Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Thursday/Friday July 19/20 -- Forge already getting shocked(?)

Thursday/Friday, July 19/20, 2007: Waves: Small. Winds: Light SE early then turning brisk and variable with storms.

Update: They are already shocking the water at Stafford Forge in an effort to remove the invading piranha-type fish. I was told they began yesterday.

I know what you’re thinking – like me – that it might be kinda fun having such fierce South American predatory fish in a lake or two, add some variety to freshwater fishing lives. However, what you might not know is Pinelands lakes have three very small, extraordinary sunfishes (they look very much like costly Cichlids found in better pet shops). They are the banded, blue-spotted and black-banded sunfish.

Though call sunfish they are not even remotely related to the usual sunnies anglers catch. The Pine Barren sunfish are in the rare Enneacanthus family. They seldom get larger than two inches long and are usually much smaller than that. They are amazing animals and slow-moving. They would be the first to fall to nonindigenous piranha-esque species.

I guess the final determination will be mad eon what species has invaded the Forge. There is the pacu, known as the vegetarian piranha, the true piranha and the very aquarist popular oscar. The pacu have very prominent humans like incisor teeth, the piranha has very-obvious fiercely pointed teeth and the oscar’s teeth are more subdued.

Back to saltwater:

I hit quite a few checkpoints to see what’s hooking out there. Top action came from folks knowing how to work the Barnegat Inlet jetty zones. Livelining is finding some keeper bass.

Fluking is picking up, slightly. Ocean drifters are finding some real fine zones, especially when they forego the fleet chasing and do their own privatized stop-and-drop.

Here’s an apropos email: “Jay, I read your suggestion about looking for fluke grounds away from the maddening crowd. We did great. We scored a super drift on the first try (55 feet). There was one thing you hadn’t mentioned. The way other anglers seem to know when you’re onto something. We had a crowd in nothing flat. Over a dozen other boats were right on top of us. We moved and after a while found another good drift. Here come the crowds. It was still one of our best fluking days ever. L.M.”

(Such is the price of being a leader instead of a follower. J-mann)

Still on fluking, I’m a bit surprised at the decentish flatfishing inside the bay, where water temps should be soaring via solar heating. The fluke presence “inside” might be the result of a shivery ocean. You’ve likely noticed the aggravatingly chilly ocean waters so far this summer. Those suds-side temps are running almost 10 degrees below normal. The SE wind-related upwelling (that quickly cools sea temps) is affecting us almost exclusively, as the rest of the state coastal waters are running close to normal. Anyway, that daily influx of chilly seawater flushing into our bay region, especially through Barnegat Inlet, may very well be the reason the fluke are finding tolerable bayside water temps. If fluke have their druthers, they’d always be in the food-loaded bay. Low dissolved oxygen in warm water is what drives them out.

Getting some above-average mahi reports. I saw a shot of a gorgeous bull caught by Craig Percopo fishing The Claw. I’ll know a lot more about the tuna and billfish side of things as next week’s White Marlin Invitational Tournament gets underway. Again, I’m looking for every shred of input regarding past tourneys along with the upcoming contest.

Quite a few “triggerfish” being caught. All the picks I’ve seen have been filefish. No big deal.

Beachfront bassing remains average. I gave it a go toward dark (right before a massive downpour) and had two schoolies in short order using a white/silver Spro with a strip of Gulp. I think I also had a fluke on. I also dropped a night line off the bridges and had a very small weakie take interest, along with a coupe short hits. Loads of surface crabs cruising by on the currents.

I had one excited tale from a South End beachcaster who was trying a spankin’ new plug made by his buddy and caught his first keeper bass (29-inhcer) of the year on his first cast, early a.m. “I cellphoned the guy who made it and ordered three more,” he told me. The maker of that plug (does not make plugs to sell, just for fun) is kinda interesting since his main wood-based hobby is turning pens. That concept was fairly new to me but some of you likely know about this huge pastime since it is now the largest segment within an always-huge woodworking realm. I went on line and instantly saw the potential tie-in between the incredible variety of hobbyist-made pens (from every material imaginable) and the shape of plug blanks. In fact, while on a pen-making site, I found and ordered a “medium” lathe to turn my artwork. I’m making a large multicolored for-show plug out of vintage 1930s bakelite. It will not be functional, per se, though knowing me I’ll probably just have to give it toss or two – despite the $100-plus value.

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