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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

August 2, 2007 -- Water's look is hot

Thursday, August 02, 2007: Waves: Small – we got virtually nothing from that fast-moving Tropical Storm Chantal (or something like that). Yes, there was a T.S. out there with pretty hefty winds. It went extratropical in nothing flat and maybe produced some waves for Halifax.

How about that water!? After a summer marked by unusually cool – and somewhat dingy – ocean water, the east winds of a couple days back followed by light winds has ushered in this atypical clear blue-ish water with the exact look and feel of the Gulf Stream water hasn’t been out in the canyons. I can’t imagine this water change hasn’t cleaned the canyons also. What’s more, we had water temps moving out of the low 70s and toward the mid-70s. OK, so maybe that isn’t the best thing for bass fishing but if you’re like me, it hasn’t felt like summer even began and we’re already looking at Holgate opening and school restarting. I kinda dug being very tourist and running down (sidestepping the beach badge checkers) and diving in the suds – without a wetsuit. The older I get the wimpier I get about barebacking it into the water.

Besides, fishing is not half bad – and downright juicy if you’re into the Barnegat Bay flow of things. The west bay remains a top topic. Despite moderate to heavy boat traffic even midweek, there are weaks, blues, fluke, some blowfish, a weird sheepshead caught my Mark J. (Pa.), blueclaw crabs and even small black seabass. This is one instance where I might suggest following the lead of other boats who know the ropes thereabouts. On a side suggestion, I’d recommend a check-see toward 42 Buoy -- along with the famed BB and BI zone. Also, stop and pop some of the Double Creek areas from west to east, especially Sailboat Wreck.

The ocean fluking remains as good as it’s been in many years. Here I prefer to suggest finding one’s own drift zone, though it’s obviously very temping to follow the pack, many of whom are turning north outside Barnegat Inlet. Down side has been the low wind-age, forcing folks to bump around (which I hate – fluking is supposed to be relaxing not fumey) or settle for too many junkfish. The replacement of traditional fluke rigs with Spro jigheads is fairly common switch when winds are low, allowing for a jigging action to add some life to minnie/squid combos.

This new water should make life more interesting for boat anglers around and outside LE Inlet. I had an off-the-record email telling of how close in one can be to find bluefin tuna, though I fully recommend NOT going out in as small a boat as this emailer took.

I had two askers wondering about kingfish, as those folks prepare to begin their summer with August’s arrival, having rented out their island house for the first part of the season – a very common practice. Well, despite the few folks surf fishing of late, the only indicators of kings is some odd nibbling on larger chunk baits used for the still-present surfside cocktail blues. Those blues are also stirring up birdplay in the ocean off the southend.

The talk of sharks of many colors – and tooth sizes -- abounds. Here’s an email:

(Dave, The shark reports keep rushing in, maybe two dozen in the past week or so.

I’ve made my own semi-educated guesses at the types of sharks and, yes, brown/dusky is a high percentage possibility. However, I fellow who seemed to really know sharks contacted me to say there are a slew of shark species out there, possibly. He preferentially excluded dogfish types.

He told be that bull sharks are now another strong possibility when it comes to boat/kayak approaching species. “They are very curious and can seem very aggressive,” he said, noting they’ll come in very shallow water where they’ll sometimes seem to be sick or distressed when in reality they’re just feeding on whatever organic material is about to wash in. They will also bite humans. He also mentioned the spinner shark, known for take-offs and did not discount the possibility of small makos, based on unusually dreary water conditions in the deeper water where they reside.

He also rattled off a few shark species that were on the also-swam list during summer but those rarer types have gotten so threatened by overfishing it would be a rare sight to even see one.

I asked him about any attack danger for, say, an angler falling overboard. While I knew that answer from my own experience – most sharks want nothing whosoever to do with mankind – he did point out that he wouldn’t jump in for a casual deep water swim right about now. “Things are very safe in the surf and where the bathers all go but I have to admit I’d be a bit worried about splashing around further out, especially about a mile or so from the beach. He then re-noted his distrust of bull sharks.

J-mann )

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