Bass Fishing, Bass Lures, Bass Boats, Russ Bassdozer

Shop @ Bassdozer Store | Lures, Rods, Reels | Boats, Motors, Electronics | Expert Articles | Reports | States | News | Forums | Tournaments | Clubs | Federations | Guides | Links | Books | Magazines | Surf Fishing | About Us  | Terms of Use

Thoughts on Weakfish

By Russ Bassdozer

What can I tell you about weakfish?'s 1999 and they seem to be back in semi-moderate numbers, including small specimens from several year classes under 5 pounds. So, they should be around at least a couple more years.

There are a number of species of fish in their family, which includes varieties of croakers and drum. Our fish, the weakie, ranges from Florida to Maine, but clearly most common off Delaware, Maryland, Virginia and North Carolina during winter months, and Cape May to Cape Cod during summer months. One of their closest relatives is the "speckled sea trout" from Florida and Gulf States, which actually appears to be less speckled and less colorful than the northern weakie. Another close Pacific relative is the corvina that's commonly caught in the Baja surf.

Why are the weaks not always as prolific as they are now? Are these ups and downs in fish populations dance with the same variables such as the environment, over harvesting, etc? Personally, NO, I do not believe the erratic swings in weakfish cycles are due to man's effect on the environment or overharvesting. Of course, the effect of modern man on every species on this planet is profound, but the weakfish was going through erratic "boom and bust" cycles before we had the fishing vessel technology and know-how to decimate them as badly as we can today. In fact, the mid-1930's are referred to as the "last great hurrah" for weakfish, when they were extraordinarily plentiful, but disappeared shortly thereafter, even thought to be extinct by some fisheries biologists.

Weakfish cyclicality is an inherently natural phenomena. At least that's my unprofessional opinion. To me, weakfish are a species that Mother Nature holds in reserve and then uses to periodically control and stabilize the overall ecosystem. When the population of the "great grey hordes" suddenly swells and rampages up the coastline, it stresses certain aspects of the ecosystem and may have a temporarily debilitating effect. Net effect over time though is to stabilize the entire ecosystem. Now mind you, these are only my opinions, but the overall species inability to stabilize its own self is just too fickle. The "up" cycle is just too short and too overstocked relative to the "down" cycle, which can last for decades and is dramatically understocked. This indicates to me that the weaks are designed to make a brief appearance and to play a cathartic role in the grand scheme of things.

As already mentioned, they began to disappear by the late '30s, vanished and did not come around again for the longest time. The most common theory was that pesticides and coastal development lead to the mass, coastal-wide destruction of eelgrass beds, which lead to the loss of grass shrimp, which was often touted as the cause of the weakie's demise. However, a freakish locust-like swarm of weaks during the few years before and after 1980 obviously has indicated that loss of shrimp and eelgrass wasn't the reason for this species decline. There were so many weaks during this peak that I spent many nights catching them in the surf from dusk to dawn on every cast!

I just think they are a biological "safety valve" that nature basically uses every so often to "re-plow" the ocean fields, thereby unlocking nutrients and allowing certain aspects of the environment to refresh themselves. Kind of like a forest fire, flood or drought can immediately appear to very destructive, but it also sets the environmental back to a level playing field whereby dominant, long term species can replenish themselves in a newer, richer environment. With striper populations currently overbalanced in epidemic proportions, it may not be a bad thing for weakies to put the brakes on the striper thing a bit. Just how I think of weakies, and may not necessarily be correct if you talk to a biologist. :)

Anyway, can I give you some fishing tips? These fish are more commonly caught from boat than from shore. Some of the best spots for them are deep holes and channels, especially those that were dredged in mid-bay. They love the outer fringes of inlets and river mouths, both inside and especially outside on the open ocean grounds. They are a highly-schooling fish with a tendency to stay very deep in very large schools by day. At night, they will come into shore-accessible spots to hunt. However, these are only very broad generalities. Bottom line, they can be caught using any methods, in any spot and with any lures or bait that you would otherwise use to catch bass or blues.

Years ago, it was common to hear people say that weaks preferred yellow lures. Well, I think they do hit yellow lures better in general than bass or blues hit yellow lures - but I like my whites better than yellows for all three species.

They are feisty gamefish. In my opinion, they are a very aggressive species - and I have seen large schools displaying incredible energy while ferociously tearing up bait on top. In fact, some of the weakfish blitzes that I have seen make the typical blue and bass blitzes look tame in comparison.

Enjoy the goldies while you can. They're a wonderful species that you can only get to see every so often.

[ Bass Fishing | Surf Fishing | Surf LuresSurf Articles | Surf Forums | Surf Links | Surf Cams | Surf Books | About Us | Email Us | Disclaimer / Terms of Use ]
Shop at Bassdozer's Store
Bassdozer Store
Men's Clothing at
Bass Pro Shops

May I ask you for a favor please? Please start here first whenever you shop online. Click on any store logo above or book below. Bassdozer gets a small sales commission if you begin shopping at these stores from here. You always get the same low price you would pay anyway. Thank you kindly for shopping at Bassdozer.

Kevin Vandam's Bass Strategies
Kevin Vandam

Secrets of a Champion
Kevin VanDam

Fishing on the Edge
Mike Iaconelli

Big Bass Zone
Bill Siemantel

Denny Brauer's Jig Fishing Secrets

Denny Brauer

Denny Brauer's Winning Tournament Tactics

Denny Bauer

Monte Burke

Thank you for visiting. Please enjoy!
Bass fishing lures, bass boats
Worldwide Bass Fishing, Bass Lures, Bass Boats