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Took Johnny aboard my "Bertha" for a day of striper clamming. 1st ran out to Roamer Shoal where conditions were rough for anchoring due to hard NE winds and a strong offshore swell. Decided to take Plan B which was to head into the Reach where we would have some more shelter from the wind.

Shortly after arriving near Great Kills, we marked tons of bait and fish on the fishfinder, so we set up on them well away from the bulk of the fleet that looked to be concentrated on the Staten Island side from Keyport to Keansburg.

Within 5 minutes of setting the hook, Johnny decked a 34 incher that weighed ~18 pounds. From there on, we had a steady bite that yielded 2 small bass from 26-28 inches for Johnny along with another 4 big bass from 30-38 inches. I missed a bunch of strikes early and lost a couple of hooked fish, but eventually, I managed to land two big bass from 32-38 inches.

The fish were difficult to hook, because most of them were picking up the bait and running straight toward the boat. You really had to crank quick to pick up the slack and drive the hook home before they ripped the clam right off the hook.

At high tide, we picked up the anchor, and I tried trolling a pair of stretch plugs while looking around the area. The plugs yielded another pair of big bass and another pair of big ones that dropped off before they could be landed.

Other than a couple of skates that I landed and a couple of chew-offs from blues, it was mostly a slow pick on fat, helathy and bright bass. All of the bass were loaded with sea lice, and they were free of any blemishes, blotches, sores or lesions.

Kept 3 from 28 - 34 inches and released the other 7.

A beautiful day on the water, but the fan definitely blew for most of the day. Water temps ranged from 55 to 60 degrees.

Can't wait to get back out again this week.

- Gr8ful

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