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Warm Winter Pays Fishy Dividends

Publication: The East Hampton Press & The Southampton Press
By Michael Wright   Apr 17, 2012 9:28 AM
Apr 17, 2012 4:07 PM

As so many of us had hoped, the warmth of the winter paid fishy dividends this weekend when the striped bass season officially opened and some lucky anglers got to toss fresh fish on ice.

Some slightly less lucky anglers had held big, fat stripers in their hands 24 hours earlier but had to toss them back to the sea and hope they would bite again the next day. I guess we’re all lucky any year that we can even feel there is a reason to get out of bed to throw a cast on April 15.

Water temperatures are a solid six to eight degrees warmer than they were at this time last year and the bursting of life in local waters has to be at least two or three weeks ahead of normal. There were fish to be had on Sunday for those who poked around a bit. With the ocean muddied up early in the week, most of the stripers caught on opening day came from the bays or north-facing shores.

What would a warm spring be without an oddball catch? This year’s comes from the Shinnecock Canal where an angler hoping to pick up a striper or weakfish instead found himself tussling with what looked like a salmon. According to the guys at East End Bait & Tackle, it was an Atlantic salmon about eight pounds. It’s not unheard of that a salmon would wander into our waters, but he was definitely lost.

When the wind switches back to the north mid-week the ocean surf should start to produce a few fish again. There are alewives still trying to get into the cuts at Georgica and Sagg Pond.

The samplings from commercial nets are showing that all the players are in the mix now. Striped bass, weakfish, fluke, porgies, bunker, squid and even (Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice, Beetlejuice) a few bluefish. It seems the general warmer-than-average weather is going to continue for at least the next few weeks so there’s no reason to think that things won’t just proceed to improve as though it were early to mid May. The party boats off the New York Bite are already hammering big stripers in huge schools, whether that means they’ve already been up the river to spawn and come back down or they’re still on their way north will probably dictate how good it gets how quickly.

Don’t forget, the East End Sportsmen’s Alliance outdoor sporting expo is this weekend in Amagansett. Please come down to the Amagansett Fire Station some time on Saturday between 10 a.m. and 3 p.m. and have a look around, there’s a great lineup of participants.

Catch ‘em up. See you out there.

Youth Turkey Hunting

Young hunters and unarmed adult companions may hunt for wild turkey in Suffolk County this weekend. Hunting is open to hunters between the ages of 12 and 15 who hold a junior hunting license and turkey permit and are accompanied by an adult also possessing a valid turkey permit and license. Hunters may take one male bird per day with either a shotgun or bow and arrow.

Hunting hours are from one half hour before sunrise until noon, both days.

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