Missing pea bunker and everything else [Archive] - Fly Fishing Forum

: Missing pea bunker and everything else

09-15-2008, 08:38 PM
Moved this post from the kayak tread....maybe other observations/thoughts will follow:
re pea bunker.....went to Morris Island/Hardings twice in the last 10 days....saw some very small pods of bunker on occassion, but they were in the 4 to 6 inch category. As to where the 10s of thousands of micro bunker are is a mystery.
Saturday Garry and I fished Morris on the incoming and Hardings on the outgoing....we created a significant amount of froth casting for 6 hrs and had one fish to show for it. Saw 4 other FF's and a 1/2 dozen spin/bait chunkers....nada!!! Dead, dead, dead....we came to the conclusion that the lone fish caught suffered from mad cow desease and was cut from the herd. That may have been the only fish within 4 miles on Sunday from our observations.

Personnaly it makes me wonder aloud as to why there have been no news articles or marine biologist reports concerning this season. It has been unusual to say the least:
The below based admittedly on very few fishing trips, thus only my observations:
- squid in spring never came near the shore and or estuaries as usual
- no massive migration near shore all yr...where were the thousands of micros/scouts/schoolies?
- although I haven't gone often...I never saw a silverside this yr
- blue fish never mounted thier 1/2 mile long train of bumber to bumber migrating fish
- now the pea bunker are missing and what there is, are 4 to 6 inches long
- also heard that clams are not on the flats in the Chatham area
- shore fishing off from Conn to Maine
- reportedly commercial fishermen have yet to hit their quota????????

09-15-2008, 11:00 PM
My samples are too sparse to make an educated guess this year, but I also saw no migratory activity on shore or bunker when I would have normally expected to see some.

That being said some areas were very good for me this year in proportion to the times I went out (which was not very often).

I have heard that offshore populations were way up this year (bait and large stripers) where no sport or commercials are allowed to take stripers.

I am not qualified to make a guess since I did not gather enough sample data this year.

09-16-2008, 01:00 AM
The entire month of August was incredible this year........out on the reefs. If not for the butterfish that situation would have been iffy. I saw loads of peanut bunker towards the end of August last year. This year is different to say the least. Hannah didn't help.


09-16-2008, 05:44 AM
Observations from where I've fished exclusively this year:
No small fish
Fish I've caught have been extremely robust
Lots of bait going unmolested
Stagnant weather pattern (south or no wind for a month)
Comm guy I talked to said he was catching 30 inch fish 'til his arms were about to fall off at Race pt. but there were incredeble schools of big fish in no take federal waters

Conclusions: None, but the lack of small fish has me thinking it's a dead "canary in the mine" scenario. The decline on the monomoy flats was predictable, the bayside flats is another story. Even in the dog days you could count on dawn or dusk schoolies, not so this year.

09-16-2008, 03:03 PM
Commercial season has closed and they harvested 60 per cent of the quota. Hmmm...

09-17-2008, 06:09 PM
Commercial season has closed and they harvested 60 per cent of the quota. Hmmm...

they didn't have access to the Federal waters as Fred pointed out Jim ;)

I have seen many comments on this year, one was from a charter skipper who said the BIG bait just never came in, and there was a lot of it east of Chatham where the fishing was "awesome".

the same source said that the fish stayed wide and didn't enter nantucket or vineyard sound this, year and his bet was that they wouldn't return that way either...

personally, i last fished Chatham in June but had my first blank since May on Sunday way up inside a local harbour - i should have known better, as I spent a couple of hours saturday driving around the south shore beaches where fish were blitzing all day out of range, so i should have realised the fish are on the move :o

the South Shore and CCB have been superb for me this year - and as Fred said they were nearly all 20" or over, in ones and twos, fat and robust, after the initial mid-june push when the schoolie and shad fishing was just silly for two weeks.

I have put a lot of effort in though - many 3am starts, and I've fished most rainy & windy days this summer ( around the T-storms).


09-17-2008, 07:02 PM
Mark...glad that you had some success!!! Why the bait went out east is a mystery to me...makes me wonder if ocean currents changed for some reason or whether this yr is just an off yr. if the bait went east, then it would make sense that they fish followed.
About a month ago i spoke with a NH boat fisherman who said he had his best yr ever for numbers of fish 30 inches plus ("hardley no schoolies)....he was going out 2 miles off shore and hammering them. Said that gathering bait was not only easy, but often in 15 minutes was able to gather 5 different types of bait for his day of fishing...said that he never experienced that before.
Now I need to get waders that alllow me to walk out 2 miles :hihi:
I must admit that the few fish i have caught this yr have all been good fish...but i needed 100 casts per fish to get them...scarce but good fish.
Just hoping that this is an off yr but given reported large fish caught off shore it makes me wonder if there was a kill off of twinkies and schoolies. i had read a report about 2 yrs ago of some sort of bacterial contamination /kill-off in the Carolinas...wish i ikept the article....maybe we lost a couple of generations???

Rip Ryder
09-17-2008, 07:36 PM
My out of the box guess is the over abundance of dogfish just off the outer beaches. After fishing eastside of South Beach and Monomoy the last couple of falls, the amount of dogfish just offshore was incredible. So many that you could see the huge schools on the fishfinder moving on the bottom. Stripers and blues would be caught after moving yards or miles either direction up the beach, and as soon as the bottom on the FF was a clean line. I'm thinking these always hungry buggers are keeping fish from coming inshore as it is a loosing battle to compete with them for food. Our local Commercial fishing fleet is asking to have the quota on Dogfish increased two fold to lower the numbers and help get the ground fish back in the area. They believe the dogfish are doing a number on ground fish frie.

Just an edumacated guess.

09-17-2008, 08:49 PM
Reports were late. The commercial season was at or above 98% according to my sources. Just took a lot longer to catch the fish, but there were fewer commercials out there this year becasue of fuel costs. Any, results are deceiving unless they are in pounds per angler hour and we are not likely to see that statistic.