Tuesday, May 27, 2008: Testy winds combined with the departure of one of the larger Memorial Day crowds in years made this a somewhat subdued fishing day, though plenty of angler were still out there seeking stripers and foraging for fluke.
Below the e-reports is my weekly rundown:
Didn't have too much action in the surf over the weekend. Fished through the night on Sunday. Only caught a bunch of huge dog fish and skates. Monday night as the wind picked up (even though it was southerly) I had more action. Caught and released the strangest looking bluefish I've seen in a while. He was a lengthy 35", but weighed a mere 8lb 15oz on my hand scale. Had a few more hits and biteoffs. Action was on the far south end..
Saw a few limit fluke catches, believe it or not from the bay on the south end. I spent much of the weekend working to ready the boat for the season. Hopefully I will try some fluking soon.
I fished Fri.'s out going tide in the bay 2-16 1//2" ,2- 15" ,14" fluke and 1 blue 3 lbs. Sun. in coming tide lost a 24" at the boat ,landed a 17" ,2-16 1/2", 14" fluke ,4 skates ,2 robins and saw a school of weakie in a foot of water up to 6 lbs. no bites! Mon. the 16' boat got us half way across the bay but the wind and waves chased us back in. Also watched blues up to 4 lbs. being taken on metal from the North jetty. Spearing seen all over bay. Large boats were loaded with people fishing and I hope SHARING THE GAS BILL. And the police were out in force checking and writing up boats with not enough PFDs and shorts. I expect that will keep up all season long. Tight lines , And thanks for the up dates. JIM G.
Went out on an all day boat out of Belmar on Saturday. Water is still cold..about 58 degrees. Not much fluke caught however I did manage one keeper. Most guys got skunked. It'll only get better. Thanks for the reports and I am looking forward to fishing the Barnegat bay area soon. Always do well there. Take care, Ed McG.
“5/26/08: We had two back to back trips today for stripers. We headed up the beach in only 18' of water and found bunker with huge bass crashing them. We were out in the morning with Dave Engels Sr. and Jr., Ryan Engels, Alan Block, Stew Levy, And Tom Reynolds. We caught bunker and the bass inhaled them. We lost more than we caught but ended the day with plenty of fish and smoe big smiles. Also caught 3 big blues in the morning. We hit the dock at 3PM and my next charter was waiting for us. The pressure was on for me to repeat the action we had in the morning. So we went right back where we were and the fish were waiting for us! The afternoon the wind was howling at about 20- 25 knots, but the fish didnt seem to mind. We limited out with bass from 30 - 40 lbs and only one big blue in this mix.
In the afternoon, we had Sorin Manta, Vasile Boicu, Mike Suiu, John Uncureachv, Giurgiu Valentin and Vasik all from Romaina. They never caught so many bass before. They told me they are definately coming back to fish aboard Seafood! We also spotted a tresher shark on the morning trip gorging on bunker. We will start bringing our shark gear with us. More striper fishing is slated for later in the week. Seafood will keep sailing for stripers, and fluke fishing is also available. Shark trips are about to begin in June, and tuna charters are now starting to be booked, and reserving preferred dates is a good idea. Seafood's boat makes it to the tuna grounds probably quicker than any other charter in the state. The 33-foot HydraSports features three 250 h.p. engines, cruises at 45 m.p.h., tops out at 60 m.p.h. and arrives at the canyons in 2 hours in fair seas. Anglers can spend more time fishing than traveling. Besides charters for all these species, a bunch of open-boat dates are available. One space remains on a two-day, open-boat trip that will compete in the Beach Haven Marlin and Tuna Club Tournament. Boats in the tournament are allowed to fish two days from July 30 to August 2. Last year's purse was $365,000, Join Team Seafood! Capt. John
5/24/08: Today we went to a wreck site with some friends, Mark, Tom, and Harold and fished for some nice fat sea bass. We caught about 50 fish and kept 23 of the nicest ones. What a great day today. Capt. John
Capt. John A. Cafiero
Seafood Charters "NJ"s Fastest Charter Boat"
Behind the scenes, many of the Reef Rescue group, along with the NJOA, have been meeting or talking to legislators, state officials and even the US Fish & Wildlife Service about the "pots off the reef" bills. While the state budget has pre-occupied most, now is the time to give them a push before the summer recess.
Fax or write a note. Ask the following legislators when will they hear and vote on these important bills:
Bill S-336, Prohibits the use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs.
We need the Senate to vote on this bill now. Send or fax request to:
Honorable Senate President Richard Codey
449 Mount Pleasant Av
West Orange, NJ 07052 Fax 973-731-6770
Bill A-1519, Prohibits the use of certain fishing gear on artificial reefs.
We need the Agriculture & Natural Resource Committee to hear this bill. Send or fax to:
Honorable Assemblyman Douglas Fisher
14 East Commerce Street, 3rd Floor
Bridgeton, NJ 08302 Fax 856-455-2853
Your notes & faxes will make this happen.
Captain Pete Grimbilas
RUNDOWN: The fluke season began with a bang – until measuring sticks were pulled out. Tons of takes, mere ounces of keeper material -- if that.
As expected, the take-home rate was pretty abysmal inside the bay, and touching on fairish (at best) near inlets on the ocean.
That astounding just-short phenomenon that seems to perpetually mock fluke anglers is once again occurring. With an 18-inch minimum size limit, the fluke are always coming up at 17 ¾. When the minimum size was 17.5 inches, the flatties would all be 17 ¼ -- and right n down he minimum-size line. It’s weird how that happens.
Sidebar: It’s a good year for minnies. After a few suspect years for mummichocks and such, I have observed slightly above average populations of these fluke-attracting baitfish in the backbay areas of Manahawkin Bay and Tuckerton Bay. West Barnegat Bay populations have varied from spot to spot but are also showing improvement over recent years.
Despite very cooperative winds and weather, striped bass are being that “B” word. They just won’t come when called. Maybe we need The Bass Whisperer to come and train them.
The Simply Bassin’ standings (below) show that there are surely some fine fish in the suds but they are highly roughish – one fish and done. Even the small stripers seem scant.
Snag-and-drop boat bassers had some super sessions late last week and on Saturday, as oceanside bunker pods stared down nervously at large to very large bass (to near 40 pounds) lurking below them. However, no sooner did I get reports of amazing hooking action than it seemingly stopped dead in it tracks. While that might indicate the hooking could start again just as quickly, it also signals some variables we didn’t have during last year’s astounding snag-and-drop season. Many boat anglers are nabbing bunker form the pods and motoring off to liveline them around structure, like the inlet rocks and near east bay sedges.
The black seabass saved the day for many boat anglers who wanted to get out on the open ocean. I should note that of all our species, seabass is the finest to cook whole in black bean sauce. If you have a favorite Chinese restaurant, the owners will often sell you some of their special brand, usually reserved for their own meals. I used to take the seabass right to the restaurant and have them cooked in bean sauce. The cost? A few free fish for the chefs.
Word is still not fully out that ALL blackfish are off-limits. There is a closed season, as we speak. I won’t even go into how many boats pulling out at public ramps this past weekend had their “one allowable blackfish.” Repeat: There is no allowable blackfish take. I helped the cause by informing folks – without being gnarly. Most were genuinely surprised.
Junkfish are out there at every drop. Here’s an e-report form Joe H.:
“Fished through the night on Sunday. Only caught a bunch of huge dogfish and skates. Monday night as the wind picked up (even though it was southerly) I had more action. Caught and released the strangest looking bluefish I've seen in a while. He was a lengthy 35", but weighed a mere 8lb 15oz on my hand scale. Had a few more hits and biteoffs …”