Final 2017 recap BLUEFISH .WEAKFISH,SEA BASS ,ETC

This will wrap up 2017 for Bucktail Willie.
BLUEFISH—BLUES showed up mid APRIL and they were big,lean ,and hungry. Average size in APRIL was over 33″ with largest of 2 at 40″ . These fish managed to bust one rod and strip the gears on one spin reel. .First 2 weeks of MAY saw similar action with slightly smaller size as average size in all of MAY was 26″ bt first 2 weeks had largest fish. JUNE they started to disappear unlike last few years and basically for the balance of the year only a few were caught and Fall run was almost non-existent.
WEAKFISH—another year of poor weakfishing, I found one in April which was biggest of the year at 26″ and the rest of the year a total of 3 others with nothing over 16″
SEA BASS–SEA BASS showed up mid-August and took over any bait fishing as they chewed on everything right into early Nov . I tagged my normal 120 plus but for most part tried to stayed away from them. I did get a few that choked on a large lures trolled for bass. The ,,overall size was small with only one that would have been over the legal limit and it was out of season. From fishermen I talked to this was the same up and down the coast and clearly isn’t being recognized by regulators because they are not loosening the regulations . They also are ignoring the fact that these fish and chewing on summer flounder fry moving in from off shore spawning grounds
SPOTS ,there was a short run on SPOT this year and they were the prime size for Striper bait but the run didn’t last long in my area. But enough to keep me happy .
MISC,,, Several large Ray’s caught, ,7 Kingfish and one Starglazer ,and blowfish
2017 was not one of my best years with less than stellar fishing and engine problems
I probably will be later getting in this year due to Grand children business AND current 19ft Mako is for sale and on the national market. IF it sells I will look for a smaller boat ,IF NOT it will go back in mid to late April
WISHING EVERYONE TIGHT LINES IN 2018

2017 Striped Bass recap of Bucktail Willie

2017 was my worse year for striped bass in over 15 years
Started out decent in APRIL with 26 bass caught between 20-31″ MAY was ok for first 10 days with another 29 bass but second half of month only produced 9 and nothing over 26″ . JUNE started out slow with only 8 bass, second half of the month found 27 with 7 over 28″ up to 35″.. JULY for fist 10 days is generally very good with largest bass of the year on average and was saw 17 bass over 25″ to 30″ what makes early July decent is very few are fishing for BASS. BUT I ran into engine trouble and didn’t get back into water until mid-August. No bass when when I got back in until late SEPT when I got 7 the last week of Sept. OCT was slow with only 5 until Oct 22nd and the next 5 days found 11 more. NOV was a real disappointment as all I could find up to when big storm arrived was 13 and they were not very big 17-23″.Pulled Boat before storm and stayed out of water which was a mistake as reports of decent catches following the storm.
I did get hooked up with Pat on RETAINER for 2 days fishing Great Egg Harbor river ,first day was decent with 16 bass but no big ones like last year only one over 28 and Pat caught it .Second trip was not so good with just one bass
Clearly in my mind the bass situation behind Corsons has been affected by beach replenishment and loss of good healthy underwater habitat again due to beach sand getting pushed inside . Numerous spots that produced bass for years I never caught a bass and I had to find them in other spots. The Mullet run was non-existent and peanut bunker while were around but nothing like years past.
A very disappointing year for me ,I am sure some others had better years and maybe I am slowing up in my old age but it is what it is
I put my boat up for sale with intend on buying something smaller as most of the small creeks I like to go up have the mouths choked up from sand, but once in these creeks there still is plenty of water and some fish were there BUT my current boat is too big and I can only fish these creeks on top of tides for an hour or so unlike years past when you could fish 2-4 hours
I will finish up 2017 recaps on Bluefish,weakfish etc later

2017 FISHING RECAP CHAP 1 FLOUNDER

. 2017 SEASON FOR SUMMER FLOUNDER Started out decent in spite of up and down windy weather APRIL.51 fluke caught ,tagged and released with average size of 19.12″. MAY saw a slight drop in size with largest caught the first 2 weeks and overall size of the month was 17.88″ JUNE saw another drop in size to 16.88″ but numbers were good. JULY as it normally is saw smallest fish of the year at 13.86″ .My 2018 problem started mid -JULY
when engine problems developed and I was out of the water for 6 1/2 weeks… Got going again late AUGUST and found fluke little larger at 14.78″. SEPT saw another slight increase at 14.94″ ,OCT was similar to SEPT at 14.88″ .NOV had fluke for about 10 days with an average size of 14.56″ Total for the year was 364 fluke caught with 322 tagged and released. Largest was 26″ with 3 at 26″ Several of my early tagged fish were re-caught in ocean in late May and June providing evidence that early Spring fluke begin moving back offshore in 6-8 weeks
2017 was best year for fluke in past 3 years in spite for losing 6 weeks
My basic rig for fluke was my designed 2 hook rig on a 2 way barrel swivel with 8″ leader tied for a 1/4-5/8 oz bucktail with a Gulp minnow, the other hook was on a 3ft leader with gold 5/0 hook . Depending on the time of year this hook had fresh stripped bait in early in May followed by Gulp Shrimp later and Gulp shrimp used most of the time the rest of the year.
Obviously 2017 demonstrated a population that the experts were not recognizing and I think that is due to changing fluke locations .Spots that produced for years did not produce and I found them in areas I never caught before. My belief is the ongoing beach replenishment is destroying inshore water ways with excess sand moving inside and choking bottom habitat with sand and destroying bottom life . This will continue and my best advice is to explore and look for new areas for more fluke inshore . There may be an increase in season length in 2018 BUT the regulators are still insisting on a 19″ size which is INSANE as 99% of fluke over 18″ are females. so NJ will have another fight on it’s hands
I would recommend that interested fluke fishermen get involved and voice their opinion this year as was done last year.
Decisions will be made in mid-Feb and a 30 day public comment session will be in place with meetings in NJ
My recommendations that need to be pushed go like this
#1–NJ needs to be split with an early opening in the South and later in the north.
#2 NJ must fight for at least a minimum of 18″
#3– Best option to allow for increasing the population is a slot size option of 2-3 fish between 15-18″ (keep in mind the commercial size is 14″) ,and one over 18 ” This would result in increasing the overall population as more females will be allowed to spawn
I will point out the initial size was set at 13″ several years ago and population grew every year BUT one even with increasing size UNTIL size got to 17 1 /2″ when population flatten out,since 18″ and now in some States 19″ the population as reported by the Feds has gone down…. You don’t have to be a genius to understand what is happening
OK this is my 2 cents as a result of flounder fishing in Cape May County NJ for past 60 plus years
Here is wishing you a GREAT 2108 SEASON

Bucktail willie update

I am a little late recapping my 2017 season due to some eye problems
I had eye surgery for a misplaced Retina at Wills Eye Hospital and currently only have use of one eye.recovery will be slow BUT as soon as I get little more vision back I will recap 2017

WINTER MUST BE HERE

Took a ride over to barrier islands to look for Eagles ,found none BUT the marsh was frozen and several creeks frozen over ,Jenkins Sound was frozen as far out as I could see,actually saw no open water, Went on up to Corson area and could see Ludlam was froze over out to main channel. At Rush Chatin there was sizable chunks of ice flowing out on bottom of the tide .. I haven’t seen ice this early in several moons I guess the Global Warming nuts are now looking for more bulls#$% to put out so they can get more of our Tax Dollars . I can’t wait to hear the latest bullS$%^

MERRY CHRISTMAS

TO all who have been following me I want to wish you a VERY MERRY CHRISTMAS and I hope Santa is good to you
I will recap my year as difficult as it was right after first of the year
MERRY CHRISTMAS from Bucktail Willie

fISHING REPORT 12/2

I got an invite from Grasshopper to fish on his Retainer but I was doing Shep’s radio show and couldn’t meet him until 9am.He said OK so I met him and off we went into the river.Beautiful morning ,flat calm,only problem was it was outgoing tide
We hit all the normal spots ,saw a few fish but no bites,finally I got a hit and had it on half way in before she dropped off. Tried a few more spots and finally I got into one that played with my eel 3 or 4 times before I got a hook into her and she turned out to be a fat 26″ bass. Tried for another 45 minutes BUT found nothing
Water temp 48 on outgoing and I suspect outgoing was cooler than incoming as ocean was reported at 50 and better bite would be on an incoming. This time of year couple degrees can make a big difference.
But it was a nice morning on the water with good company in December who can complain ??

FISHING REPORT 11/28

Got an invite from Pat Martin to fish on his RETAINER. We fished the Great Egg Harbor River and found BASS. Only one over 28″ but a total 8 with 7 tagged and release all 22-26″ Also lost 3 others at the boat. Pat out fished me 5-3 .All fish caught on eels. Water temp was 47 and bite was not all that aggressive and they played with the bait before you could get a hook in them.
Great Day on the water and Pat knows these waters extremely well and is a great Captain
Thank you Pat

FISHING REPORT 11/15

WELL, season is finished for and my boat. I went out this morning and it was a little cool and more NE wind than I would like but headed north on start of outgoing tide starting at 312 slow trolling with an eel.NEVER had a touch. Ted was in front of me on other side and had 2 shorts and called me over but I got nothing. I headed further north and finally picked up a 24″ rat on a bucktail but than again nothing.
Decided to head to Flat cr with tide out 2 hours and saw nothing and caught nothing. Another boat in creek also had nothing
Disgusted I headed to the barn
At dock begin removing what I dont need from boat in anticipation of pulling out and calling it a season tomorrow .
Water temps on top of tide this morning 52 , 2 hours out water temp dropped to 47. Also saw no serious bait even at my dock where there has been bait all year there was nothing.
Have reports of fish in ocean north of AC inlet but like last year I suspect these fish will boogy south on dropping water temps and probably stay outside 3 mile limit for most part given the water temps .
If you are still in the water best advice is to hit off shore lumps and hop for the best

FISHING REPORT 11/14

Another day and no bass. Never marked a bass.Tried the last couple of hours of outgoing when it was flat out COLD. Tide dropped out I came back to dock and waited for incoming .Once in an hour I headed back out and gave it another 2 hours and NO BASS. Did picked up a 20″ fluke on a Spot but no bass
Season is over for me ,I may try in morning but than plan to pull out and call it a season
Sometime in Dec I will recapped my year which I am not all that proud of as it has been a difficult year to say the least .
Water temp was 46 on bottom of the tide but came in a little warmer and when I quit it was up to 51 .
Given these colder water temps inside I suspect any bass migrating will go right down the beach
I suspect the rivers (Tuckahoe,Great Egg and Mullica) are filling up with bass that will winter over given these water temps.
My plan is now to get boat out ,clean it up and put her up for sale as I need a smaller boat.This boat is too big for this old man . If you are interesting in a 19 ft Mako with a full T-Top, rebuilt ETEC 115 that has been attracted to fish over the years let me know