by Capt. Steve Byrne
So, I finally went fishing on Sunday. The first trip of the year would have come sooner, but I closed on our new home March 29th. The contract listed the closing date as "on or about" March 2nd. What I learned, was that "on or about" actually means within 30 days of the date listed. In addition, the "possession agreement" gave the seller an additional 5 days after closing to actually turn over the property. And of course, the seller stayed those 5 extra days.
With all of those delays, I couldn't begin painting and moving everything until April 3rd. I am completely exhausted, but I painted the bedrooms, living and dining room and have just another twenty or so boxes to get out of storage. Then all we have to do is unpack everything and figure out where it all goes; but it's all good.
Back to the fishing: I left the dock at 11AM to search for bunker. There was plenty of them, but they weren't really net-able. The finder showed bunker, but they were not at all thick and throwing the net was really a waste of time. That said, I wasted an hour throwing the net. Partly because I like to throw the net, and partly because throwing the net is easier on the back than snagging bunker.
After killing an hour for just two bunker, I gave in and dug a bunker snag out of my bag. In five minutes I snagged another four bunker and headed out.
I anchored on a high spot – 11 feet of water, surrounded by 14 feet – and started chunking. After wasting over an hour for bunker, I only had two or three hours left to fish. I'd like to tell you that I caught a bunch of stripers, but I can't.
I tried using circle hooks, and I think I paid a price for it. One rod was set in "idiot mode." Baited and stuck in the holder with the reel in gear, it doubled over after waiting twenty minutes, but the fish wasn't stuck. After that failure, I set the baits out with the reels in free spool. I had three more solid takes, but the bunker chunks popped free of the fish's mouth every time.
They are definitely here.
Talking with several guys at the dock, it seems that results varied widely depending on whom you spoke with. Two boats came back without so much as a bite, while another friend had three bass from 25 to 27 pounds. All of these guys know what they're doing, so it's not a case of one person knowing something nobody else does.
There was a report of a 50-inch bass caught by a local kayaker. As for the weight, estimates ranged from 30 to 45 pounds, depending on who you asked. Apparently, it was a skinny fish.
My plans are to take a break from working on the house for now, and start concentrating on the bass. Several clients have been texting, emailing and calling me, and I look forward to getting them out on the water and reporting the results to you.