Tuesday, September 16, 2008 -- Waves: Small. Water clarity: Excellent. Winds: North, light.
It was bass blast just like in the past. Thick schools of mullet near the Rip in Holgate were getting worked by bass. Anglers were nabbing some live mullet and letting them drop. Hookups were fairly fast and furious. The action as made that much more intense by the long bout of no bass we’ve had since last spring. Unfortunately, the bout of better bassing wasn’t real long-lived. Still, it may well be a harbinger of striperish things to come.
Elsewhere on LBI, the bass were toying with the mullet, primarily near jetties but the angling was far from consistent. Bait worked the best, sucking in bass of just past keeper size – along with many small to very small models.
As has been the case most everywhere, plugs are simply not high on the hit list of bass right about now. I even went popper in a small bass blast on the front beach in Holgate (I could see the telltale yellowish reflection of stripers chasing baitfish) and couldn’t garner even a swipe.
Bluefishing remains unpredictable, though inlet areas are a fairly sure bet if one actually wants to find blues. No slammer until well out at sea.
While netting mullet near the west peninsula in Holgate I saw a major shark dorsal – huge. No it wasn’t a dolphin. It made a few telltale S patterns and cutbacks then slid under not to arise again – as dolphin would have done. I know that sand bar sharks get big but OI have to think this was a far more aggressive type of shark.
Skate fishing has been hot. (Yeah, right?)
Rays are widespread, being caught from beach and boat. Oddly, there are none of the massive schools of schooling rays seen a few years back even though the total number seem way up there.
Tourney note: There had been thoughts of raising the price of the Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic this year but the pain already being inflicted by gas prices led to abandoning that hike – at least for this year. Sign up forms are now in participating tackle shops. Sign up early to be assured of getting a hat and other perks offered on a first-come basis.
Here’s the chart boat report: Captain Carl Sheppard of the “Star Fish” from the Beach Haven Charter Fishing Association Fleet says it is always a mystery why the fish seem to come back when the people who want to catch them leave. His parties did very well this weekend on croakers in 40-feet of water and small blues on the inshore side of the Little Egg Reef. One day the “Star Fish” ran offshore to the Barnegat Ridge, where James Maywright and his bachelor party of 5 caught 28 false albacore, big blues up to 16.25 lbs, and Bonita. After dropping the bachelor party off at Morrison's Marina, he did a quick clean up, and ran to the Brant Beach Yacht Club, were we picked up Greg Florey's bridal party of 15 for a champagne cruise to the Little Egg Harbor Yacht Club, where a large reception awaited them. What a change from the morning's fishing trip.
Capt. Adam Nowalsky from the charter boat "Karen Ann II" reports a rough week weather-wise, but he found good numbers of croakers and sea bass. He believes they will provide good fishing action in the coming weeks. The sea bass are plentiful but small with 8 out of 10 fish throwbacks. The Bill Getz party had drop and reel fishing with almost 3 dozen sea bass to take home. The croaker action is good in 45'-50' of water, although you have to look around a bit to find them. The Ed Beskin party had all they wanted of the tasty “hardheads.”
Captain John Koegler of “Pop’s Pride” bottom fished for croakers and sea bass last Friday with good results. One spot produced some huge croakers over 2-pounds. They also picked up some small blues near the inlet on the way home. On Saturday Captain Koegler took his party to the Barnegat Ridge for some good action on slammer bluefish and false albacore. The final count was more than 15 albacore and 30 bluefish.
The “Miss Beach Haven” with captains Frank Camarda and Brant Whittaker fished the Little Egg Reef on Saturday for steady action on croakers, some weakfish, and small bluefish. On Sunday the “Miss Beach Haven” went looking for blackfish and found some porgies, some keeper sea bass, and limit catches of blackfish. Dave Agar of Beach Haven caught and released over 20 blackfish. The group also caught some nice trigger fish and small bluefish.
Additional information on the association can be found at www.BHCFA.com