Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
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222 18th Street
Ship Bottom, NJ
Saturday, October 06, 2007: Waves; Still sizeable, 3-4 feet with some larger sets; This is the fifth day of this strong groundswell. It is not too bit to fish but it has surfcasters and boaters keeping a trained eye around the inlets and when fishing near the beach.
Water temps are in some other dimension for October. I took a 72 degree reading on the outgoing at Little Egg and beachfront temps are in the upper 60s to near 70. Again: October 6.
Fishing pressure was, as expected, high to very high. The bizarre weather and a load of fishing event had the anglers out in serious numbers.
The LBI Surf Fishing Classic has begun and though I haven’t checked to see if there were any first day weigh-ins, I have reports that yesterday and the day before had the shops weighing in fish that would have passed the 34-inch minimum for the Classic. Those fish were from the north and south ends.
(While eels are working, I probably shouldn’t bring that up. I’m not wild about American eels as bait. It is a very stressed fishery. Eels have a vital and complex role in the marine and freshwater ecosystems. Their natural history, culminating in their final mating run to the Sargasso Sea, is astounding. I just kinda feel they deserve a better fate that than bait, when the likes of spot, herring, and bunker are just as good. By the same token, I respect the many anglers who were raised on using eels for larger bass.)
Bluefishing is still blazing near the inlets. In Holgate, it remains ducks-in-a-barrel fishing. Some fellows who were grabbing 15 apiece to give to needy families, were on their way to their bag after 45 minutes of casting mullet-rigged mullet. As for slammers. I have heard of barrages of big blues along the beach but the Classic will tell the tale. That first $125 weekend prize for biggest blue (and bass) makes a nice incentive. At the behest f a couple anglers, I’m looking into a Rescue Mission that can use the bluefish meat from Classic weigh-ins.
Odd bluefish exchange: I enjoy seeing how many folks keep all these “good eating size” blues. The fishery is fine. I did have a very down exchange with a chap from the region who is from an era that has remained rough around the social edges. I brought up eater blues and his off the frayed cuff comment not only degraded blues but, in describing them, threw in a racial insult that was that close to getting my guff. Now here’s the sad part. I asked him why he didn’t like the taste of blues. “I don’t eat no fish of any kind,” he all but spat out. What’s wrong with that frickin’ picture?
Croakers are spotty but sure hit the spot if they’re where you’re fishing. While driving the beachfront, a number of casters had a slew of them. It was not an across-the-board bite, though. One fellow in Holgate had a dozen in short order.
Weakfishing is still hot if you know the ropes. Even of you’re not sure where the top late-season sites are, simply working the channels near the inlets using pink plastics can get result in the predawn hours right up to rising sun. Even during the day, rogue weaks are in the drifting and jig picture, though blues have their way with the plastics. A 5-pound weak was caught near the Rip in Holgate.
Virtually everyone putting time into surfcasting using whole mullet or strips is landing a fluke or five. Some of the must-go-back flatties are 20 inches and over.
While clamming, I overheard some boaters saying, “Tomorrow we’ll go after some flatfish.” They used that odd word “flatfish” instead of fluke. Still sounds fishy to me.
No, I didn’t get the boat’s reg. I quit being a “game warden” years ago. I am, though, a nonstop keeper of the flame when it comes to guarding the Holgate refuge, as some donuters found out the hard way a couple days back. They had just begun to do insane banks off the berm, kinda like off-the-lips on a wave. It was stupid to begin with since they hadn’t even let air out of their Jeep’s tires. They were only remotely testy when Is topped them. And I pulled a good one out of the hat. I told them I had taken down their license plate and I was taking photos of their tire imprint in the sand and if that imprint was found (I think I used the stupid expression “Acting up”), they would hear from the cops. Hell, I’m sure they use that forensic tire imprint stuff at murder scenes but what are the odds of our local cops going to that degree to go after Holgate joyriders? Still, it sounded really convincing when I said it.