Re: A BAD STRIPER SEASON?
Striper records take a hit
Fred LeBrun Albany times Union
First published: Thursday, May 17, 2007
What a wacky Hudson River striper season this has turned out to be.
Even as veteran observer Tom Gentalen of River Basin Sports Shop in Catskill is calling this the worst season in 15 years, two new state records are caught, for American shad and striped bass -- and on the same day.
May 9, for you numbers people. Ian Kiraly of Walton, Delaware County, caught a big cow striper near Kingston-Rhinecliff Bridge that Sharon Jones at Certified Marine on Rondout Creek weighed in at 55 pounds, 6 ounces, beating the old record by the 6 ounces. Kiraly was trolling a 6-inch lure at a depth of 24 feet from a 16-foot Lund, with a couple of companions aboard. The 49 3/8 -inch fish took more than a half-hour to boat.
That's the third time in the past six or seven years the state striped bass record has been broken. Since even bigger stripers have been occasionally netted by the DEC and others in the past, it is a reasonable assumption that we'll see that record broken again in the near future.
As for the shad record, score one for the shore fishermen.
Pittsfield Bob, that is Bob Kubica of Pittsfield, Mass., was flicking out his quarter-ounce chartreuse shad dart with a chartreuse twister attached when he hooked his relative monster shad: a 28-inch roe weighing 9 pounds, 4 ounces, beating the existing record by half a pound. Bob, who runs a small hauling business, has been fishing for stripers and shad on the Hudson since 1998, and says he tries to get over to the river as often as he can.
He was about to release the fish when other fishermen around him near the popular Passonno Paint Co. location suggested he get it weighed just in case. The not-yet-record shad then became a well-traveled fish. First he went to Conroy's baits in Watervliet, a logical first choice, only to discover the scales there are not certified. Then he tried the local Price Chopper. Same problem. Finally, he took it home and got it weighed at certified scales at Onota Boat Livery in Pittsfield. The next morning, he hauled the poor, half-frozen fish back to the DEC headquarters in Albany and got the DEC sanction. So, yes, Bob is reasonably sure the fish weighs 9 pounds, 4 ounces.
Although again, commercial shad fisherman Steve Nack has gill netted shad pounds heavier, so it is only a matter of time before Bob's record will be broken as well. Several in the Capital Region have contacted me about shad recipes, or asking where shad can be purchased. There will be a traditional Hudson Valley shad bake at Corning Preserve in Albany this Sunday, May 19, from noon on. Questions about shad, including boning out the filets (the fish has 763 bones), plank-cooking them, marinades, and more, will be answered by Hudson River Almanac editor and naturalist Tom Lake, naturalist educator Chris Letts and others from the sponsoring Hudson River Foundation and co-sponsoring Native American Institute of the Hudson River.
Our shad bakes, though modest in scope, are a genuine Hudson Valley product. The tradition can be traced to the Colonial Dutch and there is sound archaeological evidence that the concept of smoking/baking springtime shad and herring goes back into at at least the Eastern Woodland times of 500 to 2,000 years ago," says Lake.
The shad bake will begin at noon with cooking demonstrations of planked shad, on white oak boards, and smoked shad, first brined and then marinated in maple syrup. At 2 p.m. a free taste of smoked, pickled and planked (baked) American shad will be served.
The estuarine striped bass fishing report this week is as wildly erratic as the entire season has been. After a nasty set of thunderstorms passed through Tuesday night, the fishing opened up marvelously, several captains noted.
On Thursday, many had the best day of the season yet. Capt. Joe DeMarco boated eight. Capt. John Stoddard 12, and Captain Chris Leach, 13. All these captains sail from the Forever Young docks at Green Island and generally fish from Troy dam to the Patroon Island bridge.
Water temperature on Thursday hovered right around 60, which is perfect. The next couple of days should be outstanding. Then again, shoulds and oughts don't do well with fishing.
Downriver, Gentalen reports captains are already seeing sporadic spawning. That is not good news, because it generally signals the beginning of the end. Hardly fair, since we have barely gotten started. But, you can throw fairness right in there with shoulds and oughts as having little application to the utter frustrations and joys of fishing.
How inappropriate to call this planet Earth when it is quite clearly Ocean.
Arthur C. Clarke