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Striped Bass Spring Migration
May 03, 2009
by Bob Creeden

Article # 1

PHOTO: Mark Sofranko of Croton holds the third-largest striped bass ever fished from the Hudson River yesterday at the Croton Yacht Club. He caught the 52-pound, 48.5-inch fish Friday. (Mark Vergari/The Journal News)

From Cape May to Raritan Bay, New Jersey lit up this past week with reports of striped bass and early blue fish hook ups. The number of keeper size bass tripled in the past week. Reports of 30-inch bluefish, blitzing bait at Sandy Hook and Raritan bay shore points began on Saturday night’s internet chatter. Earl Saturday afternoon, Island Beach State Park anglers began hitting striped bass with lures and bait along the beach. Fly fishing anglers in boats and kayaks started reporting catching striped bass along the western edge of Barnegat Bay last Thursday morning.

Just north of the Tappan Zee Bridge, off Ossining, NY, Mark Sofranko of Croton, NY, hooked and boated the largest striped bass caught in the Hudson River so far this year. He was drifting herring from his boat on Friday night, when he hooked a 52-pound, 48.5-inch striped bass. The water temperature at the time was 55.2-degrees. The fish had recently entered the Hudson and was making her way up river towards the spawning grounds above Bear Mountain Bridge. Most anglers in the salty lower Hudson fish live or chunk menhaden from boats for big striped bass. When he brought his fish to Croton Bait and Tackle, Croton-on-Hudson, NY, Pat Ferris said the fish was so heavy that it maxed out their scale. Mark had to run it across Westchester County, and get it weighed at Jack’s Bait and Tackle in City Island, NY. Mark Sofranko’s picture with his fish, was published on Saturday in the Journal News. Truly a great fish caught by a skilled angler.

Sharon Jones of Certified Marine Services, Connelly, NY, reported Frankie Litts of Port Ewen, NY, caught a 37-pound, 12-ounce striped bass on Sunday, May 4, 2009, using chunk herring from shore. Blood and sand worms are the favorite bait of shore anglers in Ulster County, but Frankie’s catch shows that chunk herring is a great chance from the bank as well. Certified Marine has fresh, salted and frozen herring, and a good supply of sand and blood worms. Sharon went on to say, the turn out of shore anglers this year is absolutely amazing. Every accessible portion of the western shore of the Hudson is occupied with anglers. Some of them bring their families and set up tents and fish day and night. “It is truly amazing,” Sharon said when she described the country fair atmosphere that is going on in Ulster County. State and County parks on the Hudson from Saugerties, NY to Highland, NY have people fishing around the clock. This large turn out of shore anglers is a new development in Hudson River striped bass spring fishing.

The banks of Rondout Creek are crowded as well and the herring run there has been excellent this year. Striped bass are being caught in the creek as they follow herring up past Eddyville, NY. Sharon said that past Eddyville, striped bass are competing with big walleyes for the bait. Scap netters are complaining that striped bass and walleyes are blitzing and scattering herring as they try to scap net them in the creek. A scap net is a 4 foot square of net held flat by thin, flexible poles under tension that are attached each net corner. With the net sitting flat on the bottom of the creek herring are enticed by a decoy fish over the net. The decoy can be a live herring or a lure that resembles a herring called a “Stoolie”. It is tossed out and reeled back and across the sunken net. As the herring pass over the net, the net is lifted and the herring are scapped up and swung to shore. It was originally used by Dutch settlers in the Hudson Valley and the word Scap has its root in their language. Certified Marine has two events scheduled in the near future. May 9th & 10th - 15th Annual Striped Bass Tournament and BBQ and May 23rd - 10th Kids Fishing Tournament and BBQ.

Tom Gentalen’s report, from Catskill, NY, shows decent fish are in the river from Newburgh to Bethlehem. The largest fish during the week are coming from the area between Espous and Germantown. On Sunday, May 3, Randy Phelan hooked and landed a 43-inch striped bass that tied him for 4th place with Bill Baldwin in the top 6 fish in the RIVER BASIN STRIPER CONTEST. Gerard Uhrik still leads and is followed by two ties and Jake Watts is hanging on with his 42.75-inch fish.

1st........... $5,730.00 - 46-inches -- Uhrik, Gerard - April 25,
2nd...TIE $1,948.20 - 44-inches -- Bishop, Brian - April 26,
3rd...TIE $1,489.80 - 44-inches -- Leonard, Cindy - April 27,
4th....TIE $1,031.40 - 43-inches -- Baldwin, Bill - April 25,
5th....TIE $ 687.60 - 43-inches -- Phelan, Randy - May 3,
6th......... $ 573.00 - 42.75-inches Watts, Jake - April 23,

Reports in New England from Connecticut to Boston show a slight increase of striped bass moving inshore to feed. A 30-inch striped bass, with sea-lice attached, was caught in Boston Harbor Coast on Sunday morning and small striped bass are along the west side of Cape Code Canal. Wet weather is forecasted for the next ten days from New Jersey to Maine. Temperatures should stay above 40-degrees a night and no higher than 70-degrees during the day. The arrival of big and hungry blue fish along the northern shore of New Jersey is early and I suspect that this week New Jersey will have the hottest fishing for this week. New England’s turn at bat is just around the corner. Til we meet again.
All Stripers All The Time!!

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