated fishermen. The same way for the rips and traditional fall chunking spots in the Delaware Bay, so far. I had 47 degree water temperature at my dock today, 49 degrees at my fishing spot in the back waters.


Chip Gruff  worked the rocks for this striped bass.

Chip Gruff worked the rocks for this striped bass.


Chris shows a nice striped bass. 11-2014

Chris shows a nice striped bass. 11-2014


How much effort does it take ?



This striper made some drag screaming runs , that included pulling the  skiff.

This striper made some drag screaming runs , that included pulling the skiff. 10-2014

There is a pretty good swing in the amount of effort it takes to catch fish. When you have  the right conditions and  knowledge  coupled with a large number of fish,  your chances of catching fish are best. As the fish numbers  decreases, the amount of effort, knowledge  and time it takes to catch them increases. The number of sport fishermen also decreases with each step of difficulty. Long before any fish management authority declares the Striped bass or any other game fish over-fished, the ability to catch fish is out of reach for most.

In the past, many  striped bass  fishermen caught ,100, 500 and a few hit 1000  28″ keepers in a season here in Cape May County, NJ. Most of these exact fishermen have not caught a striped bass this season, let alone a keeper.  Weakfish, at one point recreational fishermen  would line up at fish dealers like Jack king’s,  with hundreds of  weakfish to sell. I doubt, if any of these fishermen could catch a single weakfish using the same fishing techniques  today.

The good news is the Striped bass and weakfish population numbers  are good enough for the (skill sharp) angler to consistently catch. However,  an adjustment of expectations is  necessary for anyone striped bass fishing this season.

Here is the new norm:  25 striped bass for the season,  including shorts , is  obtainable for the weekend fisherman. A 100 striped bass season is within reach for those that are able to pick their days.

Many skill sharp anglers that dedicated their time targeting weakfish, during primetime,  caught 25 weakfish for the 2014 season.  An elite few hit 100 weakfish for the season. I would say a good 95% of these weakfish were released.

The jury is still out on New Jersey red drum and speckled trout for the 2014 season.

A beautiful late summer  weakfish.

A beautiful late summer weakfish.


Cape May County ‘s resident striped bass


Wayne shows one of today's stripers

One of today’s striped bass

Striped bass fishing in Cape May County, NJ  has been  dependent upon our local striper population, so far this season. The conditions necessary for the migratory fish to  show up , wind direction, water temperature and other factors, have not lined up yet and may not. Mother nature dictates the conditions, every year is unique.   However, if you arm yourself with information specific to fishing for our resident striped bass,  your catch rate will skyrocket. Watch for upcoming articles in On The Water  magazine (New York/New Jersey)  for detailed information on this subject.

Autumn Weakfish

A 25" weakfish and  a crisp fall sunset.

                                                    A 25″ weakfish and a crisp fall sunset.                                      9-23-2014

I had planned on pushing  hard for  speckled trout and red drum this week, but the conditions  are not in place yet. However, targeting and catching weakfish this time of year is just as rewarding. The NE wind that is blowing today  could jump start  the weakfish east south migration, ending the season in the back waters.  The water temperature is 68 degrees and the water clarity is excellent. This was a  beautiful day to be saltwater fishing.

The last weakfish of the 2014 season ?


It is time for me to focus on Jersey red drum and speckled trout, so  today’s  weakfish could  be the last of the season for me. The first red drum of the fall season has been caught, I call this fish the motivator.  The fishing news travels at the speed of light today , even with the (do not tell anybody)  tag on it.  I am sure the Jersey red drum specialist will be fishing a little harder next week. The peanut bunker, mullet and snapper blues are still pretty thick in the back waters and along the beachfront. We need the water temperature to drop a few degrees  and a good NW wind to jump start the fall fishing season.

Tide runner weakfish in September


September tide runner weakfish 2014

September tide runner weakfish 2014

Finding big  weakfish in the fall can  cause  insomnia for me. Big weakfish will not hold in one spot for  long this time of the year. I  will usually fish every tide until they move on.  Sure enough, this pod of fish only held for a few days.  Now I can catch up on sleep and a few responsibilities, before the hunt begins again.

If you are interested in how to catch weakfish,  check out the 2014 May addition of  On The Water magazine NY/NJ addition.   http://www.onthewater.com/magazine/

Keeper size striped bass on Labor day weekend


IMG_1685 The bluefish  finished off almost all of my favorite rubber baits before I found the stripers.  There was very little fishing pressure, but the wave runners and water sport boats were all over. It is hard enough to find keeper stripers during the day in August without the traffic. These guys are up and down small creeks and skinny water, so it took some  effort to find undisturbed water . They are enjoying the water just like me, so it is all good. Just about every cast produced a fish, once I found them.  It was a  beautiful day to be on the water.

Stripers in the dark


The new moon night is usually the darkest, but it was pretty dark last night. The stripers could be heard, not seen,  popping along with bait fish splashing.  The bite really slows after days of north east wind, like we had recently. The spot I was fishing is an excellent summer weakfish spot.  I was hoping even with the bad condition I would still catch one, I didn’t. However, the striped bass picked up the slack.

August tide runner weakfish


One of today's tide runner weakfish

One of today’s tide runner weakfish

The more difficult the hunt,  the more value and satisfaction is found in the catch.  Targeting and catching big weakfish this time of the year takes some effort, but is beyond satisfying, it is a rush.