Monday, March 18, 2013

When Will it Start?

Trying to nail down the start of the striper action is tricky.  There are so many factors that influence their migration northward.  Certainly water temperature plays a big role and that's affected by our weather. Storminess, winds and the amount of daylight also factor in. However, stripers are  like the birds in that they have that natural instinct that tells them it's time to migrate northward, and that happens regardless of the weather or conditions.
I have logs from over 40 years of fishing. There are clear patterns that emerge from my record keeping.  Decades ago, the northward migration happened consistently around the third week in April.  However, in the last decade, that timeline has moved earlier in general, no doubt due to our warming weather.  Last year, one of the warmest winters and early springs on record, saw new fish arriving in late March.  By the first week in April, they seemed to be everywhere along the oceanfront and in the Bay.  I don't see that as happening this year, as we have had a very cold February and March and water temperatures seem to be where they should be at this time.
However, I am still sticking with a fairly early start to the season because that seems to be the trend in the last decade.  I'll start seriously looking for them in both the Bay and along the oceanfront about the first to second weeks in April.  If I had to bet on a date, I would say things should bust open about April 10. If the weather remains cold, add about 5 days; if the weather suddenly warms up way above normal, subtract about 5 days.  Regardless of the date, the start of the new season is right around the corner.