COLD WATER, SOFT BITE
While a few anglers have culled a winter flounder or two from Quogue Canal, and some resident school bass have been found in the tidal sections of Carmans River and Connetquot River, along with a few more near Smiths Point Bridge, the skunk has ruled the day so far on the salty side.
That’s unlikely to change until water temperatures bump up another three or four degrees. Heading into the weekend, temps on Great South Bay were at 40 to 42 degrees, with other locations as low as 38 degrees. Predicted air temperature highs of 60 degrees with abundant sunshine this weekend should help improve the outlook. Still, the key words for now are likely to be “low” and “slow.”
Although you might find both schoolie stripers and a few winter flounder slipping into the shallows over the next few days, expect them to hold close to the bottom for the most part. Clam and worm baits should be left to simply lay still. If you are using lures for stripers, the slower the better is the rule of retrieve for early spring.
POND TROUT ARE READY TO ROCK
Things should be vastly different on the freshwater front. Local lakes and ponds are warm enough now to produce good action with stocked trout for those using Panther Martin and Mepps in-line spinners, small spoons, trout worms and Berkley Power Baits. Chartreuse, yellow and hot pink are favored bait colors while gold and silver work best with spinners and spoons.
As a soft rule, brown trout favor gold while rainbows prefer the brighter flash of silver. Day-glo or fluorescent colors are wild cards. If you plan to target waters like Belmont Lake or West Lake which sport plenty of chunky 2-year-old browns, make gold your first choice.
MORE ON MAFMC AT-LARGE SEAT
I wish I had more room in my Newsday outdoors column on Friday, April 10 to get into the politics of the at-large Mid-Atlantic Fisheries Management Council position that expires this August. Many within the recreational fishing community believe that Capt. Tony DiLernia has done a terrific job advocating for New York’s fishing interests. The odds are that he’ll be reappointed – but stranger things have happened so it’s a good idea to start the push now to keep him in this post.
In addition to the support of Senator Schumer, DiLernia recently told me that he continues to receive backing from Governor Cuomo. Additional support has come from the NY Sportfishing Federation, a representative of which stated that “all you have to do is compare our current fluke regulations to the draconian summer flounder regulations of a few years ago to see what a positive difference Tony has made.”
John Mantione, spokesperson for the NY Fishing Tackle Trade Association, agreed, calling DiLernia “a visionary” when it comes to fisheries management. “We would like to see him continue in this role,” stated Mantione.
DiLernia has been appreciative of the strong support and, in a phone interview on Friday evening, seemed determined to continue making a positive difference.
“We’ve rounded the corner on fluke,” he stated, “and now it’s time to straighten out the black sea bass mess. As far back as the 1990’s, New York anglers have sacrificed in the hopes of long-term benefits with this species. Today, the sea bass fishery is fully rebuilt. Thanks to super recruitment, tight regulation and a climate change prompting the black sea bass population to shift more northward into our waters, this fishery is as strong as it’s ever been. Now, it’s time to make the regulations reflect that reality.”
Sounds great, but don’t count on big changes for this coming season. The battle lines are already being drawn over 2016 sea biscuit quotas. Good thing we still have DiLernia on our side.By Tom Schlichter
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