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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 07-06-2008, 01:55 PM
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Default Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Frank,
I know this has been brought up before, but I figured I would toss it out for the newer members...
From say NJ to MA, what would you consider the best overall (not just large) fishing, during the spring or fall migration periods? A lot of people are crying in their beer about all the large being kept this spring, and there have been quite a few. Personally, I have yet to get a keeper, so I'm going to wait until the fall...
I have done equally well in the spring or fall, except for this year.
What are your thoughts?
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Old 07-07-2008, 07:41 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Fall has always had the edge with everybody, but there are problems in the fall -- hurricanes for one. (This thread should go quite well.)
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Old 07-07-2008, 05:48 PM
Reelangler Reelangler is offline
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

I realize the question posed was regarding the coast from NJ and north. However, it seems to me that south of there (DelMarVa) they linger longer in the fall. Assuming they come close to the beach. This spring was good for me but it seems that the window of opportunity is much smaller in the spring compared to the fall. Rob
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Old 07-07-2008, 08:36 PM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Sorry Reelangler,
I didn't mean to exclude those south of NJ I'm sure they hang around a lot longer down there than they do in Jersey. Mid December is about the limit here.
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Old 07-07-2008, 09:18 PM
ALB31 ALB31 is offline
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Fall because of the longer nights and different types of bait close to shore that grew up in the bays over the summer. Spring at times is a one bait deal in NY [bunker] and they may all be moving off shore when they go by. You also have shorter nights in the spring.
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Old 07-08-2008, 12:03 PM
Cap'n Bigass Cap'n Bigass is offline
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

As usual, Al's response is based on logic, common sense and experience.....not speculation or guesswork.

BUT.....if you are going to include south of NJ, the equation changes and winter or spring can be best.

And as usual, there are no absolutes.....I have seen some terrific fishing in the dead of summer. That's usually followed by fast fall fishing, but not always. As Frank pointed out, late season storms can get things AFU.

CL
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:18 PM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

The thing Al said about the length of night really speaks to me. In the fall before daylight savings it gets dark around 6-6:30, then you can fish until a reasonable hour, go home and get some sleep. After daylight savings the fishing begins to fade up here, but you get the extra hour of darkness. Fishing at 8pm feels like the middle of the night.

In the spring I think it is more worthwhile to get up very early and go fishing, rather than start fishing at 10pm and get little to no sleep. Some of the best fishing memories I have are from waking up at 12-1am, going fishing for a few hours, and then going to work.
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Old 07-08-2008, 02:32 PM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Without question, the two best months in Virginia's part of the Chesapeake Bay are November, and December. Then, for the Atlantic waters off VA, January and February are the best months.

Although fish can be caught in the spring (in the Chessie), what happens is the "peak" of spring-fishing (April) occurs prior to when the official season opens (May 1st). Then as water temps skyrocket, the fish make a beeline for points north.

Whereas, in the fall, season usually opens the first week of October, while the fish are still hanging around Rhody and "the islands". The season gradually builds to a peak around Thanksgiving, then (water temp depending) the fishing usually continues through December. Three or four years ago, the air and water temps nosedived in mid-December, and it was "game over". However, the last couple of years, VA has experienced mild-Decembers, and the fishing (in the bay) has continued right through the last day (New Year's Eve)

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Old 07-08-2008, 04:52 PM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Once we cross the Hudson, I have little expereince in what happens. My background is more New England. That said, the spring migration is interrupted by spawning where fall all the fish are moving, pretty much during the same time slot.
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Old 07-09-2008, 12:45 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

We dont have the closed seasons Stan mentions in Jersey (except for no stripers from bay/river waters Jan 1st to March 1st) but the Nov/Dec thing works here also. Best striper fishing I ever saw from the surf was a few years ago, mid Dec. Was a warm fall, and the temps dropped quickly. For three days stripers were crashing the beach, just about any time of the day or night. Froze your butt off, but if you could tolerate it, you caught fish. Once the water temps caught up with the air temps, they moved out, probably for Stan to catch further south of us...
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Old 07-09-2008, 07:18 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Whatever I say is about New England waters. If we have a run of fish in late November or December, there is nobody on the beach to see it. We have this group think that says the fish are gone. Often they are not. It is sooo nice to catch a cow and not have to hide it, snow dancing in your buggy lights going off, a deer hanging in the shed. (What a country!)
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Old 07-09-2008, 08:01 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

To add to Rags quire if I may...
Some places in the south have good spring and fall fishing and slower in the summer time. Some places north have no early spring or late fall run but the summer fishing is good.
Do you think there is a geographical line of demarkation where a fishery can go either way? Is there a spot that can enjoy both? NJ seems to be right on the line sometimes.
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Old 07-10-2008, 12:41 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

Quote:
Originally Posted by Frank Daignault View Post
Whatever I say is about New England waters. If we have a run of fish in late November or December, there is nobody on the beach to see it. We have this group think that says the fish are gone. Often they are not. It is sooo nice to catch a cow and not have to hide it, snow dancing in your buggy lights going off, a deer hanging in the shed. (What a country!)
Thats the joy/curse of Jersey fishing Most of us know something will happen sometime/somewhere before the end of Dec. Just have to be there when it happens A plus, driving the beach is a lot easier when the sand is frozen...
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Old 07-10-2008, 01:12 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

I feel like Rhode Island has the best of everything. They get an earlier spring than MA and the fall lasts much longer. Plus it has good summer fishing and big fish...
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Old 07-10-2008, 08:56 AM
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Default Re: Migration Fishing... Spring vs Fall

I jsut finished a lot of work in analysis of comparisons with the south as opposed to where I have always fished. I drew the conclusion that Delmarva and the south have about the same amount of time as say, Rhode Island; its just broken up different. Maine and Mass north shore get the short end, losing a month at each end and it is not made up for. Might that be why they give Maine a more liberal size law? It would make sense.

Yes, Koller, we have had some marvelous R.I. fishing in summer: 50s in July from shore and some of our best recent years has been August.
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