Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, July 17, 2011:
Anybody cashing in on the Barnegat Inlet “keeper bite”? There has/had been a biomass of major flatties coming aboard fluking vessel at an unheard of 25 percent keeper rate. Obviously, that action can fly the coop in a matter of hours but it had been holding as of this typing. I have to think the sweltering back bay waters become tough for larger gamefish during low tides. The predatory bayside fish near the inlet hang in the deeper water between the north and south jetties. And those are officially “jetties,” since they mark a navigable channel between them.
During incoming tides, the fluke seem to be riding the cooler water deep into the bay. Near Barnegat Inlet, the Sailboat area all the way over to BB, BI and 42, have had really fine fishing even during lower tides, as the deeper water draws the fish to the coolness.
I’ve had south end fluke reports running the entire extreme gamut, from scalding hot to piss poor. I should add that there were loads of skunk reports amid the stellar one on the north end also. Seems that skunk trippers have consistently met way too many skates.
I plugged a couple jetties to the tune of one handheld bass, couldn’t have been more than 16 inches. That “handheld” is my way of describing a bass with a girth so small you can just reach around the fish to hold and dehook. Such fish have no shoulders at all.
WMIT ALERT: It’s time to seriously think about the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club’s White Marlin Invitational. It’s only a week and a half away -- and the canyons seem super primed – super-heated -- to accommodate the gamefish needs of the event.
I’m among the first to understand that urge to hold out until the weather begins to distantly hint at what it’ll have in store between the tourney dates of July 27 through the 30th. Still, the late fee is $200 above the $1,000 standard entry fee. And there’s always the chance of “missing the boat” entirely, should the event max out. THIS TOURNAMENT IS LIMITED TO THE FIRST 100 PAID PARTICIPANTS. Remember, this is the first year the WMIT will be part of the IGFA OFFSHORE WORLD CHAMPIONSHIP and a TOUR STOP for the WORLD BILLFISH SERIES. I’m not sure what that might mean in terms of an entrant increase but the days of dilly-dallying until the very last instant could be over.
Not that it’s anything more than a shot in the weather dark, but it seems the lighter winds could prevail into early August. Mariners have happily noticed the kindness of the winds so far this summer. You might recall that recent past summers the southerlies had honked to the point of near ruin for charters and such. Not this year. I actually had seen this low-wind set-up coming via long-term weather maps that indicated a marked back off of jet stream energy and an accompanying decrease in the likelihood of Bermuda high pressure systems (and their hard south winds) developing. Of course, overly light winds, i.e. doldrums, in the canyons can have their own negative impacts on trolling.
Just a brief report this week as not too much has changed since last week's report. Fluke fishing in the back bay continues to be solid with everyone landing dozens of fish in relatively short periods of time. The downside is that the ratio of "shorts" to keepers is increasing and we're having to wade through a lot more fish just to put a few in the box. I put "shorts" in quotes because I have a hard time calling a 16-17" fluke short regardless of what our inane regulations say.
Thursday I had Fisherman magazine's (and ESPN radio host) Tom Pagliaroli and Denise Marie out with me to check out our ultralight approach to this fishery. With the wind cranking from the northeast at 25+ all morning, conditions on the bay were a bit sporty with solid 3-4 footers closely stacked, not exactly ideal conditions for fishing with ultralights. But with a game crew like these two and a little help from a drift anchor, 50-60 flatties came over the side before we called it a day. Friday was just the reverse, when Bordentown's Tim Loretangeli and buddy Fred were out in absolutely dead calm conditions where we struggled to get a drift but still managed to lift 70-75 fluke over the side.
We're going to continue chasing these fish with ultralights for the next few weeks, and still have several dates open the last week in July and first week of August for anyone interested in giving it a shot. ntil next week.
Capt. Jack Shea "Rambunctious" Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters www.BarnegatBayFishing.com
BSC Fluke and Sea Bass Tournament – The Berkeley Striper Club will be sponsoring a fluke and sea bass tournament from 8/13 – 8/21. There will be categories for shore caught fluke, boat caught fluke and boat caught sea bass. Those entering may fish from the shore as well as charter, party and private boats. The cost is $20. per person, per category. There will be cash prizes for 1st-3rd place in each category with a 75% payout. The profit will be split between our fisheries defense and youth education funds. The boundaries will include all state waters and federal waters off the New Jersey Coast. There will be several weigh-in stations along coastal Monmouth and Ocean Counties.For complete details contact Paul Haertel at 973-943-8201, email him at email@example.com or visit www.berkeleystriperclub.org.