Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
An this is exactly how I'd be when posing with a friggin' tiger ...
Below: Even if I was a billionaire I'd be too embarrassed to own this ...
Saturday, April 23, 2016: Weather was spitty this a.m. but blues and bass were showing, north, south and in-between. However, some folks are arriving looking for steady blitzes. That’s not from me, though. You have to put in time, especially in the surf, but the size of the blues and bass, once on-line, makes the wait worth it.
The place to be for blues is in the inlets or the flats inside the bay. Off bayside Beach Haven (Little Egg Harbor), there are blues blasting bait. When waters are calm, the stir can be seen. When the wind is up, it’s best to toss noisy (splashy) plugs to find out where the blues are marauding.
I saw my first ravaged-thumb photo of the young spring bluefish season. It was stitch-worthy. Just because these blues look a little anemic with their low body fat, they’re actually as vicious as ever.
I noticed the victim said “I wasn’t expecting it to swing around and grab me.” That’s sorta what they do.
Below: This is how you hold 'em.
I’m not sure of the scientific accuracy but I’ve long been told that bluefish can see out of water, far better than most fish. If so, a hand moving toward a lure or hook is fair game.
I’m more inclined to think bluefish simply thrash their asses off, biting at anything that enters their mouths. Once anything decent is bitten upon, the blue’s famed foothold-trap clamp down takes place. The problem there is the tendency to want to yank the bitten body part out of the fish’s mouth, doubling the damage done.
Very often, anglers get bitten by a second wind. That’s when a bluefish expends its energy during the fight and goes into something of a stupor -- its jaws clenched steel-hard shut, even if there’s nothing specific being bitten. That stupor gives the dehooker a false sense of control. Then, often out of the blue (pun intended), the fish gets its second wind, loosens its clenched jaws and goes back to biting. The bluefish scars on my hands have mostly been from that second-wind detonation of the bite-anything-in-sight mindset.
Below: This is an actual bluefish bite. And not even a chopper. See http://www.flounderwear.com/bluefish.html
I have never been bitten by a larger bluefish. However, I have seen the worst possible bluefish bites, one leading to a finger amputation of a youngster, maybe 10-ish. OK, so I’ve written about this before but some folks might not have heard it.
It was a boat-fishing incident when (I was later told) the young man was pulling a fish along the deck of the boat by the leader. He pulled the leader upward with his left hand but his right hand stayed in place – and slipped into a huge chopper’s mouth. Screaming and blood ensued. I rushed over and jumped in when the dad was literally pulling the kid’s finger off, trying to yank his son’s hand out of the chopper’s mouth. I recall another guy was wielding about a bait knife intent on decapitating the fish – which, by the way, does squat once a bluefish has locked on. At something of a loss myself, I resorted to a legendarily-told method (first time, for me) of gouging my thumb and forefinger into the fish’s eyes.
Below: A mere bluefish graze ...
Yes, it was gross but by that bloody point a lot worse was happening. They poor kid was spent, spookily so, shock-wise. Me Tasmanian eye-gouge worked, though there’s no guessing if it was my gouging or the fish simultaneously letting loose to re-bite.
The boat returned to the docks. I later heard the finger was lost. I was so adrenaline rushed during the incident, I never saw exactly which finger went missing, but I think it was on the lower end, as in pinky or such.
But back to upcoming angling.
The winds are still a major bitch -- and will be for days to come, mainly out of the north and east. The first break in the winds won’t come until Tuesday … and then only for a short stint.
The winds will slap boat fishing around, which is a bummer since there were signs of a very good fishing just off the beaches (kayaks), within inlets and, especially, bayside. That bayside boat angling will be doable for those who aren’t afraid of snottiness.
Surf casting is highly doable, at last by my ratings. However, getting out there won’t be day at the beach. In other words, it’s too testy to be a sunny, funny family affair
Driving the beaches is fine, with some typical testy spots. A few buggy entrances are skinny, even a couple replenishment entrances. Obviously, fishing/buggy areas around the ongoing Beach Haven replenishment are dead in the water, though the Great Lakes Dredging folks continues to go out of their way to keep as much beachline open as possible.
I’m told we’re close to hearing the state’s decision on whether or not Little Egg Inlet dredged sand can be used for the Holgate phase of the replen. Even then, it is the final say-so of Great Lakes, though I’ve been told off-the-record they’re on-board.
Below: Nice reverse. That would have been another one of those Geico claims you'd dread having to call in ...
Saturday, April 23, 2016: There was a soft opening of the new Causeway bridge this a.m. This is a video of me coming back onto LBI.
It’s a bit odd to look north and see the side of the slightly higher Old Causeway Bridge.
There are still so much work equipment and concrete barriers that you can’t get a feel for what it’ll be like when the re-bridging job is done in a couple years.
The next big step in the project is a major revamp of the old Causeway/Dorland bridge. I had first heard it was going to be razed but I’m wondering if the DOT folks might be rethinking that. That’s not official. As of now, the previous plan to damn-near demolish the old bridge still stands.
As for those fairly impressive glowing overhead lights over the new bridge, they’ll surely do the safety trick, as has been seen since they were turned on a few night back.
I was recently reassured that there will be symbolic “string-of-pearls” lighting gracing the final look of the new Causeway. That lighting will be facing inward – toward traffic -- and LED-powered. They’ll be for nostalgic looks only, not to actually enhance the lighting.
NOTE (!): One glaring problem I see with the new bridge is the rainwater run-off grating systems. The grates, in the right lane (currently the only lane), are sunken in and offer a nasty jolt when driven over by trucks and trailers. I can even see them becoming a possible lose-of-control hazard on a raining day -- and folks driving 65 mph.