Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday, May 16, 2010:
Another super day. There are bass a aplenty out there, especially north of Barnegat Inlet. However, the flotilla is now out of frickin’ control. I’m not saying anyone should go home. It’s simply the coming together of the popularity of spring stripering and the irreversible fact NY and NJ are two of the most crowded places in North America – and angling is humungous hereabouts. Still, the notion of literally hundreds of vessels working a five mile stretch takes away some of that “out in the open ocean” feel. As for what was being caught, the number of 15- to 25-pound fish seems commensurate with healthy year-classes years back. I heard chatter indicating 50-pound bass are going for snag-and-drop offerings. Plugs are also working surprisingly well from boats, as is trolling with flashy spoons.
The surf of LBI is a tad quiet, after a nice push that put some nice bass in Simply Bassin’. See shop websites for leaderboard. There were a couple 30-pound-plus bass in the suds. I’m not sure they were in the tourney. I’ll get the weigh-in tomorrow or later tonight. Yesterday, I got skunked for the first time in the last dozen late-day plug outings. I guess it wasn’t purely plugging since jigs – fished a lot like plugs -- have taken the most hits, though often smaller fish.
I got word of black drum – some largish -- showing in their favorite haunt areas, Little Egg over toward Grassy and northward to Tuckerton Bay. After a couple calls, I got info on “fairly typical” drumming , with the best areas closest to the mainland. “Typical” for the sharpies I talked to was anywhere from 3 to 6 fish in a better session. Bigger fish were photoed and released with a few smaller ones kept for dining.
Note: Late day has seen hideous showings of no-see-ems. Yesterday they were so horrifically bad you could actually see clouds of them hovering. By the time they reached the scalp, only a crazed two-hand hair muss could relieve the itch.
Here’s a pro report:
This is like the tale of two weeks. Last weekend's gale force winds put a damper on fishing early in the week, with water temperatures plunging back down into the low 40's and giving the fish a serious case of lockjaw in all of our normal spots near the inlet. Fortunately the warm water from the power plant outflow continued to reliably produce mixed sized bluefish to keep the rods bent while the effects of the storm passed.
But as the water started to heat up, so did the fishing. The past few days we've had huge schools of bluefish ranging anywhere from 3 pounds into the low teens seemingly all over the place. On Friday, Jim & Gene Karaman brought buddy Ed out looking for some back bay stripers on clams, but when the blues kept popping up all around us we couldn't resist switching to ultralight outfits and poppers for some super topwater excitement. And every time we thought it was over and time to go back to striper fishing, up they popped again. While we only ended up with one striper in the box, there were sore arms and some happy fishermen back at the dock.
On Saturday, I had the Jim Breslin party out hoping to get in some bass fishing before the winds took over again. A quick trip to the inlet while we were waiting for the tide change turned into almost three hours of non-stop bluefish action when we found schools of 6-12 pound blues ravaging bait within a quarter mile of the inlet. Light tackle and small diamond jigs resulted in the landing an uncountable number of fish before we headed back in with aching arms.
No question there are plenty of stripers around, but the key to catching them right now is to avoid catching a bluefish for long enough to attract them. And with what is unquestionably the best bay bluefishing we've seen in many years, that can be a challenge. What a problem... too many fish! I love it!
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters