Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Friday, September 23, 2011:
Wasn’t the nicest of days. I was going to go beachward very early but stepped outside and was slapped in the face by fog and rain. I just didn’t have the gumption to throw castnet in the low-visibility (water-wise) conditions. And it’s not going to be overly great out there any time soon. However, it’s very nice conditions for fall surf fishing, ncluding tomorrow’s World Series of Surf Fishing. (Can someone from the LBI Fishing Club please get me the results? Thanks much.)
We’re stuck in a very La Nina pattern, as a big lazy Great Lakes low pressure isn’t being motivated to move anywhere. Ironically, the counterclockwise airflow around the northern low will bring us south to southeast winds. The ironic part is those are the same winds we get much of the summer but, in those instances, it’s due to high pressure systems to our south.
While there are flood warnings out for just about all NJ, I really don’t think we’ll be getting anything even near flooding rains, providing weak TS Ophelia doesn’t do anything silly. Still, our high tides are getting in their winter mode, meaning they’re always nosing around the gutter (see blog below).
As for fish, the bass are still in the hood. While fishing pressure remains very subdued, there are more surfcasters than we‘ve had of late. I’ve got word of “nice” bass being caught on plugs but nothing of serious size, i.e. 20 pound and up.
If you’re thinking about bait fishing, you better love bluefish, including those amazingly tasty cocktail blues, up to three pounds. They’re dominating the pegged stick angling. I did have one angler say he had a “huge blue” on -- saw it bust the surface right after being hooked, but it bit through thinner steel leader meant for snappers.
There is an impressive showing of bottlenose dolphin regularly roaming from Little Egg Inlet up to 113 Buoy – and seemingly heading even further north inside the bay. They’re making some very close-in showings near Holgate’s west peninsula. They are likely delighting in the millions of tiny snappers, bluefish being a dolphin favorite. Unfortunately, even more favored are fluke. Unlike diving birds, which come to the surface with their just-caught foodstuff, dolphin don’t offer the secret of what they’re dining upon when they come up for air. I suppose they also eat bunker but a fellow who was one of the many boaters befriended by a people-loving bayside dolphin, threw some bunker to the begging marine mammal and it knocked it away with its nose. When the boater then threw half a peanut butter/jelly sandwich, the dolphin scarfed it down and pleaded for more. I’m thinking that might not have been the best indicator of what wild dolphin generally eat.
Migrating barn swallows made a quick stop-by last week but have been AWOL of late. That’s weird. Maybe they’ll be showing in phases this year. I saw that one other fall.
Interested in the annual migration of monarch butterflies? Hey, it’s cool to keep track of such things. Go to http://www.learner.org/jnorth/monarch/.
It’s time to sign up for the 2011 Long Beach island Surf Fishing Classic. It’s still a couple weeks off but be an early bird and assure yourself of first dibs on the sign-up goodies, especially the caps. Go to http://lbift.com/ -- and make sure to place that website on your desktop. There are so many extra gifts and such you need to check every time you weigh in a fish.
You mention in this week’s blog that you’ve caught 3 Spanish macks in your angling career. I was fortunate enough to have caught one while working the inlet side of the south jetty in 1996. I was actually fishing for snapper/taylor blues with a 6 ½ foot freshwater rod and 8 pound test, throwing small Hopkins and crocs along the rocks but still not out past the concrete walkway, maybe 100 yards from the end of the walkway or so. I hooked up with what I thought was a freight train headed straight out the inlet, taking line like nobody’s business, and the fish was not even thinking about turning around. About 10 minutes later, I landed the fish, but I had to look at it for 10 seconds or so until I realized that it was indeed a Spanish mackerel, about 19 inches long and maybe 1 ½ to 2 lbs, and certainly one of the prettiest fish you could catch from shore. I couldn’t keep it, considering the fight he gave me, and slipped him back into the water. But make no mistake, a 1 ½ pound Spanish mack will indeed run circles around a bluefish of the same size.
(My largest S. mack was taken in Holgate, circa late 1980s, in pounding surf. I was throwing metal for slammers and, like you, I took a hit and was suddenly holding on for all I was worth. I was using my medium plugging set-up and had a goodly amount of line ripped off before I turned the hook-up. I absolutely knew it wasn’t a bluefish. I was convinced I had a false albacore, since a goodly number had been taken in the vicinity. After a solid 5 minute fight, marked by my almost getting it through the waveline only to have it power seaward, I got it in close enough to see it was an S. mack, having caught a slew in Central Florida during trips down there. The thing that got me was the insane size. It was damn near slammer size. I landed it and headed to the tackle shop(s). I recall the fish was somewhere in the 8-pound range. At Bruce and Pat’s, I filled out the state record form and months later saw my name on the state record list, though I was never notified. About a year later, the current record-holder for Spanish mackerel beat mine out – from a boat. Unfair. I sure wish I had gotten a state-record certificate since that was very likely the only one I’ll ever luck upon. J-mann.)
“Has anyone you know been checked for their angler registry?”
(I have secondhand reports of boat and surf fisherpeople being checked. I actually have no firsthand knowledge of such checks, though I’m sure it’s happening. J-mann).
FLOOD BLOG: Those road department emergency “flood barrels” are now in place for the winter, ready to be hauled onto the many sections of roadway that submerge during winter high tides.
As LBI sinks under the never-ending weight of humanity and sea levels inch a bit upward, there are now many low-lying sections of Island roadway that chronically submerge even during some run of the mill high tides.
For anglers, mainly those motoring south from the Causeway, it’s vital to think left lane when water is poking out of sewer grates. While there is a state law against driving in the passing lane if not passing, that surely doesn’t apply to LBI when water is pooled across the inside right lane.
After buggying the beach, it’s not the worst thing to carefully drive through some pools of standing water – providing they’re fresh, like after a solid rainfall. However, the ugly water oozing from the subterranean sewer system is not fresh. Taste it sometime. While hitting such a putrid road-pond might power off loose sand, it actually forces salty water deeply into chassis crevices.
It’s always a chuckler when folks who faithfully garage their vehicles, to prevent them from being hit by salt air, get deluged by sewer pool splash-age -- a thousand time worse than shoreline breezes – then pull their precious vehicles back into the garage for protection.
Nothing is better for a buggy (a blanket term for SUV, truck, Jeep, Hummer) than a long powerwashing at the coin-driven pull-in places. It’s better than the “professional” washing since you can give due diligence to places you know have taken corrosive sand and saltwater.
In the coin bay, I fully understand the concept behind doing the full-Monty cycle – soap, scrub, mats, rinse and wax. However, I take just about my entire time using the high-power wax stage. It can power off grime, de-sand and, most of all, get that wonderful liquid wax into the deepest recesses of my undercarriage, where the worst rots begin. I’m sure Ray W. (powerwash owner) can give huge reasons for obediently going through the entire cycle. If convinced by him, at least do a load of wax time as a finale.