Monday, May 05, 2008: I don’t know about you but I’m not seeing much to rave about. In fact, there are many indications that it was a piss-poor weekend, especially when juxtaposed to the high potential for things to bust loose.
The North End had bass at a very off-and-on rate, though there was a noticeable increase in the number of take-homes, with B.L. fishes in the lower 30s (inches) showing on the photo boards in the shops. (Simply bassing has a starting size of 34 inches).
The bluefish are in the bay but have not been making much of a showing anywhere else. These are cocktail-sized fish with a few larger models thrown in.
The weakfish are likely present but they are not liking all this shifting weather. While I was told by a few sharpies that they’ve been doing fairly well on spawn weaks, I had a couple other weakfish aficionados tell me it simply is not that good out there. I’ve had a few pickups at night jigging with small plastic curly tail plastics. They were smaller fish. The blues are less than kind with the tails -- and end the weakfishing spurts real fast.
Went out yesterday…fished the outgoing. I used clams, frozen bunker and mackerel. Wound up with 4 shorts. One 26-inch fish threw up some big sand fleas before I could get it back in the water. These were big…about the size of a half dollar and kind of orange in color. Can these be dug up on the beach? And if so how? Thanks, Ed
(Sand fleas are abundant near the water line of all ocean beaches on LBI. While a lot of folks dig them (for fun) in the wet sand after a wave recedes, the larger “sand crabs” are usually up higher in the sand. I dig the jumbo ones about half way up the berm nearest the water line. It’s odd but some days it can be bitch finding them, most often when I want some to grab my one allowable tog off a jetty. As I’ve written in here, sand fleas have been so heavily harvested in Florida that the population has collapsed in some areas. There’s money to be made taking huge loads of raked sand crabs down there for pompano and sheepshead anglers.
I have taken many small bass on sand crabs, mainly as secondary catch while togging. However, just casting them out as primary bait for bass is often pure futility. I’m guessing that bass opportunistically suck up sand crabs, while scafing up their favored calico and “stone” crabs. In other words, a bass isn’t going to go to the bother of grabbing sand fleas unless they just happen to be in the middle of a fish’s line of feeding.
So why not fish whole calico crabs? I’ve tried, repeatedly, and all I get are sand dogs. However, I’ve heard that shedding calicos make great bait for bass, weaks and blues. Though too soft to cast with a surf rod, the calico shedders would work during a gentle underhand pitch-outs off the end of a jetty.
Hey Jay. Cindy and I fished for a few hours today. We fished south of town and back up the island a bit with only one skate to show for our efforts. We fished the outgoing tide using clams. I suppose we should have been there for the incoming tide. Oh well, we'll see what the next trip brings us. Nick H
First I would like to thank you for your great website and column. I look forward to reading your blogs every day. I love to surf fish, and I am familiar with LBI except in 1 regard. I want to bring my 2 young sons with me, I live in North Jersey about 1:45 minutes away. Are there any beaches where I may be able to take the kids that are near restrooms? I know it may sound silly, but with my younger son, he needs to mark his territory everywhere he goes. (haha). I have learned a great deal from your site and I appreciate all you do. Thank You, Rob
(That’s actually a very touchy subject hereabouts, as it’s real hard to align surf fishing beaches with restroom facilities. The one that jumps to mind is Centre Street in Beach Haven, with town facilities right at the beach entrance. However, that can get hugely congested at the height of the season. Far less crowded but a tad longer drive is the far south end of the Island, at the entrance to Holgate. There is a for-pay parking lot and facilities right there in the parking lot. In Harvey Cedars, Sunset Park is on the bayside, with nice facilities. It entails parking at the park and crossing the Boulevard to reach the beach. There is a traffic signal (seasonal) at the Hudson Avenue south end of the park to make crossing somewhat safer. Hope that’s a starting point. J-mann)
Saw this seal at the end of Holgate, on Friday.....he was laying on his side, and looked to be hurt.....gulls were approaching him, staying away from him just far enough out of reach....he was moving around, rolling up, slowly, and lifting his head, but really did not move from his current location,....I called the stranding center, and talked with Brandy, who put a call into a volunteer rescuer from LBI, and then he called me back, and asked me to approach him by boat, which I did....I was about 20 ft from him, and he still did not make an effort to get away from me. So the rescue guy(Scott I think),took a ride down there and pulled up to the seal, and looked at him from the truck, and when he opened his door, the seal bolted back into the water!.....He said that was quite unusual, getting that close. The seal stayed near the beach, and looked as if he was going to get out, when we left....
Anyway, Brandy called me back, saying this seal was probably severely dehydrated, very tired, and probably behind in his migration, and knowing the circumstances, and it was probably a gray seal. That was the extent of my fishing trip, for the afternoon. thanks... Jeff
Pro Report: Barnegat Bay bluefishing continues to be moving along at a torrid pace, although the fish this week were a little smaller than the jumbos we've had the last couple of weeks. Three to five pounds seem to be the norm right now, but still a lot of fun on ultra-light tackle. I made it out four times this week, and each day we found the fish ravaging schools of spearing on the west side of the bay. These fish are moving around and it takes some looking to find them, but once you do the action is non-stop.
The other good news is that bass fishing is finally showing signs of coming to life. It's still a bit slower than it should be, but the past two trips have produced bass on clams from some of the normal back bay areas. Best fish of the week honors go to George Selph, who landed the fat 38" bass in the attached picture from Oyster Creek Channel. George also landed our first keeper bass in 2007, so there seems to be a pattern forming. Now that the bass have started biting, it should get better with each passing day, so it's time to get out there. Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
Regarding the keeping on penned herring for live-lining, it should be emphasized that you can only have 35 herring in a pen or you’ve broken through to strict state regulations. Many anglers think you can take a maximum of 35 herring while catching them but when it comes to putting them in pens the sky’s the limit – since the baitfish were caught in legal numbers, each day.
Nope. Fish and Wildlife Enforcement is now cracking down (heavily) on illegal herring holder surpassing the allowable 35-limit. There is some leeway when numerous pens are used, each holding the legal number of baitfish, since separate anglers might own each pen. In that instance, the law isn’t inclined to seek proof of who owns which pen.