Just about 60 days to go. I can’t wait to get the boat back in the water. The boat is a little too big to be kept in my driveway so I entrusted Moriches Boat and Motor to take care of it over the winter. This was my first year dealing with Moriches Boat and Motor and I can tell you that I’m very happy. I love being able to make appointments for regular maintenance services. I drop the boat off to them at the scheduled time and they give you the boat back in an hour or two. Weather permitting I will splash the boat sometime in late March. To be honest it’s my favorite day of the year. I have already dropped off and picked up some of my offshore reels that needed some new line and leaders. To say that I’m ready to roll would be an understatement. If you have cabin fever like me and you are in the need to be around fishing tackle and you want to discuss various fishing topics then I have a cure for you.
Last year was the first ever AllPro Fishing Expo and Workshop. It was a huge success. In fact, it was so well received that it is back again in 2019 and this time it spans two days. On both days you will find plenty of vendors to load up on some new gear. The workshops will take place on February 17th. These workshops are about 50 minutes long. You will be able to choose from 7 different sessions throughout the day. Currently, there are over 20 different topics to choose from. Everything from knot tying to canyon fishing. The best part is these classes are taught by local fisherman that are willing to share some of their most effective ways of finding fish and getting them to bite. I wasn’t around last year to speak at the workshop however this year I will be speaking. I will be discussing inshore tuna and mahi. If you are looking to get in on chasing pelagics and you aren’t sure exactly how to do it, this is a class for you. Keep in mind, I started fishing for tuna and mahi in a 25-foot Aquasport walk around that had no outriggers. So if you dream of catching fish other than fluke and striped bass .come on down. I’m always looking to learn. I will be attending another great seminar the following weekend. The Canyon Runner seminar will take place on Saturday, February 23rd. This seminar covers all things offshore. Besides walking away with some great new information, if you are lucky you may be walking away with some free stuff. They raffle off over $50,000 in fishing gear.
There’s not a whole lot of fishing around during the winter months. Most private boats are on dry dock. So I thought it would be a good time to talk about weather. When I first started heading further and further offshore I may not have known where to look for tuna and mahi or how to catch them but I did leave the dock with safety being the most important part of the day. I was just recently reading a “thread” on a boating website that I often visit. People were sharing stories about being caught in some nasty sea conditions. One story really stood out. The person posted that the predicted 3-5 foot seas turned in to 10-foot seas. What really stood out was the size of the boat they decided to run out to the “canyon” in. It was only a 21-foot boat. Maybe I’m a wimp but I would never go offshore in a 21-foot boat. It wasn’t the 10-foot seas that caught my attention it was the fact that it was predicted to be 3-5 seas. I have a 31-foot boat that I wouldn’t head offshore in 3-5 foot seas unless it was a swell with wave periods spaced out at least 12 or more seconds apart. I still wouldn’t go if winds were predicted to be more than 10 knots. You need to give yourself a cushion if the forecast is off. The gentleman telling the story did mention that it was in the 1970’s. Weather forecasting has gotten a lot better than it was 40 years ago. However, they still can be off. Do not plan your trips based on long-range forecasts. I’m fortunate enough to be able to fish any weather permitting day. I realize that you may only be able to fish on weekends but don’t force a trip. I have called off a few trips the morning of because I checked one last time before we headed out. If the weather looks dicey not only may it be unsafe but trying to troll in rough conditions is miserable. It’s supposed to be an enjoyable experience, we are recreational fisherman. When I head out I’m looking for waves to be no more than 2-4 feet. I want winds at 5-10 knots or less. I also want wave periods to be at least twice as long as the highest wave predicted. So that means if 4-foot seas are predicted I want wave intervals to be at least 8 seconds. I also won’t try to squeeze a trip in knowing that later in the day things are going to get really bad. As a captain, it will stress me out and ruin my day worrying about the weather that is coming. Once again, we fish for enjoyment. Keep in mind that you will need to come back into an inlet. Our inlets along the south shore can get nasty, especially when we have wind against tide. There are some great weather websites to look at. Windfinder, Buoyweather and Stormsurf are great websites for 1-3 day forecasts. There is one more thing that can help you out when it comes to weather. When you get home from a trip where you were 20-100 miles offshore there are buoys that you can look at to get real conditions. So the next time you head out you can look at those predictions and decide if you were comfortable the last time you were out in those real conditions. You can keep a log of sea conditions on your smart phone.
Like I mentioned earlier, there isn’t a whole lot going on as far as fishing goes in February . If you do keep your boat in all year you can certainly get in on some great bottom fishing. I had heard rumors that black seabass would be open for the month of February. Before you go please double check the regulations. Along with black seabass you should have no problem filling your cooler with a bunch of ling, cod, porgies and pollock. Jigs work well however if you like using clams be prepared to fight through a lot of dogfish.