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Ask Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is recognized as an authority on surf fishing for striped bass. He is the author of six books and hundreds of magazine articles. Frank is a member of the Outdoor Writers of America and lectures throughout the Northeast.

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  #1  
Old 06-02-2008, 09:56 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Bad Years

As a lifelong Phillies fan, I know a bit about terrible, forgettable years (I acknowledge that Red Sox fans are in the same boat, though their recent success has greatly mitigated their long futility). But thinking about how the fishing in South Jersey has been this year (mostly abysmal) got me thinking back to a Frankenbook (Eastern Tides, I believe), and Jason's recent thread on the paucity of Boston Harbor schoolies. This led me to thinking about off years.

We all know that for reasons nobody understands, bass show up in huge numbers in a place, sometimes for many years, and then disappear for long stretches of time. People always blame someone else -- commercial fishermen, pollution, population declines -- but unpredictability seems to be one of the vagaries of the great game that is plying the surf on the Striper Coast. I know that Frank wrote that for many years, large never went past Monomoy, but then for a few years in the 1970s, they went around the horn of the Outer Cape and invaded the beaches of Provincetown like gangbusters. It seems the bass move in ways that are guarateed to befuddle all anglers, and surfcasters in particular.

So the question: do you have any years or seasons that were memorably bad? Were they bad just because of changes in the patterns of fish movement, or for other reasons? Do we even have any knowledge whatsoever about any of this, or are we engaging, when we talk about something like this, in the worst type of speculative thinking there is?
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Old 06-02-2008, 12:22 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Yes, many many seasons were memorably bad. With no effort, 1970 to '73 were disgusting. Oh, you can bet at the time that Frank knew exactly why, but now that I know more about the subject, I would modify my thinking to not knowing why. Listen, its all speculation, even now, but I have begun to think that even with so many bass of today that there could never be enough stripers to provide good fishing on the entire striper coast. Consequently, there are always going to be vast areas devoid of fish. This fuels speculation and efforts to explain. Like you, I am embarrassed at all the crap our side comes up with.

What so many forget is that as a writer I can't give an editor, the reader's agent, 1500 words of bad fishing. Consequently, readers get the feeling that the, a, "good old days" were all good. I have done a few articles on the "Bad Old Days" but they lack popularity and demand a strong literary component if they are to provide any entertainment. I think there is a challenge here to address the non-knowledge more and quit all the BS. I also have a back-of-the-mind sense you expected that from me and I derive a complement in that.

We can machine gun the seals, the rangers, the spot burners, the loose women and while it makes copy, it lacks any real truth. Another thread that I can crank on for a long time. Good job.

Now, I gots to know: who do Momma J and me pair with Big Brown?
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:01 PM
chunkchucker chunkchucker is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Hi Frank,
As I am a beliver in bad years of striper fishing, and have witnessed a few myself.
How much of it do you blame on being in the wrong place at the wrong time, and how vast that place may be?
I have heard stories, and even read a few () about a group of guys fishing an area with nothing, and a short drive away some other guy with a little more knowledge and get-up-and-go kills 'em.
Myself have witnessed it at Nauset, when everyone is snoring a few die hard will go out and get them, but the snoreres will say the fishing stinks the next morning.

Just inteested in your take on the subject.
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Old 06-02-2008, 06:29 PM
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Default Re: Bad Years

there is only one reason for the bad season south jersey has had this year: I was fishing there for the first time in Spring, EVER!

I'm sort of like a black cloud on the fishing scene at times.... or so it seems until I hit the next blitz, long spans of time in between but eventually even a blind squirrel... eh 'nuf of that!
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Old 06-03-2008, 11:49 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Chunk, all these sports are a crap shoot because they are a melange of luck, arbitraryness, individual ability, star alignment.But one difference that separates us all is the individual and that person has the advantage of experience, perhaps confidence maybe even a greater enthusiasm for what he/she is envolved in. But sooner or later we all miss a blitz, make a mistake, and become the butt of jokes in the striper surf. No one is exempt.
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Old 06-03-2008, 05:01 PM
chunkchucker chunkchucker is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Great answer!

Thanks
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Old 06-05-2008, 09:20 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Chunk, I know you have had enough, but I haven't. We have a new breed of "experts" around today writing and expounding on striper fishing and many of them have made a cottage industry out of trivializing what was done in the old days. They like to say that there were more big fish in the old days, hence the reason for the Old Guard getting big fish that they can't get now. They are misreading what happened then overlooking the fact that we had a lot of bad years big fish wise like we are having now. Also, keep in mind that when the fishing gets good, and it will again, nobody knows it at the time; the reality of what has happened sinks in after the fact when it is too late to jump in. You have to be allready in the game.
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Old 06-05-2008, 12:13 PM
chunkchucker chunkchucker is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

I agree 100%.
I really dont buy into the "golden years on the surf", and I really do not like the way it is put forth in the press, and cant stand even more to hear it from people who should know better. Fish are Fish and they will always torture us, especially stripers from the surf.

The funny thing is not to long ago I guy I know went fishing on the cape near highhead with 9 eels. In one night he and his buddy caught over 1000 pounds of stripers with 9 eels in the deep night. Not one under 40 pounds. So when I hear about the stripers not coming to the cape, or there are no big ones anymore, I find the good ol' days line to be a cop out.

I believe the very essence of Striper fishing from the surf, as we do, dictates that back in the good ol' days all there was were 40-70 pound stripers is ridiculous. Thats why I brough up the YOY index in the other thread, I like you believe more in the science of big fish instead of just the hope.
Maybe they should read a little closer. But like you said in one of your books, some only remember the good. I feel it applies here to. Some will blame everything else, even the past, on thier inability to catch them, see them or even write about them.
Thats why I like the facts and figures you present in your books. As well as the work ethic it takes to hunt for big fish, which (i hope you agree with) is a totally different game.
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Old 06-05-2008, 04:22 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

[quote=chunkchucker;
The funny thing is not to long ago I guy I know went fishing on the cape near highhead with 9 eels. In one night he and his buddy caught over 1000 pounds of stripers with 9 eels in the deep night. Not one under 40 pounds.

That's pretty impressive, Chucker.....how long ago is "not too long ago"?

CL
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  #10  
Old 06-05-2008, 05:49 PM
chunkchucker chunkchucker is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

[quote=Cap'n Bigass;2286454][quote=chunkchucker;
The funny thing is not to long ago I guy I know went fishing on the cape near highhead with 9 eels. In one night he and his buddy caught over 1000 pounds of stripers with 9 eels in the deep night. Not one under 40 pounds.

That's pretty impressive, Chucker.....how long ago is "not too long ago"?

CL[/QUOTE]

It was 3 years ago. I thought it was amazing myself!
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  #11  
Old 06-06-2008, 06:35 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Chucker, what was told to you is not only BS.....it is insulting to the good fishermen who regularly work these beaches.

It's not unusual for some BS artists to know so little about their subject, that their stories are an affront to those who do know.

By any chance, is the gentleman in the story also a boat fisherman?

CL
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  #12  
Old 06-06-2008, 10:41 PM
lifishinvt lifishinvt is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

CL, as our good freind would say"show me the slips''.i don't think that a fish over 35 lbs was caught all last season from wellfleet to RP.and that includes boatsat least on thew ocean side.
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  #13  
Old 06-07-2008, 10:42 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Chucker, I didn't want to respond to that as I am here to make friends not miff people off.
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  #14  
Old 06-07-2008, 12:00 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

Quote:
Originally Posted by lifishinvt View Post
CL, as our good freind would say"show me the slips''.i don't think that a fish over 35 lbs was caught all last season from wellfleet to RP.and that includes boatsat least on thew ocean side.
John, the reason I asked about him being a boat fisherman is that there is a charter captain who has told very similar outrageous stories.....undoubtedly to promote his already bogus reputation. Our good friend nearly hurled when he read that post.

CL
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  #15  
Old 06-07-2008, 06:53 PM
chunkchucker chunkchucker is offline
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Default Re: Bad Years

well sorry to disappoint and "insult". I did make one mistake on this post, it was five years ago and the man in question is a surf guy not a boat boy. He read this post and laughed out loud.

So are you guys saying that this is impossible from the surf? that something like this could never happen? The point is that is has happened in the long ago past, and the near past. And not beciase it didnt hit every newspaper, or tackle shop that it didnt happen. i think that is BS.
Not everyone blabs about thier exploits. thier good fortune etc.
He came across a huge school of big bass, late in the fall, and caught them. First thing he says is that he was lucky. He and his buddy kept one each, packed up and went home. to them it was a great night, one he has not seen since or before.

again sorry to insult.
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