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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Wed. Oct. 10, 07 -- Ripe and ready out there -- got line?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007: Waves: Rapidly dropping 2-4 feet; down from 6-8 feet late yesterday afternoon. Water clarity: Fair but quickly cleaning by late afternoon. Water temps: Amazingly, still near 70.

Note: The first very cool air of the season will be here this weekend. There will be fish.

Ripe and ready is the best way to describe today. The fishing was decent with lots of blues (small to medium), many small bass (though still very few keepers much less 34-inchers needed for the Classic), croakers by the loadful, kingfish with regularity but often running unkeepably small. However, the ocean is ALIVE with bait, workin’ birds, jumpin’ dolphin, bustin’ fish and most of all just this feel that it can be holding some major hookups. I’m putting new line on my reels.

The kingfish are odd this year. They are either jumbo (near state record – 2.5 pounds) or 8 or 9 inches, tops. Virtually no in-between size.

Croakers are large to jumbo. They are being taken on small rigs meant for kingfish and also on float rigs or pompano rigs meant for larger bass and blues.

Tourney Note: Both those 14/9 caught by Matt Bodine and Carl S Rauch were exactly 38 inches long with 18-inch girths. I’ll have to see what happens in that instance. From what I see, there has yet to be a striper entered into the tourney. That’s relatively amazing and proves just how absent the stripers have been.

I was amazed to read that Art Hunt caught a 16-4 bluefish using GULP 6" Sandworm. He wasn’t in the derby. But that’s not the amazing part. I’ve used GULP in white strips – squid-like -- but couldn’t get even one of the millions of small blues to taste it. I’m wondering is Art used it on a float. I was letting it sit on the bottom so there wasn’t much movement to it.

Jay Enjoyed reading about the idea of releasing large bass after weighin. I admire anyone who is willing to go to that length to preserve this resource. But... I question the morbidity done to large stripers by weighing them by the gill plate and the damage to their internal organs by being suspended vertically during weighin. I am well aware that when I catch a large bass and grab it under the gill plate to hoist it out of the surf or place it in a cooler, I feel crackling and snapping where the gill plate joins the jaw. Also there is the potential damage done to the gills by handling a bass this way. Grabbing a bass by the gill plate is by far the most common way to handle a bass. Whenever I want to release a fish, I make it a point not to grab the fish there, esp a large fish where I think the potential for damage is greater.
My thought would be that if tackle shops had a cradle (something similar to a stretcher, fabric suspended between two wooden poles) for these types of weighins, it would only help with the release of a fish. Am I off base here?
Thanks for your time with this question. I continue to enjoy your website and articles, keep up the good work.
Brian M

(Great points, Brian. I believe Greorge G. actually held the weight of his bass until the scale reached the maximum then quickly removed it.
Still, a weigh-in is a lot of stress on the fish if not done with ultimate care.
By the by, George said his release was easier than he thought.
While I'm not a huge fan of tagging fish, I could see benefits to tag a catch-weigh-release fish just to see the ultimate outcome of the effort to save the striper.
I'm told there are tubes (PVC, I believe) that the Bass Pro Tour uses to transport and weigh catch-and-release bucketmouthes. I should be getting some info on the company that makes them.

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