Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Saturday/Sunday -- May 12, 13
Breezes played the spoiler for some boat fishermen today (Sunday).
I have reports of nonstop hooking on the beach toward the south. Clams attracted bass after bass, all small but as plentiful as it gets on a couple beaches. Big bass also as hard to come by as it gets. Still, a few keepers came to light.
Emails and reports:
“Another weekend of decent striper fishing despite the high winds. Clams are the ticket although most of the fish have been on the smaller size. Attached is a picture of my brother Andrew with his first ever drum. 18 pounds that fought him for 10-15 minutes. All fish were released.”
Well the bluefish carnage in Barnegat Bay has continued all week. Tuesday I had Warren Mangel and brother-in-law "Dr Bob" out for a couple of hours playing with blues on poppers on the west side of the bay. While it wasn't hectic, action stayed consistent through most of the morning just blind casting in the shallows. Thursday brought Chesterfield's Kevin Broderick with visiting guest Don Dolliver from Sparks, NV to get in on the action, and they combined for 30-35 blues in the 4-7 pound class tossing BKD's in Oyster Creek Channel. This was Don's first time experiencing the Jersey blues, and he couldn't get over how strong these guys are.
But today was pure mayhem. Despite the wind, despite the boat traffic, despite the water temps going from 51 to 65 during a single tide, the action was literally non-stop for almost four hours. I had Ken Miller from Warrington PA with daughter Maddy (14) and Mike Moriarty from Philly with daughter Caitlen (14) and son Nick (16) aboard, and the crew landed well over 70 bluefish in a little over 3-1/2 hours all on clams. And that doesn't count the dozens of fish that were hooked but bit through the leader before coming onto the boat. Seemed like there were always fish on, double headers were common, and even triple headers now and then. Mayhem! What a blast!
This is without a doubt the best bluefishing we've had in Barnegat Bay in years, and light tackle fishing at its finest. can't wait to get back out there!
Until next week. --
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
Man what a great week of fishing it has been !!! The week started with Steve Amato of Viking Yachts out for a 3hr evening trip where he caught and released his limit in stripers on clams. From there we finished the trip playing with a few blues on artificals. Thursday trip with Warren Krammer and friend Tim Grimm from Maryland were out for almost what have could have been 2 BARNEGAT BAY GRANDE SLAMS [ fluke , bass, blue, weakfish] but had found the weakfish a little hard to come by. No matter by trips end the guys had caught a limit of stripers +++[ only keeping two for the table and releasing the rest ] Fluke - catch and release, and a boat load of tenacious blues that were released as well!! Friday morning I had John Gardner owner of Gardner Cadillac with sons Eric and Will out for an early morning 4hr trip. Although we did find a few bass , none were keeper size and with the water temp almost 10 degs colder then the day before the bass for what ever reason were off the bite a little, No matter because the guys decided to get " The poles bending " with the more than cooperative bluefish! The guys spent the rest of the morning doubled and tripled up on big burly blues!! Friday afternoon saw much of the same for regular Joe Franke of The Village Harbor fishing Club with the non stop bluefish action!!! All action was in the bay on a combination of Clams and artificials, plastics and bucktails – Capt. Steve Purul
Here are two emails regarding The Dike. I have a history – off the top of my head – below and will add more when I make some calls from work tomorrow:
Email 1: Jay,
I have been fishing the island since I was a child in the early fifties. We moved here to Ship Bottom three years ago on a permanent basis. I have fished the dike and the front beaches as condition and fish warrant. People have asked me how the dike came to be. I always remember seeing it there. Do you have the history of the dike, when and why and how it was done? I have heard it was dredge materials from the bay or inlet. Can you enlighten me since you are the sage on this island.
Thanks and good fishing.
Email 2 (with some fun angling info mixed in): Jay,
I fly fished the dike this past week with the following results
Mon - 3 bass 18", 26" and 31"
Tues - 5 bass (all west side) 18", 20", 20", 24" 26" - 2 blues 20" (west)
and 29" (east) (the 29 was a handful on a fly rod)
Wed - 1 blue 26" (felt like I was in a fog)
Thurs - 1 bass (east) 27"
For fly fishing, this was one of my better sessions.
Interesting side note - About once a year I try to cross tip of the Dike and
each time I give up due to poison ivy, ticks, and briars. This week I
failed again but made an interesting discovery. I tried to cross the tip of
the Dike from the double creek side to the east side. I had made it about
halfway when I came across a dump that must have come from a auto garage.
There were probably 50+ old oil cans. They were the old style fat quart
cans where the spout punched a hole in the can. Most were unreadable but
some were still in real good shape. Looks like they were from an Esso
station. There were also some old style car headlights and some automotive
cables. Have you discovered this during your wanderings. Any idea where
they may have came from. I was discussing this with the guys at LBIFC and
we were wondering how long that Dike has been there?
I tried to cross your path at the other end (Anderson's) but it is growing in
with poison ivy. The mid-Dike path is still in good shape but the poison
ivy is starting to leaf out.
Final question, I heard a rumor that houses were going to be built on the Dike. Any truth? I thought it was owned by the state.
… Regards, George L.”
I believe the Dike portion of High Bar Harbor was built up in the 1970s. That is based on my recollections of driving on the fresh muddy sand area (now heavily overgrown) using 4WD vehicles. However, High Bar itself was created in 1943, after the Army Corps placed fill on sedges just off bayside Barnegat Light. This was done to slow the honking currents that were ripping away at the bayside beaches.
The fill led to sand accumulation that essentially connected the bay sedges to the LBI.
On one of the sedges was the High Bar Gunning Club, thus the origin of the area’s name.
The sand accumulation – and the solid connection to LBI that came about -- became sizeable enough to lead to a squabble between Barnegat Light and Long Beach Township over who owned the new potentially developable parcel. LBT won.
The county built a road between “High Bar” and the Island. That road cleared the way for North Jersey developer Arnold Desiderio. He began constructing houses there in 1953, adding more fill.
It was actually a slow go for “High Bar Harbor,” as the area took time to catch on, being a goodly distance from the beach. I have seen ads in old “Beachcombers” offering some super deals on property there – only dollars down.
On the far more anecdotal side, I used to hear tales of serious sulfuric acid gas problems there, as organic materials, trapped by the fill, escaped upward. Old wives’ tales had people sickened by the gases, back in the day. The oddest tale -- that some old-timers swear was true -- had to do with exploding gas balls – hell, I don’t know what else to call them – as leaking gases occasionally ignited and could be seen at night as fireballs. Again, lest I have the fine folks at High Bar going off on me, those were tales dating back to the 1950s and were very likely full-blown myths.
I think the Dike section was built up more recently, possibly as part of channel dredging. There are still abandoned dredge pipes on the west side.
Anyway, those Esso cans sound older than the Dike’s days and may have been part of the original fill material placed on the Dike. As you may know, Esso became Exxon in the 1970s. I will go back, check out the dump-age and give you a better estimate, though the way you describe the cans and auto parts, they sound like 50s and 60s, though round quart oil cans go way back,
As for building on the Dike, I’ve heard of some educational stands and such, being considered by the state.
What you may have heard came out of a meeting I was part of maybe 7 or 8 years ago. It was to study the worrisome erosion inside Barnegat Inlet.
The current unabated attrition of both sides of the inlet was accessed by scientists. Part of their initial findings indicated the problem could lie in the huge tidal flood plain now in place west of the inlet. That’s massive sand area inside the inlet, where the “No Wake Zone” is in affect.
That flood plain is diverting the inlet’s strong tidal flow to the north and south, leading to the acute erosion near Barnegat Light and across the channel, where the Army Corps have bulkheaded the shoreline at IBSP.
A cure would be the dissecting of the flood plain to allow the inlet water to flow freely east and west. In fact, that opening of the channel over to The Dike was part of the larger game plan when the New South Jetty was being designed, then built. I guess diminished funding stopped that part of the project.
The meeting I attended reintroduced the notion of cutting a channel through the plain, taking the pressure off both side banks of the inlet.
Qualms arose immediately.
One reservation was the high likelihood that the Dike (not High Bar Harbor) would surely be eroded away in nothing flat, as the full force of the inlet current passed by it daily. It was then suggested that a breakwater or even a jetty be built to protect the Dike – followed by a building of a flood plain further west, off the northwest end of the Dike, to slow the incoming tidal water. It was feared the enhanced surge of tidal water would overflow the west side of Barnegat Bay, possibly compromising the bulkheads in communities like Waretown and Forked River.
While you may be thinking such a game plan sounds too far-fetched, you have to realize that the survival of Barnegat Lighthouse and the south part of Island Beach State Park could be at stake. Faced with that erosion nightmare, the plan takes on merit.
Likely more than you wanted to know but once I get on a roll – hey, that’s why it’s a “blog.”