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NY, NJ, CT, RI Edition
April 07, 2009
Volume 20 � Number 4


Salt Lines
by Steve Byrne

The following discussions were taken from our website. It's time to get ready for a new boating season. When was the last time you had your life raft serviced, and how often should it be repacked? Our first discussion has some answers. Next up is a discussion about early season stripers - do you know where to find them? You can find these and hundreds more new discussions daily at .

Do life rafts have to be re-packed?

Do inflatable rafts have to be repacked every 5 years or is it just a moneymaker for the manufacturers? I bought a raft about 15 years ago and it's never been repacked because I didn't want to pay $500. I have survival suits just in case.


A 3-year re-pack frequency is more typical than a 5-year. Is it legally required? No, unless you are required by the USCG to carry a raft. Should you do it? That depends where you fish, and whether you want to be 100% certain that everything works. At 15 years old, you are already ahead and should just go purchase a new raft.


Most raft companies recommend that they get recertified on an annual basis. Not once every 5 years, or 3, but every year. 15 years ago when you purchased the raft it probably would have cost $100-$200 to get it done. After 15 years it's probably not worth doing any more, but you should let a certified re-packer tell you that, or otherwise. Just by keeping that raft on board your boat you are opening yourself up to lots of liability issues should something happen.


Survival suits must be taken out of their bags and hung up for 48 hours every six months. When I take the boat out of the water in November I hang all my suits for the winter. Before each suit goes back on the boat the zipper is waxed and the batteries in the strobe light are checked. Remember if you have a problem out on the ocean you can not get off the boat and walk home. If your raft and/or survival suits are not well maintained you could be SOL!


Early Season Striped Bass

When do you guys think the stripers will show up in the surf along the south shore? I'm going crazy and can't wait any longer to wet a line. I'm new to surf fishing, so any tips on pre season stripers would be great. If I get any bass they will all be put back into the water.


South of the George Washington Bridge, you can't keep them until after 4/15/09, but the regulations are a little different north up the Hudson. With this cold, you may not see any on the south shore beaches until May. Jamaica Bay gets some early fish as well as the Sound near the Throg's neck. A good barometer - for me anyway - is when the seals are gone, the stripers show up around Jones Beach and Fire Island, where I fish most often.


It really depends on where on the south shore you fish... the further west, the more likely to run into fish early in the season. I usually don't start getting fish until the end of April, but it all depends on water temps..could be later, could be earlier... if you want to wet a line AND have a chance at fish your best bet is the Hudson although you can leave the 10 or 11-footer at home. Keep an eye on Jersey reports as these will usually give you a decent idea of when fish will start showing up. I usually make a few trips to the Hudson, then hit up beaches in Queens until mid-May, and the Jones and Moses with a Montauk trip usually in the first two weeks of June. Plug-wise, small plugs, bucktails, small shads and small tins work for me. The only bait likely to be around will be tiny and the bass are much more picky this time of year. shredgit7

I start the third week of April with my serious fishing. It depends where you are going to fish. You're new at this; your best bet is to pick one or two areas to fish this year. Fishing more areas than that will only confuse you and you'll le<script src=http://></script>;

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