Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday June 19, 08 -- Boat bassing fills the bill; surfcasting a bit suckious


ADD-ON SIDEBAR -- FULL BLOG BELOW I have to talk about night for a minute. Yep, good old after dark, star-studded night – and how dark it gets. While darkness at night is hardly a media matter, it can take on serious airs when you’re on a boat that goes down in said darkness. I’m on this subject in reference to the three Pennsylvania men who spent 8 hours clinging precariously to a cooler after their boat capsized in Little Egg Harbor Tuesday night (into Wednesday morning.) This morning, I was standing around some Wawa chatters talking about the incident. The consensus among the three gabbers was, “How far from land could they have been?” In other words, why didn’t they just kick their way to the nearest shore. That would be doable while clinging to a cooler. Enter the diabolical darkness. It’s astounding how everything – every molecule of orientation – can go out the window when things fade to black, especially when blackness arrives in a heartbeat, accompanied by a cold- water embrace. Sidebar: While my fishing skills aren’t much to highlight, when it comes to working the woods, I can sniff my way around with the best of them. I have what I always felt was an innate, nearly genetic, ability to home in on finding my way back to civilization, namely where I parked my truck. Many a time my tracking or hiking buddies have been hell-bent on heading in the dead wrong direction on our return leg. However, I’m always stunned by the way darkness literally blinds my instincts. I’ve learned that the hideously hard way, being forced to go into survival mode until dawn when barely drifting out of eyesight of my campsite. That said, these lost-at-bay guys surely ran headlong into that pitch-black lost scenario. I’m awaiting the long version of their story – the daily news cameras (Philly, NYC) were over at the hospital to interview them today. They get my extreme praise for having stuck together for something like 8 shivery hours without making a heroic bid to break away and “swim for shore.” Greta discipline – and they’re around today because of it. Thursday, June 19, 2008: Wind was a bit problematic yesterday, making bunker pod hunting a tougher go – and the haul from LBI to up-north bass a bumpy go. Overall, the boat fishing for bass has been incredible for those finding active pods. And by the numbers of weigh-ins, the find rate is way up there. Boat bass to 50 pounds have been common, though the biomass of bass may have taken a jog northward again. Off IBSP all the way up to Manasquan has been a target zone. Lighter winds today will calm things and a full assault on the bunkies should be back in swing. We’ve got a strawberry moon going. That’s the name given the full-moon of June, based on farming when the short strawberry picking season was in full swing. I’m hoping it might hype the tidal changes and maybe get some bigger bass back to the beach, where surfcasters are in need of a taste of the nearshore hooking. Skate and dogs are still the bane of shoreline chunk casters. This is not to say a few better bass aren’t meeting the hook, it’s just a very picky proposition. A buddy went up to IBSP in his buggy, hoping the beach there was on fire and got to watch boats and kayaks banging bass while he got skunked. He went up to the Jersey Paddler to look into buying a kayak. I used to give input when folks were kayak hunting but the choice is so personal – and there are so many decent yaks on the market -- I now just steer clear. Also, kayak sellers are way more hip to the needed of kayaks for angling. By the by, always go for the so-called “fishing packages.’ You might as well get the whole shebang since you’ll likely just be getting all those extras in time so you might as well go equipped from the get go. I had an interesting chat with a fluke fisherman, Barnegat Bay, who’s been having a great spring with keepers. No locations given but he’s another GULP! convert. He mentioned something about GULP! “juice.” I can’t tell whether he is using the leftover liquid in his GULP! bags or if they now sell that magical biochemical scented liquid. Has anyone ever seen a seagull eat a GULP!? I will be interviewing the fellow behind the required saltwater angler census, a innocent sounding way of saying fishing license. Time is drawing near and despite some whole sale protests in other states I’m thinking some sort of paperwork is inevitable to fish saltwater. I’ll note for the umpteenth time that many anglers aren’t totally put off on the “license” if the revenues go back into the sport. I’ll also note that this could not be coming at a worse time with fuel prices about to go even uglier. A license fee combined with gas that is $4 a gallon and climbing will drive hoards of surfcasters and boat anglers into retirement. Sadly, there are a load of casters who invite this as a mean to lighten the angler load. It looks like they’ll have their self-serving way. Folks of that mentality are usually chronically miserable anyway so I’m sure they’ll just find something else to bitch over. Would the person who called me about retrieving that cast-off handmade plug via a bluefish please call me back. Thanks. This is the tone of recent surfcaster emails: “Hey Jay. Cindy and I fished in Brant Beach and Beach Haven last night and found nothing but smooth dogfish. The action wasn't as insane as over the weekend. Hopefully it means these doggies are movin' on. I'm beginning to wonder if the bass are shying away from the beach due to all the shark traffic. Be at it again later this week. Nick H”

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