believe in the bucktail

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It’s been an awesome lazy summer of fishing from the great Sea Oak that Thomas and I bought in June, drifting and drinking for summer fluke and black sea bass, but now that fall is full upon us, it’s time to start getting serious. I met up with Ben today at the new Greenpoint Fish & Lobster Co. at Eckford and Nassau to talk about this year’s derby. Ben’s been a busy guy for most of the year, but we’ve nailed down our date for this year’s derby and it’s going to happen Friday 17 October through Sunday. Like last year we’re planning to have a great cookout of derby fish this year with lots of beers and good times in Dream’s backyard. Look for more details later this week.

Yesterday (Saturday), I managed to sneak out of town and work for a brief trip to Montauk to check out the fall run. I didn’t know there was a tournament this weekend, but when I pulled into the lower lot it was pretty obvious that something was going on—more than just the usual fall crowd, and judging by Zeno’s comments over at Surfcaster’s Journal, there wasn’t much to be expected this weekend anyway. I was supposed to meet up with my friend Tyler who was out in a buddy’s boat targeting albies, but he ended up having a field day with bass, blues, and, yup, albies into the night so I was solo in the crowd of surfcasters, many of whom were grilling food and lounging around the lower lot with gear drying out, draped over their trucks and campers. I spent the earlier part of the day retreading my boots with Grip Studs since the last time I was out here I lost one of my Korkers while wading back to shore and was annoyed at how they just seem to untie themselves and wander off without so much as a middle finger on the way out. I’d done some reading up on the #1800 model on this site and figured what the hell since Korkers and Grip Studs are pretty comparable, price wise. These studs have a pretty wide auger and you drill them directly into the felt sole of your boots. I geared up pretty lazily myself while trying to enjoy the setting sun and pink sky and no one around me seemed to be in much of a hurry either.

I walked down the path to the lighthouse and didn’t see many people at first, but offshore there were a lot of boats working off the point. A couple guys were throwing bucktails off the lighthouse point but it seemed pretty quiet, until I turned the corner. From Brown’s up to where I was standing at the top of Turtle Cove there were no less than 25 surfcasters, maybe more since I counted a half dozen I could see at the point of Brown’s in the distance. I walked toward the beach thinking This Was A Huge Mistake, but found a rock in relative solitude while all around me I saw guys eyeing each other up and seeing what the other was throwing. That kind of scrutiny is annoying, but I guess it comes with the territory. It was about mid-high tide with no wind and the surf was mellow. Most guys were throwing pencils in the fading light and nobody was catching. I started with a pencil too and got nothing. I switched to a 2oz bucktail and got some weeds. I switched to a 1.5oz bucktail and got some weeds. The light was changing from blue to black and all around me headlamps dotted the dusk and swept the water in wide arcs. That was annoying too: people surfcasting with their headlamps on full lumens. I could hear some arguments in the distance and the smell of grilled hot dogs wafted over Camp Hero. A guy far to my right was throwing a glow-in-the-dark popper that looked like a falling star every time it caught my peripheral vision. I swapped to a 1oz bucktail that somehow got caught up in my clip and wouldn’t sit right. I don’t even know how that happened as it was stuck somehow in the middle of the clip and I had to turn on my light and use pliers and a lot of cursing to free it. I turned off the light and cast out. This bucktail seemed to swim better in the current and not get hung up on the rocks ahead of me. I was doing the surfcasting thing where you hold the butt end of the rod between your legs for leverage—actually this was the first time I used this Lamiglas 1321 I bought off some guy last winter because I tried to use it when I went out with Bill Wetzel back in June but the previous owner put these wire guides on it and half of them had broken welds or chips in them. (I got the guides replaced at Bernies.) Anyway, I was probably day dreaming or something or trying to imagine the bucktail bouncing above the rocks when a truck slammed my line and, with the aforementioned rod-between-the-legs posture I’d assumed, damn near catapulted me off my rock. I set my drag tight to pull free of some of the weed beds, which may have had a part in almost falling face first into the next rock. For the first minute I pumped and cranked and fought this fish sitting down before I felt I had enough control over it to stand back up, but by then it lodged itself between a couple boulders about 20 yards to my left. With all the people around me I didn’t want to alert them to the fish on my line and I didn’t want to give up either since the only other fish I caught in this supposed Striper Mecca was this little rat in June that wasn’t even worth mentioning other than it was the first kinda bass I caught in Montauk. I turned on my lamp and hopped down and started wading to the boulders.

Luckily for me I was tucked into this little corner where nobody on either side could see what I was doing. I got pounded by waves here but got close enough to grab the leader and pull the fish out. It just sort of acquiesced with what I wanted to do, exhausted from fighting in the surf and rocks, the bucktail stuck neatly in its upper left lip. I didn’t get measurements, but this was easily my biggest bass of my surfcasting life thus far, and by a lot. It wasn’t a monster bass by any means, but no surfcaster would be bummed about landing this fish. I estimated it to be about 20-ish pounds, and will probably be 35-pounds the next time I tell this story. It took me a good bit to revive the fish but it finally gave a kick and swam off, in my observance, somewhat sheepishly. In the distance that same guy threw his glow-in-the-dark popper and lights went on and off in the night. Nobody saw me climb back up to my rock smiling.

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This is Peter Laurelli, who makes those great fishing videos that get me through the long cold winter. This is pretty much how I felt in triumph over man and nature.

I had one more fish, considerably smaller, but lost it before the moron parade started with guys shining their headlamps at full blast in every direction looking to see what you were doing, shining directly into the water around you and everyone else. I thought about moving further west but figured with the amount of lights going off that it probably wasn’t worth it at this time of the tide. Walking back to the lot I tried to be courteous and shield my light from the guys fishing while trying not to trip in the dark, but nobody gave a shit. They gave even less than that, really. Just the fact that you were there was an annoyance to them. Nobody ever said surfcasters in Montauk were nice guys.

—mkl

p.s. So far all Grip Studs are in place and I’m pretty satisfied with them. Screwing directly into the boot allows the studs more flexibility with the sole of the shoe which makes for better grip, as far as I can tell. There’s a lot of guys who are sold on these over Korkers. Maybe I will be one of them.

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another monster from the east river?

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I stole this photo from the Gothamist web site, where they had a story about a “mystery fish” washing ashore on the East River, this time near the Brooklyn Bridge. As they are wont to do, web sites like this love the hyperbole and potential hype that go along with any unusual fish that comes from New York waters (see how quickly they all jumped on the “Frankenfish” headlines back in May when the DEC suspected northern snakeheads might be in the Harlem Meer), and I’m no biologist, but come on. It’s obvious from one look at the scales on the fish’s back that it’s a sturgeon. Still, they had to include this quote: “‘We saw about 30 or 40 people standing by the railing, and 2 people had jumped over the railing. We walked up and saw this very large fish. It must be 5 feet long and has some very strange markings. I would really appreciate it if your readers can help identify this.’ He estimates that hundreds of New Yorkers probably saw this dead fish last night [emphasis theirs (Gothamist)].” Sites like Gothamist and Huffington Post also like to add in italics and bolded majuscules to make sure readers understand their own take on emphasis and interpretation of scale. Hundreds they say, in New York City, a city of over 8 million. If they had said tens of thousands, or even thousands of people saw this thing, then one might say, “Hey, that’s kind of a lot of people.” Hundreds, I mean on any given street hundreds of tourists might see some guy trying to take a furtive shit in a bush somewhere. It’s just part of the tabloid nature of these sites and their writers that annoys me. Honestly, I hate to be a fish snob or whatever, but they probably would have been better off rewriting their headline like this: “New Yorkers ‘Dumb’founded by Mystery Fish” because this is no East River monster that they tried to hype up last year, even though that was clearly a dead, bloated dog. I know I posted that dead, half rotten, half frozen albie in January, but that was a dead half-frozen, half-rotten fish. The more interesting question in this particular case would be, to me, anyway, where did this sturgeon come from? There’s a few waterways off the Hudson that have sturgeon in them, my guess would be it was dead, got pulled out with the outgoing tide into the Harbor, then pushed ashore during the incoming. That’s just a guess.

RIVER MONSTERS 5
Seriously though, how can people be that ignorant of nature? It kind of reminded me of these episodes of the show River Monsters with Jeremy Wade, when Wade tries to identify a “monster” that’s completely fucking obvious. “It’s a lamprey, Jeremy. It’s a fucking sea lamprey.” Or, “It’s a Greenland shark, Jeremy. Shut up. You just ate hakarl. In Iceland. Stop pretending like it’s something weird. Admit that it’s the Icelandic national dish.” (An aside: his description of eating hakarl was pretty damn close to my own.) I will say I generally like most of the episodes of River Monsters, and will readily admit that Jeremy Wade pretty much has my dream job of traveling around the world, interviewing people, catching rare and awesome fish, but some of these later shows I totally see through. Like I can see that really instead of cutting to the chase, he’d rather film himself fly fishing the shallows for trout and then saying something like, “Well, this must not be it. This isn’t what I’m looking for.” It’s obvious that his “mystery case” is pretty thin, and really he just wants to kick back and fish at his own leisure.
back-to-the-beach
Speaking of fishing at one’s leisure, we went back to the beach last Saturday for a day of drinking and deadsticking. I’m not a bait guy, as I usually protest, but there’s something to be said for hanging out on the beach, drinking beer, and waiting for a bite in the summertime. This time it was Mr. Genoski, his friend Joel (whom Genoski hilariously reminded me once abandoned all his gear on the Green Street pier one night during the first or second derby), and myself. Everyone got into fish, which was nice. A few bluefish here, a few short bass there, another big cow-nosed ray, a few skates, a short fluke… it was a good time. We also coined the term “The Russian Release,” which most of you have probably seen, after watching a couple guys down the beach from us for a few hours. It involves catching a short fish (bass usually), having someone watching you who knows it’s a short, wanting to keep it but under scrutiny you must toss it back, and with much disgust send it ass over elbow back into the water, like a football kicked wildly right of the goalposts. I ended up keeping a bluefish, which happened to be the first fish I’ve kept for myself in New York, and the first fish in I-don’t-remember-how-long that I’ve had to filet.
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I ended up doing a hack job on one filet, but the second one came about pretty nice. I mixed up some blackening seasoning and cooked up some duck fat potatoes, sauteed spinach, and some Old Bay corn on the cob and invited a couple friends over. We listened (or I did at least) to a bunch of old cassettes and it was a pretty good night to a good day.

Fall is coming up soon. I may be deadsticking at the end of summer, but believe me I’ll be ready come Fall. The bag is pretty much set, falling apart (NQ Aquaskinz bags are shit; upgrade to Hunter Pro or look elsewhere, IMO), but still hanging in there—this will probably be the last season for that bag. I have my eyes on a new, dedicated surf rod, but I’m sure what I have now will do just fine. New toys, new gear. Anyone stoked on new stuff for this season? Let me know in the comments.

—mkl

fall weather already?

It’s getting there, although I’m sporting some pretty bad sunburn from hanging out dead sticking for most of the day yesterday at Breezy Point. Most of you know that I’m a plug guy primarily, but sometimes you just gotta throw some bait, hang out on the beach, and get drunk—and lately I’ve been a much better alcoholic than fisherman. Even though the temperature has been really mild for the last couple weeks, I still got some nice burn from when I decided to remove my shirt and get the full beach experience. It was the first one this year that didn’t involve doing pushups or flutter kicks in the surf with 44 other gluttons for punishment. Here’s a shirtless Mr. Genoski battling a monster from the sea.

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Sorry, ladies. He’s married. However, I’m available and, in between beers, I also caught the only striper of the day: a fat one that ended up about a half-inch short. So back in the water it went. More on that later. Here’s Mr. Genoski with the first monster of the day:

thomas-w-ray-edit

It’s a cow-nosed ray. The ocean seemed full of them and they’re a hell of a fight, but it wasn’t exactly what we were looking for. These are like gentle creatures: we wanted bass, fluke, maybe kingfish. Me, trying to take full advantage of the laziness of deadsticking and drinking, opted for these 6/0 Gamakatsu octopus circle hooks. I rigged them with a uni-snell on 50# mono leader, figured the circle hook would do the hook setting for me, and proceeded to take a nap. Crabs did a number on our bait pretty often, and I missed one good hit, but shortly into the incoming tide, both Mr. Genoski and myself were getting solid hits. I hooked up with a nice fish, bass at midday in August must be appreciated. The circle hook has gained some popularity among the more conservation-minded fishermen as it’s much more likely to hook in the lip than gut-hook when the fish takes the bait. My initial excitement at finally nabbing my first bass of the year (yeah, on bait, too) gave way to dismay when I peered into its mouth to see the hook set deep in the gullet. It was a fat fish for being slightly short and I grabbed my pliers and set out to do my duty as a responsible guy. I managed to pull the hook out eventually, but it was with a lot of effort and several minutes of the fish out of water. Still, it gave me a good smack of the tail when I released it back into the surf. I don’t have a picture, but Paige says she has video of it, so I swear I’m not lying about catching the fish.

We got a couple more strong hits and another ray. I hooked up with something big and heavy and it spooled half my line before snapping it right at the line roller.
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D’oh. Probably another ray. Whatever it was, it left me with barely enough line to make another cast, and we were packing it in at that point anyway. Some good times.

Fish have been in the news a bunch lately, from that dogfish someone left in the subway to that pseudo-documentary on the return of Megalodon on Shark Week. I was reminded of this picture some guy got off his GoPro in June out in the Rockaways.
shark!
Supposedly this happens way more often than people are comfortable with happening. Yikes!

The fall run is coming up soon. Ben and I have some figuring out to do concerning the derby this year, but I’ll keep everyone updated as soon as we figure shit out. For now, check out this video of Vladamir Putin catching a big northern pike.

-mkl

summer heat

carcass

I just got home from Breezy about an hour ago. It’s been brutal these past couple weeks with the heat and humidity, I didn’t think there would be much fishing going on, but Thomas and I headed down there as the bars were closing up and arrived as the sun was rising. For the first time in well over a week it actually felt pleasant to be outside as I kicked a sea robin, that had somehow beached itself, back into the surf. There was already one guy at the end of the jetty. Like an idiot, I forgot my surf belt, so aside from being a dumbass wearing waders on the jetty, I also had no belt and no pliers. That’s what happens when half your stuff is in your car and the other half is in your house. So needless to say, I didn’t venture too far down the jetty, but it turned out that I didn’t really need to. Birds were all over about a hundred yards past the end and boats moved in pretty quick as the day got warmer. I bagged about a dozen sea robins on a mix of metals and bucktails, and caught a tiny flounder and a keeper size fluke, barely keeper sized. I keep a tape measure in my bag, but I usually adhere to the rule: “If I have to measure it to see if it’s big enough, it’s too small.” I released the fluke, but now I kind of wish I’d kept it. Oh well. I only saw others picking up small fluke and sea robins, with a rare short bass here and there. I don’t know if I’ve completely missed the run of bluefish and bass at Breezy Point, but I think that 20″ fluke was the biggest fish I’ve caught there so far this year. Anyhow, I left my phone in the car because I forgot my Aquapac and everyone should know by now my regrettable history of phones lost to sea water, so no pics for today, but it all really happened, I swear.

frankiesboat
A few weeks ago I went back to deep south Maryland for the Potomac Snakehead Tournament. The weather was scorching hot and I wasn’t really planning to fish as I didn’t have a boat. I’ve been researching the snakehead and what the group of hunters, fishermen, chefs, and MD DNR are working on in the area for about a year and it’s really interesting to me to think about the potential of this fish as a resource. The population down in the tidal Potomac continues to grow exponentially, and the fish was recently found in the eastern part of the Chesapeake Bay—though it’s highly unlikely it migrated through the salty waters (it was most likely put there by some miscreant). I scouted around the area Ben and I fished last year and spotted a few snakehead in the early afternoon from a footbridge. One was easily over 30 inches and lazed around in the sun before sinking like a submarine into the hydrilla grass. I talked to Austin Murphy, the coordinator of the tournament, and he got me to hitch a ride on Frankie Burch’s boat, seen above, a real snakehead killing machine. These boats are so awesome in their DIY ingenuity. A couple “pro” bowhunting boats entered this year, everything machined and sleek and solid, but boats like Frankie’s are so much more appealing to me, from the wire-tied and welded handrails, the shaky ladder you climb from the boat deck to the shooters platform, down to the Bud Light cans housing the shooters cord for the arrows, cans that just happened to be the same threading as the OEM parts. I learned a lot about the art of bowhunting that night. It definitely is not “angling” to me, but it’s not shooting fish in a barrel either. I ended the night being a fat bastard, laying around on the bed at the Super 8 Motel with my shirt off, beer cans everywhere, chomping down on McDonald’s and watching TV.

snakehead
The next day I got up and out early to get a line in before the weigh-in. I drove down some residential road to the water and met a guy who’d just caught a snakehead. I talked with him for a while and eventually he gave me the fish because he didn’t feel like killing it, which I accomplished by ripping its gills out with pliers. A nasty job, I found. I’d just bought this Livetarget Frog lure the day before; it’s this super life-like looking frog, which I thought snakeheads would crush. Instead, I kept catching largemouth bass, which was pretty cool to see them smash the lure on the top-water, but I wanted snakehead. I’d later get some real advice on how to catch snakehead via hook and line (“Enter a bass tournament…”), but the time being I traded the guy a bass for the snakehead he caught. I didn’t even realize at the time that I hadn’t caught a LMB in forever, despite it being my favorite fish growing up (hence the tattoo) and the excitement of catching bass on top-water plugs was lost in mild annoyance, kind of like catching all those stupid sea robins this morning.

At the weigh-in there were less fish than the previous year, but still some monsters came through. A few fish over 15#s, dripping slime and dead eyed. Snakehead, if you don’t know, is an incredibly and surprisingly tasty fish. Everyone ate a lot and some Chinese people came by to buy fish from the guys in the tournament, most of whom just gave them away for free. I saw John Rorapaugh of Pro Fish, who’s responsible for nearly all of the commercial distribution of snakehead filets, and drank a few beers and caught up with him about the snakehead business in the last year. It’s still in high demand, he told me, still selling out every week. I also got to see Chad Wells’s snakehead/chef tattoo in person while he was grilling up snakehead sandwiches. The fishing this year hasn’t been as good as last year, he said. The weird weather and timing has made the fishing more difficult, but everyone believes the fish are also adapting better to the environment, sensing the trolling motors of the weekly bass tournaments, spotting the blinding lights from the shooting platforms hovering above them.

I drove back to my parent’s place in Delaware as a pit stop on the way back to NYC. I had the snakehead on ice in a cooler. I started to gut it, but then my uncle came over to take a look at it and we decided to filet it instead. When I re-opened the cooler, this fish, with its gills pulled out, half-gutted, out of the water for a good seven hours, in the fog of icy mist in the humid air, it wriggled once, opened its gill plates wide, and took one last, almost human, gulp of air. Fucker was still alive.
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Not anymore, though.

I gave a couple pieces to my uncle and to my parents (who later told me it tasted like tilapia, to which I said was probably the worst review I’ve heard of snakehead), and made this with my share:
ceviche

—mkl

lost fishermen eat one of their own

russianfisherman

It’s a true story, I swear (see Outside Magazine’s blog), although in this picture it looks like he’s got toast and coffee. If we ever get lost, who goes? How long until we turn on each other? Ben could probably feed us for a week. [On another note, did anyone see Ben on Iron Chef America? That Bobby Flay really hates him for some reason.]


“We suspect, the two survivors could have killed and eaten their friend just because of hunger,’ an anonymous source told Life News tabloid website.

‘But both deny they have anything to do with his death. Looking at the body parts found at the spot, we clearly saw cuts.

‘It means the body was hacked to pieces.

‘Now the body parts – some human flesh and part of the skull – are taken to the morgue.’

An unnamed investigator was quoted saying: ‘What we found were chopped human bones, fragments of a skull and a bloodstained chunk of ice.’

He told Komsomolskaya Pravda newspaper: ‘It’s clear that this person did not die of his own accord.'””

Check the story at The Siberian Times.

Also, thanks a lot, Lifeproof! The jury is still out on this iPhone case, though I can attest to its waterproof capabilities (it worked in Montauk, at least!). But this case also boasts about its shock capacity. I don’t even recall dropping this phone from anywhere more than waist level. I opened the case because the plastic screen cover-interface sometimes screws with my touchscreen, and I’m unable to do things like end a phone call (very annoyingly often) or switch to the keypad during a call. When I popped off the back I saw what I thought was sand from the aforementioned Montauk trip, but when I turned the phone over I saw this.
lifeproof
Can’t say I recommend this case, especially for the price tag (around $70). Fucking bullshit.

—mkl

tonight….

we unveil the winners of the Fourth Annual Brooklyn Fishing Derby. Lots of fish submitted in the last few hours, including a new leader in the junior division.
derby submissionJUNIOR DIVISION

Shane Smith went out on a late night mission to represent the fly fishermen:
Fwd: Shane's fish

Alan Godwin finally broke the 15″ spell (all right, Godwins!)
Godwin's curse of the 15"-16" schoolers has been lifted!!!!
20" striped Alan Godwin India street pier!  Finally broke the curse of the 16"ers!!!

Hogan came through with the (32″) fish of the day:
Hogan 32 inch

Hell, even I caught a few fish last night. Shutout no more! Of course, no night is complete without totally tearing my jeans on razor wire and almost losing my wallet (twice), losing three rigs to the accursed Green Street pier (I’ll have to write an homage to it one day soon), and dodging the security guard. Even though I got a new phone, the pics still suck.


I swear these are of two different fish and there was a third one I released without taking a picture of since he was a little foul hooked. See everyone tonight to share more lies!

—mkl

derby week in review

Since the hurricane hit the derby has taken a bit of a backseat to “getting back to normal.” Jane and Geralyn have been donating a lot of time and effort to helping out Gerritsen Beach and Rockaway areas, and if you’re still looking to help out check out the resources in Jane’s excellent post or this site OccupySandy.org to find out what you can do to help. Me, Dave Cole, Ben, Potter, and a few other friends went down to the Rockaways last weekend and the damage down there is really horrifying. From the moment we crossed the bridge into Howard Beach there was no power and traffic slowed to a crawl near the toll booth as we got a up-close look at the damage the storm did to people’s homes. Trash piled ten feet outside houses was universal through and through, boats on the median, and swept-out cars littered the road. People strangely seemed to be in decent spirits and there was a lot of helping each other out with free hot meals and donations to go around. The biggest need we found was blankets and coats, though few people turned away the food, water, and other necessities people donated. Just to be down there and be around people who nearly lost their homes when the waters came really hit hard. And now we have this snowstorm to deal with.

Admittedly, Ben and I went fishing after the hurricane, climbing our way through the wind-torn path of iron, razor wire, and broken concrete back to the Green Street Pier. It’s more of an obstacle course than it used to be—that’s putting it lightly. The pier itself, as we all figured, was absolutely decimated. The huge wooden planks that once lined the deck were mostly gone, leaving only the skeletal iron ribs underneath. You can literally crawl under all of them to the rocks on the north side of the pier. The fish didn’t seem affected much by the storm and the familiar pops and splashes still snapped in the night. Ben and I being the terrible fishermen we are lost a few schoolies and a few lures to all those remnants of Greenpoint’s industrial age. The wreckage of the pier didn’t stop me from attempting a few punk rock rescue missions to get back lost plugs and, conceivably, one properly motivated individual could probably still get out to the end of the pier, but even I’m not dumb enough to try it.

That being said, Ruffino has been on a post-storm tear this week. If you haven’t checked out the Flickr lately, I’ll update you:
Fwd: John Ruffino "38 striped bass
38″ bass the day after Sandy.

Fwd: FW:
34″ bass a couple days after that.

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And then a nice double yesterday: 35.75″ and 36″

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Carlo also got a nice 34″ up on Gantry.

John K 17" Gantry
And John K with a healthy little guy.

KaThLe3n iS aWeSoMe!
Kathleen with a 13″ bass. Check out those nails!

3 inch Porgy? Hooked in the tail. India St Pier. Scott B tough fighter.
Scott Behr caught one of these: a spot croaker or a porgy. Hope it made for good bait.

Lil striper madness at India street pier.  Another 15.5-16 Alan Godwin #110
The Godwins have probably submitted more fish than anyone so far. All of these little guys have to start adding up. There’s still about a week and a half to get on the board guys!

So far the striper board looks like this:
1. Jan Gorz, 43″
2. John Ruffino, 38″
3. Mike Arvan, 36.5″

You may have noticed I didn’t put up a Sidebet for this week, and with the weather being so shitty I’m just going to double up for a this Saturday-end of Derby Sidebet. Our meetup this weekend will be on North 5th Pier on Sunday at 3pm. We will be having a chili cookoff over at the Ale House afterward too. There’s still plenty needed down in the areas of Brooklyn and Queens that were affected by the hurricane, so don’t be shy about donating time, clothing, food, necessities if you are so moved. People down there really need the help.

Also, due to the storm we were late in getting the shirts, so we should have those tomorrow. I have a list of people who didn’t get theirs yet and I will have shirts for you guys and will contact you to figure out how to get them to you. Sorry for the hassle and thanks for your patience. In the meantime, let’s stay warm and pitch in to help out our fellow NYC’ers.

snakehead!

photo by ben

Ben and I went to a snakehead tournament way down in Maryland, a tiny town called Marbury south of Washington D.C., in the tidal Potomac River area. Ben actually did a show here hunting snakehead on Hook, Line & Dinner but I still haven’t seen it. Even with Ben’s previous experience, we were grossly unprepared. How were we going to compete with guys like the above? I’ve never even seen people bowfishing before and pretty much everyone had their pontoon boat or flat-bottomed metal craft outfitted with homemade standing platforms with no less than five 2500w lights fixed to the rails. They were shooting the shit out of these fish while Ben and I were paddling around in a rented canoe tossing frog lures like a couple of assholes. Ben actually lost five or six good snakeheads and one three-footer breached the surface about six inches from our boat while we were sitting in a foot-and-a-half of water. The tournament took over 1400 pounds of snakehead out of the area, but honestly didn’t make a dent in the population. There were so many swampy areas, so many lily pads and fallen trees where these fish live I wonder if they even noticed. After the derby there was a little shindig with Flying Dog Brewery and several chefs cooking up our new favorite fish.

The next issue of Fish Bum is in the works, mostly about snakehead and this tournament. We took a bunch of photos but since we both suck at keeping digital cameras out of the water, you’ll have to settle for Ben’s iPhone pics for now, though they look pretty decent to me.

photo by ben

rented a canoe, thought we were cool

i’m convinced there are asians in every redneck part of the U.S.. no, not me, the korean dude who owns this general store. Du Kim sold us our licenses and some frogs.

On our way back to NYC we saw this:

photo by ben

WHAT DOES IT MEAN?

—mkl