Saturday, July 04, 2009: waves: Small east swell. Winds: hard west.
Well, if you're one of the 19 people who aren’t on Long Beach Island this weekend, be thankful. It’s as shoulder-to-shoulder out there as I can recall – back years, even decades. All of Friday and Saturday, the Causeway was stop-and-go. The number of anglers was equally congested.
I listened to radio chatter and got quite a few fluke reads, mainly goodly numbers of hookups and very poor keeper rates. As noted the past couple reports, it seemed we had way better take-home percentages shortly after the season opened but we’re now back to hyper-frustration for quite a few folks. I had one South End baot angler who went 0 for 25. That's close to 2008 bad.
I had some striped bass tacos from a fish caught mid-Island yesterday. The bass took a clam bait, early a.m. It was that close-to-perfect 28 inches on the nose. It can only be “close” since the cleanest, healthiest striper is somewhere in the 20- to 26-inch range. As soon as more scientific minds prevail, we’ll be able to keep those smaller fish – while likely giving up bass in the 34- to 40-inch fish.
Back to holiday weekend fishing, some folks were zipping out to The Tires and reefs, looking for any remaining black seabass. Fishing for them has been very heavy. A scattering of very decent seabass showed for some folks. I’ll be interested to see if the cleaner bay water will lead to a good crop of seabss in the bay. I always enjoy seining baby seabass (and immediately releasing) since as young fish they look absolutely nothing like the mature fish, instead resembling a type of blenny – blenny: a very small bayside fish that looks somewhat eelish -- and lives its entire life in small compact palces. If you find a small bottle or can that has been on the bottom for a goodly time, pour out the contents and they’ll be a quota of resident blennies inside.
Note: I’ve been emailed some information that the concept of using tires for reefs is not panning out at all; that fish and even smaller organisms related to reef growth can’t tolerate something about the rubber. I’ll be researching this further but I can just about assure you won’t soon be seeing tires for reefs. However, this is not to even remotely criticize the trying of the material. It seemed a great match: too many tires and the a need for reef material.
I have to confirm some of the main problems with the tires before going public with what might be going wrong. I don’t want to give the naysayers any fodder for stopping future reef-building projects. I’m not saying that will happen, per se. I’ve just been through some of the seemingly obligatory negative reaction to most reef-building efforts.
Shark fishing is hot near Little Egg Inlet. It’s a catch-and-release good time, mainly late and after dark.
A short heavy-duty rod and a strong but simple reel works well when sharking from baot. In fact, a really fun retro set-up for smaller sharks is an older bakelite side-plate bait reel married to a 5- to 6-foot translucent fiberglass rod, so popular back in the 50s, sold through the likes of Sears.
For the past couple weeks I’ve been restoring half a dozen slightly greenish colored Fiberglas boat rods. A couple beauties are old Pfluegers but my favorites are from a company called the Fishing Rod Factory, Saint Pierre, Fla. Any one have any info on that place?