Karen Ann Charters
Karen Ann Charters
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Tales from the Wheelhouse
By Captain Vinnie Calabro

Water temperatures are still hovering around 40 degrees, so locally there's not a helluva lot going on. A few adventurous friends fished up in the Hudson this past week, the outcome a few small fish soaking worms. This hopefully can turn around with a few southerly winds and sunshine.

Traditionally Raritan Bay gets a jump start on the bass and flounder action, but honestly as of this writing, nothing noteworthy came to me, so I think I'll focus on past springs in the bay. Toward the back of the bay around the Five- Town area, flounders generally show first. Coincidently, bass also tend to haunt this area too. And why is that? Well, it makes sense for a variety of reasons.

Much of that has changed post-Sandy, and in lieu of that fact, some of the landscape; marshes and islands throughout the bay are declining. Still it remains a nursery of sorts for early migrants.First, if one looks at the bottom, it is muddy, somewhat stagnant water that tends to warm up early. When the LILCO - now there's a name you haven't heard in a while - power plant was in operation it fueled the warm water with its hot water discharge. So those factors, plus an abundance of food along the banks, mussels, clams, and herring lingering on attracted those looking for any easy meal.

The back makes for some good fishing and if you're fishing from shore, prospecting the banks with waders and light tackle is the trick to cover ground. Bucktails one-quarter to one-half ounce usually are a good thing to pitch. Slow retrieves with a gentle bounce often work, so pay attention, most hits occur as the bucktail falls back.

I favor the sod banks across from Inwood Park, accessible from the side streets Mott and Dunbar. Another early spot - although not what it was in years gone by - is Doxies Pond. The pond runs behind Woodmere Park and is accessible on the east side by car and the west side by acrobatics; meaning you're climbing over or through a fence. Interesting, this spot harbors a lot of herring and on the night flood tides, ninja-esque anglers can be seen moseying around the marsh. I have some fond memories - recent ones at that - of both spots so give them a shot.

Until the next tide...