jaymanntoday

Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

J-mann May 29 -- Great skies and a bunker-based striper alert

Tuesday, May 29, 2007:

Even with the passage of a cold front, the weather remains profoundly cooperative. In fact, today was the nicest day in the past week, which is saying a lot. Crystal clear conditions with a slightly testy north wind -- that slowly swung around and came south by late day – offered great fishing conditions to those lucky enough to still be around after that amazingly nice, and seemingly very long, holiday weekend.

Speaking of that, July 4 falls on a Wednesday this year so who knows how long tourist and semi-local folks will make that holiday weekend. Are we far enough along to set aside a holiday week, midsummer?

Striper alert: The first schools of baitball bunker (in nearshore waters) are being hawked by large bass. Twenty-five ponders are commonplace below the bass, going for foul-hooked live-lined bunker.

The nearshore bunker have yet to show in massive numbers like last year but they are becoming easier to locate, especially with the lighter winds of late. The calmness makes it easy to spot the famed nervous water where baitballs are active.

Kayak anglers, this is your chance to shine. The light winds and small waves make for easy beach launches and relatively relaxed paddling – though you always have to have plenty of paddling strength when paddling out over a mile.

Toms Canyon had some fine gamefish action. I got word that Fish Trap had a 165-pound big-eye, some yellow fin tuna and mahi. That big-eye took 90 minutes to fight and the angler had some health problems after the battle. The Coast Guard was notified and a chopper was soon there to save the day, airlifting the distressed angler from the boat’s deck within two minutes of the craft’s arrival.

The fluke fishing is fine –but not much beyond that. The grumbling about undersized fish started slow – since folks were happy just to be fluking again – but picked up drastically by Monday. Keeper rate were as low as one in 6 fish (Little Egg) with better percentages out on the ocean.

Martin S. made his fluke “quota” (bag limit) two out of four days this weekend. He told me he employed old-time guidance taught him by his grandfather, including using two roads in-hand at once (I’ve often heard – and seen -- that’s what the sharpies do) and to fish alone. I like it.

By the by, Martin always keeps multiple marker buoys (Clorox bottles painted colors) at the ready. Even one decent fish and a bottle – weighed down with small decoy leads – gets tossed in for a re-drift.

He also told me that circle hooks do not work that well for him. I have to agree since that rod-per-hand fishing method is very aggressive and a tad too jerky for proper circle hook usage.

Here’s part of my chat with 42-pound bass catcher Bob Misak.

Bob got the fish last Friday in Loveladies after getting word of some bigger fish thereabouts.

Hitting Loveladies, Bob spent a goodly amount of time reading the water while chatting with .

I should note that Bob, a fellow fishing writer, takes his angling to some serious levels. He indubitably does all that reconnoitering and bottom reading stuff that I bore of immediately after even thinking about it.

For hours before actually casting out in Loveladies, Bob had watched a jetty-related hole become more and more defined with the dropping tide. Chatting with local Teddy C. he even noted out loud, “That hole is grabbing my attention.”

With more and more anglers gathering on the beach, Bob riskily grabbing a quick piece of pizza and came back to the beach to find the hole still unmanned.

Here’s where I get all inspired: Bob went with a big fresh bunker head. Knowing such an offering usually had to send a lot of time on the bottom, he cast it out first. He walked over to grab his chunk rod. He never reached it. The “head” rod went down.

“It couldn’t have been in 30 seconds,” recalled Bob, adding “The way it took line, I knew I was into a bass.”

The fish ran straight out, offering the trickiest part of the fight. It swam headed out and onto the very shallow bar, where Bob could see its tail stirring up sand. “It rolled over on the bar,” he said.

Atop a shallow sandbar, a fish can put a lot of bow – and strain – on mono. Knowing he needed to pull the fish off the shallows, Bob waited for a wave to pass over the bar and through some skilled horsing he forced the bass back into the deeper water of the slew.

“It’s easy once they’re in there,” he said.

The fish took something like 15 minute to get in. It was his largest bass, though Bob has shined in many striper contests, winning or placing high. He said he’s becoming something of master of catching 25-pound stripers, a size that can easily place high in short tourneys.

While far ahead in this year’s 6-week Simply Bassin’ event, Bob might not have even gone fishing if his truck hadn’t passed inspection. That morning, he had taken his vehicle over to Manahawkin for inspection. His hopes weren’t high, having failed the first go’round something like the last ten tries.

“I was driving down the road and thought ‘Should I turn to go to work or turn and go fishing?’ Then I thought about my truck passing inspection and decided to go fishing.”

Email info (It’s great to see so many of my regular “writers” back and emailing me – keep it coming guys – and if you’re a blogger, please join in .. I’m hoping my new site will allow independent -- tasteful -- blogs from others) :

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Hey Jay, I know my area is outside of your normal jurisdiction, but I thought I'd give you some corroboration of the past Skate City weekend from the suds.

Being a loner, I've pretty much given up on fishing during the day. At times like these, fishing in the crowds of the day can be a hassle, while at night I have the beach to myself. And the bass you catch at night are almost always bigger. I got thunder-and-lightening-ed out on Sunday night, but I did get out for a clamming-and-bunker-head session on Saturday night, and saw many, many guys working the daytime suds in my area … It was a dud this weekend, which just goes to show that unless it's your best friend telling you that he killed them last night, by the time you hear of a good spot, you've already missed it there. But I digress).

Anyway, my point is that of all the angling I did or saw, almost all of which was tossing clam, I didn't see nor hear of a single bass taken. I caught a heap of clearnose skates Saturday night, and saw many large smooth doggies in the 3-4 foot range taken, but overall the bait surf bassing this weekend was very, very poor. It was so bad that by yesterday morning, guys who had been dutifully soaking clam had given up on the spot, and had moved south well before noon. I for one was so tired of catching skates that when I woke up after the thunderstorm (5 am Monday) and hit the beach, I brought the plug rod and hammered 2 lb. blues on teasers in the inlet. It might not have been the greatest fishing, but it was fun, and was certainly better than dealing with more skates.

The good news is that the surf rats down in Cape May are having the best surf catching they've had in years, so the run is far from over (it's more likely just beginning). I'm going to try to catch up on sleep so I can do the vampire-on-the-beach routine as much during June as I can. It should be fun.

Keep 'em crying,

Chris G

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Jay, Due to the weather forecast (nice) I decided to stay away from the crowds on the island for the holiday weekend. I left for a Spray Beach surf outing at 4pm Monday afternoon. Traffic was backed up westbound from 539 to the causeway---bumper to bumper. Worst I've seen in 30+ years---and I'm 38 years old. Got set up in SB around 5pm. Fished till 9. All skates. Saw 1 decent bass caught. Looked good---had some bunker schools pop up in front of us twice.
Went over to check the boat on the BH bayside and fished for an hour. Caught zero on plastics. Water was looking a little stirred from the weekend circus. Back at it tomorrow.
Joe H

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..were nearly everywhere...white poppers were their passion friday..my
cousin and i caught them for hours on top midbay in 8 ft. of water...went
prospecting for weaks but had to be content with the ever so obliging
blues...
...on a different note, i spent a very frustrating evening being tormented
by a hoard of stripers which were popping away in a favorite
creek......couldn't see what they were eating and threw them every small
shrimp, minnow and clam worm imitation i had...not a bump....the same thing
in the same place happened to me last year....what ARE they eating...ron

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