Monday, September 01, 2008:
Waves: 4-5 feet and building; dangerous rip currents beginning today; inlets are going to be tricky; watch for hairy cleanup sets (larger waves). Water clarity: excellent. Water temps: Low 70s.
Alert: Waves are already arriving from very distant TS Hanna. This is a bit odd since it is not that big of a storm – but it is certainly generating some serious swells from Florida up to south-facing beaches of NY. The swells here in Jersey will surely make inlet negotiations and even some close-in drifting a bit treacherous, especially around Little Egg Inlet, which is still no bargain when it comes to buoy placements.
How about this weather? Gorgeous. It’s an end and a beginning in one brilliant showing. After today, the designated summer holiday is done. In that instant, the lifeguards are gone (except for a few select beaches) and the pre-fall angling season starts, most beaches being open all day for surfcasting.
As for all the too-early baitfish migration, that seems to have settled down, with the exception of big bunker being ravaged by blues just off the beach. Despite recent feelings of fall, the forecast for this whole week has some very warm air moving in – days near 90. This could also play into normalizing things.
I’m hearing a lot of thresher sharks are showing, including some huge ones seen going skyward while chasing the same bunker the blues are after. They are also after the blues themselves.
Fluking remains brisk to torrid. Keeper count low. More folks seem to be enjoying, at least a little bit, the often one-after-another hooking of flatties – the cookie-cutter look (maybe 16 inches on average) seemingly pointing to better summers to come, in take-home terms (and lowered minimum size limits.)
The bluefish action if pretty interesting, mainly the size range. You can catch mini-snappers all the way back in the backbay creeks, cocktails in areas of the bay and some serious slammers around inlets and into the ocean. However, it is far from a fish-everywhere bite. Inlets are usually a sure thing and snappers are everywhere, including coating the bottom in some nearshore areas, but blues in general are not everywhere – which is not the worst of news to those targeting other species.
Weakfishing is very good at all the usual top sites. Numbers are rampant when chum gets spikes and keepers boatside. Fishing pressure is light for sparklers. Look for late-day weakie fishing to spike in some east bay zones.
Bassing is still strangely hit-or-miss. The bait is there, the conditions are good but these low- to mid-70s water temps might be keeping the bassing fairly quiet. There are stripers to be had near the North Jetty and early a.m. near jetties/groins.
Spot are plentiful, mainly south end. Kingfish is decent, north end.
Seabassing is quite good for early birds. In fact, some folks are talking about classic catching of nice-sized seabass.
Emails: Shrimped the north jetty on Friday. Not a touch by a bass and the tide was too strong for any blackfish. Came around the inside of the jetty at the monument and had non stop action on fluke. One keeper out of 25 but it wa fun. Took my shrimp to Myers hole but again nada amd then tried on the west side of the dike and again nothing. Al's fishtank was turned into a feeding fenzy when I dumped in the remaining. Took my son out this morning and fluked the same spot up against the jetty and again had a bout 20 fish with only 1 making the box. Saw the Riptide take one nice bass on what looked like a spot. WP
Had the family out fluking and couldn’t fish myself I was so busy taking fish off the lines of my wife and kids. We managed two keepers and was cleaning one when I found the oddest thing I’ve ever seen (and I’ve cleaned many a fish). One fluke had two small turtles in its belly. Have you ever heard of this?”
(Actually, no. But it makes total sense, though without you telling me I know you were fishing bayside or near an inlet. Fluke are savage. Anything graspable they see swimming in the water column from top to bottom, they consider their next meal. With what amounted to the most intense showing of diamondback terrapin in decades seen right up into recent weeks, the hatch of small turtles is going to be huge. Sadly, the survival rate of these mellow turtles is low, even when mankind is not around to effect things. It is also yet another subtle reminder that fishery management – and its blind efforts to rebuild stocks – does not always look into the big picture when it comes to the overall ecological impact of simply stacking the stocks. Something else always suffers when humans nurses a particular species. I guess it must be thought of as collateral damage. J-mann)
I was into those big blues in Harvey Cedars. I also saw the monster thresher that cleared the water. I assumed these sharks are not very dangerous but anything that big swimming around nearby gets my attention. Do threshers attack humans?
(Normally, no. But I’m of the very human mindset that there are always psychos out there, even in the shark realm. You get this one thresher that took a hit to the head when it was younger and all bets are off when you read the reports, “The thresher shark is considered harmless” If a shark is too batty too know what a human is … well, you get my drift. Still, I’d rather hang out with a big school of threshers – and they are far more inclined than most shark species to travel in thick schools – than a pod of bull sharks.