Friday, January 17, 2014

Winter Numbers Down

It should come as no surprise when I tell you that numbers of wintering over stripers are down.  Since the start of 2014, the action in my winter spots in the upper Bay has been fair to poor, with numbers of fish down compared to recent years. Prior to New Year's Day, back in late November and early December, there had actually been good numbers of fish around, but I suspect those fish left the area possibly on a late migration.  Since Jan. 1, it has been slim and disappointing pickings.  Of course, these wild swings in the weather are not helping the situation. Realize, too, that in the past the stripers that tended to winter over were usually large schoolies to small keepers, or fish in the 20-30 inch range.  While I have seen fair numbers of schoolies being caught at times, the number of small keepers is way, way off.  In past years, one winter fish out of twenty would usually end up being a small keeper. So far this winter since mid November, I have taken over 200 fish (mostly in Nov. and Dec.) from the upper Bay and only one was a small keeper.  Keepers are scarce, but then again, they were scarce this fall from shore also, so no surprise here. As a side note, this is the first time in many years that I have not seen a seal or two feeding in the upper Bay.  That should tell us that there is just not much food around to attract them.