Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday Sept. 11, 2011:
The big ground swells have slacked off but there is now a chopped up short-period wind swell that makes ocean and inlet fishing a tad iffy. Inside the bay was more doable but not a huge number of anglers trying.
If it seemed the winds were testing every compass point throughout the day that's because they were. I recorded winds from the NE, N, E, ESE, SE, and SW at different points throughout the day. That was due in large part to late-day T-storms over the mainland-- but impacting us with those confused winds.
I zipped from church to Holgate for my first go-on of the year. The boys at public works did an outstanding job of building a entirely new roadway into the beach. They didn't just fill in the eroded areas, but actually built a raised roadway, marked by dune fencing.
This new buggy access set-up could create some, let's just say, priority issues. There is maybe 50 yards of roadway that can only handle one vehicle at a time. It's a bit reminiescent of the Shakelton Throughfare of the late 1980s. That older entrance/exit would have on-and-off traffic running into each other, headlong, in a tight lane, sometimes forcing a Mexican standoff, as to who would back down. Near fistacuffs ensued. The new stretch of roadway is better. It allows a clear read of who's coming off the beach. Technically, if two vehicles reach either end of the roadway at the same time -- one coming off, one going on -- a tie goes to the vehicle(s) coming off the beach. This is because the buggy already on the beach is in sand and risks bogging down should it have to stop, reverse, stop again and accelerate forward. The buggy on the parking area is on harder ground. Also, having a vehicle bog down in the sand at the entrance to the access roadway means there is then no chance of anyone in other buggies getting on or off.
There has been some mullet movement but this is more the testing runs the migrating baitfish do prior to the big swim southward.
Snapper blues (very small) are all over the place. A few fluke out of the surf and around the inlets A slow go on flatties, overall.
Today I fished some wrecks as far out as 15 miles from BI. I fished my usual fluke rig consisting two whole squid. I hoped I might find some large fluke but was also targeting sea bass as I wanted to add a few more of those fillets to the freezer before the season ends tomorrow. What I ended up catching was a most unusual doubleheader. As I went to drop my bait down to the bottom, a seagull which had been hanging around my boat dove down and grabbed the top squid on my rig. I pulled it away from him but ended up hooking him in the wing. I could not pull it free and as I tried to untie a towel from my railing so I could grab him he started trying to eat the lower squid on my rig. I shook my rod vigorously to prevent this but then a shearwater which saw all the commotion dove in and grabbed the lower squid. Now I had a seagull hooked on the top pair of hooks and a shearwater hooked on the bottom pair of hooks. I was able to shake the shearwater free only to have the seagull then grab and swallow the squid that the shearwater had. I pulled the seagull onboard and was able to get the hooks out of its wing. Unfortunately, I was only able to get one of the two hooks out of its mouth as one was deep down his throat. I ended up having to cut it and then he flew a little ways, landed in the water and swam away. I had to tie on a new rig and clean up the bloody mess that he made all over my boat. Anyway, I hope he survives.
Fishing wise, I ended up catching 18 sea bass including 12 that were legal sized. I kept 9 up to 3.6 lbs. I also caught 5 short fluke and 2 snappers.
Not much to report this week, as we're still trying to recover from the storms and the immense amount of runoff that resulted. Back bay fluke fishing has pretty much come to a halt, and even the near shore lumps aren't producing real well since the storm. Hopefully the murky water will start to clear up this coming week and we can finally take advantage of the 2011 regulations allowing us the first September fluke fishing we've had in several years. With sea bass closing today and no sign of albies yet, we'll need that to carry us over for a couple of weeks until striper season gets going next month.
We'll be taking a couple of days off, but our preparation for the fall striper run gets underway in earnest this week with fresh line going on all the reels, drags checked, several hundred rigs tied, and the bait pens readied to welcome some striper candy. We should have live spot in the pens around the first week of October, and will start running striped bass trips around that time. I still have a number of weekdays open during the prime weeks, so now's the time to lock in some of the best fishing of the year.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea"Rambunctious"Barnegat Bay