Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday April 27, 08 -- Weather muscles in

(Don't you hate when this happens? Check the guy in the far right corner of the boat!) ) Sunday, April 27, 2008: The weather remains testy – not to mention less-than-toasty. It was just plain chilled out there today. The winds also have the ocean, bay and inlets churned into unfriendliness. There were a number of surfcasters finding blues and an occasional bluefish. Weakfish are spreading slowly though the system – as they’re inclined to do. Sparklers are one of the slower dispersers (spreading into the bay), especially when compared to speed freaks like blues and steady-fast stripers. It might be a decent night bite with wind to back (on bayside). I had an interesting anonymous email from one of the folks who heavily work the black drum after they reach the backbay. The first of the drum that were first seen around LE Inlet last week are gradually making their way toward spawning grounds. However, I’m told the water temps have dropped rapidly in the bay, moving away from the desired water temps that get the drumfish “balled up.” The emailer also bitched a bit over what he alleged was my panning of “all” black drum as poor eating material. He was going off of what someone told him. I forwarded him to my last few blogs where I repeatedly hype small drum as tasty. After reading my blogs he went as far as agreeing that the 10 pound cut-off point was more sensible than the 25-pound cut-off. “Over 20 pounds there’s no eating them, for sure,” he wrote. Here are the winners of the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s “Wreck Tournament” : TAUTOG: Ced Vohden------- --wt. 7.08 lbs. Chris Vohden- ------wt. 6.56 lbs.. Phil Norris--------- --wt. 5.46 lbs SEA BASS Phil Norri -------- 1.00 lbs. Brendan Graham - --- .88 lbs. Here’s an always-interesting report from Rambunctious. Hello All, We had four trips this past week, and it sure looks like the spring fishing season in the bay is officially underway. Early in the week, bluefish started their annual invasion and if the first fish are any sign of what's to come, this may be even better than the great run we had last year. While there are a few of the typical 3-5 pound fish mixed in, the vast majority of these fish range from 7 to 10 pounds or more. Just unbelievable sport on light tackle! We've been using nothing heavier than 10# tackle, and everyone's been having a blast. I've attached a picture of 8 year old Michael Masterson, who joined his dad Larry in landing a boatload of these critters. Think Michael is happy? Striped bass have been a little tougher to find so far, but that should pick up any day now. We generally start picking up a few keeper sized fish during the last week of April, then it builds steadily from there once the water temps start stabilizing a bit. It's anybody's guess as to precisely when bass fishing will be getting hot, but if I were making a bet I'd say within the next ten days. Weekend dates are getting pretty full through bass season, but I've still got a few prime mid-week dates available if you're looking to get out this spring. Until next week, Jack -- Capt. Jack Shea "Rambunctious" Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters www.BarnegatBayFishing.com An email and answer bound for my weekly blog: Hi Jay, Fished the bay Saturday morning(don't want to say where), clamming for stripers. We kept getting small rapid taps and having our bait cleaned with no hookups. Very unstriperlike. Out of curiosity, we baited a small hook with a bit of clam and, lo and behold, came up with a fat 5lb. taug. No stucture, wreck, or rocks - just open water. We were near some mussel beds, however. Caught one more and missed quite a few. What's with that? I alway thought taug were "hidey hole" structure seeking creatures. Any comments? Great observation on that tog hookup, i.e. “Just in open water.” That is one of the famed "in transit" blackies moving into the bay -- stuck between structures, so to speak. Folks don't realize how many blackfish are involved in the spawn spectacle each spring, by way of numbers let’s just say “All of them.” I am a huge blackfish fan but even I balk at nabbing these very slow-growing structure-fish before they’ve spawned out. Yes, protecting the spawn is why the season is all but shut down this time of year. However, as I’ve oft noted, the decline in blackfish is due in large part to a ferocious sniper/poacher element combined with a precipitous decline in the environmental quality of the Barnegat Bay. Although tog are pure bulldogs -- quite possibly our hardest nosed fish, bar none -- they suffer horribly when water quality goes south. The pollution devastates the success rate of a spawn -- and one or two bad spawns are all it takes to cripple the stocks. As for those nibblers, along with bait-stealing tog folks are discovering the short-hitters include kingfish, blowfish (very early), winter flounder (which will attack a wider variety of baits than many anglers realize), bergalls (also in a spawn mode) and even a some tiny black seabass. I’ve noticed a few folks also nabbing larger American eels, which mean the smaller one will be tugging on baits.

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