Duck Hunting Weather

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I threw about 30 casts at the beach this (Tuesday) morning. A couple flipping herring found on the sand at Georgica Beach on Monday evening got the blood flowing again with hopes that they had been chased from the surf by striped bass. Alas, the 39 degree water gave up no stripers in the snow. Others will be keeping it honest while I’m at my desk so if there’s a miracle to be had, hopefully one of them will stumble upon it.

Otherwise it’s been better weather for waterfowling than fishing the past week. Stormy weather has had the ducks and geese trading well. A few new birds seem to have arrived in town in the wake of a couple big storms and cold fronts. This week’s storm is an “Alberta Clipper” coming in from the Northwest, which traditionally brings cold weather and more birds on its heels.

If for some reason you haven’t gotten your small game license yet you’re going to have to wait a couple weeks. The state is implementing a new computer system and the whole thing is going to be offline for a couple weeks. Same with harvest reporting. They say it should be back up and running by the new year though.

There’s two weeks of bowhunting for deer left. If you’re a hunter in eastern Southampton or East Hampton you better get out there and get your last licks before the USDA ninjas show up and kill ’em all this winter. There’s going to be an army of hunters in Northwest Woods next year with no deer left in Sagaponack and East Hampton.

Stock assessments for striped bass released last week say that the stock is at about 60 percent of its peak a few years ago. I guess that’s believable, though there’s plenty of people who don’t trust those numbers (possibly with good reason). It’s hard to base a challenge of scientific surveys on what one has witnessed from one vantage point in a single year or even three or four years. They’re fish, they have tails, sometimes they swim right by you and you never know it. With all the changing bait patterns the last few years—mountains of sandeels, no shiners in the bays, deep-water runs of bunker—it’s hard to say whether the fish have actually thinned out in our waters the last four years, as it seems, or if they’ve just gone elsewhere for a bit.

If you’re looking for Christmas gifts for your fisherman, don’t forget that East End Bait & Tackle in Hampton Bays is having its annual sale. Big discounts are out there on a lot of surf and offshore tackle. Get your fisherman a white darter and give it to him now, so he can go try it out and see if there’s still a bass lurking about.

Catch ’em up. See you out there.

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