No, that’s not just a strange looking striped bass. A few weeks ago, two bull redfish were caught in Jamaica Bay on live bunker. Both were landed by kayak fishermen.
It is extremely, extremely rare for a redfish to be found this far north. To add to that, look at the size of that thing! However, there have been other incidences of redfish in the Northeast. Especially in recent years, the number of caught redfish in the Northeast has increased. In 2011, a 48 pound redfish was caught on bunker in Rhode Island. A 35 pound redfish was caught off Chatham, Massachusetts in 2012, and multiple fish were taken in a surf casting tournament in Cape May, New Jersey in 2013. Some blame climate change and warming waters, while others cite better angling methods and technology.
Historically, the presence of redfish in Northeast waters is not entirely unheard of. In fact, there are numerous documented reports from the early 20th century of big redfish being caught around New York and New Jersey.
“Red drum would occasionally venture as far north as the south side of Long Island, but even then it was rare enough to make the pages of the New York Times. On August 7, 1910, the Times reported a blitz of channel bass [redfish] on Long Beach that started on a Sunday afternoon when a 20-pounder was landed. By the end of the day, a number of channel bass in the 30-, 40-, and 50-pound class, and one 60-pounder, were landed.” (On the Water Magazine)
***Amberjack is still investigating this story. We reached out the man who originally posted this picture for more details, but have not yet heard back.
Featured image by Pennman on Kayak Fishing Association of New York.