Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, April 22, 2010
Much thanks to Joe H. and others for emailing me reports. I have to jump start my “Daily” reporting after having a winter during which I worked almost constantly often off-Island – up at the base. Finances have been hideous, as, I realize, they are for many, many folks. But we’ll all get through – and someday upgrade to nonstop Loomises and one-piece designer reels. With the upcoming Simply Bassin’, I’ll also have a real good read on what’s hookin’ where. This is not to say I’m not getting a good feel on the pulse of things. I’m just a bit hesitant to over-hype the nearshore snag-and-drop fishery, which not only moves around a lot but is literally all over the board, as there is nearshore bait balls starting to pop up everywhere. Oddly, I haven’t seen any more bait boils in Manahawkin Bay, where the last few springs have seen exploding pods of bunker, mainly south of the Big Bridge – late-day.
Fished the beach front late last week and Wednesday night and had a blast. Late last week we had a 20 fish night with bass to 34" and bluefish to 10lbs. Bunker and clams worked equally well. Kept two bass and two bluefish for dinner.
Tonight, Wednesday, me and a buddy had some big bluefish in the NBH surf right at dark. A lot slower, but the tide and light conditions weren't lining up as I like. Hopefully I will get some surf time in the next three days.
I have written to you before, I moved to Manahawkin a couple of years ago, I have a 10-year old son, and we have tried to take up surf fishing, we went out a dozen times last fall, our first tries, and caught a couple of skate and dogfish. We've been trying to fish for a year, never caught a keeper of anything worth keeping.
Well, this is a report about what happened yesterday, Tuesday, April 20, was it? We decided to go out to the beach at 6 pm and give it a try.
We went to the bait store right over the bridge on the right, and they told us, bluefish are biting all over, get some fresh bunker, they showed us the rigs to use, and its the first time anyone in a tackle shop ever told me, "you will catch some fish."
So we took our stinky bunker and our cheap Sports Authority surf poles and went to 5th avenue in Ship Bottom, there is a deep slew there, angles in to the end of the jetty there, and I figured, we should cast out to that slew, just to the side of the jetty, it was low tide, and it was the deepest water we could cast to.
Well, I have read about bluefish "blitzes." I never experienced one before. Every cast, we either hooked up, or had the bait stolen, within a minute.
In one hour, we hooked up with 6 fish, and I actually got winded fighting them, we lost four, and landed two, my son caught the bigger one, which we kept, and ate, and hey, Bluefish is damn good, when its fresh, and you carefully cut out all the brown parts. If I could have baited the hooks faster, we would have caught more, it was a matter of just getting a baited hook out there, there was no waiting, once you got a bait out there, as soon as it landed, a fish was on it.
I have this picture of my 10-year old, with the fish he caught, it was almost the first cast, I was still baiting my hook, when he starts fighting something big. I was panicked, I thought this surf fishing thing was just an excuse to spend the evening watching the waves, I started to throw on my waders, realizing I was going to have to go out there and land this thing. I guess its about a 5 pound bluefish.
I am sending the picture, that’s pure joy on that boy's face, his first real, respectable fish he caught himself from the beach, we are still beaming.
Went crazy getting small blue in the bay. I noticed you wrote that some folks are getting fat blues. Not me. A few of mine seemed kinda anorexic – but fought like the devil. A buddy of mine caught a couple in the surf and said his were very chubby for this early. I guess this fish spend winter in different places …”
(It remains a relative mystery where blues hunker down for the winter. I’ve seen them return in spring looking like they had been in an unusually cruel concentration camp. Rarely had I seen them looking all fat and fit as they move in circa April. However, as long as I’ve fished, bunker boats have ravaged the forage fish population. The latest effort to reduce bunker boats might be why some blues are coming back chubbier than usual. This is obviously just a guess since the exact overwintering holes tell the true story and they’re not telling any tales, research-wise. By the by, I got one photo of a bluefish that looked almost like a fall fish it was such a porker. That’s unheard of. J-mann)