Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

(It is that humbling time of year when I hold the hat out for my one annual donation drive. I’m heading toward my 15th year and I promise there are a load of various expenses. Every donated penny goes to covering costs. I also want to assure that I absolutely do not EXPECT donations from anyone. Some folks have annually been kind – and I want them -- and all -- to realize that I’m thankful for past help but fully understand some years are better than others. Donations can be mailed to: Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008-4418. Also, I can be PayPal-ed at jmann99@hotmail.com. )

Well, today is more like it -- and the angling troops are well aware. The beaches are packed with surfcasters and the boat traffic heading out to what's become an insane ocean bassing blitz is the largest showing of vessels in many moons, particularly around Barnegat Inlet. Anglers banging fish at a nonstop clip are making no bones about the action, broadcasting what, where, when and how freely over radio channels. Despite that, you'll need to ask at the local tackle shops to know where to go, exactly. 

Even bayside zones are getting in on the action.  Holes in Manahawkin Bay are producing major fish, often on spot, solely. Elsewhere, globs of clam, bunker or herring chunks dropped to the bottom are taking seemingly ravenous bass. Barnegat Bay east is producing on clams. Paul P. got a 30-lb'er north of the inlet zone.  

As for the beach, there will surely be at least some stripers showing, even if it's based simply on saturation coverage by anglers, north to south. Resident fish were being taken early on today, per a beach drive I did. Things weren't popping by midday. I'll pass on any late-day happenings in here.

Yes, there is often a surfcaster-unfriendly twist when boat fishing goes crazy. Some south winds could mix things up. 

I had a newbie email asking if it's better to store unused bunker whole or cut up.  Firstly, the term "storing" and "bunker" don;t get along too well. Top chunkers will tell you that the freshness expectancy of fresh bunker can drop precipitously -- to a matter of hours -- if it isn't brined in icy salt water. Freshwater from melted ice -- even when frigid -- wrecks bunker, more through the leeching of essential oils than decay. The dreaded decay comes wth even the slightest exposure to mild temps or direct sunlight -- I'm talking even an hour's worth of less than icy conditions. That said, bunker should be stored whole and cold. By chunking it out, the brine attacks the flesh, waters it down. By cold storing whole, it's easier to keep the core temp of the bunker low.Also, Also, the best cuts of stored bunker are nearer the tail, Also, the head is very resistant to decay -- or, more exactly, the release of histimines related to dead fish. As is oft noted in studies, a just-decaying piece of bunker is an utter turn off to even hungry bass. However, a piss-poor chunk left in the water long enough can lose some of that that stink. Obviously, that's not the most optimistic of techniques: "I'll just throw this lousy stinky bait out and eventually it might not smell that bad and a bass might eat it."

I always enjoy post-scripting the above info by offering both scientific and anecdotal findings that when bunker goes horrifically bad, it suddenly and seemingly miraculously becomes a turn-on to bass. I kid you not. However, the rotten bunker smell if such a turn-off factor for humans, the only time you hear of putrid bunker being used accompanies stories that begin, "I ran out of fresh bait and could only find this god-awful rotten piece of bunker I had forgotten about." And the day's biggest bass scarfed it down. Hey, there's no accounting for taste. 

I'm having major problem with both my home and cellphones. I hope to get things straightened out first thing tomorrow. 

As much as I enjoy passing on Holgate news, way too many folks think I have some innate capacity to correct the problems down there. I can only suffer along with other jonseing to fish the south end -- though obviously not as much as a couple anglers I saw hiking down toward the Rip to fish it. What I am more than capable of doing is making sure the proper authorities are aware of not just the advancing erosion problems but also the aggravation factor for many folks deprived of mobile angling Holgate in the fall. I have already chatted with higher up about what new entry-ways can be created to access the beach. There is more talk about rebuilding the old single-lane roadway closer to the Holgate-facing homes. 



Pro report: Hello All,

A hard northeast blow on Tuesday and an overblown forecast by NOAA yesterday led us to cancel those two trips, but we did get out three times this week with mixed results back in the bay. 

On an absolutely beautiful Monday, Jim "Smitty" Smith was back with girlfriend Janna looking to catch her first ever striper. And that she did, landing five bass to 34" on a mixture of live spot and jigs before we headed back to the dock with another limit catch in the fishbox. Wednesday found Greg McGuigan and John Becker fishing in some rather ugly inlet conditions after Tuesday's dry nor'easter, and while the fish were there and biting it was only shorts for us and our first (and hopefully last) empty box of the fall. On Friday's trip a hard northeast winds again kept the Hal Gilham party penned up in the bay, and when inlet action seemed slow a move into the back turned up a fat 28 pound bass for Joe Fabrizio that found our clam baits to their liking.

With some west winds showing up in the forecast for this coming week, we'll be looking to move outside for some serious jigging along the beach over the next few days.

Until next week.

Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters





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