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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Tuesday Oct. 9, 07 -- Wind whips up a storm -- fish get active, too

Tuesday, October 09, 2007: waves: Very large by late day; the swells went from almost totally flat at midday to five feet and larger by dark, all the result of sudden east winds that reached 20 mph and stayed there.

Winds played a bit of a dirty trick on surfcasters and boat anglers alike. Midday, the gusts came on like gangbusters, catching quite a few folks off guard, per radio chatter I was listening to. On the beach side of things, it was quite interesting on the brow of the blow. The initial stir had bait, blues and bass mixing together in a feverish chase-and-chomp scenario. The blues were a somewhat odd 3- to 5-pound size. I say “odd” because we’ve had those one-pounders forever, then the slammer showed up but this is the first of the midsized models. Apparently they haven’t been deprived of meals. The quite-a-few I saw caught were really plumped out.

Bass were showing on many beaches, north to south. These were not big fish, though a few better ones were taken. I’m guessing there were some entries into the Classic. The bass were blasting surface plugs. Poppers were the main offering, especially when the winds demanded something that could be thrown into the teeth of the onshore.

Massive bait showings cold be seen even as the surf picked up. In Holgate literally shoals of mullet were passing near the beach. When they paused, bunker by the millions marched through.

Loaded e-question of the day: “hey Jay...what is your preferred standard bluefish bait rig? with wire or heavy heavy mono? Thanks! Chris”

The schools of thought are so divergent that no answer seems safe from critics. My favorite all-time bluefish rig – from the good old days when I actually challenged the leaderboard in the “Derby” – was a large oblong natural cork float with a three inch piece of straight wire wrapped through a 10/0 hook. The top of the set-up had the metal wire twisted into a loop for tying onto a shock cord. I’m not sure who made it but I’d get it at Bruce and Pats. To this day, I feel that fine little rig had the best landing to bite-off ratio.

Obviously there are loads of bluefish rigs, usually with floats of some sort. Many with bells and whistles, ad nauseum.

However, in recent years, I’ve seen huge blues taken on rigs meant for bass; rigs bottom fished on a fish-finder.

The trickier part of your question relates to the old wire or mono debate. It has been going on for decades.

While wire seems so logical for vicious-toothed blues, there are many top casters who hate possibly spooking a monster striper with bare metal. Even bigger tourney-grade blues seem suspicious of too much metal.

However (and it is a huge however), I have yet to see a monofilament below 50-pound test that a slammer can’t bite through. So many folks make rigs with the likes of 80-pound test line or greater.

The criticism there focuses on the thick mono that becomes easily as seeable as the forsaken metal wire.

One of the odder mono theories is using thin mono that, and I quote, “Because it gets between the teeth so the blues can’t bite it off.” Ohhh-K.

I think there is potential for a thinner high-tech mono lines, say, PowerPro Fiber Braided Line with an 80-pound-test rating but the diameter of 20-pound. Of course, just because it has a high-test breaking point doesn’t mean it can’t be easily bitten. Still, I’ll bet a real decent bluefish rig – still amenable to concurrent bass fishermen -- could be made of some high-tech line. However, you then have the odd problem of line limpness. Face-it, thicker mono allows some rigidity which keep a hook from winding around a leader or line.

I’ve gotten some incredible emails of late. They are always very appreciated. I’ll try to get them all in here in the coming days.

Emails:

Hi Jay. Cindy and I fished yesterday from 3:30 - 7:30 pm just south 
of town. We had 3 sea robin and 8 bluefish to about 4lbs. We were 

using mullet and clams for bait, with most fish taking the mullet.
We saw two separate schools of bait pass us by that were being
pursued by what we assumed to be blues. They were just out of
casting range. After hitting the beach, we went bay-side for a half
hour or so and caught a few small snapper blues. They were just
going nuts, munching on all the bait hanging around the pilings of
the dock we were fishing. Small white soft plastics were best for
this fishing.

Nick H

HI JAY

JUST A SHORT NOTE TO LET YOU KNOW I CAUGHT MY FIRST KEEPER OF THE YEAR YESTERDAY. ON THE 13ST BEACH, ON CLAMS. WHAT MADE IT VERY SPECIAL IS THAT MY WIFE WAS WITH ME FOR THE FIRST TIME ON THE BEACH WHEN I ACTUALY CAUGHT A KEEPER. I HOPE THIS SEASON IS A GOOD ONE. KEEP UP THE GOOD WORK, I REALLY ENJOY YOUR WEBSITE.THANKS AGAIN, LARRY S. FROM MANAHAWKIN

Great blog sent my way:

“Good Morning Jay,

Returned home Friday afternoon from a ten day fishing vacation in BL with my Dad. Tough getting up at 5:00 this morning, and not walking through the dunes to my favorite spot to start plugging.

I wanted to tell you what happened to me on Tuesday afternoon 10/2.

After plugging the first two hours of daylight at LL, where I had 6 hits, hooked 4 bass, and never landed one of them, I returned to the rental to share breakfast and stories with Dad. I had a big job to complete for my business, and to get out of my mind so that I could fully relax. After breakfast, Dad went out to LL to fish, and I sat down to do my ordering. At 1:00 the job was done, Dad had returned and lunch was finished. Grabbing my plugging rod, I headed through the dunes to fish the outgoing tide on the bar.

Reaching the beach, I was amazed at the beauty of the surf, its high waves gray/blue on top, with turquoise bases. Alone, seeing no one else anywhere to the north or south of me, I proceeded to the bar, and began to cast and work my blue over white 1.5 oz. Polaris Popper through the waves to my feet for another cast. It was a joy to swim that plug in imitation of a wounded baitfish. There is just nothing as stimulating to me when working plugs, as the working of a popper into a wave while I try to take advantage of the curl, the top of the wave or the backwash. All of those spots have produced wonderful topwater strikes for me.

As the plug swam into an incoming wave to perfection--the plug swimming in front of the wave, then being caught in the inside of the wave's curl, a great bass' head and front half of the body suddenly appeared as the fish struck the plug from the side. A huge splash surrounded the plug together with the green/brown and silvery fish's head in a tremendous strike, and luckily, a good hook set.

The fish made a long and strong first run, as I exclaimed aloud to myself, "that's a big bass!" Then came the concentration as I fought to keep control of the fish through the line's tension, and follow all of its moves with a counter move. Man! There is nothing like the first run of a big fish as you watch the line seemingly melt off your spool, hear the spool's turning against the drag and feel the power of the fish through the rod.

At the end of the first run the fish came toward the surface, and way out there there was a great swirl as the fish stroked its tale in the waves. The fish was a long way out there, and I hoped that everything would hold, and that I could land it.

Shortly thereafter, the fish began to swim into me, and then south. Another brief run, head shaking, a moment of loss of tension in the line, then the relief when I tightened the line, and the fish was still on. From that one scary limp-line-moment on, the fish stayed tight, and I was able to gain line, and work the fish into the close to shore breakers. Finally, the fish came through the last waves, but it took four more waves, and backwashing of the fish, before I was finally able to carry it up to the dry sand. Again, I talked aloud to myself about what a big bass it was.

Beautiful in its large head, great mouth, and perfectly colored and long striped body ending in a wide tail, I couldn't believe my good luck. It measured 41 inches long, and most likely weighed 22-25lbs. Carefully carrying it in my hands and feeling its heft, I lowered it into a pool of water left behind by the hightide until it began to breath strongly. Then I carried it to the surf's edge, and releasing it, watched its great tail stoke that fine fish back to its home.

No one else saw it or the fight. I didn't have my camera with me, but the pictures of that fish, the strike and the fight are forever etched into my mind.

Tight Lines and Surging Fish,

Tom R

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