Friday, May 4, 2012

Early May Rock Fishing

I love this time of year.  The moon is building and is to be the brightest it will be all year, the first weekend of May.  So that means that crabs are shedding and when the crabs shed...the fish eat!! So I took off this past Saturday evening (April 28) and head down the beach to try my luck. I go it alone as it was a spur of the moment trip.  After making a quick stop for gas, food and bait (bunker and fresh peeler crabs)...and a couple minutes airing down the tires, I'm on the beach and looking for a good spot that I think will produce a fish. It didn't take long to notice the fish were there as I saw 2 caught as I was riding down the beach. So in angst...I find a spot quick, and start at it. Well the evening starts to go on by when I get a hit...a darned skate.  Release..bait up and back at it. Now the sun is setting and dark is approaching faster by the minute when one of my poles bows up and starts singing (line alarm) to me! Music to my ears!! I get to the pole...and feel that it's a good sized fish. So after a fight of about 10 minutes, I beach the fish, in the dark. I couldn't tell at first what it was...but to my surprise was a nice sized Rock (Striped Bass)! I'm ecstatic...but yet, to my dismay, the season doesn't open until May 1st. So I take a quick measurement (41"), a few pics and back to the ocean this guy goes. That was it for the rest of the night. It was caught on peeler.

 
So a few days go by, and the itch to get down to the beach again is almost unbearable, when...I've got an idea! Thursday was shaping up to be a great day...with the high tide occurring about an hour before dark, I felt a half-day of work coming on! The plan is set and put into motion, I get off work about 12:30, stop to pick up my youngest, stop by the house to pick up my truck already loaded, and it's beach bound again. Made a stop for food and some snacks for the little guy, air down the tires and we're on the beach by 2. I usually fish 3-4 poles, so I'm getting the poles baited up and casted out...when I'm working on the 4th pole, and the 3rd poles line alarm starts clicking slowly. At first I didn't know what it was..figured it was a skate, run over to the pole...crank the line tight (as I use nothing but circle hooks) and all of a sudden the fish comes to life!! After a quick battle...I beach the fish, a nice fat 38" Rock. Perfect size to go in the cooler, because I like to EAT!! :-)  So my youngest takes a couple pics, and it's into the cooler he goes. Now usually it doesn't happen so quickly, so I'm STOKED!! First cast and a keeper fish. Both my boy and I were jumping around ecstatic!! Bait up and throw the pole out, and continue to work on the 4th rod I never got out.

Now, about an hour goes by, when I see a nice bump on one of my rods. The tide was incoming and the waves are increasing in size, but this was not a wave bump. So I go to check it out...and the line goes slack. The fish has picked up the bait and is swimming towards the beach. Not uncommon at all...so I crank like crazy until the line goes tight, and fish on!! A short fight and couple minutes later, I land this 32". A legal size fish, but a couple pics later and he is returned to the ocean to fight another day.

About another later, and after having to move the truck back from the ocean as the tide is now pushing waves up close to and touching the tires on my truck.  This is the way it always happens it seems...I'm either moving the truck, eating a piece of chicken, or indisposed due to a bodily function! So I get out of the truck and notice one of my poles going crazy!  I run over to it, tighten the line..and fish on!! A few minutes go by and I've got feisty 36" Rock swimming at my feet. This one will be meeting a pile of crab meat and an oven in it's near future.
 Now that I've reached the legal limit for the amount of Rock I can keep, I debate fishing longer, but had bait that I had to use or lose. So I decided that another hour wouldn't hurt as the change of the tide is just about upon us. So I bait up and cast back out. It wasn't 30 minutes later, one of my rods goes down hard and line is leaving the reel in a hurry. I wasn't worried about getting spooled as I my cast was short. These fish feed right in the breakers, and most times, people cast right over them and never even know they're there.  I get to the rod and right away feel that it's a strong fish...noting the head shake and relentless pulling. After about a 15 minute fight, the fish is in the swash and still feisty as ever. I use a wave to beach the fish...and at my feet lay a nice 38" Rock. I had already had my limit so a couple pics later...and I release him back into the Atlantic.
After an eventful afternoon, my youngest says he is ready to go home, worn out from playing in the sand. I agree that by the time I get done packing up, put air back in the tires and commute home...it will be close to dark. And with that...the fishing trip is over and we head home. And this is only the first week of May! I can't wait to see what the rest of May has in store. Tight lines.

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