Thursday, October 02, 2008:
That change has hit the airways. It’s windy, chilly and fall-y out there. This just feels like fishing weather. And stripers are starting to think the same. A very modest (better than nothing) bite is showing along all of LBI beachfront with Barnegat Inlet area (including the sedges, bayside IBSP) are offering fish, mainly schoolie-types but some to 32 inches. I have secondary word of a couple serious bass caught from boat. One was pushing 30 pounds (North End). The direct reports of bass catches include numerous live-line takes by folks using mullet, spot or herring. The mullet and spot are being caught by net, herring by small metals and (especially) multi-hook pre-made rigs with tiny freshwater jigs wearing small white plastic “grub” tails. Bait fishermen are also taking small bass in the suds as are pluggers. Considering fishing pressure is pretty light for this time of year, most everyone who is trying hard enough is finding bass, especially those willing to try multi-methodings – bait to jigs to plugs to whatever works. Early a.m. is good and will be improving through the rest of the week and through the weekend.
Note: This is not meant to be a stellar bassing report. There are seriously slow to no-show stretches. It’s more like bassing as it should be after an entire summer of AWOL bassing.
Now it’s a case of where the hell are the bluefish. Seriously. This is far-and-away the slowest bluefishing for October in years – if not decades. Yes, there are flare-ups of small blues ( North End) but most spots usually crawling with cocktails blues by now are absolutely lacking. What’s more, as I throw net for mullet, snappers are totally missing as by-catch. Again, beyond anything I can remember going back 15 years. If you recall, summer saw the entire bottom of the nearshore ocean covered with snappers, in numbers unseen in years. Where they disappeared to is one of those natural mysteries that will be wondered about but uninvestigated. The ocean does not willingly give up such secrets.
Sidebar: It was the talk of the dock how this year had a bizarre too-early migratory run, going back into late August – when we had a massive showing of baitfish in the ocean for no apparent migratory reason. That freaky seeming foul-up by the fish might be contributing to the lousy showing of migrating mullet and the screeching halt to that astounding spearing showing throughout September, when literally clouds of spearing were moving along the beachfront. There is a mere substandard trickle of migrating spearing now moving along the beaches and through the inlets. As I net, half the bycatch of silversides (a name sometimes used to cover both spearing and rainfish) are rainfish, meaning the spearing are fewer than it seems. The peanut bunker are still in-bay; massive numbers that do seem to be moving out even as we speak. With the ocean calming, it will be easier to see where these dark-cloud baitballs are located.
Fluke interference is slowing a bit, though they are still grabbing bait and plugs with moderate regularity.
Beach buggying is now in full swing – all regularly permitted from (from Loveladies to Holgate) are open to traffic.
Joe H. report (Sorry, it’s running a little late due to a snafu on my end).
Fished the south end bay side from 11pm Sat. night to 4am Sunday morning. The bay side was alive and well. Not much bait, except for some peanut bunker pods. Once again we caught plenty of fluke to 21". Downright amazing. I've caught more fluke in the last two weeks of September, then I did in April, May, June, July, and August combined. Berkley Gulp shrimp were hot. Caught a bunch of nice weakfish as well. Bluefish were all over.
Sunday afternoon I tried some bay side tog fishing around some docks. I know of some nice tog that were taken. I caught seabass, fluke, and a fish that I identified as a sand perch. Caught a bunch of perch. Can't say I've caught many of those in my lifetime.
At dark I fished my favorite weakfish spot and found them right away. Caught 4 fish on 4 casts. White 3/8 oz bucktails were best. Kept three for dinner. The spearing that were absent Saturday night were back by the millions Sunday.
Till next time,
Hutch report: The recent spate of nasty weather kept the boats of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association at the dock for the past week. Now that things are clearing up, there will be some decent wreck and reef fishing.
The “Miss Beach Haven,” a head boat, under Captains Brant Whittaker and Frank Camarda, will be sailing weekends for more sea bass and some blackfish action. He fished Monday with the best sea bass fishing of the year. Over 2000 total sea bass were landed with many of keeper size. Most anglers had over 15 keepers with at least two anglers going home with over 20. Mixed in were several porgies and one trigger fish.
Captain Fran Verdi of the “Dropoff” plans to begin his fall striped bass trips on or about the full moon of October 14. He will be running both charter trips and some “open boat” opportunities.
Captain Lindsay Fuller of the “June Bug” has some overnight tuna trips to the canyons planned which combine both trolling and chunking.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com