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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 02-02-2012, 10:30 AM
biggestsquid biggestsquid is offline
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Default High Seasonal Water Temps

Frank,

I am aware that a change in wind direction can result is some very quick ocean water temp changes, HOWEVER, we are having an unusually high, 46 degrees, ocean temp in NJ for this time of year. The 46 degree temp is 9 degress above the average for this date. The prevailing winds are still westerly --- the direction that generally brings cold water to the beach.

I haven't looked at the surface temp maps of the east coast to determine if this is a local or east coast phenomenon. I personally don't, but know I should, pay much attention to water temps like good fisherman do.

The surf is still holding fair amounts of bait in NJ at present. What do you think will result from these warm winter ocean temps as far as the coming season?
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Old 02-02-2012, 04:09 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

First, I don't really know. My guess is that it could start the spring small striper activity sooner. There will be no effect upon the larger, mature stripers because they will go through the spawning period with about the same timing. The small, pre fecund fish, the ones we get in Matunuck, RI in April, could arrive a full three weeks sooner than usual if the warm water, say over 50, is achieved a full three weeks sooner. But the whole, highly speculative subject kind of uncleizes me and I don't want to be like your uncle.
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Old 02-03-2012, 08:18 AM
biggestsquid biggestsquid is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Well Frank I consider you more of the Big Brother opposed to uncle --- although some of my best roll models were my uncles. We're going to find the impact soon becuase this situation has kept a few hardies fishing the surf into Feb --- which in most rare in NJ.

Didn't really need to be very hardy either --- it was 64 at the beach yesterday. We have another week of above average temps coming now --- but I suppose the real test will be March. We'll get Rob and Chris and several other yokals down there for the Ides of March and see what we can scare up.

St Pattys Day at the beach may be in order --- and it would be the rare occassion when those any of those characters were IN ORDER!!!

Mid Feb is forecast to return to more seasonal temps but the influence of any 2-3 week period is likely to be minimal on ocean temps. We'll take the dreaded "wait and see" position.

Cheers -- Brother Frank
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:26 AM
Nifty Nifty is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

I keep wondering how much the "early bite" is affected by how many guys get out and fish rather than the water temps. When the weather is bad hardly anyone goes out and reports of catches are rare but when it's warm and sunny then places like Matunuck are packed and there's bound to be more catches regardless the numbers of fish there.

As for the fish, how can a person tell if they are migrators or winter holdovers coming out of Pt Jude pond or Providence river? In the Thames it's almost impossible to tell when the migrating bass arrive to mix with the holdovers.

I can hear Frank now: "Just shut up and fish!"
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:55 AM
Chris Garrity Chris Garrity is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

The consensus among the old salts that I've talked to has been that while warmer-than-usual-water temps won't cause the fish to move any sooner, they very well could, once migrating fish arrive, cause them to be more active, to feed more aggressively, than they would normally.

Down Cape May County way, I don't think this will have much affect on the spring striper fishing at all. The biggest impact, if there is one, will be in the back bays, where fish, especially summer flounder, start arriving in mid-March, right around St. Patrick's Day. Usually, these estuarine fish are hard to catch until April, when the increasing sunlight and the longer days warm up the water enough to get the baitfish, and the predator fish, moving. If the water in the back is consistently around 50 by the end of March, then April could be a banner month in and around the watery byways surrounding places like Ludlam Bay and Grassy Sound.

In this part of the world, April can be a magic month when conditions are right: you can catch fluke, stripers, bluefish, and weakfish, all in little tidal creeks that almost seem like smallmouth bass territory. It is great fun to catch a teen-sized bass, or a tiderunner weakfish, this way, as there is usually very little fishing pressure this early in the season. It's neat to be out there, and catching, when there are no other anglers around.

So, now that the table is set with good water temperatures, you can practically bank on a nasty, four-day nor'easter at some point in March, a tempest that will screw up the fishing in the back for at least a month. It always seems to work like this: just when you think the stars are all aligned, something comes along to throw a monkey wrench into the works. It's uncanny, but this uncertainty is part of what makes it fun.
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Old 02-03-2012, 10:40 AM
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Chris Garrity View Post
... April can be a magic month when conditions are right: you can catch fluke, stripers, bluefish, and weakfish, ...
and, this year, *blackfish*

Chris, the past 3 years, for me, something has come along to really mess up the works whenever I think the "stars are aligned"... hoping this year might provide some better windows of opportunity!
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Old 02-03-2012, 09:17 PM
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

I would have thought the angle of the sun would effect the migration more than warmer sea and air temps. We had almost 60 degree water temps here in December and it was barren of fish, it seemed like the bait knew when to leave(October) wEnt much action after that.

I'm hoping for an early run, March would be nice and my heavy duty tackle is ready to go.
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Old 02-04-2012, 08:15 AM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Water temp, photo period, available bait, who knows what causes things to go the way they do. I know that the land seems to store the prevailing temperatures and if the land starts out warm, it has a tendency to stay warm. This far into the winter with little snow and warm sea water, it is going to be a lot harder for the cold to take over -- though I suppose it still could.
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Old 02-05-2012, 03:19 PM
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Wink Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Water temps can be a game changer. Just ask the OBX, NC folks who hardly get to see a striper anymore. The big stripers now only go as far south as Virginia. The warmer water off VA is good enough for the bait to hang out there instead of pushing further south. A couple of years ago we pounded bluefish in the backbay as early as early April due to it warming up early. Typically not seen til early May. That said weather can be tough that time of year.
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Old 02-06-2012, 12:37 AM
Doug Doug is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Water temps in the Delaware/Maryland surf area are a full 10 degrees warmer than normal which is a huge number.

The short term effect on our local fishing will be minimal. The first spawns in the Chesapeake will be in mid-late March, a good two or three weeks earlier than normal. We will see a few fish caught in April and early May that are full of roe, fish that never made it to spawn because of the warm temperature.

The long term effect will be substantial, at least for the class of fish born this year in the Chesapeake. The YOY index will be pathetic and the potential for higher bay temps causing large fish kills will be much higher.

Doug
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Old 02-06-2012, 01:48 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

It seems to me that everything that happens weatherwise is natural in that some years are bound to be warmer than usual. Variations in YOY have always occurred and the reasons for such variations are numerous, including warmer water. Risidual roe is common and we can catch big bass loaded with eggs in New England in July. That does not mean the bass are spawning in the north or that they failed to spawn in the south. I don't know what it means.
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Old 02-22-2012, 09:10 PM
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Montauk Surf Montauk Surf is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

spring in the air would turn a young man's interest to love..or winter flounder. Now, jaded and no flounder..bring out the fishing poles because the stripers will start biting early this year.
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Old 02-23-2012, 12:58 PM
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Quote:
Originally Posted by Montauk Surf View Post
spring in the air would turn a young man's interest to love..or winter flounder. Now, jaded and no flounder..bring out the fishing poles because the stripers will start biting early this year.
FLOUNDER!!!
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:21 PM
lagoonguy lagoonguy is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

The Florida State website says that water temperatures on Florida's East Central coast, where I live, have increased by 2 degrees in the last 100 years.

Bill H
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Old 02-23-2012, 03:44 PM
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Frank Daignault Frank Daignault is offline
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Default Re: High Seasonal Water Temps

Bill, does that two degrees in 100 years seem like a lot? or is that insignificant? This is like the global warming thread. I have no clue.
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