Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Saturday, April 26. 08 --- More blues and some keepable bass

Saturday, April 26, 2008: Bluefish remain the talk of the walk – whether you’re walking the beach, the banks (Graveling and even up river a ways) or on-water. The inlet and bay fish are blasting noisy surface plugs, especially those with some metal shot (bearings) inside making a rattle racket. The beach blues are very bait oriented, though a few guys talked of good action on plastics jigged toward bottom. Inlet boats are also finding the plastics the surest way to check on the presence of blues. It’s kinda amazing the compatibility of bluefish and anglers during the early season. An email I had read, “Blues can be as much fun as any fish we got …” The stripering is all over the place. Some night locales (near Holgate and also mid-Island bayside) are having torrid bouts of keepable bass. Live-lining is the surest thing however small plugs are beginning to show their stuff. I’m doing some troll fishing tonight – troll, as in beneath bridges. Weakfishing super sketchy, on whole. I had a wild report from a sharpie who is usually very right-on. Though he wasn’t catching any tiderunners, he was into what might be called “medium” spawners, pushing 4 to 6 pounds. He is a fanatic catch-and-releaser so no weaks were harmed in making his commercials. I have had a slew of folks picking up drumfish from beach, inlet and bay sites. At first it seemed we were into a usual decent drum run but now a few very knowledgeable black drum sharpies say that bite is showing in number and coverage way above the norm – if there really is such a thing as “norm” in a much underutilized fishery. I was asked whether black drum filets can be frozen. I went into the spiel about the low edibility of larger drum. Having no idea about black drum, I noted that drumfish as a family of fish is all over the board when it comes to what might be called “storability.” Weakfish are not great freeze material. Red drum are generally poor. Kingfish freeze up very well. I added to that the fact that most fish – even those that don’t freeze well – make very good fish cakes or fish stews. The fluke continue to move in at what might well be portrayed at a torrid clip. This comes from not only anglers catching them in a secondary manner but also from pros who know their stuff when it comes to what fish are moving in and what pace. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the angling pressure on winter flounder this year has been as so light as to be downright bizarre. Email late today (related photo above): Hey Jay. Cindy and I fished just south of Beach Haven today from about 10 am until 1:45 pm. We caught and released 2 nice sized bluefish on bunker. We had a few other hits as well, but didn't connect. The majority of the action was on the falling tide. Not a bad start to the year. I'd love to have Cindy's fish visit again in the fall... it sure was a healthy specimen. Nick H

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Comment by HARRY FEINHALS on April 27, 2008 at 10:29am
Hi Jay,
Fished the bay Saturday morning(don't want to say where), clamming for stripers. We kept getting small rapid taps and having our bait cleaned with no hookups. Very unstriperlike. Out of curiosity, we baited a small hook with a bit of clam and, lo and behold, came up with a fat 5lb. taug. No stucture, wreck, or rocks - just open water. We were near some mussel beds, however. Caught one more and missed quite a few. What's with that? I alway thought taug were "hidey hole" structure seeking creatures. Any comments?
Comment by jaymann on April 27, 2008 at 12:55pm
Great observation on that tog hookup, i.e. “Just in open water.”
That is one of the famed "in transit" blackies moving into the bay -- stuck between structures, so to speak.
Folks don't realize how many blackfish are involved in the spawn spectacle each spring, by way of numbers let’s just say “All of them.”
I am a huge blackfish fan but even I balk at nabbing these very slow-growing structure-fish before they’ve spawned out.
Yes, protecting the spawn is why the season is all but shut down this time of year. However, as I’ve oft noted, the decline in blackfish is due in large part to a ferocious sniper/poacher element combined with a precipitous decline in the environmental quality of the Barnegat Bay. Although tog are pure bulldogs -- quite possibly our hardest nosed fish, bar none -- they suffer horribly when water quality goes south. The pollution devastates the success rate of a spawn -- and one or two bad spawns are all it takes to cripple the stocks.
As for those nibblers, along with bait-stealing tog folks are discovering the short-hitters include kingfish, blowfish (very early), winter flounder (which will attack a wider variety of baits than many anglers realize), bergalls (also in a spawn mode) and even a some tiny black seabass. I’ve noticed a few folks also nabbing larger American eels, which mean the smaller one will be tugging on baits


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