Sign of the times

August 1, 2019 – Northport

Beautiful day. 

Sue decided not to come out. To take care of the house instead. I went just to start the engine and charge the batteries, never wanting to have to remove them again myself.  My shoulder is still hurting.  Hoping it will heal but it has been a while, x-rays and steroids already done. I can’t cast a fly rod or a spinner.  Maybe I can drop a fluke bait.

So I head out, calm seas. 

Captain Rob Thompson’s Bucktails

See lots of activity on the sonar.  Drop the bucktail Rob Thompson sent.  I would really like to report back to him that I caught something on it.  So far not even a sea robin.  Not the jig’s fault. I brought up the other Fluker with a traditional rig, one I can vary the weight on. I worked the jig and dead-sticked the other.

I drift a bit

…and then go to Lloyd where I assume the outgoing will match the westerly breeze.  I set up off the red buoy and then off the green.  Then outside by the 5 mph marker.  Nothing and the drift is near zero.

I know where to go. 

The west beach off the coast guard.  May not be any fish left there but the drift will be decent.  As I approach I see the James Joseph moving in.  I’d rather not fish next to its chugging diesels. I head for the Obstruction Buoy where 5 or 6 boats are drifting.  Maybe something is going on.  I give it a try and watch the others.  They continue to re-position and drift but I don’t see any fish coming up, or hear any cheers for that matter.

#13 is next.  I turn on my old Garmin which has some markings of where I have caught fish before.  Blackfish, Porgies, and Fluke.  Nothing. I head in. 

No complaints. 

Good to have time on the boat.  Good to be rocking in the wind and tide. Love this boat and she looks very good for her age – 20th season. Sorry the fishing has gotten so bad.  I miss the helter skelter days of birds diving and blues busting the bunker pods, the schoolie stripers a sure thing off the points, and once in a while a nice bass chasing a fly. 

Birds-on-the-feed-outside-the-Nissequogue-River
Birds on the feed

The reports all over are the same

…except from those that need to show dead fish being hoisted by happy clients of a for hire boat on the dock.  Same is true of private boats and surf casters, killing fish being a point of pride that just makes no sense. I have nothing against party boats or 6 packs taking fishers out to catch a few. Its a deep tradition and one worth preserving – as are the fish. Sad that those clients just don’t get the fact that we are killing off the very thing that gives us pleasure.   Then again the commercial boats are taking more, so…

why not get yours while you can?

Truth is, in my view, our fisheries are not sustainable under the assaults of a world growing smaller, population increasing, competition for resources and food growing, and hate of one another being the theme of most campaigns these days (global warming pales in comparison to these issues, as it adds to the threats).

I remember when Prices Bend, my home port, was filled with lobster boats, clamming Garveys, sport fishers, and even a deep sea dragger. People making a living on the water, enjoying the thrill of a sporting catch and even a fresh fish dinner once in a while. Most are gone now, a sign of things to come?

Life goes on and we must continue to adapt. 

Those for hire boats could turn into whale watchers since we are protecting the whales.  Or maybe funeral ships, spreading ashes of those of us who were alive when you could actually catch fish and want our remains to be with them.

In the mean while,

…consider releasing a breeder and suggesting it to your clients and friends. Its up to us to see that our grand kids get to feel that tug on the line we so enjoy.

Shane’s monster Fluke
Sarah Grace waiting for a bite