As I look back on the 2017 season I am happy to see it come to an end. It was a very tough fishing year. The wind never seemed to stop and the brown tide in the bay lasted for months. The fall run got going but nothing like it has been the last two years. In fact the big blues that many of us like to tangle with didn’t make an appearance on the south shore until the second weekend in November. However, it wasn’t all gloom and doom. There were a few bright spots. The late summer run of weakfish was great. There were a lot of 4 and 5 pounders caught. I’m hoping this bodes well for a better 2018 spring weakfish run. Shark fishing was great once again. There were plenty of makos and thresher brought back to the scales. Despite a very active hurricane season I was still able to put some nice sized mahimahi in the boat. I’m already looking forward to spring. I’m currently in the process of trading in my boat for a larger one. I’ll talk more about the new boat in the spring. I will tell you that my wife Gina finally gets her toilet.
If you happen to keep your boat in the water through the winter you might get excited to hear that there is a good chance that you will be able to bring some black seabass home. Originally the plan was to allow only charter/head boats to fish for black seabass during the month of February, however the discussion now includes private boat owners as well. I will provide an update on this in next month’s column.
As for myself I’m heading down to Florida to do some fishing. This year I will be fishing the Tampa Bay/St. Petersburg area and then I will head over to the east coast and fish the waters around the Ft. Lauderdale area. I plan on doing a few charters while I’m away. This year I’m really looking forward to doing some “back country fishing” on the west coast. I look forward to some great light tackle action. It’s pretty cool to see tailing redfish, snook and seatrout in water no deeper than three feet. This type of fishing is all visual. However I think the best and most challenging part will be the exclusive use of artificials. No live baits. After a week on the west coast it’s off to the east coast where I hope to catch a fish on my bucket list that has eluded me many times. I have never caught a wahoo. Winter will give me my best shot at catching one of these toothy critters. I just hope that the wind lays down enough to give me a shot.
I enjoy spending others people’s money. So, if you got some gift cards for Christmas here are a few ideas on how you may want to spend some of it. Last year I received a compact Gerber multi-tool. This thing has just about everything covered. The mutli-tool can be looped right onto your belt. The one that I have is only 3.5” closed and weighs only 9oz. The multi-tool comes with a spring loaded needle nose pliers, wire cutters, a fine edge knife and several other tools that come in handy in a pinch. Another great purchase for yourself would be an item I truly believe is a must for any boat fisherman - a pair of marine binoculars. The marine binoculars that I purchased are from Steiner. These things take a beaten and are such a breeze to use. I can’t tell you how many times that I have spotted top water action that I never would have seen without the use of binoculars. Don’t bury them somewhere on the boat. I keep mine within arm’s reach on my console. I just got home from fishing and my feet are frozen. There is no way the cold will stop me from fishing so I will be spending some of my gift card on a pair of heated socks. As I get older it’s amazing how much the cold weather has really started to bother me. I plan on buying a pair of Actionheat socks. Each sock takes two AA batteries. They last for 4 hours. For the ladies out there that love to fish, Xtratuf boots has introduced a new seafoam colored ankle boot in womens sizes. These boots are both feminine and functional. I actually have these in mens navy blue.
Here are a couple of items that cost under $20. These items may be inexpensive but something that any boater would love. Star Brite has introduced another great product. It’s a snap and zipper lubricant. I have been waiting for something like this. If it works as great as their other products this will become a fixture on my boat. The first place I plan on using it will be my foul weather jacket. It’s amazing how much salt builds up in the zipper. The applications for this product are endless. Another great idea is a de-hooker. I’m sure I have mentioned this little tool in the past. I actually didn’t even know how to use mine until I watched a video online. It’s so simple. Not only is it a safe way to protect yourself but it also benefits the fish that you may be releasing.
If you are anything like me winter has set in and you are dreaming about getting back on the water. You may want to hit some fishing seminars to help get rid of the winter blues. Check around and you might be surprised at how many seminars take place over the winter at various locations on Long Island. Every other year a great fishing seminar comes to Long Island hosted by TV personality George Poveromo. This year it will be at LIU CW Post on
February 3rd. I have attended this seminar twice and I plan on going again. The price for admission is $55. The goody bag (1yr subscription to Salt Water Sportsman, Roffer’s Ocean Fishing forecast, bottle of OrPine wash and wax and more) you get with your admission is worth more than that. During the seminar thousands of dollars’ worth of fishing gear is raffled off. Everything from Yeti coolers, rods, reels, Costa sunglasses and so much more. The seminar uses local captains who provide a ton of information and some tricks and tactics that you may be applying come next season. It’s a great way to spend a Saturday afternoon to help you get through the cold winter. I suggest you book early as these shows tend to get sold out.
I wanted to share with you a really cool screen shot. While I was fishing the bunker pods in the fall we had several run-ins with big thresher sharks. I was able to capture a great screen shot of one of these sharks under my boat. There is no mistaking what you are looking at. The screen shot is from my Raymarine e127 unit. Best wishes to all in the new year!