Sunday, May 24, 2009:
Well, the weather was not overly cooperative for the weekend and the bass were equally no-showish. There were some tkane, for sure, but the percentage of fish when couple with the massive number of anglers out there was not great. I’ll have weekend weigh-ins in here tomorrow. I took a couple days off but have to work tomorrow -- when most of you are taking in the last day of Memorial Day weekend/Monday.
Fluking looked large – but slow. Shops from BL B&T to Scott’s had some serious doormats hit the scales. Roughly speaking, they caught were near inlets or well inside the bay. This makes sense when factoring in the downright winterish ocean water temps (some readings as low as 44 degrees). Top weigh-ins were anywhere from 6 pounds to pushing 10 pounds. I saw an interesting rundown at the BL B&T. Part of it, written by Bob M. read, “ … Mark Cornelius boated an 8 lb. 4 oz. doormat just hours into the season, and he caught it on a shad dart, believe it or not! The inlet yielded a couple real impressive fish as Tom Parr also boated a nice one at 9 lb. 8 oz. on a live herring. The area in front of Gulf Point near buoy 40 also saw some action as a couple 5 lb. fluke came in from over in that area, as well as some good fish taken around the High Bar Harbor cove….”
Possibly the brightest bite led to reports of good to excellent black seabass fishing. The Tires and similar nearshore structure areas, particularly the southern nearshore zones, are holding these big spawn-ready fish.
Surfcasters I talked to spoke of serious lousy stripering. The mid-Island suds areas I checked saw a very significant gathering of anglers, so the lousiness was felt in a widespread way. Here’s an email indicating the south wasn’t showing stripers any better. “Hi Jay
Drowned clams and fresh bunker Sat afternoon and pre-dawn to 9am today Sun 24 May surfside in Beach Haven. Had lots of fishing company. Looked like nobody was catching anything. Still a blessing to be out there fishing. Happy Memorial Day Jay.
Another report from beach areas slightly north of middle. “Tried for hours using clams and bunker. I was questioning all the reports of good striped bass fishing until some locals came by and showed by some picture of fish they had taken only a few days before. Once again, a day late and dollar short. Hell, I’d even settle for that short. I’ll be back at it next week. Please keep the reports coming. I have no way of keeping up with things except through your website and fishing column in the paper. A.S.”
I had a couple emails asking about what the commercial netters were catching near the beachline. I can only guess – by the info given me – they were on bunkers (for tackle shop bait), small blues or weakfish.
Note: if you’re a member of a club or organization holding a fishing tourney, the website www.fishlbi.com is being developed to show the results of the events. I’ve noticed even the most excellent clubs/organizations go to extremes to get folks into their fishing tourneys but fall way short in publicizing who won actually and what exactly they caught. For more info on getting tourney results to a larger readership, drop me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Professional report: Note: If you have a charter or headboat and want to email reports, I’ll try to get them all in.
Lots of stuff to report this week. It's been busy, as it always is leading up to Memorial Day, with five trips over the past six days. Back bay fishing is suffering a bit right now from the large mats of slime weed and eelgrass flowing in and out with the tides, but when you can fish through it there are some really nice fish to be had. And ocean fishing for stripers appears to be ready to get started in earnest.
The week started on Monday, with Jim and Gene Karaman in from Lansdale PA with their old buddy Bill scoring a load of 5-10 pound bluefish on light tackle from the inlet channels. Wednesday saw Bloomsbury's John Oliver back this spring with son John and friend Gary landing five bass, topped by young John's 35" beauty, plus several large blues on the outgoing tide. Thursday the slime weed really took over in the main channels, but Pennsylvanian Mike Hoffman and fishing partner Bill still managed to pull two bass to 31" plus seven or eight blues out of Double Creek before we moved to the inlet land and release eight fat tog before heading in.
Friday and Saturday I took advantage of the light southwest breezes and relatively calm seas to head out into the ocean off Island Beach in hopes of trolling up some larger bass, and found some real beauties. On Friday the Steve Mastej party was out with me and saw Jim McEwan wrestle in his first striped bass, a massive 43 pound cow stuffed with sea robins despite the abundance of bunker in the area. Then in Saturday's dense fog, regulars George Selph and Bob Keller got in on the action with George landing our largest bass of the year at 45 pounds and Bob adding a personal best 42 pounder to the box.
So it was a pretty good week overall, with some real quality fish (as shown in the attached pictures) coming over the sides. Hopefully this action will stick with us for a few more weeks, and with fluke season finally opening up we now have a few more options. Hope to see you all soon.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
Here’s a write-up of a broadcast report:
“This is Fish Radio. I'm Laine Welch: Sea-going superstitions are wanted for a leading magazine.
Fish Radio is brought to you by the At-Sea Processors Association. APA fishing companies hold job fairs and support training programs to promote good paying job opportunities for Alaskans in the Alaska pollock industry. Learn more about fishing and processing jobs at www.atsea.org
Get hooked on a career in fishery sciences! Check out the summer intern programs for high schoolers at Sea Grant's Future Alaskans in Fisheries and Marine Science web site! Find out more at www.alaskaseagrant.org Ð
Fishermen are notorious for being superstitious Ð now a New York magazine wants to feature their stories.
'The general psychology of superstitions Ð why people believe strange things. '
Matt Hutson is a science writer researching the psychology of superstition for Psychology Today, a magazine published for general readers for over 40 years.
'I've been exploring this for some time Ð what's fascinating is that even people who are skeptical, or say they are skeptical, like myself, who say these things are baloney, will still do them anyways Ð certain rituals or avoid certain taboos, or saying certain things or performing certain actions that might bring bad luck.
Hutson says research shows that in unpredictable and dangerous situations, such as fishing, people use superstitions as a way of finding some control.
' When they don't have any real control Ð they try and rely on certain habits. In the fishing industry, you can't predict your catches, so there is a lot of unpredictability. There is also a lot of danger and when people are stressed out, or there is danger, that also increases reliance on superstition.
The strangest superstition to date, Hutson says is a taboo against bananas on board, likely due to deadly spiders hiding in the bunches. He will use fishermen's stories in Psychology Today's magazine and website, and perhaps a book.
' I'm trying to dig up good stories from fisherman Ð maybe someone who left on a Friday, and a bunch of strange things started happening so he changed his mind about that one. '
Send fishing superstitions to Matt Hutson via email -- email@example.com or call (212) 260-7210 x 207
Fish Radio is also brought to you by Ocean Beauty Seafoods Ð , proud sponsor of Alaska native snowboarder Callan Chythlook-Sifsof as she aims for the 2010 winter Olympics in Vancouver. In Kodiak, I'm Laine Welch.”