Sunday, August 19, 2007: Waves: 2-3 feet out of the south. Water temps: 70. Water clarity: fair but not where it should be; very dirty stretches.
Wind played the spoiler yesterday. Morning gusts to 25 had many folks hanging close to port. Late-day saw better breezes. What fishing I did hear of had to do with drift fishing and some near fall-like beachfront and nearshore bluefish blitzes, a couple larger ones on the south end had folks running around throwing metals for all they were worth. Some near-in boats had the same cocktail time. The change to those summer-long 1- to 3-pounders is the shift to bunker in their bellies. The odd thing is the size of the y-o-y bunkies which are hyper-small, quarter-sized. As you know, those are usually inside the bay but a fellow I talked to said the bunker in his mid-island surfcasting blues were fresh as all get-out, just eaten.
Today was not what the forecasts had called for. Rain. Loads of rain. The remains of TS Erin are playing havoc from Midwest to east Coast. The moisture in the air associated with that short-lived tropical system is capable of dropping rain by the multi-inchful. And the train of rain moving from west to east seems to have formed a high-speed line right into our nape of the woods. However, I question some of the long-term forecast that predicts rain for days and days on end. Even tropical moisture has to play itself out. Look fro niceness by midweek.
I have some longish emails. Here are a few:
I haven't sent you too much lately as there has not been too much to report from the mid island area. Most fisherman I talk to on the beach around these parts are bemoaning how bad the surf fishing has been this year. I have been surf fishing most Friday's, Saturday's, and Sunday's as well as the entire last week of July into August. My total catch, this year, so far, prior to this weekend, was 4 skates, 2 sea robins, 5 small blues, and one 13" fluke. Yesterday (Friday) I went up to fish the high tide hoping to finally have some decent fishing, only to find a strong current moving up the beach and it was loaded with grass, lettuce, and garbage. I caught three plastic bags, and a boys bathing suit (without the boy). The water was very brown and the temps were down to 70 degrees. I could only take it for about an hour before I threw in the towel. At one point my line seemed to be drifting into the jetty, so I thought I better reel it in and remove the weed build up. When I got it in there was a small bluefish on the line. I couldn't even tell I had a fish.
Today the currents had subsided, it was still brownish but very fishable. The water ranged between 70 to 72 degrees and there was a strong westerly breeze. I plopped myself down for what ended up being a 5 1/2 hour stint on the beach using my regular three line set up. One rod with a whole mullet rig, one with a live minnow, and one with bloodworm, hoping for the missing kingfish. In the first couple of hours shortly after the tide turned and was ebbing, I picked up two skates on the live minnows. Then it was dead until about 4:30. I did have a couple of mullet chewed off leaving only the head. Small bluefish I assumed, too small to bend the rod or hook themselves. Then a group of walking beach goers was passing under my whole mullet line and they had to pick up the line to pass under it. I thought this strange, so I went down to check the rod and low and behold the line was slack. As I reeled up the loose line I realized there was a fish on the other end. So I started reeling with a bit more enthusiasm. As the fish came up onto the beach, much to my surprise it was a KINGFISH. How he ever got the big mullet rig hook in his mouth I will never know. But he did and he fell off the hook as I was pulling him over the sand. I grabbed him before the next wave could wash him back into the surf. He was a nice size at 13 1/2". The first kingfish of the year. Needless to say I got rejuvenated and stayed for another hour plus hoping for another. I did get one hookup after that on the bloodworm and was hoping it was another kingfish but it turned out to be a small shark. I hope this kingfish is an omen of things to come. I will be back on the beach by mid day on Sunday to fish the high tide and plan to stay the rest of the day if the weather holds. It sounds like the weather will be going down hill late on Sunday for a couple of days.
Well it's been another good week on the weakfishing front. We've finally started to see some of the smaller fish that have been noticeably missing for the last couple of weeks, but there are still plenty of nice sized weakfish and small bluefish around in to fill up the box. Tuesday I had north Jersey's Ray Czorniewy and Joe Kleber bring home their limits of fat 16-21" weakies (picture). Wednesday's trip had Perry Iasiello back along with Bill Sr. and Bill Jr. boxing 18 fish in the 16-19" range in a steady pick all morning. Thursday started out quick with the Catskill's John Peterson and Tom Monica putting 6 fish to 21" in the box early despite some serious wind pushing against the tide, but the bite seemed to disappear almost completely by mid morning before the storms came rumbling through. Then I ended the week yesterday with regular guests George Selph and Bob Keller back to put together another limit catch of plump weakfish.
We've been moving around the bay quite a bit this past week looking to find pockets of fish that would respond to a variety of offerings. Pink plastics, both Fin-S and BKD's, have been consistent producers, as have small darts in a variety of colors. Each day is a little different, so mix things up and find out what's working best that day. This should continue well into September, and we've still got quite a few mid week dates available after Labor Day. Capt. Jack Shea
“Barnegat Bay weakfishing continues to be very good and even better on some trips. The fish are spread out throughout the bay so some days it takes a move or two to find them. I have been out the last three days with excellent success all three trips, however, Friday’s trip was a total slam fest. We had a two adult and a two kid limit in about two hours while chumming grass shrimp. The kids had a blast releasing many keepers while boxing fish. They landed around 70 weaks with the bigger fish in the 21” range. It doesn’t get much better than that. Capt. Alex F. Majewski … Lighthouse Sportfishing”