Saturday, September 27, 2008: Part 2 –
Outside of fog, conditions were better than expected out there. First day of Decoy Show went off fine. Some boat anglers tried bayside LBI but ran into low-viz headaches. Small blues, a few weaks and fluke after fluke were being reported over the radio. Some bass are coming to the beach near South Jetty and near North End jetties, mainly on bait and very scattered. Bassing overall remains sub-par. Kingfish are out there and targetable by fishing holes, near jetties or in low-tide slews near the beach.
Many of us are profoundly shaky over the hideously poor showing of the mullet migration. Sure, there’s the not-small fact that we’ve had hard NE winds dominating the beachfront the last couple weeks. This clouds up the water and breaks up the migrating schools.
It would seem that the broken mullet schools would therefore come through in small pods. Not really. Oddly, the disenfranchised micro-pods tend to re-gather the first chance they get, vis-à-vis the staging they do when readying for migration. That leads to what we had one day last week when the mullet poured around the Holgate point in huge schools.
None of this confusion is good for the overall fall showing of this vital fall baitfish.
Right now, the mullet might be out there in huge units. “Might” is the operative word. There had been serious signs that the mullet weren’t around even during the summer backbay fattening period.
Today, there was next to nothing finger mullet-y showing in Holgate. I did have some healthy nets full of corncob mullet, a different species than the finger mullet. It had been a maxim that the showing of corncobs signaled the end of the finger mullet run. However, in the past 5 years or so, I’ve taken corncobs through the entire finger mullet season. I’m hoping that original maxim doesn’t come back to life this year.
And who gets hurt if the mullet run doesn’t show? Outside of baitmen like myself, the shops suffer. Fresh mullet is a favorite early-fall bait for bluefish. The thawed mullet work fairly but they’re nothing like fresh ocean-run finger mullet. As oft noted, mullet are not high on the foodstuff list of larger bass, though they do tend to get the smaller bass acting frisky. Of course, this fall it’s hard to tell if anything is feeding friskily out there with such crappy fishing condition prevailing.
Peanut bunker are on the other end of the where-are-they spectrum. These way-more-important baitfish are being reported all around the bay – clear back in the lagoons, bayside mainland. The numbers of peanuts is astounding. They should slowly begin pulling out in a couple weeks. Right in time of the start of the 54th Annual Long Beach island Fishing Classic.