Friday, July 19, 2019

Double Whammy: Lack of Keepers, Lack of Bluefish

This has been a bad week of saltwater fishing for me. I put in a good amount of time looking for stripers and/or blues and came up empty, and I was fishing mostly in a place where I killed them last year at this time. We are in a strange period of time of fishing here in southern New England. Both larger stripers as well as bluefish are scarce. We are seeing larger stripers in severe decline, something that was predicted long before the season started.  If you don't believe me, check out the commercial quota numbers for MA.  At this point, a mere 14% of the quota has been reached for striped bass.  That tells me that even the diehard commercial guys are having a hard time finding them. Bluefish fare no better.  At this point in MA, only 8 % of the quota for blues has been reached. Strange thing is that the bluefish have gone under the radar in the management game.  Very little has been said about their decline, but their numbers have been on a downward slide for years, but bag limits and size limits have not changed one bit.
I am finding bait around, but very little after it.  Yesterday I found lots of small bait (maybe rain bait or bay anchovies). Small pods of mackerel were hitting it.  But, no stripers of blues were after the macs. My son Matt was out in Boston Harbor this week.  The place was absolutely choking with large menhaden.  There was one school after another in a large area of the Harbor. Once again, nothing under it.
Finally, check out this week's fishing report at On the Water magazine.  For the first time in a long, long time, most of the bait and tackle shops along the Cape Cod Canal are reporting "slow" striper fishing. It was hopping at the Ditch last year at this time, but not this year.
This is today's new reality: not many keeper bass, not many bluefish. I'm hoping it all improves as we move toward fall.