Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
“Hey, there’s no size limit and no bag limit, so I shot the bugger.”
Friday, August 24, 2012:
This is a tad odd, getting this many low-wind days in succession. Even when there is a breeze, it’s blowing easterly. What we still have are some sizeable ground swells – even though I’m hearing “less than one foot” on weather reports. Go stand in the shorebreak and see if it’s less than one foot – as you pull sand grains out of your teeth.
The weather service is holding firmly to forecasts of hard winds by late tomorrow. There may be a window of fishing opportunity first thing tomorrow but small craft might want to hang near the beach.
East winds that hard can really blown in some grass – and surface-floating junk. Let’s hope nothing too disgusting arrives.
There is virtually no hope for going offshore tomorrow. Sunday is doable wind-wise but residual wind and ground swells will be brutal.
Interestingly, hard onshore winds when mixed with thunderstorms can create waterspouts. These are more visually spooky than physically dangerous, though you don’t want to get nailed by one when sitting in a smaller vessel.
For the first time in maybe a decade, small mahi-mahi (dolphin fish) are hanging right near the beach. Last big showing, I saw some caught by grass shrimp anglers chumming while anchored off the North Jetty, Barnegat Inlet. I’ve never heard of one taken off the beach. Some were recently taken as near in as The Tires. These are a couple pounds, tops.
I got some pics of nice triggerfish taken by spear near Barnegat Inlet.
Also, I saw some very nice (eating-sized) black drum caught near the Big Bridge, Manahawkin Bay. I now have to believe the “striped” fish seen by divers snorkeling near the Big Bridge pilings were mainly drum, not sheepshead. I’m sure there is an occasional sheepshead somewhere near those spans.
As I like to note, the state record sheepshead -- an astounding 17-pounds, 3-ounces -- was taken under the Big Bridge by Paul Lowe, in 2003. Since then a few others have been caught there, the largest around 8 pounds, photographed and released.
Constant recall: Back in the day, I often fished sheepshead off bridges near Merritt Island, Florida. Everyday found every bridge top packed to pushing with anglers. A mere three-pound sheepshead was so rare it would be the talk of the all area bridge-tops for weeks. Seeing a 17-pounder being pulled to the surface there would clear the entire bridge top of anglers – fleeing in terror.
BERT DAYS: While on the subject of state records, I always smile when I read the 11-2 pound state record spotted seatrout caught by a dearly departed buddy, Bert Harper -- as cool a guy as you ever want to know. He caught that trout in Holgate.
I bring that up sea trout, a.k.a speckled trout, because I think we might see some this year, due to the showing of so many other southern fishes this summer.
I won’t get into the debate over sea trout and weakfish being the same. Not only are they scientifically different – weakfish, Cynoscion regalis; sea trout Cynoscion nebulosus – but they’re actually noticeable different in appearance. The sea trout is far less colorful, i.e. nebulosus. The weakfish lives up to its regalis scienftic name, as in royally sparkling.
We get so many weakfish here that most locals anglers can immediately spot something somehow different when a sea trout is caught. And we see one every year or so, almost always down Holgate way.
Back to my Florida days, I almost exclusively targeted sea trout when jigging or shrimp live-lining Indian and Banana rivers. Although a pretty fish – and having those same fangs – they pale when compared to our spawning weakies.