When there's only 1 striper left, will you still fish?

I'm proving this month I would.

Last post I noted how bad it was.

It's only stayed the same.  I've caught 1 20"er in the last 14 outings stretching back to mid-October.  I had 1 other hit.  That's at least 50 hours of fishing.  Guess how many fisherman I've seen?


Here's some thoughts I have:

Saturday night last weekend I fished for 8 hours if you included the time moving from spot to spot.  I walked 7 miles that night.  The Thursday before that I almost died in a big ocean swell that swept me from my perch in the deep of the night, throwing me into the angry maw of the pounding surf.

All for nothing.

Went out last night again, 63 degrees, dark night, storm front moving through- how could I not?  Fished through the bottom of the tide- with everything from mag darter to 3.5oz pikie.  Felt fishy.  But no fish.

Are there fish around still?  Definitely, I don't believe even for a second that all the fish have gone.  Are there fish far north of me?  Sounds like it.  I even read on the interwebhighway that there was a MASSIVE fish caught just last week nearby.

However, I have no fishing network.  I basically just read whatever I happen upon on forums, and I don't go on much, and I don't believe 98% of it.  I no longer read the magazine reports, I don't believe them- I'll leave it at that.  I fish alone, so if there's a bite somewhere, I don't and won't know.  So I just have to go with my gut.  And so far, I admit, the Fall is an absolute mystery to me.

Also, it's super hard for me to fish during daylight.  As the weather gets colder, I do believe that your chances of catching more fish goes up for daylight.  And you get a better sense of the bait situation, because you can see it.  And peanut bites tend to be day time affairs.  I have a wife and a demanding job, and one keeps me locked away during the week, the other I want to actually see at some point during the week.  So, for me, the least-stressful best option to fish is in the darkness, when work is over and I've actually had a chance to at least have a conversation with Carly.

And honestly, I enjoy night fishing more.  And I'm starting to lose interest in catching schoolies, even in these desperate times.

So why still go?  Because I love it.  I love being outside.  I love drinking coffee at 10pm.  I enjoy driving my sleeper sports car and listening to Howard Stern.  I like seeing things like a bob cat, which ran in front of me late, LATE, one night last weekend.  I like the challenge of swimming to, and then standing on, that rock in the pounding waves.  I love organizing my plugs.  Or trying to time my cast just perfectly to land in the whitewater.  The fish are the bonus.  It's hard to be "ok" with that when it seems everybody on the internet is catching 40lbers and you're not catching anything, but I think I am.

And I have questioned for the last 5 or so years...when there's only a few stripers left, would you still fish for them?  Would you really?  Being in the worst dry spell I've ever been in, I can now answer that.

The answer is a definitive yes.  I will fish for 20lbers when there are no more 40lbers.  And if, and I hate to even think about it, there are no more 20lbers, I will fish for 10lbers.  But, if (when? UGH) that happens, I will also be so busy with lobbying for protection and reinstatement of conservation measures, I might not be fishing as much.

But why admit all this?  Doesn't this just show that I'm a googan?  That this blog is shit, and I know shit?

Here's why.

First, I want this blog to always be 100% honest.  It's for me first, and you second.  And I know, for a fact, that there are other sources of information on the internet that are fabricated or at least significantly stretched.  Maybe even places you are headed to after you read this.

Secondly, this is a life long journey, and it's important for me to document the struggle and the growth that I go through.  And, again, being only ~5 or so years in, I need to accept that there is so much still left to know, and I have so far to travel and so much to learn.

I want to document the battle, and not just the triumph.

I also want to throw out that I haven't seen the quantity of bait this year that I did last year.  If last year was an Alice in Chains rock concert, this year, it's more like their MTV unplugged concert.  The bait is there, it's just not a bonanza.

Oh, I finally replaced my camera too, so I'll have some more pictures soon.

If you've made it this far in this post, I'll throw out a little sneak peak of what's coming:  I'm headed to Montauk next weekend for 4 days and 3 nights.  It's my birthday.  That weekend will be a sufferfest, and my goal is to simply catch more than 6 fish.  6 fish, and I'll be happy, because my last (and only) trip to Montauk, I landed 5 fish to 28".  You can go back and look at that post.  And you'll also see, already, how much I've changed- in tactic, in gear, in success.

And then the first week of December, I'm making my first trip to NJ for the sand eel run.  Staying near IBSP, with friends, and intending to fish two early mornings.  That will be the last trip of the season for me, unless there is an extended late season bite in RI that I can execute on with my fly rod.

So, what?  Synopsis of this self therapy post.

1) It isn't over.  Although you wouldn't know that given the extreme lack of fisherman...and fish.
2) I won't quit, until it IS OVER.
3) Stay tuned, because there are some good trips coming up.