Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, June 24, 2012: Well, that was a pretty sweet weekend if I do say so myself. I haven’t spent that much time on the beach since last fall’s baiting days.
The surf and seas were as fine as the skies above. I capped each day off at the ends -- with a couple damn decent plugging/jigging sessions. Findings: Yes, there are fluke in the suds. No doubt about blues being about also. And how about a perfect 28-inch bass that I somehow couldn’t bring myself to keep. I’m getting soft in my old age. Or might it be I already have a freezer loaded with 2011 vintage fish I have to eat?
I guess I should mention two blues I nabbed weren’t so lucky. By the looks of what was in their bellies – mainly rainfish and, seemingly, small bunkies – it’s not like these fish were kindly creatures. They made an epic salad – as in, similar to tuna salad but with Chesapeake Bay seasoning added to the mayo. I ice cream scooped a major plop of the bluefish salad onto a couple Kaiser rolls, added a layer of store-bought coleslaw and topped with garden grown basil.
Gardening sidebar: Is it just my piece of backyard agriculture or have things been growing at an insane clip this spring/summer. I have cherry tomato plants so packed with fruit – yes, a tomato is a fruit – t looks like it crossed with a pomegranate.
Rays continued to arrive in our 70-dgree-plus waters. There seems to be some rarer species mixed in with the over-plentiful cow-nosed rays. I’ll note for the umpteenth time that rays are very good to excellent eating. This has been proven out via contests to develop the best recipes for this fully underutilized species. Even folks with picky taste buds rave about well-reciped ray presentations. Smaller wings fry very well when the skin is left on. Spicing up is done after the fried skin is pulled off and meat exposed. Here’s a video showing the simplicity of cooking up rays: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JNhpFlzvQbw&feature=related.
It was another busy week on the Barnegat Bay. Water temperatures in bay responded to the recent heat wave by settling into the upper 70’s. Adjusting my approach to fluking cooler water when possible my fares where still able to boat about 8 fluke per hour. Once again most were shorts but enough are making it home for a meal or two. Opting to fish artificals on light tackle the duo of Chris and John Firriolo managed to land blues, fluke and striped bass, missing a Grand Slam by only a weakfish, demonstrating the amazing fishery we have. With the hot fluke bite and all of the small blues around there is plenty of action to keep the rods bending. So grab your kids, some snacks and a camera and go fishing!
Screaming drags, Capt. Alex LightHouseSportfishing.com Barnegat, NJ 609-548-2511
Well that was quite a week. First, three days of near record setting heat with temperatures in the high nineties and humidity that had us begging for mercy. Then the heat wave gets broken on Friday by one of the nastiest storm systems I've ever been out in, with 8-10 inches of rain in a couple of hours, hail the size of golf balls, sixty mile an hour winds and more cloud to ground lightning than I ever hope to see again. We hunkered down under a bridge for an hour at the height of the storm and felt the temperature drop almost thirty degrees in a matter of minutes. But everyone made it back in safely and it did break the heat, giving us a couple of beautiful summer days for the weekend.
Fluke fishing in the back bay continued to hold up well this week, although the number of keepers was a bit lower than we might have expected. The ratio of shorts to keepers seemed to hover around fifteen to one, but we had pretty consistent action on all three trips this week whenever we could find a decent drift. Hookups were pretty evenly split between Gulp baits and our custom fluke teasers, with white or chartreuse taking turns as the hot colors. Small bluefish around the inlet and on the flats provided some added rod bending action when the drift in the back bay disappeared.
Still plenty of bunker swimming around out front, but it looks like our spring striped bass run is finally over and the fish have migrated north until fall. We'll be concentrating on fluke for the next couple of months, mixing in occasional trips out to Barnegat Ridge when the bonito and false albies make their summer appearance. We still have some prime summer dates open, so now's the time to book that summer outing.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters