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Another J-Bay Kayak Classic in the history books! As always a different story to go with the event. Weather good and bad. Broken gear and decent fishing!

As my previous post stated, the weather wasn’t predicted to be fish able Thurs night into early Saturday morning as a slow moving but very strong storm system was predicted to pass through the area. Thought about staying home Thursday night and leaving very early Friday morning to beat the traffic. I was unsure of what the weather would be like so the decision was made as soon as 5:30 came and work was done a day early for the week. Finished my packing and left the house a little after 8:00 PM to arrive at Floyd Bennett Field by 9:00. It was too windy for night fishing so a few brews and a little catch up and sleep for the morning.


Around 7am it was still very windy. We hung out for the morning and awaited the captains meeting at 11 AM. After the rules were explained it was decided the tournament is to be postponed until 5AM Saturday morning. The video shows the morning before the captains meeting.


A group of us went fishing anyway. It was quite windy at least 10-15 with 20-25 mph gusts. Mill Basin was the only place sheltered from the direction of the wind. It seemed like a good spot for fishing. The area was loaded with bunker. Using 1 oz a weighted treble hook snag the bunker. Then reel it in and hook it up on a live line setup.

A live line setup consists of a Heavy rod be it a jigging rod or just good 7 foot 4-8oz rod. I use a custom 7′ heavy rod with a Abu Garcia 7000 C3 reel spooled with 65lb Power Pro spectra Braid  Terminal tackle consists of a 9/0-10/0 Gamakatsu Octopus hook with 50-60 lb mono or fluoro carbon leader a barrel swivel. For weight you can use a nylon slide on the main line with 12-16″ leader extension for a bank sinker or use an inline egg sinker with a bead at the swivel side.

For snagging bunker for bait. I use a Medium Heavy spinning rod with a Quantum Boca 40PT series reel. Also a 60lb fluorocarbon leader is tied on uni to uni. You may use a wire leader after that before the weighted treble hook. Just in case a bluefish inhales the bait you just snagged. Added protection against blues biting through your fluoro leader.

Fishing for me was uneventful after fishing the area being blown around for 3 hours. A few of us made the decision to get off the water. What a great decision it was. Not even 20 mins later the wind was intensified to easily sustained at 30 mph. Back at camp/tournament headquarters portable toilets were being blown over. Tents and shelters were knocked down and tables and chairs from the event tent were thrown over.

The weather ended the day and eventually cleared up around 11:30 PM after down pouring for about 2 hours.


Up at 4:00 am and getting ready for 5 AM tournament start. Trucked the BIg Rig Down to the launch. After Broke my cart I then broke my pliers. Realized i did not have enough rod leashes with me so ended up making 2 more. On the water about 3/4 mile from the launch first hook up trolling a Spro BBZ1 Thought it was a Striper at first turned out to be a 32″ bluefish. Thats a nice fish. Measured him for the tournament and released him alive. Caught 4 more around the same size one  20 inches. No bass. Was looking for schools of bunker but did not see any. The amount of freshwater probably pushed the bait down.

Went back to the launch to get my net for fluke fishing. fluke fished for about 30 min wind against tide. Couldn’t even buy a hit.

After coming back to the launch a second time I noticed 2 police cutters and a helicopter. Looked like they were searching for something. Turned out they were just training. It was pretty cool watching them maneuver and pickup the divers.

After that i went back out for picking up winds against the tide. It got rough out there so i headed in.

A few hours later gave it another shot for Fluke this time paddling the Cuda 14. It was still rough out there and wind against the tide. Gave it about an hour and gave up with no Fluke being caught.



Sunday was a hard day to find fish. I was looking for fluke most of the day. Was able to hook up a few decent sized bluefish. Fluke were not easily found again. Off the water around 12 pm and loaded up just in time for the awards and lunch. Jackson Kayak donated a Big Rig for raffle which was really cool!  There were four other boats for the raffle too. The winners received a nice plaque with the chart of j-bay and the 4 targeted fish painted on it.

Above were the results of the tournament. Brian Pickard was in our group and won 3rd place Grand Slam! Grand slam is 3 largest combined fish consisting of a Striped Bass plus Fluke Bluefish or Weakfish.

If you have never fished Jamaica Bay its a great place to fish. It is very kayak friendly and holds many migratory fish. I look forward to seeing everyone there next year!!


Matthew Trucks

Jackson Kayak Fishing Pro Staff