Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report

Sunday Oct. 21, 07 -- Slow Sunday and striper slower yet

Sunday, October 21, 2007: Waves: Slowly diminishing 2- to 4-foot south swell. Water clarity: Improving from fair to good. Water temps: Uncanny 65 to 67 degrees – and could be getting warmer than that with arriving hot weather.

There are a load of things going on out there, some helping fishing and many hurting it. First, that south blow really stirred the water and did all it could to hurt the beach bite via waves, dirty water and general drop in bait concentrations. The surfcasting was nothing to write home about – for the weekenders along with locals. There were some blues (and a spattering of Classic weigh-ins) and a few decentish bass (though not even remotely where it should be).

Bass aside: The low count of stripers isn’t just a baffler for me. I had a couple longtime bassers saying they’ve never seen the stripers this late in arriving.

I once again had a pretty much hopeless plugging day working the surf, despite fine conditions, with just enough waves and white water to enhance the poppers potential to draw reaction hits. I did have two big swirls near the beach in Holgate but even a 28-inch bass can make a real decent surface whirlpool, so odds were those fish werestill just the few small stripers we’ve been seeing lately.

I did hear of some healthy surf bass on bait toward the north end. I’m not sure if they were Classic-bound.

By the by, the slowness of stripers is far from a bad thing for the Classic. Tom White’s recent 15-pounder was a day winner – and the only bass weighed in. So, it can be very interesting if you get even a modest bass over 34 inches. Should you coax a considerable cow, it could prove a real winner -- when it might not even be in the running during past tourneys.

Plug potential: It could be time to think medium to large swimming plugs instead of poppers. Black Bombers swum easily on the surface might be what a lazy bass is up for since all this warm water means bass aren’t in that go-get-em mode. Teasers are highly unadvisable with the blues still hanging heavily in the upper water column. When it comes to a bluefish over even a few pounds, a teaser can mean a sure bite-off and the loss of not just the teaser from the dropper loop but the entire trailing plug. As I’ve been over-noting, the price of plugs mean a bite-off can prove real painful when it involves the likes of a new Gibb’s or Yo-Zuri – and we won’t even think in terms of a lost hand-done plug, like a new T.W.

I was chatting with some trolls (bridge fishermen) and the weakfishing has been very good to torrid at the spans -- and for many nights on end.

Just to prove the point of the sparkler presence, here’s a section from an e-report from Capt. Shea, Rambunctious (Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters) :

“ … Thursday was almost insane, with Tom O'Donnell, Dr. Jerry Detata, and Jerry's sons Ryan and Dave landing 75-100 weakies plus a bunch of bluefish on jigs and teasers. Both days we had fish were coming over the rail two at a time. …” Shea also noted a huge bass caught inside Barnegat Inlet: “Today I had regulars George Selph and Bob Keller aboard, and both put together IGFA Inshore Grand Slams (striped bass, weakfish, bluefish) topped by Bob's 40" beauty taken on a clam in the back bay.”

Other weakfish reports have told of plasticized jigs sucking in numerous weaks to over 20 inches. By the by, you can go to any bayside street end with deeper water and find those weaks feeding after dark. The area along the banks of Barnegat Inlet really turn on at night. Along with jigs, mullet work very well.

Email:: Hi Jay - I've been working a stretch of beach from HC to Lovely Ladies for several years now. This year it all looks the same. Like the beach has lost it's contour. Jetty holes, cuts, rips they're all gone. Sure they move around but this year it seems that the contour is just not there. The outer bar and then whitewater. Just wondering if anybody else reads it like this. I'm blaming it on the lack of any storms this year. The last big one I can think of was back in April …

(Steve, Just today I was talking with Dicky C. who noticed the exact same phenomena you mentioned. He said there wasn’t a decent hole or cut or rip or slew all through Beach Haven.

It is very likely the huge lack of major storms, which structure the beach profile with cuts and shallows and such.

I hope no one think in terms of the Surf City beach fill causing the problem. The literal drift on LBI is irreversible north to south. Any sand shift from that project would be in Ship Bottom. Ironically (or more), that area is just where most of the bluefish blitzes have been (unlike past years). In fact, Ship Bottom to Brant beach has been a hot zone.

Had a question about the heavy showing of stargazers. It’s not because of a huge surge in the biomass, it is simply this astounding showing of baitfish, now mainly spearing and bunkies. The gazers are simply loading up like nobody’s business – and lovin’ life. I just know they are highly edible, though I’ve never eaten one. They have a huge chunk of meat on either side of the tail, kinda like a blowfish times 10.

This is my only fundraiser. Thanks for contributions to this site: Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ 08008

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