Thursday, September 24, 2009:
Imagine a mullet migration where the honored species stays home – or stays wherever? In as disconcerting a development as a baitman could imagine, the mullet showing trickled to a dead nothing yesterday. At what might be epicenter for mullet migration not a single mullet swam the point at Holgate throughout all of dropping and low tides. That’s unheard of. And alarming. You never want to see a prime forage species go entirely AWOL. The alarm has come and faded up Hudson way where a couple baitmen I know saw something they hadn’t seen in their entire long lifetimes – angry customers. They had no mullet. They called me to ask if they should come down here to throw. I told them we could share all the mullet I had: none. I did have some reports of mullet pouring like rain up and IBSP. For a couple days, anyway. Maybe the throwers there caught them all. Not likely.
On a better forage fish note, the spearing run is excellent, per usual. The rainfish have shown ahead of time. There are still peanut bunker thick in the bay. All that points to a late arriving fall gamefish run. Don’t ask. It just does.
As I stood in the water yesterday – to no mullet avail – I could not believe the temperatures. It had to be well above 70 degrees. I know the weather report has it as low as 65. Bull. Despite all me work to conjure up early-arriving fall water temps, the steady east and north winds have blown in a full-blown Indian Summer ocean.
As for fishing, the kingfishing is through the ceiling. It is as good as it’s been in many years, even back to the glory days of kingfishing in the 1950s. It’s not just numbers but sizes. Half a dozen kingfish conquerors say their fish are the biggest they’ve ever see – and then some. Somewhat oddly, these incredible tasting panfish are going all-natural this year. In the past couple falls, they have gone gonzo over fake-o baits but this year they’re all over mud-lovin’ bloodworms while over-obviously ignoring the GULP! offerings. “I’ve been using one rod with bloodworms and one with GULP! and the GULP! rod is doing nothing,” phone-messaged one kingfish specialist. The prime hook zones (I know of) are Ship Bottom, Brant Beach, BH Crest, Beach Haven. Most likely, every LBI beach has kingfish passing by. Obviously, one has to target them with small hooks, small floats and (I feel) small sinkers. I like to do a slow retrieve for them. It keeps the bait visually active and essentially searches out pods of them bottom feeding. Once a certain distance from shore is established as a feeding area, there is a high tendency for that zone to keep biting.
Email: Jay, Although I won't be down until Friday night, some of my fishing buddies called me this afternoon to let me know the kingfish returned today fairly heavy, those there for this week had a great day today on the kingfish. Bob T.”
Bluefishing is decent. Cocktail blues are the call. There are also blues to 3 to 5 pounds zipping about.
Bassing is there, small time. Clams and bunker chunks are attracting schoolie stripers. There are also some better bass near inlets. Oddly, I had a report that the bass have bellies busting with mullet. It could be the mullet are running outside this year.
There seems to be a fine showing of sand eels this year. I say that based on blues and even kingfish having them jammed in-belly. There is no easy way to collect sand eels. I’ve taken them blind throwing cast net (with ¼ inch mesh). That’s so slow it’s not worth it, plus, it only gets the bigger ones. Sand eels might be the best dead bait there is. They were very popular back in the day but an unexplainable decline in the species made them rarer and rarer in shops. They can still be bought frozen and work amazingly well when slowly thawed.
Fluke are so thick as to be totally troublesome. I saw a 20-incher taken on a teaser used ahead of a plug yesterday.
Report emailed: “Wreck fishing has started in earnest. Limited out on seabass, also did well on tog. I was about 14 miles East of Little Egg Inlet. Salted clams and green crabs did the trick.”
Pro report: The summer flounder season may have ended in New Jersey, but the captains of the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association are finding good fishing on the inshore wrecks and artificial reefs.
Captain Adam Nowalski of the “Karen Ann II” reports he plans to continue bottom fishing through the fall and then get into some good striped bass fishing. Currently he reports the inshore water is a bit dirty but there are still good numbers of spike weakfish mixed in with croakers inshore of 50-feet of water. He advises going into the wrecks in deeper water for a nice mix of sea bass, triggerfish, and small bluefish.
Captain John Koegler of the “Pop’s Pride” reports finding good action on the artificial reefs and inshore wrecks. He has been filling his fish box with a mix of big triggerfish, large eels, nice sea bass, and croakers.
Captain Frank Camarda on the “Miss Beach Haven” reported good conditions last Saturday resulting in a good catch of triggers, sea bass, and some “dinner plate” sized porgies. Sunday’s current and wind were poor, but the fishing was still good. In addition to a nice catch of blackfish, some keeper sea bass, and porgies, they also picked of some croakers.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com