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222 18th Street
Ship Bottom, NJ
Saturday, October 25, 2008: Choppy 3-5 foot south windswell. Water clarity: Fair but could get very stirred by tonight and even after the winds go hard west tomorrow.
Well, we might have lucked out yesterday with the wind but they arrived just as forecast today. I see gusts to near 40 mph (afternoon) and could go higher as cold front approaches. The front is right on track to pass through Philly just as the game is about to begin. My guess is they can start almost on time -- or by 9 p.m. Winds could play a spoiler for the team’s home field advantage. Yes, both teams play under the same conditions but, again, it throws blows away those intangibles that help out at home.
The bassing was fairish yesterday. I had half a dozen reports from folks who got their first keeper of the fall season, as a solid influx of fish in the 30- to 32-inch range fanned along the beachfront zones and also moving onto flats and shoals favored by boat anglers. These were not Classic-worthy takes, in general. And the rogue cows are still in-play. The two biggies I heard of were caught on live-lined offerings (night, boat). They were estimated 30-pound (not inch) types – both released (I believe).
Classic action was very scant, per the website. The fishing pressure was moderate yesterday (for a weekday), as some folks hookied out knowing winds would turn wicked today.
Bluefish are also being rogue-ish. Very scattered – and even the slammers aren’t huge. This coming week should see a serious blues insurgency (if they’re still in the system). The bait will ball very quickly as cold air and hard west winds create the first protracted fall-like stretch of “offshore” fishing weather. No, not “offshore” as in tuna-land (which could be hot in its own right) but “offshore” in terms of offshore winds. We have only had a day or two of westerlies before the northeasterly winds kick in. Not this time. We’ll need the move out of peanut bunker but that has to be happening right now.
It's been another windy week with too much time tied up at the dock, but there is some good news. The striper bite has finally turned on! Plenty of bass are showing along the beachfront and around the inlet, and we're seeing the first real signs of life in the back bay areas. Out front, bass are responding to all the standard fall tactics. I'm a big fan of jigging for them, but the trollers are picking up fish as well. Drifting live spot around the channels and inlet area is almost guaranteed to produce. On yesterdays trip for example, Brian Kraus and a couple of buddies landed a dozen bass in just a couple of hours... and probably dropped an equal number as they were getting used to the techniques we use to liveline these baits. Every drift produced fish, often with two on at a time. Nothing huge, but nice healthy fish all in the 26-30" range. We'll also get started soaking clams in back this week, since the water temperatures are now perfect and I'd expect that the daytime bite will really take off. Choices, choices, everyday choices! Let's just hope the weather cooperates for the next month or so.
Still a couple of prime mid-week dates available in November. Time to go fishing.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters