Sunday, November 23, 2008: Waves: 1-2 feet; low current. Water clarity: Good to very good.
Sure, it was cold but it wasn’t all that bad once you got used to the briskness. Of course, those anglers who got cozy inside their buggy – or used same to stand beside as a wind block – had no trouble hangin’ out for the final day of the Classic. Now comes the search for schoolie stripers, famed for showing up at the close of each day.
The bass were pretty much a no-show for the final laps of the Classic. That comes as a surprise to me since there seemed to be indicators the bigger bass were not only present but out there – nearshore -- in fine numbers. Those fish stayed in the boating zone. West winds are famous for driving the stripers just out of surf casting range. Unfortunately, it seems the offshores are settling in for the long run.
Here are a couple pro reports proving the boat bite: “Wow! Just another sensational "Reel Fantsea" week of Fall fishing! The catches averaged 20-30 fish per angler with it being a mix of striped bass to 30" and giant blues in the high teens. The tell all as far as how the action was is that all lunches made it back to the dock uneaten or were eaten on the way in as there was no let up in the searing action. The week started off with an Open boat with Regular Cy Collins joined by new comer Jim Ruffi fishing under the vast bird play that stretched for miles. The guys were fast into fish once we located the huge schools off of North Beach from there the rods never stopped bending until it was time to head in. Regular Jay Simmons joined by Mark Hansen slammed striper after striper on spot and artificials just East of the inlet from there it was a run South again to locate more bird play to find big slammer blues and striped bass, we ended the day back on the South bar scoring striper after striper on spot and artificials. ~ Capt. Steve Purul, Reel Fantsea Charters 609-290-1217.”
The forecast strong winds and gale warnings kept us pretty much tied to the dock early in the week, but when we finally made it back out again the outstanding fall striper fishing was still going strong. Friday morning I had Jimmy Pipala, Scott Fritz and Pete Haupt aboard trying to squeeze a little fishing in before the latest front roared in, and the fish welcomed them with open fins. In a little more than four hours, never more than a quarter mile from the inlet, the guys landed almost 60 stripers before we lost the tide and the wind started kicking up. Today I had George Selph and Bob Keller back, battling bone chilling cold and ice all morning. While the fishing wasn't quite as intense as Friday, we still ended up landing over 30 bass by mixing it up with live spot and diamond jigs close to the inlet. This is fall fishing at its finest! Two trips, almost 100 bass, and stripers on the Thanksgiving menu! Bundle up and enjoy the fun.
We'll be continuing our charter schedule for one more week and wrap things up after Thanksgiving weekend, so this is probably our next to last report for the season. Have a great Thanksgiving everyone, and please be safe.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters
I'm driving in from central PA for the next couple of days and trying to decide whether to concentrate solely on stripers or to devote some time to searching for tog on jetties, BL rocks. Do you know if the blackfish are still inshore? Thanks, Jeff
(The tog are in the house -- so to speak. They are on virtually every beachfront groin and also on the inlet jetties. However, the outflow of bay water from this bitter cold snap could have them moving out of the inlet area faster than expected. It was 20 degrees below normal for three days running. Water out of the bay is 40 -- or less. I'd opt for finding a larger beach jetty and work for tog near it -- warmer water. J-mann)
Jay, I had gotten away from diamond jigs. Had to go out and buy a couple since I couldn’t even find the ones I used to own. After getting nothing on bait all day today I threw out the diamonds with red tails. I had four bass in half a dozen casts. I got them by throwing out as far as possible off the end of a jetty. Nothing to take home but it saved the day for my long ride back home.
(The history of these metals is very apparent to me, having found them in dumps dating back to the early 1900. Those older ones had the hook embedded in the metal. By the time I dug them the hooks were long rotted but the jig part looked decent. While diamonds work well when cast from bank or beach, they are far-and-away most effective when jigged from boat or bridge – and bridging is where I’ll be tonight. J-mann)