Friday, October 03, 2008: Late-day report
It’s uncanny, as in frickin’ weird. No sooner do I mention in the a.m. report fort today that the cocktail blues remain AWOL that I go to Holgate and leading bluefish hunter Stu D. tells me he’s been blasting 2- to 3-pound bluefish all day --- the first time since Holgate reopened. The blues were going for mullet. Also, Tom W. stopped by and threw out one of his plugs and had a nice blue on within a couple casts. What’s more, I got reports of slammer blues in the surf, mid-Island. These didn’t seem to be widespread but it adds to the first flicker of fall bluefish action.
Bassing remains a big question mark with some areas offering loads of small bass going for various plugs. However, these stripers seem a little too similar to late-fall schoolies. This fall had been so weird that anything seems possible. My guess is the major bass are patiently waiting for next weekend’s start of the LBI Surf Fishing Classic. Better sign up soon – to be certain to get the freebies offered to first-come folks.
Here’s a report showing a better than average surfside take – even though it sounds like the reporter was hoping for a lot more.
“Don't know what the surf is like today, but I fished Wednesday and Thursday and had to drive off Beach Haven 2 hours before high tide, the water was reaching the edge of the dune fence! Caught a lot of Tailor Blues on small bunker chunks, dozens of the smallest Dogfish I've ever seen (clams), a lot of big fat Croakers (clams) and one Kingfish on Clam. Disappointing to say the least.”
An off-island report:
“stopped by clarks landing on the way home from work this evening, and watched a gentleman there catch spot after spot. he caught at least 15 in the 20 minutes or so i watched him. none were bigger than 5 inches. perfect live lining size. all caught on bloodworms and nightcrawler pieces, on top and bottom rigs. if i had a pen to keep them in, thats where id go.”
A coworker and I fished down from 88th st. last night about 50yds to the north of the jetty. Nice looking hole after plugging a short time we both switched over to clam rigs and cast out. Ten minutes later we wento check our baits and BOTH of us were hung up on "something" we both lost our rigs. We moved about 50yds north and never had another problem,except for the skates, sharks & no bass. Have you ever heard of an obstruction in this area? Maybe some long lost shipwreck is showing her skeleton after the recent blow? Just wonderiing.
(I'll give it a dive when the water clears a bit. j-mann)
Friday, October 03, 2008: Waves: Finally down to a couple feet. Water clarity: Problematic in some areas as hard west winds mucked up a bit.
Maritime note: Think we’ve been churned up out there for a long time? Today will see the first neutral/negative low tides in over a month. That’s nearly unheard of.
In more recognizable terms: Today’s low tides will be the first time in over a month that the water in the bay will actually evacuate enough for what you might call a normal low tide.
In even more practical terms: It will be the first time since Holgate open that we’ll be able to fully clam the mudflats. In fact, there should be a significantly negative tide (first in over 40 days), exposing bottom mud that has been under since Holgate re-opened.
I’m not sure what this bayside lowness means to fishing in general but I’m sure it’s a good thing to have the bay essentially flushed -- as completely as it can be. I imagine it’ll motivate the peanut bunker to head oceanward. It will surely drive out any remaining weakfish, kingfish, blowfish, etc.
Low tides today on the oceanfront will allow folks to pick their holes and cuts for the fall season. We’ll get a great read on what the sandbars and trough-area bottom is like. It’s been a while since such a read has been possible.
Reports to our north suggest that low tide holes are producing small bass at a steady clip. The bass are apparently hanging in the holes awaiting the mullet pods. Obviously, the “holes” up Island Beach are the equivalent of our deep sides of the jetties. However, we are also showing some nice holes and cuts where currents turn out to sea, often significantly off the jetties. Sometimes holes and cuts are right between two jetties.
Buggy anglers – and seriously energetic beachwalking surfcasters – can maximize their chances of hooking up by hitting as many deep spots as possible. Since each deep spot has a set quota of fish. Once one or two are taken, either the place is exhausted or any other fish have bolted after hearing the struggle of hooked fish – or seeing a panicked released fish tearing out for deeper water. Hey, a single panicked fish alerting the entire nearby ecosystem it’s a very observable reaction.
As for LBI bassing in general, there is a load of slowness – and some stripers mixed in. Per usual, there are always a few folks with the golden touch (which is almost always synonymous with the patience touch) who are meeting bass every a.m. Plugging works, with small offerings seemingly edging out medium-sized plugs. The few bass I’ve had went for poppers zipped for a few feet then slowed (or even stopped) before another zip. Swimming-wise, I’ve had the best luck with silver-sided (mirror) Red Fins slowly sashayed on the surface. Of course, I’ve only had a dozen or so fish in over a week so I’m sure no reference point.
Depressingly slow showing of kingfish and the other swash fish that had been such fun in late summer -- throughout September. Fluke are still taking all sorts of offerings – bait and artificials. Blues remain strangely scarce.
If all that sounds like it adds up to slow fishing, it does.
I’ll likely have an afternoon update today since I’ll be out there looking and listening all day (Hey, I’m allowed to sneak one full day off work).