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Taking advantage of the southerlies that drove the bay temps near 50 this weekend.

While the bay warmed up to near 50 degrees, the water was an ugly brown on Sunday morning.

The wind, a steady 10 knot southerly blow, was laced with a cold dampness and the rain would level heavy volleys every twenty minutes or so.  It didn’t matter.   I was fishing for stripers for the first time since November and it felt nothing less than good.  While the conditions screamed bass, the results were…well…no bass.  But then again, this is March fishing on Staten Island, great scenery, lousy conditions, and as a rule not a lot of fish.

Sunday morning broke with a nice choppy gust of a south wind that had been blowing across Raritan Bay for the past four days.  Only a short time ago, the bay was hovering at 35 degrees.  This morning at the turning of the tide, she was running 46 degrees at the mouth.  Had there been a shot or two of sun, that would have made the back-end mud-flats 50 or better  and I, have no doubt, someone would have caught a bass last weekend.   As it were, the clams I had out for about two hours went untouched.

A quick grazing in the flotsam turned up only one whole live clam, but there were plenty of smaller, freshly broken halves around.   Small very fresh bellies would be the bait of choice from now until the bigger clams start washing in. Last year that was around mid-April and that is also when the bass bite kicked in to high gear.  It may take another week, but the first bass is soon to be caught.  For my part, I will be trying again this weekend.

This time of year is a numbers game in many ways.  We watch the date on the calendar, we watch the water temperatures rising, and we watch the air temperatures too.   While a lot of fishing is about numbers, this is the time when the numbers take on a different weight.  All the pouring over charts and graphs and numbers I’ve been doing lately, has brought to mind my childhood distaste for math and why I’ve come to see it differently now.

Surf rods are sometimes discussed in terms of “loading strength”.  The term refers to how much force is used to load the rod for a cast.  While this measurement rests wholly in the world of math and physics, I would venture a less empirical measurement criteria for a fishing rod, surf or otherwise.  I believe there is a psychological loading strength of a rod.  While my theorem and formula have yet, and will never be, proven in a lab or test facility, I will put it forth here:


Stress is reduced exponentially by the number of casts made with a fishing rod and the amount of stress-relief per cast increases with the size of the rod. 


N = Number of Casts      R = Rod Length/Size        S = Stress             H= Happiness

±N x R(-S) = H

March 2011
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