I’m going to give you my view of bass fishing after Sandy, but before I do I want to make something very clear. When I say something is, or might be, good or that things aren’t as bad as they seem, I’m talking about our narrow view of our sport.
What Sandy did to us is beyond tragic. No thought about fishing compares to the hurt and pain of my neighbors or the other residents up here. The loss of life and property will never be made right by whatever happens to our bass populations.
But, as far as the fishing is concerned, I don’t think the hurt was, or is, as bad as some people make it out to be. Remember, Sandy was a storm of historic proportions, but we’ve had bad storms before. Typically there’s an immediate negative effect. Depending upon how bad the damage was that’ll last for a short while or for several years. But — and this is important — it always comes back.
Years ago we had horrible damage to the Upper Chesapeake Bay. The storm surge was heavy, most of the grass was washed away and much of the silted bottoms were washed who knows where. After that, a good day’s sack of bass would weigh 10, maybe 12 pounds. But that was then. Fish a tournament on the Bay now and you’d better put 20 pounds in your livewell each day or you’ll go home empty-handed.
The Delaware River is another example. I grew up on her and consider her to be my home water. I’ve seen that river up to levels that are unimaginable, and I’ve seen her down to where you’d think she’ll never hold water again. Nevertheless, fish her a few months later and you can catch them all day long.
I suspect we’ll see the same thing this time, except maybe not so dramatic. From what I saw, much of the wind came out of the north. Believe it or not, that’s good news. The storm surge wasn’t nearly as bad as it could have been. (For our purposes a storm surge is when salt water from the ocean overflows into what would normally be fresh water. That’ll kill fish and vegetation.)
Mother Nature is a tough lady. Stuff like this has been going on forever. We’ll get through it and so will the bass. I’m not saying there isn’t serious damage. There is, especially to physical things like marinas, docks, bridges and dams. It’s a mess, and no one is happy about it. I’ve lived and fished up here all my life. When I look around I want to cry. I refuse to be all negative, though.
Remember Katrina? The Gulf came back. We fished a Classic there in 2011. We’ll come back, too. And when we do I wouldn’t be surprised if the bass fishing is better than before. It’s a matter of time and hard work by everyone — conservation agencies, natural resources people, ordinary citizens, politicians and sportsmen of all types and interests.
It’s not the fish I worry about. It’s the people.