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Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Above- From Fisherman’s HDQ: Paul H:

My largest sea bass ever, 4.95 lbs along with a limit of fluke to about 3 lbs.

 

Wednesday, July 25, 2012: I’d like to order up 50 more days like today -- to round out the rest of the summer.

Walking around on LBI today, it’s like seeing the world via a brand new high-def Panasonic 35-inch TV. Talk about acrylic clarity -- and forgiving air temps to boot. Face it, it’s gorgeous. And the water is resuming its summerish foray into the 70s.

 

The fishing potential is shining along with the day.

 

The fluking inside the bay is good, though the backbay is nearly flooded, somewhat oddly. It could last through another tide. We’re not on a moon so that high water must be from this simple bit of onshore winds we’re getting.

 

These borderline flood conditions aren’t always the best thing for shrimping weaks and such. However, that chum-based action is so fully in place that it will return to normal in nothing flat.

 

Mariners should keep dropping tides in mind if you’re near the inlets since the evacuating of that tidal water from the bay will get outgoing current cranking. Also, anyone waiting for the onset of the incoming inlet tides, they’re going to be running about an hour late. Anchoring up to chum for bass at the submerged north jetty won’t see the rising tide come very quickly.

 

In the surf, look for some fair to good late-day jetty plugging or jigging – with the jigging of GULP! tails holding the edge. It might be fun to try a popper today. I say that because I’ve seen bait spraying up near jetties lately. It’s likely only snappers chasing spearing but you won’t know until your small, cobalt Gibbs Polaris calls out to be noticed.

 

This is the time of year I get emails asking about the crabbing. The few reports I’ve gotten have not been stellar at all. One guy told me his (one) commercial trap set off his pier has been “as slow as it gets.” If anyone is seeing otherwise please let me know.

 

What a jerk: Not long ago, I taught a young angler how to jerky bluefish. This week he stopped by with his latest effort. Talk about the student schooling the teacher.

He made this hyper-spicy batch of jerky that I swear should be marketed. It’s that good.

Through no lack of trying, I haven’t been able to transfer taste through words, but this his jerky was perfect – rip-off-with-teeth type texture, then a perfect chewability loosing a bolt of hot, spicy Bay Seasoning type flavoring. Of course, he’s not giving me the details of the seasoning. Brat. 

 

By the by, my “jerky” is not ground and reconstituted meat – the more common way to jerk the likes of beef. I use matched filets, marinated in magic spiced concoctions for a long period, followed by a slow drying process, using a commercial dryer.

 

The trick to nailing the texture – that which makes a perfect jerky, sans mush or goo in the middle -- are those “matched filets.” It is imperative – and often time consuming -- to make sure the filet thickness – right to the edges -- is identical among all the pieces being jerked. Unlike beef jerky, you can’t have the edges flattened out. They dry way too fast and actually seal the middle of the filets from proper heat and drying. Thus, the need to literally carve the filet edges to nearly the thickness of the middle of the fillet. It comes out looking roughly like an elongated rectangle, maybe an inch or two thick and up to maybe six inches long. Any longer and you might be into blues a tads too large.

 

Speaking of which, it is almost exclusively tailor/cocktail blues used for jerky. The meat of larger bluefish is too thick and even if you trim it down (top, bottom and sides) to size, it splits when drying. You’ve likely seen that odd splitting in the filets of larger blues.

 

Snappers never achieve the essential thickness. They dry way to fast, though I’ve made some “overnight” jerky by marinating snapper filets for a few hours before drying them in a “warm” ocean over night. Very tasty, but not jerky.

 

I’ve taken bluefish jerky out camping and it lasts – stays perfectly edible – for days in a backpack, just like beef jerky.

 

By the by, as delicious as my bluefish jerky can be, there are some commercial shark jerkies down Florida way – sold mainly in tackle shops – that are fully incredible – though they’re made using the grind and exude method, so the strips (squeezed through a special nozzle head) are perfect every time. 

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