Sunday, May 11, 2008: Weather has been wrecking ball. It has eroded the beaches of many Island areas, chilled the water to the low 50s, and mucked up the clarity – throwing in some nasty weed.
Pertinent email: “Fished Brant beach from 2:30-5:30 pm. One 24 inch bass on fresh clam, and a 22 inch blue on frozen bunker. Strong current. Tough to hold bottom, and there was some seaweed around.”
The up side of things centers of sparklers.
The tiderunner weakfish are dispersing throughout the bay. And, yes, some of these weakies can legitimately be called “tiderunners,” especially when factoring in the 19-pound, 12-ounce caught to our north from the surf. I had that rumored 22-pounder declassified as, at very most, a netted fish. However, there are enough LBI-based hookups – including a few weigh-ins, to assure that the big spawn-ready mega-weaks are in the house. Confirmed hookup zones included the Middle Ground and the (Manahawkin Bay Bridges. Note: As noted, a coupe few big weaks were weighed in but most are being caught and released. As noted, taking home one spawner to feed upon is totally legit, as long as the great majority experience the release button – and it is very tough to free a major fish of any sort.
The word on attracting weaks in pink. Pink Fin-S, slugs, worms and GULP variation are being successfully used. Night is prime but many fish are being taken on the drift during the day (late and early). Drop-offs (where sedges and channels meet) are top target zones. Next up are the west bay mustering holes. I’m hoping the anglers in those backbay areas get a bit more catch-and-release oriented. And, yes, it is an ethical choice not a legal one since you are allowed to keep weakies now.
The bluefish presence is massive. While the Raritan continues to experience one of the most insane spring runs of slammers ever, locally we’re into what might be called mid-range blues, 5 to 8 pounds. There are also a lot of 3 to 5 pound blues, ideal for epicurean usages. The bay and inlets are the prime locales to tap into blues passages. It is not a nonstop bite but it often doesn’t take long to come in contact with some, especially in and around Barnegat Inlet.
The blues could be the cause of far-less-than-stellar bass run. Sure, there are a decent number of shorts going for clams in the surf and once in a while the inlet areas have a flash of fish to keeper size going for live-lineables but we’re just now approaching the serious stripering time of year.
“Usually Mother’s Day kicks it in. I don’t think things are slower this year, people just seen anxious,” said Margaret at Jingles.
There are apparently three official weigh-ins in the 2008 simply Bassin’. I’m workin’ to get those confirmed to chart them up.
Not too much to report this week as the weather kept us pretty much tied to the dock most of the week. We did get in our trip on Saturday, and found things still pretty churned up after two solid days of hard 30-40 mph winds. Bluefish are still around although scattered, and we did have a couple of solid bass hookups on clams so that's a good sign of things to come when the weather finally cooperates. We're seeing big swings in water temperature with each tide right now, similar to what we saw last year around this time. The fish are there, so as soon as we get some stability in the weather the fishing should return to normal. The next couple of days look to be pretty ugly weather-wise, but the second half of the week should bring us some pretty good fishing.
Capt. Jack Shea "Rambunctious" Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters -- www.BarnegatBayFishing.com