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Noreast Saltwater Magazine
Striped Bass Migration May 3 2009
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Striped Bass Migration June 3 2009
Striped Bass Migration June 10 2009

Striped Bass Spring Migration
Striped Bass Spring Migration
Article # 5
June 3, 2009 by Bob Creeden

Ah Spring! This past week, two cold fronts and chilly rain from Monday night to Friday, slowed the bite throughout the northeast down slightly. Big fish were scarce and smaller bass few and far between from my location at Quonny Pond in Rhode Island. We saw a worm hatch the night we arrived. After that initial peek, nada! I learn this lesson each spring! We call what we do, Fishing, not killing for a very good reason. Ya never know!

The same weather pushed Hudson River striped bass spawning a little further into June. The majority of northern striped bass are spawned out and are moving out their home rivers. They are joining their southern cousins as they all move north. The majority of these fish will be in New England waters by the middle of June. Some of the southern Race will go no further north than Sandy Hook and Raritan Bay, New Jersey. The rest will head down east to their summer feeding grounds in New York, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine. At this time an overlapping of the Chesapeake and Hudson striped bass races occurs. They will travel and feed together throughout the summer months. When the cold winds of fall begin to blow and the days grow shorter they will move south together to spend the winter along the coast of North Carolina and Virginia. A small percentage of the northern race will peel off and seek winter sanctuary in the salty lower end of rivers from Rhode Island to New Jersey.

The amount of bait available in northern coastal waters is stunning, especially in New England’s bountiful coastal bays, rivers and salt ponds. Clam worm hatches occur all thru the summer, millions and possibility billions of young sand lances (sand eels) are beginning to school up on the flats and in the bays of New Jersey, Long Island, Connecticut, Rhode Island, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and southern Maine. June is the month that bass feed with a singular focus, picking up weight and strength from each cycle of bait species nature presents in a planned time release of tasty tidbits. Striped bass feed on herring, small shad, menhaden, flounder, mullet, eels, anchovy, sand lance, mackerel, shrimp, crabs, and lobster. An in the fall they focus on peanut bunker, the young of the year menhaden who swarm out of the bays that have nurtured them thru early spring and summer. Striped bass fishing will be better than good in June, most of July and dip a bit in August. By September, the bass and the other predator species will start feeding heavily of the late blooming bait species, to gain strength for the Fall Migration.

This week and next, man to fish encounters will increase. The harbors will be teeming with bait, including that predatory bait known as squid. Folks of all ages will be jigging squid off lighted docks all along the coast. On Martha’s Vineyard, young ladies attending June Weddings as bridesmaids will be drawn to the docks in Edgartown to see the slaughter. The bolder ladies will ask if they can try to catch a squid or two. Several years ago, a young lady from South Carolina, asked me if she could try to catch squid in Edgartown. I told her she was welcome, but suggested she change from her very pretty dinner dress into something that she would chance a squirt of squid ink on. She returned with a six pack to share with me and my fishing partner, Stanley Nadler of Oceanport, NJ. I can still hear her say with a smile, “Hi, y’all” when she plucked her first squid from the water. Steve Percell, owner of Larry’s Tackle in Edgartown, MA, posted that the squiding in Eatontown is fantastic right now and anglers are scoring squid and hustling them to South Beach to present to bass and bluefish. Don Mac Gillivary at Larry’s Tackle said that big bass were stacked up all around Gayhead this past weekend.

Another welcome visitor to New England waters is Atlantic Mackerel. They and the slightly smaller chub mackerel spawn in the spring and are sought after by commercial fishermen, sportsmen and all manner of predaceous fish, from whales, porpoises, tunas, bluefish, striped bass and even cod. The commercial fleets are working schools in Cape Cod Bay now. Recreational anglers with boats are jigging them up with Sabiki rigs and running and gunning to their favorite striped bass holes and ledges in the Bay. Sand eels are all over the flats along the north shore of Long Island and have been seen moving thru the Cape Cod Canal in the past couple of days. Large schools of mature sand eels are moving north along the edge of drop offs in Connecticut and Rhode Island.

The Hudson River spawning run is down to a trickle, with late arrivals finishing the season this week. Pat Ferris of Croton Bat and Tackle, in Croton, NY, said she has been weighing in striped bass up to 16 pounds this past week. They are fresh fish from the ocean. There are a lot of mossbunker in the Tappan Zee, Haverstraw Bay and Croton Bays right now. Dennis Kooney of Croton, NY, caught a 15-pound, 4-ounce bluefish on Sunday using bunker for bait.

The final list of winners for the River Basin Sports Shop, Striped Bass Contest Tournament are -

1) Pete Longo received $5,730.00 for his 46.75-inch, May 15, 2009 striped bass.
2) Kim Doyle won $1,948.20 for the 46.5-inch bass he caught on May 8, 2009.
3) Gerard Uhrik, took home $1,260.60 for his 46-inch fish caught April 25, 2009 that was tied with Walt Weglinski’s 46-inch fish caught on May 12, 2009. Walt receive $1,260.60 when the Third and Fourth place prize money was combined for the tied fish.

5) Steve Hopf received $687.60 for the 45-inch striped bass he caught on May 7, 2009

6) Dan Fitzgerald received $286.50 for the 44.5-inch fish he caught on May 13, 2009 that was tied with Pat Dutkiewicz’s 55.5-inch striped bass caught on May 18, 2009. Pat’s share for the tie was $286.50. Tom Gentalen reports that last week excellent striped bass fishing occurred Coxsackie south to Norrie Point across the river from Port Ewen, NY. On May 29th, two seasoned striped bass anglers came in his shop about ten am and said they were into a school of fish that hit three rods at about the same time. Tom’s wants to thank all of the 564 anglers who entered the River Basin’s 22nd Striped bass Contest.

Bill Spath of Elizaville, NY, caught the first 2009 striped bass over 40-inches live lining a herring in the vicinity of Malden, NY, on April 22, 2009. Pete Longo of Saugerties, NY, won the top prize with his 46.75-inch striped bass using herring in the vicinity of Malden, NY, on May 15, 2009. Both anglers are veterans of the Striper’s Wars in the Hudson River. Congratulations to all the men and women who scored their stripers this year in the Hudson River Valley.

The first over 40 Inches in 2009

The Winnah! Congratulations Pete, you done good!
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