Author Archives: zhromin

LIBBA’s Operation Christmas Tree

Story and pictures by Bill Jakob


Shifting like the sand of time, beach access comes and goes.  Years ago the blame fell on four wheel drive vehicles causing the destruction of beachfront, wearing away the protective barrier beaches. With each new year it seems we battle a new challenge opposing the use of beach access for motor vehicles.  The most prolific challenge today belongs to a bird only the size of a golf ball with wings, nesting in nature’s  stealthiest attire. Matching the colors of Long Island’s beaches they nest on open sand, utilizing total stillness and a near invisibility hoping not to become a foxes next meal or a bump under your tire.
Long Island Beach Buggy Association  (LIBBA) was established in 1958 with Harry Kinsey at the helm.  LIBBA has been at the forefront of preserving beach access and a stanch steak holder in beach conservation. Years back Christmas trees destined for the landfill, having  once graced the homes at Christmastime and later discarded, became instrumental in the formation of new dune
structure all along Long Island’s southern barrier beaches for decades. The LIBBA program was curtailed in the early eighties due to environmental concerns
surrounding fire retardant sprays, tinsel and other decorations not removed after being discarded and ultimately destined for creating dunes. A new program recently introduced to the barrier beaches by the United States Fish and Wildlife to bolster  the piping plover stock by deforestation of vegetation, has come under local scrutiny. The gist of the program
is to establish a preferred habitat in areas not utilized by beach vehicles and beach goers on foot.
The problem however is the loss of vegetation along dunes and protective beaches in non-plover  nesting areas. Operation Christmas Tree has been reborn,
with the donation of unsold Christmas trees from Home Depot and Lowe’s stores. With assistance from the Long Island Beach Buggy Association and the  Suffolk County Parks Department, thousands of unsold Christmas trees were delivered to Smith Point outer beach entrance and with LIBBA members and their trucks hauling the trees to wash over or areas of risk of wash over. The unsold Christmas trees were stacked along a snow fence line
which will catch blown sand from winters cold winds building a barrier dune and the eventually grasses and trees key to the stabilization of barrier island beaches, providing areas of access for fishermen and beach goers, while at the same time providing a safe suitable habitat for piping plovers. Operation Christmas Tree is a win-
win program for everyone while at the same time saving millions of dollars of taxpayers money through a natural means of restoring barrier beach areas.

If you access Long Island beaches by vehicle or by foot, the Long Island Beach Buggy Association would love to have you join thousands of members already involved in the preservation of beaches and vehicles use on them.

LIBBA Is one of Long Islands oldest beach conservation and access groups and is in need of your help. Stop by the Long Island Beach Buggy Association booth during the Striper Day Show
and  join your fellow beach users in the preservation of beach vehicle access.

MEGA Holiday giveaway, courtesy of West End Fishing Tackle

We are going to call this a MEGA Holiday giveaway. Its one of the largest giveaways we have ever featured on this blog.

This giveaway is made possible by the generosity of Charlie Graves Fishing Lures, manufactured by West End Fishing Tackle, the exclusive manufacture of Charlie Graves Fishing Lures.

You can (and should) visit their website at

I’ve known the man behind the product, Mr. Ralph Votta for many years, and can tell you that he is not only a generous fellow, but a hell of a fisherman too!  If you want to increase your hook up using metal (and with current sand eel run how could you not) you should come listen to his seminar at Striper Day at Ward Mellvile HS on 1/20/2019. More on that later….right now, all you need is an email and a dream. Enter your email in the official giveaway entry form on the bottom of the page and on December 10th we will draw not one, not two, but three lucky winners. Each winner will receive one of the 4 lure packages bellow. Winner will be drawn randomly by the app and notified via email automatically

Good luck, Happy Holidays and thanks again to West End Fishing Tackle, the exclusive manufacture of Charlie Graves Fishing Lures

  • J-7   1 1/2 oz
  • J-3   1 1/4 oz
  • Butterfish 3 oz
  • D-5   1 3/4 oz

  • SAND EEL 1 3/4 oz
  • J-8    2 1/4 oz
  • Butterfish 1 1/2 oz
  • J-7    1 1/2 oz

  • J-8    1 3/4 oz
  • Butterfish 1 1/2 oz
  • J-7    1 1/2 oz
  • Peanut Bunker  1 1/2oz

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Happy Thanksgiving

Its Thanksgiving morning and all through the house, not a creature was stirring  ….wait, I think I got a wrong holiday.

Seriously, its brutally cold outside. I had an idea of doing a run this morning but I changed my mind and went to gym instead (passing along some bravest souls running around the park). While at gym, I did get some pictures of fish being caught on south shore on LI. Which did not surprise  me but the fact than anyone braved this cold to get to the beach did. Since i got my frostbite many years ago on a construction site, I don’t  even contemplate of heading out on days like this, even if 50’s were rolling at my feet. The pain is just too intense

But there are fish still  to be had. In fact, parts of LI had a very good daytime bite last few days with some quality fish mixed in with usual rats. NJ has a shit load of sandeels and I would expect to get lit at any point in the next week or so.

Yes, its been a very challenging season for many anglers. And if you hate the sand eel bite, then you were downright miserable this fall. But there were still fish to be had, although it was relegated to very few locations. No different than a spring/summer run where the Canal now is becoming the only game in town. I’ve took most of the year off to concentrate on preparing for NYC Marathon and although I wasn’t in the water much, I did keep a finger on a pulse. Its the first time in 30 years that I’ve stepped back a bit and what i found out was that i did not miss the fishing part as much as i did the people I fish with.

Which brings me to what today is. A day to be thankful for all the good things that we have in our lives. From reels like VS or plugs like Super Strike to great rods and so on an on. But mostly I am  grateful for friendship of people that I’ve meet through  participation in this sport. I can honestly say that they , and all of you reading this, have enriched my life in a lot of ways that I never expected. And I am sure you have a fishing circle of people around you that you are thankful for.

So this Thanksgiving, I give thanks to all of you and I hope you all have a wonderful day with your families

Catch em up


Big Water, Super Strike and Guppy Lures Giveaway

Let’s have a nice giveaway to end a week.

Gary Soldati, maker of Big Water Lures sent us this Slim Surface swimmer with Surfster lip in colors which he calls  “Rasta”. That will be our first prize

The second place winner will receive Black over Green Super Strike Bottle Plug from Steve Musso

The third place winner will receive this Guppy Mini Flat Mackerel Pencil Popper from Hess brothers

Just a SJ store note. We have added this “Lanyard of Lloyd” home made lanyards to the store at with Black hats coming this week and  custom lights and holiday packages for the holidays later in the month



a Rafflecopter giveaway


Sand eel bite changes rules of the game

Since the cold snap last Friday fishing has dramatically improved in SOME areas. Where there was just bait and desolate sand last week, beaches come alive as soon as the darkness falls. Does the time matter ? It usually does, but in my experience over the years, not so much in this particular type of bite.

(btw I am going to be totally upfront stating that this is happening on very few beaches that I know , most are still not producing. Do not want to make anyone think they are missing out on hot local action)

Why would I make such a preposterous statement when it goes against everyone we have been taught about structure, currents and particularly outgoing tide. The tide that is flushing out baitfish out of the inlets in fall , or moving them along the beach?

A lot of your juvenile or the young of the year bait will spend considerable time inside the inlets in confines of protected Bay areas. Naturally in the fall, they will flush out of the inlets on the outgoing tide and usually ride into the mouths of game fish that set up the station on the outside of these inlets.  This is a natural occurrence that has been happening over and over and over for probably thousands of years. And it still holds true but the presence of sandeels as a primary bait kind of the disrupts this “fall dance”

There is no great mystery unearthed here, it has everything to do with migration patterns, and very little to do with my intelligence.

Unlike 99% of the bait fish which moves along our shores , east to west until they reach NJ and then head south along its shores, sand eels move in from deep water into shallow beach front where you can find them buried into sand. So they are not flushed out of inlets on outgoing tide and they are not moving along the beaches in big school like bunker or hearing

What does this mean for us?

I’ve written about this before and the only reason I am repeating this is because I see friends that are hitting places close to home which “should” be productive but they are not. They wait for fish to move into their area, but they never do. Next thing you know it’s November and fish have moved past their home grounds, and they missed out on their chance, something that they been waiting to participate with anticipation all year.

So this is simple advice but during times when fishing is really  though (who are we kidding it sucks) and striped bass stocks are in trouble, you might have to break few of your personal rules and go where the fish are. Because chances of them coming to your beach are slim if sand eels are the primarily bait. Remember that sand eel migrate from deep water into shallow, one of the primary reasons why boats can often do as well as surf anglers, especially when employing jigs. Which reminds me of a bloodbath we saw few years ago courtesy of  South shore LI party boat fleet. It would be a shame if this happens again.

But anyway, that’s the message, go where you know the fish have been ( no, not where you read on fb or hearsay, knowing is not the same as thinking you know)

There are a lot of other baitfish mixed in with sand eels, as you can see in this picture Tommy sent me, peanut bunker, sand eel and while bait, all pushed out on the beach by bass…but you got to be in the right spot


I am going to go out of my usual comfort zone and literally beg you to read this article by Charles Witek and after you are done, to please click on the link in the article on bottom and submit your comments electronically

It only takes two minutes out of your day (i will also make link available below)


Link to send comments

A sad, sad day

What if you threw a party and no one showed up? I am sure that’s how it felt this weekend at Montauk Point NY to many. For those that they will be saying, I know I was there , whats the point, a lot of our readers were not there. Some have never been to Montauk. Some see it as a bucket list destination, and some swore it would be the last thing on this world they would do.

So what did happen ?

Let me back up a little.

Columbus day weekend…

If i could pick ONE weekend a year in January where i would be 99.9% sure fishing is going to be at least decent in Montauk through the course of the entire year I would pick Colobus Day weekend.

Not for the size or for the numbers , just because its always been productive for me. Yeah, I’ve gotten skunk here or there but others found plenty of fish somewhere else.

Gathering of Anglers is an event that grew out of Korkers Cup. Basically all NY Surf Clubs are invited to compete for the weekend at Montauk Point . 48 hours of surf fishing and three largest striped bass from each club are tabulated and the club with largest combined weight is the winner. The minimum is 10 pounds and ALL fish must be released. It usually takes place on Columbus Day weekend

Now , not every member of every club can or wants to participate but fairly good number of them do including most of my clubs roster. Its a weekend to share camaraderie and catch few tides in the so called “Mecca of Surf Fishing”. Lots of grilling during the day, and lots or rock hopping at night. Some years fishing was so stupendous at daytime most just did not bother of even trying fishing at night, their arms were too sore.These are not your average weekend warriors, these are guys that joined surf fishing clubs to expand their knowledge, to be amongst people that share same passion. These are what I call “lifers”

Some clubs (especially mine) have downright challenging probationary period in order to evaluate a new member. My point is, regardless of what some social media clowns might say, these are good fisherman. They been doing this for a long time and know their shit.

So which club won, what was the biggest fish and biggest combined score.

No one won

There was not a SINGLE fish caught or entered into contest.

I’ll repeat that one more time

Not a Single Eligible Striped Bass was caught during the entire weekend by any of participating clubs.

I’ll let than sink in…and when someone tell you how great the striped bass fishery is and we are just bunch of crybabies you can tell him to go youknowwhere.

This my friends is sad day in annals of surf fishing


and oh, in case you wonder what Columbus day use to look like …this is one of the picss


Fall 2018 Striperthon winner

I have to admit that I am a little surprised at lack of entries for the  Fall Striperthon. I have not been actively fishing this fall as I am preparing for NYC Marathon and I found out early on I cant do both. (If someone is curious  about why and what am I doing here is the link , warning its not fishing related )

Having said that, my friends are having hard time getting few even “keeper” sized fish regardless if they are in MA or NJ. To some of you who are younger, I would offer the advice to fight for what you believe in when it comes to striped bass conservation. A lot has changed in the society since we fought for striped bass on the verge of collapse many years ago. What it hasn’t changed is the attitude of commercial and for hire sectors who still think that ocean is a bottomless pit God put on this Earth so they can pay their bills and vacation in FL in the winter. Yeah, they are some very good eggs in that business, but most are rotten to the core, and would kill a last fish in the ocean to make a buck that day.

But this post is not about that, although I felt I had to mention it. This is about congratulating the winner  Jared Clairmont  on winning Fall STRIPERTHON 2018 with 43″/29lb striped bass

Congrats got some stuff coming your way

Thanks to all the sponsors for making it possible Guppy, Super Strike and TrailHead deflators