Friday, May 30, 2008: Big news on the bass front was a new leader in the 2008 Simply Bassin’.
After going 2 years without a bass over 20 pounds, hard-core caster Gene Slaughter doubled that 20 – and add a pound. Gene bested a 41-pound hyper-long striper while fishing his home surf using bunker. Kurt Horensky, who just edged onto the leaderboard yesterday with a 23-3 was on-hand to see Gene land his catch. Here’s the current Leaderboard. The smallest bass needed to get on the board must be over 22-8 (38 ¼”).
1) Gene Slaughter 41-0 47 ½” 25 ½” BH park Bunker
2) Bill Montrey 30-2 43 ¼
22 3/4 Holgate area Clam
3) Rob Vallone 28-0 42”
23 ¼” B.L. area Bunker
4) Jason DelFalazzo 25-9 40 ¼”
22 ½” B.L. area Bunker
5)Bob Buchanan 25-2 42 1/8”
21 ½” B.L. area Bunker
6) Matt Chistensen 23-15 40 ¼”
21” Harvey Cedars Bunker
7) Dean Stankiewicz 23-15 39 ¾”
22” Holgate area Clam
8) Kurt Horensky 23-3 41 ½
21 ½” BH area Bunker
Bump) Dante Soriente 22-8 38 ¼”
21 3/4 BH park Bunker
The snag-and-drop bass action has congealed, as calmer water has allowed the bunker to pod up. However, there are still a lot of bunker in the backwaters so things should be more interesting as they move out and a large biomass of bass moves in from the Delaware Bay. Reports there indicate cows with southern accents are moving slowly northward. By the by, it is still hit-or-miss when tracking bunker pods. Currently there is a better average per pod to our north but that could (and probably will) change very soon, possibly this weekend.
Where I had received mainly middling reports on fluke – and mainly sub-middling – I’m now getting after-the-fact reports of super fluking near Great Bay. A fellow told me yesterday he limited out while a charter had a load of meat for his three patrons. Again, that is far from reports from other areas but not outlandish considering 1) fluke can turn on in a heartbeat (and off in the blink of an eye), 2) most everyone had loads of small flatties, which meant that there were probably some schools of larger fish (as is inclined to occur with summer flounder.) The bay and inlets would seem primed for fluke with the still chilly ocean.
The bluefish are back with a vengeance. Not that they really left, they had just dropped in size and had gotten spotty. Now, the inlets, primarily Barnegat, are both holding big-ass blues, with one emailer saying he thought some of the fish he caught may have been in the mid-teens. When on the action, it is nonstop. There are also plenty of eater blues in the mix – and still sweet from shrimp and herring. Larger blues were stomach-holding everything – bunker, herring, mantis shrimp, grass shrimp, small blowfish (1), kingfish and unidentified globs of half-digested whatevers (as anyone who clean blues knows all about, as these predators have a stomach acid that can melt lead.) Metal on steel leader works; jigs or retrieved deep when the fish aren’t showing but working higher up the water column when surface frenzy is in play. I wouldn’t be surprised to see some serious beachfront bluefish blitzes soon, as bunker pods are not that far off and the size of the bluefish schools is huge.
Huge black drum are moving in from the south. These could be the largest of the spring – which is saying a lot. They are staking clams or large pieces of squid – both of those are prime fare for any bigger stripers. Best action is from Holgate over toward Little Beach and over to Great Bay.
Here’s a co-report from Joe H.:
Fished a favorite north end jetty tonight from 6-11pm tonight. What a strange session it was. Since it was light when I arrived, I decided to plug for a while looking for a take home of any sort. I figure it is now costing me about $25 per trip in fuel, so I'm getting dinner out of it!
Anyhow, I was throwing a gold fleck 4" fin-s looking for a bluefish or weakfish. On just my third cast, I had a pick up down deep in the water column. It felt like a snag at first, and then it took off shaking it's head. It felt like a monster fluke. I have seen a few fluke in the 8-10lb range in the last couple of springs taken from the docks and rock piles.
It was give and take for about 15 minutes. Every time I got it close to the rocks, it took of screaming, still shaking it's head. Now I'm looking back over my shoulder at my surf cart scanning for my jetty gaff. Left it in the truck---great place for it! The fight then changed. The fish turned sideways down current using it's body mass to it's advantage. I thought this might not be a fluke. I ran down a few rocks and squared up with the fish. A few more short runs and I worked the fish to the surface. Fifteen feet away the tall dorsal fin of a striped bass appeared. I was shocked. It was a money fish for now, maybe 28-34lbs. After a few more panicked runs, I started to worry about the 10lb test that I tied direct to the jig head. Sure enough, it parted way. All the money I spend on bunker and eels and the biggest bass of my season takes a four inch fin-s. Bizarre.
I tie on a fresh fin-s and begin casting away. My jig hits the water after about 20 casts and my cell phone rings. It's in my jacket pocket and I put my rod under my arm. I tell the wife, "Yes, I'm fishing again ect. ect." and hang up. As pick up the jig there is weight. Fish on. Feels much smaller then the first hook up but it is putting up a decent tussle. Shocked again as I see a fat 3lb blackfish with my fin-s in his mouth. That is a first for me. Yes, he went back. He looked tasty though.
Around 10pm the tide was low and slow, so I began throwing live eels. I was just ready to give up when something huge exploded on my eel as I was cranking him in across the surface to make another cast. I was standing on a lower rock when it attacked---getting me wet in the process. Scared the sh** out of me.
I quickly made an underhand toss to the huge swirl ten feet away. The eel barely hit the water and it was game on. The fish burned off 1/3 of my spool before I got him under control. I thought for sure I now have my biggest striper of the year. Suprised again when a big, mean bluefish came into my light. He was about 32" and 12 or so lbs. I sent him on his way and packed it in for the night. Back at it tomorrow night.