Monday, July 06, 2009: Waves: Small. Water temps: back to a normalish upper 60s. Water clarity: Very good.
Still no glowing holiday weekend reports. Some bigger bass were taken, singularly, on the beach and near inlets. Fish to 35 pounds hit the scales but most were very rogue-ish, as in the famed one-and-done resident-fish hookup.
Fluke are everywhere and nowhere. Everywhere in number, nowhere in take-homes. I heard the expected bitching and moaning over ratios so lousy many anglers swear nearby boat anglers were keeping too-small fish. Hey, I’ve said it before and apply it doubly so now: Either you’re out there fishing to have fun or you’re out there to stalk possible fluke law violators to get bitterly frustrated over. You tell me which is more fun. And, no, you can’t do both. Once you’re even remotely moved over to the undercover agent side of things, tensions are way too high to simultaneously enjoy angling.
Oddity of the week: Reports of gray triggerfish out there in numbers last seen in the days of Robin Hood. I have no idea what that means except there is such a load of triggerfish out there that snorkelers can shoot them by the stringerful, in nothing flat. These triggers are literally swarming around the Old South Jetty in B.L. I have to think they’re also drifting overt toward the new South Jetty, likely the south-facing end of that jetty.
These super-tasting tropical visitors are purely bait-eaters. No artificials will fool them. The trick is to suck them in, mainly via a chum line of grass shrimp, which gets them going crazy. The problem is that method is really tough off the jetty end. I was wondering if a simple bobber and bait technique, from the beach, might get anglers into them. Of course, a kayak approach to the area, followed by an anchor up (yes, you should have an anchor on your kayak) and the prescribed grass shrimp chum would surely work. Also, when conditions are calm enough, you can ease a larger vessel into that Old South Jetty area. I take absolutely no responsibility if you don’t know your stuff and end up with Barnegat Light lifeguards helping you off your stranded boat and onto the sand. Taking a safer tack, I’ll bet those triggers are showing on the north side of the North Jetty. Amazingly, there are probably some anglers who wonder who would go out of their way for triggerfish. Not only do they fight like blackfish but also the flavor of triggerfish baked in the round (whole) is the upper level of top-shelf.
Here is the charter boat report from Beach Haven.
Summer like weather and sunny skies finally arrived in Beach Haven. The captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association have been producing some enjoyable fishing trips for their customers lately.
Captain Adam Nowalsky of the “Karen Ann II” reports the fishing this past week was as good as the gorgeous weather. One trip he took the Greg Vilardo party to the Barnegat Ridges for a day of bluefishing. After good reports, the bluefish action there has slowed and moved north. Captain Adam tried chumming, bait, jigging, and trolling, all to no avail. There was excitement when they hooked up either a big shark or tuna that took all 300 yards of line before they could pull the anchor. They finished the day bottom fishing for about 75 sea bass, mostly throwbacks.
On another trip Captain Adam had the Preis party out for a day of bottom fishing. They caught a good number of sea bass to 3.5 pounds, and with 40 in the box, made a few fluke drifts. They found no fluke but did pick up a couple more sea bass drifting.
On the 4th of July, the “Karen Ann II” made a half day trip for Jericho Pacho and his family. They had steady catching all morning of tog to 6-pounds and sea bass. Jericho landed one of the season's best sea bass, at 4-pounds, 12-ounces.
Captain Fran Verdi on the “Dropoff” and the “Cousins” has been finding good numbers of black sea bass. He reports “drop and reel” fishing in various depths of water. Most of the fish have been just under the 12.5 inch legal size, but he has been finding enough keepers to satisfy his parties. At times he also picks up ling, bluefish, and fluke.
Captain Fran had a couple of “open boat” trips over the weekend and found good numbers of fish on some wrecks rather than fishing the artificial reefs. On the 4th he moved into deeper water and found larger fish. He says if the legal keeper size was still 12-inches, he would be limiting out.
Sunday was more of the same but he provided an enjoyable day of fishing for the Paul party and their 8 year old son on his first saltwater fishing trip.
Captain Dave Wittenborn on the “Compass Rose” had the Mike Kirkup crew out for sea bass and fluke at the Garden State South and Little Egg Reefs. With water temperatures in the 70’s they had a steady pick of fluke and sea bass until the winds died. Fishing around the Research Buoys produced more nice fluke including a 22-incher. For the day they caught over 20 fluke, 5 keepers, and several nice sea bass.
On Saturday the water temperatures cooled for Captain Dave, and the fishing action slowed although they managed a couple keeper fluke. Sunday’s action rebounded with a rise in water temperatures, and the “Compass Rose” had fluke up to 24-inches.
Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” reports several decent trips over the July 4 holiday. Captain Vic had the boat on Thursday on a wreck trips resulting in over 40 sea bass and some very large porgies.
Captain Sheppard had a party of 8 anglers wreck fishing out Friday in the morning with a catch of over 50 sea bass, bluefish, and fluke, including one monster sea bass. Captain Tom Masterson ran the afternoon trip on Friday also producing decent fishing.
Strong winds made drifting difficult for Captain Carl on Saturday, and he anchored for a good catch. He also did some successful drifting in the inlet for fluke on the way in.
Captain Tom had the same wind problems on Sunday with a party including 6 young children. Once again anchoring made things fishable, and they caught fish.
The “Miss Beach Haven” and Captain Frank Camarda fished the reefs most of Saturday with a fair amount of shorts caught with some nice sea bass and some ling. The pool winner was “Wall Street Richie” with a 2.5-pound fluke. On Sunday there were not as many shorts with sea bass up to 3.5 pounds. Pool winner was a 5-pound fluke.
The bay fishing trips during the week for Captain Frank have been mostly shorts with some keepers for the kids. The big fish of the week was caught on Friday and tipped the scale at 6-pounds.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com
Email and response: Hi Jay,
I love your blog, I'm glad I found it.
1.) When the debris washed up on shore last week, a lot hit my beach in
North Beach. I picked through it for hours and hauled 3 full bags of
trash off the beach. There was no medical waste in it, other than
inhalers, band aids etc. I'm annoyed by alarmist reports like this:
You nailed it. They should have asked you.
2.) Next, the surf is full of bugs that swim. Today was full of them.
Normally they don't bother me but today they were so thick, they were
crawling on me, and were in my pockets when I got home!
What are they, and do they have any impact on surf fishing?
Thanks. You are my #1 bookmark now.
(Jim, I'm pissed as all get-out over those malicious medical waste lies recently published under the cloak of a quote by a firsthand observer. I think that observer must have had some sagging summer rentals in a Pocono property. If it had been medical waste like that BS in the quote, I'd be the first screaming bloody murder about it.
Those frisky little buggish swimmers into your britches are good old isopods. They’ve been happily swimming around for millions of years and will be around for billions more.
For years, they can be very scarce in nearshore waters, then move in like overly grabby gangbusters.
Ironically, this current showing very likely relates to the first part of your email. They very likely came in on flotsam and were smart enough to abandon ship when things got way too shallow.
Though isopods are pretty decent swimmers for their size and shape (not that hydrodynamically sound), they are the ultimate hitchhikers. Even swimming fullblast they can’t cover more than 50 feet a day – then along comes a wave and pushes them 150 feet backwards. So, for the long run, they jump aboard most anything that passes by, including humans. The ones in our waters are now a long way from deeper water and trying like crazy to grab a ride.
That brings up the trickier in-water question about these freeloaders: do they just grab on for a ride or do they also go a step further and also take a taste of that upon which they're riding?
While some studies suggest isopods that report to mounting humans are only in it for the transportation angle, many surfers and I beg to differ. We’ve felt both the crawly grab isopods use when just trying to hold on but we’ve also felt a much more mosquito-ish feeling when an isopod has comfortably settled under the waste band of a bathing suit. It sure feels like an “Ow!” taste-test in those cases.
Even the friskiest of isopods present absolutely no danger to humans in the water, unless (distastefulness alert) one happens to be down and out for the long count, as in seriously deceased – in which case, I’m guessing isopods are not one’s main concern when juxtaposed to trying to explain why you only went to church 4 time over a 50-year period.
Isopod shine when it comes to taking out the trash, so to speak. They attack dead meat with vigor; fortunately, it's almost always dead marine organisms.
By the by, it’ll now take a serious storm event to get them off our back this summer.