Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, July 13, 2008: Waves: 5-6 feet with larger sets; long-period hurricane swell. Shoreline water temps: mid 60s. Water clarity: very good. Alert: Dangerous hurricane swells will impact beaches through tomorrow. Inlets will have tricky conditions over unmarked shoal zones, especially near the now totally mis-buoyed Little Egg Inlet region. Waves could crest inside Barnegat Inlet right off the concrete deck. Hug the main inlet channel (north side) to be safe. Be alert to larger set waves breaking within the channel, north side) about 100 yards outside the entrance to Barnegat Inlet. Surf zone is hazardous – and not great for surfcasting due to swells and currents, still, a stir like this could perk the resident bass to bite (if there are resident bass around this year.) Fluking remains close to phenomenal. There is not a spot in the bay, inlets, nearshore waters and out to the reefs that doesn’t have a steady bite. Take-home rates remain lousy – though I still get those should-been-there tales of bigger fluke showing here or there. Here’s an encapsulating report from www.BarnegatBayFishing.com. “Just a brief report today as we were only out twice this week. On Tuesday's trip we stayed in the bay and continued playing mostly catch and release with fluke from 15" to 17.5" in addition to landing several large kingfish on Gulp! baits and teasers. The fluke were all nice fat quality fish that would be perfect for the table if we were allowed to keep them. There are still some legal sized fish in the bay, but the super abundance of sub-legal fish has us picking through 18-20 shorts for every fish that goes into the box. Many of those bigger fish should be staging up for their move back into the ocean any day now as the bay continues to heat up. It's frustrating to land a couple dozen quality fluke, an excellent day of bay fluking by anyone's standards, but have nothing in the box to show for it back at the dock thanks to misguided "conservationists" Jack S. That’s the first I’ve heard of kingfish since a burst of decent catching along the beach about a week back. How about those bergalls, a.k.a. cunners? I’m serious. I’ve had three reports by folks catching the biggest bergalls they have ever seen. Some are easily large enough to filet. So why not filet them????? These are decent eating fish and a bit similar in taste and texture to their rock-along buddies, tog. With tog off-limits, what better time than now to test out some bergalls? Sure they’re kinda small but I’ve seen anglers faithfully clean tiny little white perch in the winter. By the by, I would suggest that bergalls be cooked in the round to maximize the meat – picked off the bones once cooked. (I probably shouldn’t bring up this sour point but with gas prices what they are – and tog being allowable only in what amounts to off-season – brining home a mealful of bergalls helps cover expense a bit.) I had an email question about sundials, a.k.a windowpane flounder. . And I get this question a lot. Can they be kept? Yes, these near see-through flatfish are keepable and the few times I’ve cooked up some of the larger ones I made them into super fish sandwiches. The sundial’s meat as good as the famed (and rare) sole species -- that cost a mint. The odd part about sundials is the way they come and go. Since they are really untargeted by either recreational or commercial fishermen, they are essentially following Mother Nature’s path of least resistance, meaning some years they are so thick in Barnegat Inlet that you have to motor off to get away from them, then, they go totally and completely missing –sometimes for years. In fact, we’re coming off a “missing” time so this emailer might have drifted through a returning biomass.