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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

5/12/2014 Weekend had some hot angling action. South winds might muck things up a bit.

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Viking Outfitters reports, “We got fish like there’s no tomorrow.” They’re talking about blues galore in the surf, along with those seasonal smaller stripers. Those are being caught on bait and even plugs. Yahoo to the later.  Weakfish are also factoring in the bayside action. If you want to go game in the bay think jigs and pink plastic. Viking Outfitters is carrying the NJ-made S&S jigs.

North end “old standby” site: If you’re lacking in boat-age, head out to state-owned Dike at High Bar Harbor. This time of year you should try to take in The Dike’s west side. To go west, follow the just-discernable northbound path right after you walk past the gate onto The Dike. It turns west and ends up at a drop-off onto the narrow beachline. Wade out a ways and plug the flats and holes thereabouts. There is also very fine Dike angling by going east past the gate -- following the well-marked sand walkway heading toward the Lighthouse looming in the distance. On the east side, plugging and jigging gets better the further north you travel along the beach.

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“Guys are just killing striped bass,” per the Surf City Bait and Tackle. Brant Beach seems to be epicenter. The fun part is the small bass are going for yellow poppers with teasers. One fellow lost count after 20 bass, all on poppers. Surface stripering rocks! That surface action jibes with reports of large schools of unidentified small baitfish in the water. When folks tire of bassing, they’re taking blowfish on bait. While it’s easy to grab a slew, it’s conservationally safer to grab enough for a meal, then release any others to do their bayside spawn thing. Any kept puffers will show brilliant roe pockets. I have no idea if it is safe to eat that portion of the fish. I think I’ll contact garbagefish.com.

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Captain’s Quarters is also hearing of very fine fishing in the shop’s nape of the woods. The bluefish have been running large with some pushing 10 pounds. Blues are going for bunker but I’m sure they’ll gladly take the likes of Avas or Hopkins graced with surgical tubes or bucktail, respectively. Teasers aren’t the best bet with ravenous blues. Fresh bunker is in-shop. There have also been drumfish off the beach and in the bay. Drumfish are suckers for clams. The bigger the gob, the better. Circle hooks shine when black drum fishing. It’s just the chewy way drum first grind up the bait, driving the hook in. By the by, while I’m not big on keeping large drumfish, if you do, bury the head and allow it to decompose. After it down to bone, there are very cool looking, toothy mouth parts to be displayed.

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Fisherman’s HDQ is also singing the high praises of surf fishing. Noting bunker balls right along the beachline (and, I’m guessing, some similar looking bait balls of spring herring), the shop is seeing loads of blues and small bass forcing anglers to return to the shop for more bait. It should be mentioned that a goodly showing of skates and dogfish (some spinys) are also making rod-tips move. Hey, spiny dogs are damn decent eating, especially when taken in cold water. Bayside Ship Bottom is still divvying out weakfish, though not in big numbers.

By the by, there is excellent beneath-bridge fishing for bass – daytime. Yep, during high sun just toss out some clams and watch the bass, some sizeable, that salute. Which bridges exactly? I don’t want to burn any bridges – so to speak – but you surely guess the spots allowing access and castability.

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Jingle’s Bait and Tackle reports a variety pack of blues, bass, blowfish and skates in the surf. Late-day seems to be best for blues in the suds, as does bait chunks. Blues have been at large as 11 pounds on the south end. The blowfish have been fairly plentiful and have also been running large to total jumbos. I’ve heard this from many beach venues. The drumfish are cruising through the south bay areas. Drum to 28 pounds have been weighed in. Much larger models are sure to come.

Speaking of the south end, it’s time for one of my favorite fisheries: small blues cruising bayside shallows of Little Egg Harbor. Primarily a late-day hooking affair, the blues go gonzo atop the eelgrass beds and mudflats. Throw smaller poppers or shallow swimmers onto the shallows and watch the slash and splash action commence. Very subtle birdplay – even a couple terns slowly picking – can mark the school of piranha-esque blues.

I’m getting word of large bunker schools to both our north and south. I’d like to think that means we’ll surely see some bunker but LBI can be a real bugger to predict. Ya think?

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The leaders in Simply Bassin’ 2014 are 1) Steve Woldschmidt, 19/5, for a bass taken in Brant Beach on bunker; 2) George Konowal, 19/1, bass taken on bunker.

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