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Capt. Steve Byrne

Steve Byrne is a charter captain and fishing addict. He holds the current IGFA weakfish 30# line-class record, & guided his two sons to IGFA records of their own. "Catching stripers for 40 years, I love releasing big fish to catch them another day!"

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February 26, 2012

Getting Ready?

by Capt. Steve Byrne

I just finished reading Frank Ruczynski's blog and I have to admit, I'm a little jealous. All through January and February there were reports of stripers in the surf along the Jersey beaches, and here we are just a few days from New Jersey's striped bass opener on March 1. A few of my friends were surf fishing south Jersey this past week and they reported good action with small – but "football" fat – stripers. The schoolies are stuffed with sand eels and they are hitting plugs, tins, bucktails, and soft plastic; basically, anything you can get in front of them. The only obstacles were the large waves, which limited access to those anglers who were on the jetty, and the parking, which is limited to three hours.

Here in Staten Island, we still have a while before the bass arrive. Down at the marina yesterday, I continued with some minor repairs and maintenance that needs to be done before the boat can go back in. During a break, I walked onto the dock, and was surprised by how low the water was. Check out the photos I took with the phone -

Our marina is normally shallow during the new and full moon ebb tides, but nothing like this. The exaggerated low water is the result of persistent, strong northwest winds. They add to the current as Raritan Bay empties into the ocean, and then slow its return on the flood. It's hard to believe that wind can have such an effect on the movement of the ocean, but there's no denying the evidence. These extreme lows usually occur in the fall, and I used to take advantage by walking out to structure that is rarely exposed and picking off old lures that were snagged on them.

It's a little too cold for me to do that now.

Instead of chasing schoolies or searching for old lures, I'm getting ready for the coming season by registering with New York and New Jersey for the 2012 saltwater season. You can register with New York DEC and New Jersey DEP right online, without even leaving your house.

I might also spend some time looking into what tournaments I might be interested in entering this year. My two favorites are the FCA Manhattan Cup and the HRFA Liberty Derby both tournaments benefit organizations that do good work in the fishing community. Between that and prepping the boat, there's plenty for me to do until the bass get here – how about you?

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