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January 2, 2016 6:37 PM
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New York > Western South Shore
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My 2015 Fishing Season Recap

This was by far my best season. I had a good run, met, and fished with a lot of nice people. I caught more fish this season overall…more bluefish than last season. I caught my personal best bluefish @38" 14lbs. I caught more striped bass in number, and better quality fish…that's more important to me. I managed to tie my 2014 personal best this season with a (twin) 35" 18lbs fish…The 30 plus lbs. fish are coming in 2016.

I started "fishing/recon" a bit earlier this season with Joe. We poked around a few of his favorite spots to see if his logged trips from the previous season were keeping a pattern. I also had some testing to get done from my off season antics. This was a good way to get to know who Joe was, and learn what I could from him how he does things. That worked out good because we fished together the entire season when we could…as long as he wasn't "shot"

The first trip after the season opened was a key trip I did with Al and Julius. I was checking on a logged trip from the previous season when I landed five out of eight bass on my first trip…not this time. The water temps were still on the cold side, and no fish were around just yet. Al introduced me to two very key items that played a huge role in my 2015 season. The first was the Surface Tension Lure (I caught so many Bluefish on that lure I don't know if I would've caught them without it) and the second item was Tuf-line leader. It's a steal braid you can tie knots with. That combo helped me catch, and land bluefish until the bass showed up. I continued catching Bluefish in the same spot for three to four weeks straight having to leave them biting each time. Bluefish came back in a big way this year…I stopped using it once I knew bass were around, and I wasn't catching them…I felt like they could see the Tuf-line and decided not to hit my lures.

Once I had my bluefish fill I longed to catch Striped bass so I knew I had to start going East to get the dead done. But before I did that I just had to fish the Honey hole from 2014 with my good friend Andy. We were not successful until our second attempt on bait. We caught a good amount of rather large bunker that came to the bay to spawn. Those first bass of the season had a technicality to it…I fought that 13lbs bass on Andy's rod so that made it his fish. No problem because I knew more would come. It just didn't happen that night.

Joe and I went to a historical spot that I have read about over the off season. I was happy to catch just about all the spots we went that night capping it off with MY first stripers of the season…on a bucktail of all things. That fish was my first keeper of the season and I was happy to release it. I became fond of this spot because of this catch, the fact that the hard structure plays a huge role on the deep, fast moving current, and the pockets that hold fish hear. I like going back when the tide is optimum.

By this time of the season most that were catching stripers were getting it done on bait. I don't like to baitfish for many reason. Bait is a bit too hard for me to get because I just about can never make the bait shops in time to buy it, I get bored waiting for a fish to hit, and I don't like my bait getting eaten by "trash fish" .There was two times this season I got invited to a bait bite that I just couldn't make it out and all that went came back with Monsters. Rudy (the one that works for Sanitation) was the first, and my main man Lou was the second…those trips burned me bad. If I had gone I'm sure I would've caught a 30 lbs plus fish just like everyone else. I will be bait fishing more often in 2016 for sure!

V caught a 50lbs fish of a lifetime on lures of all things. He really set the bar high for many of us out there trying to do the same. V took a break for a while feeling like he did it! He left us all trying to bet his fish. Lou got the closest with a 49lbs fish…still an excellent catch for sure!

I began pushing even further east hunting for bass. I would hunt for bass in the night, and spend the morning light hours catching bluefish…yes I often spent a whole day fishing for Stripers and Blues. This "hobby" became a Lifestyle very quickly this season. I think it was once I began driving the beach in my CR-V (a well capable truck to me even without the standard 4x4 many say you need to drive the beach) is when things changed. Nothing like the freedom of going where you want to go on the sand and catching fish when you make it there. I'm Thankful to Honda for redesigning the Real Time AWD system for the 2012 model year…I say it all the time. It's the closest thing to a true 4x4 setup you can have without a true 4x4 system. It helps that all four wheels have power at all times. The computer decides when to cut in based on traction conditions…no complaints yet. I only got stuck twice this season, and those times were my error…I've learned my CR-V's limits.

Montauk aka the surf casters mecca…one of my absolute favorite places to fish for many reasons. I believe all surf fishermen need to fish Montauk if he/she is serious about fishing. It's not for everyone but if you have a knack for rock hopping, fishing big water, and love the challenge of mastering the puzzle of catching on the key conditions that should put you where the fish are. It can all be rewarding. Montauk changed me in a big way. I use to be the type that would stop anyone to "talk" about their trip. Hey how's it going today, did you catch anything etc.…not in MTK. It was perfectly normal for folks to pass you by without even making eye contact. Some folks would look at your gear to decide if you're worth the time spent to have a conversation or even a small head nod of acknowledgement. I learned to wait and speak if I'm spoken to…though most of those folks were in the same boat as me trying to get that MTK fix. I fell in love with MTK in a big way. I had three planned trips that turned into fishing it almost every weekend getting to know where, and when to catch. I think I did OK for my first season of fishing Montauk. I look forward to many more seasons fishing the End.

I tried to reproduce the good sea bass fishing I had from 2014 but this season I didn't do so well on the third favorite fish I like to catch. I went on a few more boat trips this season than last season. I enjoyed the "quota" trips I had with Captain Thomas Lasala for Porgy, and Blackfish. Those trips were an experience of a fisherman's life time. Truly was a joy to do some down up down up fishing on his boat, and his friends boat. That really spoiled me bad when I got on the party boats. The mentalities were a night and day difference. I am almost done with getting on "party boats". In my opinion the party boat Captain tend to have a mentality that is not always beneficial for a guy like me that want to catch no matter what. A commercial fisherman has a goal and a purpose of filling the boat with fish to meet his quota so he will make decisions that will make it happen…party boats get paid no matter what so accepting a slow day and not moving to go find the fish became the norm that angered me big time. I have much to learn from Capt. Tom so I will listen to what he has to teach me. He even told me to get a wet suit and I'll show you where the bass live…I'll be doing just that because he knows how to fill a boat with fish so I can just imagine what he can show me in the surf.

My personal best Bluefish at 38" 14lbs I caught in Montauk. I had a blast fighting this fish. The few runs it took where full of raw power. When I got it close to me its teeth were exposed like a shark ready to bite what comes close enough. I was careful not to get bitten by grabbing its mount with my Berkley fish gripper before I even thought about getting the hook of my tension lure out with my anodized pliers. I stay for from the teeth of bluefish. My Dad got bitten by one once and he still has the huge scar. This one will go down in the record books for me, and I hope to catch many more. That trip was full of excitement. I recall wading out 150 feet into the surf to get on a rock. The water was up to my chest but I didn't care because Dan had mentioned he had to wet suit out far, and the fish were hitting on the end of his cast…he was so right. I shared the same space with a boat that was in on the same bluefish bite…that was fun!

Once per season my Dad likes to rent a 15' skiff on the Long Island Sound to find the fish. No electronics or anything that would locate where the fish are. This form of fishing is driven by years of trips my Dad has taken. He usually likes to visit a honey hole he likes where he catch Bluefish when they are around. Lately we have gone out of Jacks in City Island but this season we wanted to explore some new to us territory so we went to Ebb Tide boat rentals in Greenwich CT. That trip was all about my Dad. He was the only one to "land" a fish that day. I hooked into two nice sized blues that I was able to see but they both spit the hook. I even had a third fish hit my jig but missed the hook. That was a good trip any way you look at it. We know where to find the blues in that area, and have any idea of where to find the porgy's too. I defiantly look forward to doing that again.

I ran into some problems with my Penn 7500 long cast reel a short time after a 22 hour rock hopping adventure in Montauk. That reel is not a "sealed" reel so I knew at some point I would have to service it by opening it up, cleaning it, and repacking in with grease. I love that reel, and how it handles fish. The only two things I wish I could change are if it was sealed, and it's a bit heavy. After I serviced it the reel was back to pulling in fish like a champ until the colder months came around. When it's cold outside it gets a bit stiff due to the Grease and oil I added.

I fished with the FEM Men's fellowship on an annual fishing trip in Massachusetts with the Helen H fleet out of the bass river marina for a porgy trip. Fishing with that Men's fellowship is what restarted the fishermen in me three years ago so it was nothing for me now as there President to take a trip up to MA. We all caught fish and that's all that mattered to me…unlike our last two trips. When that boat docked I did what I usually do and went to hunt for stripers on the Cape Cod Canal…I couldn't come to MA and not fish it. I sent the FEM Men home, and hit the Canal bait & tackle shop for a Canal stick shad…a must have lure to fish the CCC. I feel just like MTK every serous surf fisherman needs to challenge him/her to fish the canal. It's a different place all together. Its 70 feet deep in some spots, the current moves as fast as rapids, and you need an outfit that can handle lures in the 3 to 6 oz. range. I didn't catch on that trip but it was a good experience for me. I'll go back during the prime time to fish the CCC to cash in on a 40lbs bass.

Fishing Montauk on the weekends and my backyard/playground on weekdays with my Floating and sinking SP Minnow's allowed me to hone in on what modifications work best in my opinion. I've seen many folks do all kinds of crazy things to SP's that I will never do. I have a rule of thumb that is really important in keeping its "balance" They must be upgraded so when you upgrade the hook size upgrade the rings as well. Bigger hooks need higher test rings but too big of hooks and it will lose that key action that bass love. If you use hooks that are too small then bass will torque the lure out of their mouths…they will not hold fish. The more distance between the lure and the hooks the less likely this will happen. Too high test split rings will also kill the action, and too low of test and you can lose your hooks and rings all together…you will never see any of my SP's with single hooks on the rear…I just got one of the Bullets/fast sinking to test out for the 2016 season. This should be fun.

The fall run was good to me this season unlike the last two. I was on vacation during the perfect time to cash in on a sand eel bite. For two weeks straight I was fishing every night and sometimes all the way through the next day. Sleeping in my truck in the lot of the beach until Joe would arrive waking me up to fish before he went to work. I slept more in my truck than in my bed for those two weeks. I was catching bass almost every day no blues and it felt good for a change. I can't tell you how much it hurt to miss out on the hot bites during the fall run of the last two years. That's why I planned this vacation right. I had more vacation time then my wife so it all worked out to fish like a retiree. I managed to tie my 2014 personal best on striped bass at 35" 18lbs, and I also did something I never did. I caught two keepers in the same 24 hours on the same trip. I usually catch one keeper per trip but I was able to put my time in and get the deed done. With all that I have learned, and know I haven't caught a bass over 20lbs. Three seasons and it just didn't happen yet. To the dudes that would rather take shots at me for not catching bass over 20lbs instead of encourage me keep your distance because I don't need that type of negativity around me. I associate myself with fishermen that have respect, honor, trust, loyalty, and truth as aspects of their character. I will always dedicate that portion of the fall to one of my vacations.

I was able to finally catch a keeper blackfish this season. Captain Thomas and his friend out of Orient point had another quota to meet, and I was invited to get the job done. Shallow water jigging for black fish on light tackle, with homemade jigs was a blast. I caught multiple slob togs that I wish I could've taken home to the family. I was able to take a few home for the table, and to let my wife try it. Blackfish are the best tasting fish I have ever tried. I wish I had better trips on party boats but again two different mentalities between a commercial fisherman and party boat captains…makes me want to become a commercial fishermen someday…who knows what the future holds but God.

I missed out on an epic bluefish bite late fall that I wish never happened. It took place just like always when I was at work. I had good Intel as to where to go the next day but I was always a day late to the bite. I was able to get on the Brooklyn VI to catch up with the action but I always get more out of catching fish from the surf then a boat but hey that's how it goes sometimes. Joe, Brandon, Avi, and Justin where doing well on a late fall bass bite while I couldn't make it out to fish because I had church on Sunday…that happened several times this season.

Towards the end of the season I usually like to bottom fish with my Dad to capitalize on sea bass before the end of the season, and cod fish until the end of the year. I didn't catch too many keeper sea bass but I was able to catch a bunch of porgy. I also was finally able to catch a keeper Cod after trying for two years. They taste great and I wish I could continue to fish for them.

The last few trips of this season were spent in NJ trying to catch up to migrating fish. Fishing with Lou, V, Ragan, and Margarito was a great feeling. They are defiantly the types of fishermen I like to associate myself with. Great minds think alike. I look forward to many more trips with them in 2016. My season is over. I am married so that means I must take an off season…All good things must come to an end. It's time to spend more time with the family and make things right.

This off season I don't have too much planned like my last two off season. I might read one or two books. I don't want to go to too many shows this time around. I noticed many of the guys giving the talks tend to contradict a lot of the other talks, and most of the info I research. I left many of the shows last off season feeling like I need to figure things out on my own because I was hearing too many different opinions on the same topic. I plan on replacing a few items that I lost over the season so I am not spending too much cash on gear. I will go to a few flee market evens because I've gotten the best deals at those type of events. I will go to one or two of the big name shows but that's about it. I would like to learn how to build rods, and maybe someday come out with me own line. I have some things to accomplish before the season gets started so that I can hit the surf hard! This has defiantly been my best season and look forward to doing it all again. Is it April 15 yet?

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Sky Cloud Water Glove Goggles

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Outerwear Water Sleeve Fish Fisherman

Striped bass/Bluefish personal best
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Water Sky Vertebrate Cloud Smile

Porgy/bottom fishing with my Dad
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Liquid Fluid Office supplies Fish Beach

Unfortunately this is the only Fluke I caught...didn''t try much either
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Water Sky Vertebrate Shorts Fish

My first keeper Cod
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