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Thread: Weakfish, bass- I've seen this before, its happening again

  1. #1
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    Default Weakfish, bass- I've seen this before, its happening again

    In the mid 2000 me and friends seen our tiderunner weakfish kept getting biggger and bigger, the old 8 bench mark went to 10 for a new york minute before going to 12, Personal bests were broken. then the collapse. Now the key here is you did have to make a 1000 casts to get the trophy also.

    Big fish ....great right??? or is it?

    We were fishing super spots where the sole survivors had retreated to, there were no mid size fish to grab the lures and provide some sort of shelter. Any Fish first line of defense is be in a thick school or be picked off! A decent catch of a few mid size fish might have sent you home early happy right? The ones of us crazy enough would lock down and not accept defeat 3 hr trips were now 7 or 8 trips. Everything was a concentrate.

    So this post is actually about bass, flashback to 2008, "whoa that bass is over 25lbs" A 30lb now is the old 20, Well they are getting bigger but it's the 20s benchmark that survived since 2008. again they are being caught on special water with structure, just not seeing any open water blitzes, however they have been in water they should have left 2 weeks ago so there is a small shot. Either the pattern is repeating or the guys I been fishing around are some lucky bastards. If anyone sees John from Berkeley thank him for reversing the Tournament to C&R, watching some of those fish go back first hand is really witnessing change.

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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkHart View Post
    So this post is actually about bass, flashback to 2008, "whoa that bass is over 25lbs" A 30lb now is the old 20, Well they are getting bigger but it's the 20s benchmark that survived since 2008. again they are being caught on special water with structure, just not seeing any open water blitzes, however they have been in water they should have left 2 weeks ago so there is a small shot. Either the pattern is repeating or the guys I been fishing around are some lucky bastards. If anyone sees John from Berkeley thank him for reversing the Tournament to C&R, watching some of those fish go back first hand is really witnessing change.
    I think a lot of folks are not able to see this, because they don't have the perspective you have, Shark.

    Either...
    1. They have only been fishing a few years, less than 10, and remember the sand eel blitzes at Island Beach as "good fishing". When you break that bite down by months, the fishing was very poor that year for Sept, Oct, and most of Nov until it turned on....They don't have the perspective of when the fishing used to be great from Sept onward..
    Some think of Thanksgiving weekend as the start of their fall fishing season...when the reality is...it used to be so much more robust, and longer lasting.

    2. They don't see some of the things you, I, and others are seeing.....
    The central theme I have heard from anglers in my travels this Spring, is "What happened to all the smaller fish we used to get in the rivers or along the shorelines? Fishing with bait, you will see more of these smaller fish.....but that doesn't mean that more of them are around...only that you will likely find every stray fish in an area.....when tossing bait.....

    3. There are gaps in many year classes, that people either don't see, or refuse to recognize......

    4. The internet heroes out there who are shouting:
    "Yep we got em to 40 lbs yesterday, it was EPIC"...
    "Bass fishing is as healthy as it ever was"
    The folks who keep repeating this, not only are ignorant, but do the rest of us a disservice, by implying a false sense of security....

    5. Anyone I have come across who keeps repeating the mantra about how healthy the striped bass are...
    is usually a Capt who has a commercial agenda, or someone who is worried about losing income if the regs are changed.....












    You and several others here have drawn extensive parallels to conditions before the moratorium, and conditions now.....
    I believe the parallels to be true..........
    And great indicators of the poor health of this fishery........

    I also see it for myself the more I fish.....
    And fish water that should be teeming with bass, at least a few small ones....and has no bass at all.....
    This is just not part of normalcy....
    And those that think it is....either have a hidden agenda.....or just aren't seasoned enough to recognize it for what it is.....

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    Quote Originally Posted by SharkHart View Post
    Big fish ....great right??? or is it?

    We were fishing super spots where the sole survivors had retreated to, there were no mid size fish to grab the lures and provide some sort of shelter. . If anyone sees John from Berkeley thank him for reversing the Tournament to C&R, watching some of those fish go back first hand is really witnessing change.
    Quote Originally Posted by DarkSkies View Post
    3. There are gaps in many year classes, that people either don't see, or refuse to recognize......

    4. The internet heroes out there who are shouting:
    "Yep we got em to 40 lbs yesterday, it was EPIC"...
    "Bass fishing is as healthy as it ever was"
    The folks who keep repeating this, not only are ignorant, but do the rest of us a disservice, by implying a false sense of security....

    .....
    I agree with both of you. There should be more fish around of all sizes but there are not. Sometimes I fish the jetties. Sometimes I fish just outside of the inlets. There should always be small fish there during the season. Unfortunately there are not. It is feast or famine. I remember these same conditions right before the moratorium. And lots of big fish were being caught as well. Then the stocks collapsed.

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    Yep we have to kill them before they are all gone plus it will save the bunker

    Pay attention to what history has taught us or be prepared to relive it again

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    Its ashame it had to be that way.

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    sharkhart what do you think of the charter captains. They advertize all the time about bonus limits and show docks full of dead bass. I have heard a lot of theories who is more responsible. Do you think they should take some of the blame when they are killing all these bass day after day? and it is not good enough to advertize limits they advertize bonus limits. This charter named fisher price does it all the time. Damn I bet he killed 500 bass alone on his boats this year. Multiply that by the dozens of charter boats. The stripers can only take so much!

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    Quote Originally Posted by seamonkey View Post
    Do you think they should take some of the blame when they are killing all these bass day after day? and it is not good enough to advertize limits they advertize bonus limits. This charter named fisher price does it all the time. Damn I bet he killed 500 bass alone on his boats this year. Multiply that by the dozens of charter boats. The stripers can only take so much!
    Try 500 a month. Sure they don't always catch. Even a conservative estimate if they are using the bonus limits is 500 per month.
    he usually advertises ++ limits as well. With am and pm trips using bonus limits these charter boats can bring home 30 bass a day each, easily. Do the math, thats about 500 a month if they are fully booked and accounting for bad days.

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    ^^^^^ Think about that number all up and down the coast. The Va boats in the winter. The montauk boats in the summer. Those long island boats in the fall and the nj ones too. Its no wonder the stripers can't have a stable population. They get attacked at any place where they might be for more than a few days. I just read on here that some boats were fishing in the EEZ this weekend. So they are slaughtered there too. Its a wonder there are any left to spawn each year.

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    Those that do not remember the sins of the past are condemned to repeat it.

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    Charters putting people without skills on Fish mid may to mid June is a huge part of the problem. I have also said how much modern technology has put so much pressure on them and some people laugh. Most guys need a picture to get off the couch, with facebook on smart phones most guys just run to bites. I only report here and my facebook is on a delay.

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    1. Berkeley Tourney and the Lack of Abundance of fish along the 2014 NJ Shorline:
    On a side note, I know a lot of the anglers who ended in the top spots.
    Now that it's over, I can report that half the large fish entered, came from one particular area in New Jersey.

    For those who say
    "Stripers are not in danger, they are as abundant as ever"
    "Stripers are still being caught, you just have to work for them"

    I would say the above statements are inaccurate and misleading.

    http://www.city-data.com/states/New-...nd-extent.html
    "New Jersey's total boundary length is 480 mi (773 km), including a general coastline of 130 mi (209 km); the tidal shoreline is 1,792 mi (2,884 km). "

    With 130 miles of coastline in NJ, and 1700 miles of tidal water, it is sobering to think that the majority of these fish came from one small area of our coastline.
    There are bass available in other areas.....but larger fish are few and far between.
    **My point is that in the first 2 weeks of June, prime time for bass fishing in NJ, there are so few opportunities to catch bigger striped bass from land, (and not including bridges) that to, me, it is sad, and is another indicator of a deficit in the striped bass biomass.......

    I only need to go back 8-10 years, when I remember a few dozen places this time of year where you could catch larger striped bass from land.....this is evident as well, to any seasoned fishermen who have been fishing for more than a decade and know how and where to target larger bass at night.....they are just not there......in the numbers they and places they used to be found in....









    2. Another Example- Monmouth Beach Cartoppers Contest - June 2014

    From Al Ristori's column at www.nj.com
    "Joe Melillo is proud of this weekend's win by the small-membership Spring Lake Live Liners over bigger clubs in the Monmouth Beach Cartoppers contest. He said the Asbury Park club was second.Melillo nailed a13 9/16-pound striper on a swimming plug in the Point Pleasant surf, and Mike Commune of Brick plugged a 13-pounder there. Gerald CeCe of Point Pleasant plugged his 17-pound bass at Bay Head, where Terry Martuscelli of Brick fished a chunk to beach a 17-pound bass. Mickey Sweeney of Howell fished clams in Bay Head for linesiders of 11 and 13 pounds."


    Results of the Monmouth Beach Car Toppers Tournament.

    Spring Lake Live Liners 83 Points
    Asbury Park Fishing Club 36 Points
    There were no other weigh-ins.

    Congratulations to Bob Matthews, for the Largest Bass, 20 pounds.
    Congratulations also to Gerald Cece
    Terry Martuscelli
    Joe Melillo Sr.
    Mike Comune


    To put this in perspective, each pound was worth one point....the total points for the contest were 119.....meaning out of all the clubs involved, fishing all the holes, cuts, points, inlets, and back bay sloughs they know very well, and have caught countless fish from before....
    The best of the best, the old salts from these clubs....some with over 60 years of fishing experience....could only manage to find and catch,

    119 lbs of fish.....for the whole weekend....

    To me....that says a lot....about the reality of how poor our striped bass fishing (from land) is, right now.....



    Thanks for reading....

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    Looks like the first year in 12 or so where there won't be a June Pencil season.

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    ^^^^ yeah and all the club guys won't be able to come running down when they get the text "Get down here now its on!!!!!!!!!!"

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    and yes the Berkeley winner was 4 feet to my right when he caught that winning fish

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    Weakfish 2014

    I know this was started as a bass thread but the weakfish deserve a mention too. I know we have some great weakfish anglers in this thread who actively target and catch them.

    Personally I don't target weakfish but I am very happy whenever I catch one as by catch. I do catch a few while bucktailing with gulp for fluke.

    I've slowly watch the latest weakfish in this "cycle" start to grow up.

    For the past three years I have noticed a trend...each year the predominant sized class seem to be a little bigger and there seems to be less of them.

    So far this year I've only seen one caught and heard of a few in Northern NJ.

    I am starting to get a little worried that I am not catching more of these as "bycatch".

    Are too few of these being released back safely?

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    ^^^^^^^^ I think whenever they begin to make a comeback netters like the belford pirates smash the population to smithereens by picking up all the stragglers. I forgot what the limit is maybe someone here knows. Go to the belford co op around the late fall and they have small spike weakfish for sale. When all the little ones that got born that year are streaming out of the bay those damn pirates net and intercept them. there might be other boats out there too. I do know the belford boats do it for a fact because I seen the weakfish in the glass case there.

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    Salty tours is the guy you want to look at who is raping them in ocean county. He's worse than a pirate. More like a scab or a carbuncle.

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    There should be no commercial fishing at all for weakfish. I read here they have a 200lb per trip limit. No teeth in those regulations.

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    Pretty good article I read


    Delaware’s state fish -- the weakfish -- is in trouble and the reason isn’t what you’d expect.
    Anglers aren’t out there reeling in fish by the dozens. In fact, state and regional managers have ratcheted back so much on recreational catch limits that you can keep one, 13-inch fish a day -- if you can find one. Commercial guys aren’t catching them either. Last year, the total commercial landings in Delaware totaled about 50 pounds, said John Clark, the state fisheries environmental program manager.
    Instead, fisheries managers believe natural mortality may be the reason adult weakfish populations -- once the bread and butter of both commercal and recreational anglers in Delaware Bay -- aren’t recovering and the numbers are falling even lower.
    And now researchers at North Carolina State University are use acoustic trackers to try to figure out where adult weakfish go when they leave Delaware Bay in the fall and head south to North Carolina.

    “We want to know where the fish are moving,” said Jacob Krause, a doctoral student at the university.

    Late last month, Krause, assisted by a state fisheries biologist, used everything from hook and line to nets to find weakfish in Delaware Bay. The fish had to be at least 12-inches long to be used in this study because of the size of the acoustic transmitter. It is slightly smaller than a tube of lip balm.

    While much of the research Krause is working on is North Carolina-based, it has important implications in Delaware, too.

    Among the questions he and fellow researchers are trying to answer are movement rates and stock boundaries of weakfish in both Delaware and North Carolina; an estimate of seasonal and annual mortality rates for catch-legal sized weakfish in North Carolina and specific waterways there; to look at survival of weakfish in Delaware Bay and to study whether weakfish predators are eating these young adult fish. Among the predators: Atlantic bottlenose dolphin, striped bass and spiny dogfish.

    Money for the research is coming from the North Carolina Marine Resources Fund from the sale of coastal recreational fishing licenses.


    The Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission, the regional regulatory board that manages fish species from Maine to Florida, already estimates that natural mortality of weakfish is two to three times the level of fishing mortality.

    The traditional method for helping fish populations to rebuild is by managing fisherman, said Timothy Targett, a professor at the University of Delaware College of Earth, Ocean and Environment. Targett, a fisheries biologist and ecologist, served from 1987 to 2009 on the Atlantic States Marine Fisheries Commission as they tackled the weakfish population decline.

    “It’s been a challenge for fisheries managers,” he said. “Something is preventing it from recovering.”

    And a huge issue is that “natural mortality is not something you can control,” he said.
    Buy PhotoCameron Luck holds a weakfish that will be implanted with a acoustic tag by the North Carolina State University research team. (Photo: Molly Murray/The News Journal)


    Meanwhile, he said, young-of-the year fish in Delaware Bay seem to be doing fine.

    Clark agreed and said that Delaware biologists have tagged 8-inch long, year old fish.
    These young-of-the-year fish “Are all in very good shape,” he said. “They are definitely getting plenty to eat.”
    As for anglers catching those tagged fish in subsequent years when they were large enough to be keepers, “We don’t get any tags returned,” Clark said.

    And that leaves the question of what happens between that first year of life and the second, when they should be showing up in Delaware Bay as bigger fish.


    Clark said there could be a correlation between striped bass populations -- which until recently were on the rise -- and weakfish. On charts, as the stripers increase, the weakfish decline, he said.


    Another factor could be a rise in the populations of Atlantic Bottlenose dolphins. As a protected marine mammal resource, dolphins could be a predator of weakfish that is little understood.


    And there is a growing population of spiny dogfish in the bay and they are another potential predator, Clark said.

    Weakfish numbers were relatively stable in the Delaware Bay for decades and then, in the 1970s and 1980s, the population exploded. Commercial fisherman landed thousands of pounds of the fish and recreation anglers filled coolers.
    In 1981, the Greater Milford Chamber of Commerce and organizers of the local World Champion Weakfish Tournament, pushed state lawmakers to name the weakfish the official state fish.

    But within a few years, the population crashed. Eventually, the tournament was discontinued. The Atlantic States fisheries
    commission stepped in and came up with a management plan. The focus: cutting back on fishing pressure.

    Clark said that the 1995 plan to reduce fishing pressure seemed to be working and the population was starting to come back.

    Then, “it was like everything was coming back and it hit a brick wall,” he said.

    And the reversal wasn’t minor, it was dramatic, he said.
    Between 1998 and 2008, there was a 98-percent decline in the population, he said.

    One problem with weakfish is they may be especially vulnerable to predation as they are schooling up to head out of the bay and south, Clark said.


    About the same time weakfish school, striped bass and dolphin are also beginning their coastal migrations.


    In North Carolina, scientists looking at stomach contents from striped bass and found their main prey along the ocean was weakfish. But in the sounds, they were feeding on croaker, he said.

    With the North Carolina State study, researchers hope to learn more about where Delaware’s state fish goes.
    Each acoustic tag emits a distinct frequency and in the fall, the team will be able to track the fish as they move.
    “With the big fish, we just don’t know what happens,” Krause said.
    Meanwhile, young of the year populations have been holding at average levels, he said. So learning more about the adults will “at least get a puzzle piece to help answer” what is happening to the big fish.
    Reach Molly Murray at 463-3334 or mmurray@delawareonline.com. Follow her on Twitter @MollyMurraytnj.

    http://www.delawareonline.com/story/...fish/72506488/

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    What's a weakfish lol. Man this is truly sad, they are like ghosts now.

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