SBLI – Fly Fishing and the State of Striped Bass Fishery Film 2019, New York

SBLI – Fly Fishing and the State of Striped Bass Fishery Film 2019, New York


If you’re a fisherman on Long Island and
you like to fish for striped bass then winter feels like it’s the longest
season of the year there’s no fishing for stripers in fact there is no
saltwater fishing at all but when spring comes this cold world
changes it becomes a fantastic fishing ground and when the striped bass arrive
I have to go fishing for them After months of anticipation in waiting
for the stripers to return the spring run begins in April and that’s when
we’ll hit our back bays in shallow water fishing grounds where the temperature in
bait will attract early season striped bass At first we’ll find schoolies which are
smaller bass but they will be followed by bigger mature fish which first stop
along the spawning grounds from their northern migration we’ll use Clousers, Deceivers and Poppers
to entice a bite but mostly we’re just happy to be out fly-fishing for this
amazing fish again There you go my man Wow! Bass, ohohoh nice man, awesome! Over the past few years we have noticed
that the spring run is not what it used to be the quantity and quality of the fish
we land has been going down it’s getting harder to find larger fish and
there are fewer smaller deaths So I wonder if this is happening just to
us or something else going I wanted to get the opinion of someone
experienced someone that has lived through the decline recovery of the
stripe bass fishery and I couldn’t think of a better person other than captain
Paul Dixon Hi I’m captain Paul Dixon and I’ve been a
fishing guide out here in Montauk since the early 90s and sort of experienced it
all out here between the flats and the summer blue fishery all the way into the
blitzes the fall with the false out before the blue fish and the striped
bass so in the early days of the flats it was
sort of unique because in those days the limit on fish was 36 inches we would go
out and maybe between the boats you’d get 10 or 15 fish but the fish would
come in school after school you know of waves down the beach and and big
individuals you know like a set up to 40 inches you know was usually about the
largest fishing you could take on the flats very similar to the to the blitzes
they seem to be the same fish the fish that live back in the estuaries they
haven’t moved out to the deep water yet and those are the same fish that come
out of the estuaries and create the blitzes and the in the fall so but the
flats early on was it was biblical you know is it was unbelievable how it was
and how many fish you would see now you just have to work harder you have to
really where before I could literally go out of my marina and pull down the the
edges of beaches nearby now you’re gonna have to run and play the tides and
everything else so it’s a little different scenario you have to mix it up
and it’s a little harder than it used to be I’d say quite a bit harder but that
being said is still a hell of a fishery not so little Ray it’s a nice size fish alright, good job boss What you got on? Striper boy he wanted that bad, brutal
right here on the ledge, right here So we now have to work harder for fewer
fish on the flats but it’s still an amazing way to catch a fish
But this video wouldn’t be complete without talking about Montauk fishing the legendary fall blitz is at the point
bluefish false albacore and striped bass unfortunately in order to show the
amazing Montauk’s transaction in the fall we have to go back to the video
from many years ago and that’s because the bass blitzes acres of fish feeding
on top have yet to come back So I guess one of the big questions I
get all the time especially now is what do you think the state of the fishery is
if and unfortunately I believe that we’re in trouble once again the reason I
say that is when I first started it out here in Montauk coming here anyway in
the 80s there really was no striped bass and they’d sort of disappeared from
overfishing when I begin guiding in the early 90s out here the fish had made
this tremendous comeback one of the greatest success stories in conservation
history so in the early days early 93 94 95
there was just an abundance of fish everywhere especially on the flats where
we fly fish for him there was just horrendous amounts of fish and it was
sort of biblical times as an example in the early days if I went on the flats
I’d catch 10 fish an d 5 of those fish would be 36 to 41 inches nowadays if I
go out I’m lucky if I get one fish over 36 inches per season on the flats and a
lot of that had to do with it went from 36 inches to 28 inches for one fish two
fish the commercial take was increased drastically and then coupled with bad
spawning from 2001 on mother nature threw a little glitch and there’s just
been too much killing and so the state of the fishery now is I believe in
trouble you know unfortunately we’ve sort of done the same thing and repeated
our mistakes again and gone back and you know fished a little too hard and as the
regulations say that you can kill you know whatever but if you spend a lot of
time in the water for the past 25 years you know it’s it’s really amazing and
sort of heartbreaking to see how the fishery has slid gradually downhill so
hopefully there’s some good year classes in 2011 and 2015 this year in Montauk
there was a quite a few small fish but the blitz is once again didn’t even
start till late October so you know there’s hope there’s a big body of big
fish that were those fish that are 25 years old who were born back in 96 and
97 those are the forty pounders now that follow the bunker schools and and
everybody unfortunately pounds and takes home and you know it’s nothing like a
good you know fish barbeque but unfortunately it’s really taking its
toll when you’re killing all the breeders and the the breeding itself
isn’t that good I believe so I think that for the future you know I still
have great hopes and everything because I think as anglers that people can come
together and especially through education education of the young people
the new fishermen it makes a huge difference because it’s not necessary to
always take home of fish and people have to believe that the fish is more
important than cooking something because it’s a lot more fun to catch them than
to kill them so I think that the you know there’s some great year classes and
and as they get into the system you know you hope and pray that that everything
comes back you know and we don’t repeat the mistakes that we’ve made in the past
so I have high hopes my name is Jim Levinson I have been
guiding saltwater fly angles in Montauk since 1999 I wound up here after being
invited by my friend Paul Dixon who had been guiding here for almost the past
decade okay I was very lucky as a as a part-time professional outdoor
photographer to get into to fish on my in Montauk during the great during many
of the great blitz years where where it was not uncommon to actually see acres
of blitzing striped bass the striped bass fishery in Montauk for the fly
angler is driven by the tremendous amounts of banj atlantic band trophies
that show up anywhere starting anywhere from mid-august to early September and
lasting through early November and I was extremely fortunate to have been on the
water during that period to collect some remarkable images of striped basses
feeding during these feeding frenzies that unfortunately has not happened in
the last couple of years but again once again we’re hopeful that with proper
conservation methods that over the next few years with with some healthy ear
classes of striped bass coming back that we we do hope to see them in the future We just heard from two experienced
remarkable fishing guides and their thoughts in striped bass conservation
it’s time for all of us to do our part to help restore the striped bass fishery
and to ensure the long-term sustainability so that the next fishing
generation on Long Island can experience the way it used to be. Well hold you I mean, am I supposed to
introduce myself or And ah you got a couple of trips for me
this ah this spring I’m a little light on those trips on the flats (laughing ) Yeah we’ll take care of that!

16 thoughts on “SBLI – Fly Fishing and the State of Striped Bass Fishery Film 2019, New York

  1. Awesome video, I am a catch and release guy myself and live in NY! Thank you for this great video, many anglers should watch this vid.

  2. Nice video! What would it take to up the regulations back to around the 30’s? Won’t that help with the decline

  3. Thank you, nice film. What a contrast to our west coast fishery. I still have faith in Stripers and their ability to bounce back if we don't muck up the environment too much.

  4. Agree with reasons for decline of Striped Bass. The 1990's were amazing times for striped Bass fishing. Catch and Release only for Stripers. Connecticut's DEEP warns against eating Stripers because of the contamination.
    Exceptional photography. Thanks

  5. Awesome video. I Would like to invite you sight casting night time striped bass on the south shore in lighted areas. I see you're a north shore guy.
    We have a cinder worm hatch coming up real soon and the bass will be fired up. Right now grass shrimp are thick on the south shore but very few fish to be bad.

    Love the videos. Keepem comin & call me any time.
    727.253.9913 -Jesse

  6. I see 2 charters with all their clients keeping the slobs ( 2 trips per day each ) in Raritan Bay every year. I'm talking a lot of fish. That being said I could not believe when they opened the commercial Striped Bass fisheries again. To me it's mind boggling, Rant over,  Another thing to consider is the Menhaden. Not enough to go around & the Stripers are going elsewhere looking for bait, which means possible changing there migration routes. 1 of the best vids out there. Thank you.

  7. "Alot more fun to catch 'em than cook 'em" words to live by!!! Amazing video, thank you so much for composing and sharing.

  8. I’ve had the privilege of fishing those flats with Jim Levison many times and we had some banner days. It really is an incredible fishery with visibility that sets it apart in the northeast and can rival the Bahamas on some days. Also experienced some epic days in the fall at Montauk. Regs need to protect the Striped Bass (and others). I’m old enough to o remember the days when they were GONE. Can’t go back to that!

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