Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday June 17, 2007 -- Surf calms but clams don't step up

Sunday, June 17, 2007: Waves: Finally the swell falls off to 2 feet –along with a die-down of the currents.

The switch to straight offshore west winds (midday) invited I some near-torrid air temps – and some black flies. It helped the surfcasters, most of whom were using clams to cash in on the bass that were supposedly near the swash. Well, something went awry as the nearshore bassing was not that great and boat stripering – fishing on bunker – found the bait pods loosely structured, making it tougher to snag drop-ables. Then, when the rehooked bunkers were dropped, it was far from a sure striper thing. This is not to say some juicy cow bass didn’t come to light – I know of 40-ish pounders taken out a ways (close to EEZ) off LE Inlet. A few boats did quite well. However, the release rate remains very low. Remember, that release (of major bass) is fully an option, law-wise. It’s one many of us prefer but it is not grounds for bitterness between anglers. One fellow emailed me that he’s kept a couple 40-pounder and “used every inch of them.” He used the meat for BBQ and give-aways.

How about those alligators just outside Barnegat Inlet? Blue well into the teen of pound have blasted just about anything anglers have dropped down. It’s totally uncanny that the slammer blues have hung out nearshore this deeply into June. I have no doubt this is the biggest display of spring blues in maybe 15 years or more. All of us Long Beach Island Surf Fishing Classic aficionados are thinking we may be back to “the old day” this coming fall. I should note that the catch-and-release rate of big blues is through the ceiling. Even with my cook training, I can’t make anything palatable out of the huge fillets of slammers. I won’t even get into the PCB problems with both big bass and chopper blues.

No sooner do I write that better fluke are being tempereratured out of the bay than cooler north winds blow and fluke-ergized places like Double Creek start punching out 18- to 20-inch flatties as if that’s been the average size all along (fat chance). It has been packed on many near-inlet fluke areas. That always means some folks are big winners (Paul P among those), some big losers and most registering a damn decent time.

Still some frustrating bait stealers in the surf, though the big surf seems to have driven most of them elsewhere.

I had some absolutely delicious BBQ-ed amber jack, taken from the Gulf last winter and fast frozen. It’s amazing that some folks badmouth this species as eating material. I guess many of you know that many decades back, striped bass was considered inedible by many local fishermen. I’v ewriiten this before but the motto was “You heavily season and cook striped bass on a split of wood. Check for doneness then throw away the bass and eat the wood.” Nowadays, many of us know of no better eating nearshore meat fish than small striped bass, even over fluke.


Hey Jay. Fished last night from about 10:30pm to 2:30am with Joe and Dan at a familiar Beach Haven locale. Fishing bunker chunks on the
outgoing tide, we managed to catch a few healthy size smooth dogfish
and a couple skates. No bass. Oh well, after Friday's session, it
was nice to have something put a bend in the rod. I hope to get some
more fishing in later this week. Nick H”

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