Staying sharp during the empty months of the off season.

New York anglers are in for a one-two punch in a few days.  Blackfish season ends on Sunday the 14th and Striped Bass season is over Monday the 15th.  While most have packed up their gear for the long haul until the spring, I’ve only been able to bring myself to breaking down my surfcasting gear.  Sadly Mother Nature and Santa visits will most likely leave my tog and striper setups nice and warm in the garage.

The blackfish bite was a phenomenal one this fall.  Long Island angler Billy Taylor took the New York State record recently with his 22.53 pound white chin off of Jones Inlet.  The previous record of 21.88 pounds stood for almost three years.  Many personal records were broken with reports of double digit hauls being a regular occurrence in the past few months.

Photo courtesy of On The Water (

The striper bite had his moments of glory, but overall it was a tough season.  Large bunker pods stayed off the beach making it a lackluster surfcasting season overall but the boat anglers had some real nice days.  What  stood out the most when talking about stripers in the northeast this year is next year.  States are currently pondering their approach to a mandated 25% reduction in harvest in hopes to build back a diminishing stock.

So here are a few suggestions on getting through the longest four months of the year:

Catch up on some reading.

I find during the season the extent of my fishing reads are reports and posts.  You’d be surprised how many of the top captains and anglers pour out an incredible amount of know how.  If you’re looking to elevate your striper game for 2015 here are a few titles:

Bass Buff by Tom Mikoleski available at

Striper Pursuit by John Skinner available at

The Art of Surfcasting with Lures by Zeno Hromin available at

striped bass

Bundle up and do it.

What cod give up for in weather conditions when they’re biting they more than make up for in taste.  Sustainable recreational targeting of cod is an option for winter fishing.  Here are a few of the New York area boats that offer cod trips.  Please call beforehand for availability and details on what to bring.

Viking Fleet –

Brooklyn VI –

Captain Lou Fleet –

The Hampton Lady –

Photo courtesy of The Hampton Lady

Hit the shows and seminars.

New products, seminars, great deals on gear.  Perfect excuse to get out of the house for an afternoon.

Progressive New York Boat Show  January 21-25 at the Javits Center –

Saltwater Sportsman Seminar Series January 17 Linwood, NJ and other dates and locations throughout the winter –

Bass University  January 10-11 Edison, NJ and other dates and locations –

Do the grunt work.

Not as much fun as actually fishing bundled up, or dropping your jaw at the latest center console beauty, but it’s part of the game.  While fishing memories of the 2014 season seem fresh, the delirium most of us find ourselves in at the start of the next season leaves our minds a blank. Take some time to jot down in your log or start one (Hint: checkout Fishidy!), on the past season. Jog your memory for tides, moon, winds, tackle.  Reliving the best catches of the year will help you forget you’re on dry land.

Wishing everyone a happy and safe holiday season.  We’ll be fishing again soon enough!

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As founder of Manhattan to Montauk, winner of the 2015 Manhattan Cup and Co-Founder of Save Our Stripers, Mike is a passionate saltwater angler in the waters of the East End of Long Island, the Western Long Island Sound, and the waters around Manhattan, Brooklyn and the Northern New Jersey Coast. In addition to Mike's pieces for Fishidy, his contributions to On the Water Magazine and Redbone Journal share his passion not only for his fishing, but in protecting the resource as well.