Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
HEADIN' TO HOLGATE ... SOON
Friday, August 17, 2012: As forecast, the southerlies have kicked in with fairly typical summer aplomb, gusting into the mid-teens – and could pick up as a cold front approaches.
For now, the ocean is holding its own with surfside water tamps generally in the low 70s (2 p.m.). As for any potential upwelling – which can knock the water down 20 degrees or more, on short order -- it depends on the duration of the southerlies and how quickly things shift a bit to the southwest, as is forecasted. With the ultra-mild water temps this summer, even brown and heavily upwelled waters don’t hang around long once the wind shifts to west, north or east.
It sure seems we’re seeing an influx of bigger fluke, especially in the ocean and along the surfline. I have to think bigger flatties, including some bona fide doormats (to near 10 pounds) are fully fattening on the spot and small kingfish.
By the by, even a 15-inch fluke can easily open wide enough to suck down a good-sized spot.
I can only speak for the fluke I’m taking, but there seems to a be a high percentage of “swallows,” as in gullet-hooked fish. That’s often a sign of aggressive feeding. And though fluke are always on the feed, they get a lot more open-mouthed when feeding on faster prey, like spot, kingfish and such.
Fluke are among the fish most adept at emptying their bellies in a crisis. If you’re cleaning a healthy fat fish and its belly is empty, odds are it regurgitated stomach contents while being fought.
HOLGATE HAPPENINGS: We’re approaching the opening of Holgate on or about September 1.
I get so excited about it opening I’ll begin getting two-week (to go) nervous stomach. This year, the nervousness is less in anticipation of getting away from it all by driving to the Rip and more about what is in store, longer range, from Sept 1 through Dec. 1.
Here’s a recent mail and my worrywart response: “Jaymann - With the days getting shorter and the nights getting cooler - my mind is on one thing - Striped Bass and Holgate. Do you have any updates on Holgate? When will it open? How's the entrance? …”
(Well, Dave, I'm very worried. The entrance is worse than ever. That said, it might be time to seek alternative entrances. Yes, they exist -- end of West Avenue, the road to the west and parallel to the Boulevard.
This might well be the last fall before serious changes must be made down there, namely replenishment -- possibly under "emergency repair" criteria. That task could fall on the state or (best) the fed/state/county combo effort, as is now taking place with the larger beach replenishment projects.
Right now, I see it being opened then closed then opened then closed -- until it's more of a daily strain than the fun and relaxation we all want and need. Plus, that opened/closed scenario costs LBT a mint. They just won't foot the bill -- or the public works manpower -- much longer. j-mann)
IMPORTANT: I got my first laptop computer and will be getting a sweet GoPro video camera – all in an effort to memorialize Holgate. My thinking is again sorta doomsy. I want to capture images of the good times and scenes from the South End so when the time comes for me to convince legislators (feds, state – anyone who will listen) to save the south end, I’ll have some stunning visual evidence of what life is like down there. I could use help recording the good times, so please shoot via cameras and phones when you’re into hot Holgate times. Family shots are worth their weight in gold.
On a more optimistic note, we do have a 28-day shot at what should be real good fluking along the Holgate frontbeach. I have to think the Rip and even the west peninsulas will show fluke. The action near the inlet will be very tide oriented (slack to rising always rules) while the cuts on the frontbeach will be opened for fluking business all day – and into the night.
Holgate should also be the best place to net spot (blind casting) for those wanting to pen a bunch for use when bigger and badder bass arrive. Being able to quickly get them into aerated containers is essential. If you want to just nab a couple/few spot, you can live-line them for larger fluke.
I’ll note again that I’ve frozen spot for bait and it sure didn’t seem to knock ‘em dead when thawed. Even the bluefish we’re all that interested. I think spot might lack the oil needed for an appealing thaw. I mention this so folks won’t go netting a ton of spot convinced their bait worries for the fall are over. However, spot as fresh chunk bait? That’s a whole other matter, especially if sharking.
Speaking of which, back in the days when Holgate didn’t close for the summer, shark fishing near the Rip was huge – as were many of the sharks. I can’t imagine there won’t be some serious men in gray when the Rip is first open to buggies. A couple/few spot carcasses run up a steel leader and over the hook …
If anyone wants to befriend me on Facebook, I hope to be shooting out reports now and again. No, I’m not going to be burning hot bite location. Mainly, I hope to update other Holgate-ists to beach conditions, especially dangerous rising tides and such. To befriend me, just type my name on Facebook, with New Jersey.