Jbay 2016 Recap

DAY 1 we arrived super early Thursday morning. The plan was to hot the water at sunrise and go to scout the areas we had found on navionics and get a feel for the fish. We had high hopes for the weekend and wanted to take full advantage of our time. The sun was barely peeking out and we were already at the launch putting the final touches on the boats before launch. We decided to eat a quick breakfast and soon after we were on our way. I had read many historic fishing reports and I had a good idea of where to start. One of the best pieces of advice I gleaned from Internet searching was to use the many channel markers to line up your troll and locate fish.  We immediately headed toward the first point I had on the gps.

I was mainly looking for bait on my lowrance or a hit from a fish would be even better. We made a  few passes on the first spot directly across from the launch the area was dead but it is usually a popular area during  the tournament. We continued to my next point heading deeper into the j bay. As we made our fist pass collin had a hit on the tube and worm he didn't land it but that was a good sign it was still early and we had found a feeding fish. We continued to work that area and I had another hit and miss. Then I looked down at my ff screen and it was lit up with bait. I began jigging and quickly landed a bluefish while collin had a huge Sea Robin and a little striper in the same time. We stayed in this area for about 45 min picking off the easy fish. We didn't try too hard because if you prefish too hard you're going to catch the fish you need for the tournament before it starts. We kept moving down to another spot with steep channel edges searching for bait. We found a good edge I just started to jig and quickly hooked a Sea robin if you don't catch one in j bay then you didn't really complete the slam. We didn't hang long in this spot with only a sea Robin so we moved on to some deeper water where the tide was pushing there were 6 or 7 boats in the area so we assumed it was a known spot. We hugged for a half hour with nothing to show we did see a boat pull a fish on a bunker chunk but that's it. We peddled deeper into the bay through a narrow cut but no fish keep moving turned a corner and there it was. Jfk airport how did we get all the way here. There were boats everywhere and so were the bunker schools.  Collin snagged a bunker and began towing it around I tried the 8 inch spoon under the schools it was still pretty early and we hadn't caught a fish in a while. We moved through the hoard of boats I didn't see any catch anything the entire time we were back there. We kept moving out to fish under the two bridges there were a bunch of guys fishing up on the bridge and a couple of other kayaks there were at least70 lines in the water in our immediate area but no one was catching anything so we continued to move. The wind began to pick up and it was steadily increasing so we decided to head in. We covered most of Jamaica bay we mapped it out roughly and it came out to a 12 mile round trip. This was the longest paddle I had taken in a long time and I wasn't really prepared for that type of exertion the first day. We crashed for the rest of the day and ended up abandoning our plans to explore the only corner we hadn't checked out yet.

DAY 2 We wanted to catch a few fish before the tournament officially started at noon on Friday. We paddled  to our hot spot that we caught fish at the morning before. We made it out to the spot and it was dead I couldn't see any bait on the surface or find any sizeable schools on the Fishfinder. We trolled up and down the channel up on the shallower flats and down deeper into the channel. I was able to land two bluefish including a solid 36 inch blue fish. after a disappointing morning we headed in for a quick lunch and to attend the captains meeting. after the meeting we devised a plan to fish the protected Mill Basin area the weather was not great and it looked like it was going to rain soon after we launched. The rain held up for a good hour but there were also no fish caught during this period. We decided to move out to a channel edge I had scouted online to try and get lucky on a weakfish since it would be the ticket to winning the slam division. I had low expectations that we would actually catch one but I had to give it a shot and if my lure was down there it was possible. Collin and I spread 100 yards apart and started drifting and jigging. The rain started and steadily increased to a steady down pour. Collin struck first he was hoping he had struck gold but as the fish broke the surface it was a familiar nuisance Sea Robin. He wasn't that upset because he was desperate to get the rid of the skunk he had been carrying for most of the day. Soon after I hooked up and I didn't let my hopes get too high I quickly reeled in another Sea Robin. The rain continued and we didn't connect with anything else for the rest of the day. We called it a little early to go and check on the campsite to make sure the tent wasn't floating away. When we got back to camp our tent was on the edge of a growing puddle and we got there just in time to save it from getting swamped.
Day 3 Saturday morning we woke up to good calm conditions it seemed like the rain had passed and we would be able to get some good fishing in. Even though we didn't do to good at our prefishing hot spot the morning before we decided to hit it anyway. We hoped that the previous day was just an off morning and the bait would be moving through again. We quickly launched and started trolling immediately as we were crossing the first channel and coming up into the shallows I got a hit. I set the hook and quickly fought a mid twenties bluefish to the kayak before it shook off when I tried to grab it. It wasn't a tournament winner but it was a good confidence builder and let us know that the fish were active and feeding. we fished the area for 10 minutes without a bite and decided to keep moving to the target I had on my GPS. We made it to the spot without any more interruptions and continued to troll the 6 inch shad bodies. We didn't have a hit for the first 45min but then it happened. A school of bunker came to the surface and they did not look happy. Every once in a while one would come up and not want to go under and then a bluefish would crash in and grab it. We worked our way over and as soon as Collin cast in he was hooked up with a nice bluefish. I was expecting the bait to disappear soon after but they stayed up and soon more kayaks joined in. We continued to throw plastics while the rest of the 12 or so fellow fishermen snagged bunker often times the bluefish would eat the bunker right off the snag hook. I continued casting into the fray but I got cut off twice and had another fish shake off before I could see it. After retying I decided to back off the school and fish the perimeter of the school trolling a big circle around this payed off with 3 back to back blues. Collin stayed with the pack kinda and used his fish finder to vertical jig on the submerged part of the frenzy. He was steady catching blues and quickly boated almost a dozen he even had a huge fluke on the six inch shad. This frenzy lasted for almost two hours before the bait went down deep. The group of kayaks went there separate ways but we stayed in the general area trolling up a fish every 10 minutes. I caught my first striper while trolling during this time a little 20 incher. We headed up into the marsh after and we caught a couple more smaller blues  and a couple more schoolie stripers. We headed back to the launch for a quick break and lunch and never got back out as a band of weather came through and got worse as the day progressed. 

Day 4 Fishing was cancelled for the day as the wind continued to blow in the 20mph range with gusts every few minutes. I used the morning to pack up the campsite and reflect on how good the fishing was the morning before.

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