Rodgers: Striper fishing's nothing like it used to be. What's going on?
“We need the tonic of wildness ... At the same time that we are earnest to explore and learn all things, we require that all things be mysterious and unexplorable, that land and sea be indefinitely wild, unsurveyed and unfathomed by us because unfathomable. We can never have enough of nature.” — Henry David Thoreau, "Walden: Or, Life in the Woods"
“It is a curious situation that the sea, from which life first arose should now be threatened by the activities of one form of that life. But the sea, though changed in a sinister way, will continue to exist; the threat is rather to life itself.” ― Rachel Carson, "The Sea Around Us"
My friend Capt. Richard Greenly one time very sagely explained some sort of seemingly inexplicable phenomenon that undoubtedly some smarter folks had an answer for (if we had been smart enough to ask them) by saying “I dunno, that’s just the way it is.”
Fact is that the Delaware Bay seems to be bereft of life right now once again. For some reason it appears as if when the southerly migrating stripers hit southern Jersey, they stay offshore of the 3-mile line — mockingly, tauntingly close, to be sure — but just don’t venture inside too often.
The days of fishing the big bite drifting the rips through November, or dragging stretches after Thanksgiving dinner, appear to be firmly over.
Certainly the hope that some fish will show still exists. I firmly remember fishing for the darn things on New Year’s Eve and after. Thing is, though, the darn things were already HERE by then. The bait was here, too, big pods of bunker all over the surface. They, too, are gone — out front and out of reach.
Sure it could still happen. But like the Eagles' chances of winning it all, the odds have become much longer.
Speaking of long, the longer range sea bass trips out of Fisherman’s Wharf in Lewes have provided good action for anglers. These adventures are now all 12 hours, and a reservation is required. Fishing has been good when these trips have gotten out.
Getting out is getting harder to do, though. As Capt. Rick Yakimowicz explained, not for the first time, the weather has been a little sketchy.
“The weather,” explained the savvy skipper, “is killing us. Mother Nature is doing a far better job of protecting her fisheries than any fisheries management plan could possibly do.”
Headboat trips are still being planned out of Fisherman’s Wharf Thursday through Monday if there are enough patrons and the weather permits.
The tog fishing had been starting to show some signs of life on the rare occasions that the boats have been getting out.
There is still some hope. With luck the bass will forget where that pesky 3-mile line is and the forecasted warmer weather next week will allow the tog boats to get out.
One thing is for sure — if the stripers do show, you better be ready! No doubt they will stick around just about as long as today’s snow!
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