Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Cindy T. with her bass -- see below. Wednesday, June 04, 2008: It was an odd wake-up for much of LBI. Smoke smell. Scary smoke smell. I along with hundreds of folks jumped up convinced my house was going up, that’s how thick the smell was. Seeing my house was clear, I clicked on the scanner to find the police station had exploded. No, it wasn’t on fire, it was totally crazy with calls about the smoke smell. The poor usually morning-mellow dispatcher was frazzled. The smell had dozens of frantic calls arriving – and fire trucks from virtually all island stations on alert, some trucks heading to locations where folks were convinced the source of the smoke smell was right next door. It wasn’t. In fact, no one knew where the smell is coming from for the longest time. Then word arrived that the smoke alarm was sounding over such of South Jersey. A huge fire in Delaware was the source of the smoke smell. Frickin’ Delaware! LBTPD alone had over 35 calls. One thing that is easy to source is the rain, loads of it. For the umpteenth time this spring we’re getting soaked and wind blasted. I’m seeing southerly gusts to near 40 mph. It’s typical. I watched throughout yesterday as the nearshore water finally cleaned up via light onshore winds. Gorgeous day. Then late afternoon it clouded, got chilly and the storm. Back to turbidity in the ocean with five foot storm swells churning things. On the fishing front, Cindy Thomas thawed a chunk of bunker and coaxed in a long 38-11 striper to muscle into 4th place on the now hotly contested Simply Bassin’ Leaderboard. Here’s a related email: “Hey Jay. Cindy and I fished the Brant Beach area last night during both sides of the high tide. After wading through a few smooth dogfish and skates, Cindy had the strike she's been waiting for. I've listed the particulars below. I'll let her tell the tale in a later e-mail as it's almost 3 am and I have to get up and teach school tomorrow... or is that today! Yikes! Take care. Weight: 38 lbs 11 oz Length: 48 inches Girth: 24 1/2 inches Bait: bunker chunk The fish was weighed in for the Simply Bassin' tournament. Nick H.” Nick’s brother Joe H. had this confirmation report: “Hey Jay, Early today (Tues) I had a great tip about some bunker schools milling around some of my favorite haunts. I figure with the weather changing and tons of bait around I better hit the surf. I hit the mid-island surf about 5:30pm after a few quick looks in other spots. It wasn't long before I spotted some bunker moving up the beach. The were close enough that I went to tie on a snag hook on my spinning rod. As I was rigging up, my conventional rig with a bunker head took off screaming. It pulled tight and I felt the fish for 10 seconds or so and the hook pulled. No doubt it was a sizable bass. I had a few bluefish while the schools were in the area. The highlight was a monster bluefish that took to the air after engulfing a bunker chunk. He bit me clean off. My brother Nick and his girlfriend Cindy T. joined me just before dark. It wasn't long after they started fishing that I witnessed Cindy placing herself onto the Simply Bassing leader board with a magnificent striper that was a shade or two under 40lb., by far her largest ever. As they ran off to get the fish weighed, I managed to to land another decent bluefish. Had the usual million dog fish and skates too. We quit around 10pm. I think the fishing is going to get real good in the next week or so with all this bait around … Joe H.” Great stuff, however, bassing on a whole has been off to way-off, especially for the boat guys getting very frustrated by tons and tons of bunker but few if any stripers interested in snag-and-drop offerings. Here’s just one of quite a few apropos reports: Capt. John A. Cafiero, Seafood Charters reported, “Too Much Bunker??? I was out Friday with a great bunch of guys that understood that sometimes its called catching and sometimes its called fishing. …We had bunker so thick you could walk on them from the lighthouse to Brant Beach. It was one big school as far as I was concerned. We marked fish. We even saw fish gorging on bunker. We tried live bunker, bunker chunks, and even trolling with nothing doing. There was just too much bait for them to get excited about our baits …” The bluefish have been, are and likely will be there for the taking: Slammers in the ocean and near inlets with cocktails now piling up inside the bay. Fluking is average, as the ratio of hookups to keepers is in the realm of 8:1. Note: After a couple tricky days of weather the first of what I’m sure is going to be an overload of sizzler days will arrive. It’ll be a summer to befriend the air conditioning unit yet might remain much-below average on the ocean temp front, as south winds upwell the water. However, there’s a point where the solar heating can’t be held in check, even by upwelling. That’s when the real warm water will prevail – though that could be into July (with some warmer water first showing tomorrow with an easterly onshore flow). Weekly column on the previous blog page.