Thursday, August 07, 2008: Waves: Small. Water clarity: Excellent. Water temps: 70 and upward.
It’s lining up to be an outstanding fishing weekend – late-day winds notwithstanding. Near in, the fluke will draw the most anglers.
Margaret at Jingles echoes the sentiments of boat, bank and beach anglers. “Fluke, fluke and more fluke.”
South End: Middle Ground into the ICW all the way out to Holgate and over to Little Beach – and outward into the deep blue sea.
Note: I had a few folks who haven’t been finding the flatties at the speed they’re reading about – in here and elsewhere. Well, first of all, there are always significant tricks to successfully fishing flatties. It’s not like these are secret. They can be found in any book on the subject.
I will reissue the GULP! factor. This manmade bait continues to make a massive difference, frequently increasing hookups by many times. And I fully respect those traditionalists who hang firm to their natural baits, squid/minnie combos coming to mind. Hey, it might be a good idea to stay proficient at utilizing natural baits, if the likes of GULP! someday get banned. Balk at that if you want but should scientists even further refine these laboratory-bred fish attractants, it very well might lead to governmental constraints.
On the North End, Barnegat Light bait and tackle report “Fluke, fluke and more fluke.” To prove that out, both Oyster Creek and Double Creek have flatties from one end to the other -- and outward into the convergence zone (between the Sod Banks over to the north end of the Dike) and over to the entire inlet area. Once out of the inlet, the Bathing Beach has been doubly loaded with fluke, even in close to the beach..
Staying in Barnegat Bay, a very steady weakfish bite is developing. Actually, that sparkler action has been around for a while but the steadiness is improving. Grass shrimping is a prime get-‘em method. Think in terms of the famed weakfish zone: Gulf Point north to 40, 40 to BB and BI.
BL B&T is carrying grass shrimp.
The blackfish count in Barnegat Inlet in so steady you can keep catching and culling out until you have the biggest one-a-day tog.
Kingfish are moving in very thick schools from B.L. to Holgate. There are also random kingfish. If you’re onto a better school, a dozen or more large to jumbo kingfish is possible. Bloodworms, GULP! or a combination of both is working best on kingfish rigs. I know some guys using Sibiki rigs (maybe paring them down to three or four hooks) to nab occasional double- or even triple-header.
Cow-nosed rays are moving in big-time. There are bigger sharks near them. Important: Even when surfcasting, you must know your sharks, i.e. which are protected. Obviously, we are not talking about dogfish.
The surest bet is to get a photo of your landed shark and then release it after carefully reviving the animal.
Sharks do not take well to catch-and-release. Each one must be revived very slowly. Take the extra time to save the fish. Shark populations have been devastated in recent years. Note: Grabbing a landed shark by the tail and whipping it through the air and back into the water means you’ve needlessly killed the animal.
I want to note that the minimum legal size for keeping cobia is 37 inches, with a 2-fish limit. Along with those folks who didn’t realize what type fish they had caught (small cobia), a couple other reports have since come in of more cobia in close. Since they tend to travel in pairs (and loosely in large schools, tending to feed in similar areas more than actually binding together in usual schooling fashion) there may well be more cobia being caught. Again: 37-inch minimum with 2 fish limit.
Holgate happenings: Eggs were recently found at the south end of Holgate, meaning it may not be open all the way to the tip come the end of the scheduled “bird closure”, August 30.
I question whether the initial intent of the original annual bird closure by the state – which led to the styling of the current federal closure – allowed for a federal agency to curtail the use of state beaches in an arbitrary and capricious manner, i.e. waiting until after the summer closure to decide if further restrictions to state property should be applied.
Once again, the Public Trust Doctrine -- which assure public access to (and the use of ) riparian property, along with adjacent beach sands -- surely applies to Holgate.
If it takes a decision on the part of a high court to determine the efficacy of excluding public use after piping plover season has ended, that may be what’s needed now.
The current crass indifference of the Forsythe Refuge to even consider beach replenishment to save the severely eroded Holgate beaches also flies in the face of Public Trust Doctrine mandates requiring the care and maintenance of beach zone.