Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Sunday May 8, 2011: I hope all you folks remembered to take your mom out fishing today. If you did, you had a decent chance of hitting bass and bluefish, especially if you went up off Seaside where the action is epic -- and the bunker is like nobody has ever seen them.
I lot more secretive is the west double Creek area. it's not a spot, per se, so I'm not burning s*** by highlighting the entire zone. Paul P. was trolling out there -- nearly alone -- and got mugged by blues then got into bass to 32 inches. It was bayside fishing as good as it gets.
The surf has become very iffy, possibly due to fish being drawn toward the further out bunker. There is no shortage of junk fish, especially skate -- which are truly highly edible. I'm not trying to simply sucker folks into ridding the ocean of them, they are legitimately excellent foodstuff. Skate wings seared in blackened butter is a chef's special in many finer restaurants.
Removing wings from a skate (or ray) is fairly easy. The trick it to cut around the hard cartiage that runs down a skate's back, acting a lot like a topside shield, protecting the animal's internal organs.
Wearing gloves, use your thumb to feel for the topside shield. Thumb along the hard area from head to tail. You'll feel the shield widens about 1/2 way down to the tip of the tail. Knowing that hard zone allows for easy cleaning.
Skates can be a bitch to hold -- due to sliminess -- so getting a super good grip is essential -- and yet another trick to quickly cleaning one. Gloves are kinda indispensable. Also, you'll need a fiercely sharp fillet knife. Hopefully you've mastered sharpening a blade, including the essential leather stroping to reach razorish edging.
Placing a skate on a flat hard surface to clean is standard procedure. Give it a go to learn the fish's layout. Jam the blade in the wing just just past the gill plate. Cut toward the tail. Again, cut the wing off as close to the hard area as possible. The removed wing should have a slightly rounded shape where the cut wrapped around the area where the shield was widest.
I prefer holding the skate wing firmly in my left hand and carving off the wing with my knife hand (I'm a rightie), following the path of least resistance, i.e. along the shield. Hand-holding the skate this way actually allows the knife blade to more naturally follow the line of the back shield.
A little practice will allow the cleaning of a slew of skate. And you do need a few if you intend on filleting the removed wings. Perish the thought. You'll get twice the meat by simply skinning the wings and cooking them. Then, either fork off the meat as you eat or scrap off the meat and serve atop rice.
Here's a new release regarding the upcoming season of "Swords ..." This year one of our longtime mobile anglers (Chris) will be on one of the B.L. boats. This should be cool to see.
SEAFOOD.COM NEWS [seafoodnews.com] - May 5, 2011
It survived the legendary 'Perfect Storm.'
Now, the Hannah Boden, Captain Linda Greenlaw's legendary fishing vessel, returns to the treacherous but lucrative waters of the North Atlantic as SWORDS: LIFE ON THE LINE returns for its third season, premiering Thursday, May 12 at 10PM e/p on Discovery Channel.
The Grand Banks off Newfoundland and Georges Bank off the Gulf of Maine hold a valuable commodity: swordfish. The trouble is that these waters are also home to some of the wildest storms on earth. When cold fronts barrel down from Canada and meet hurricane activity from the South, the results can be deadly - as the Hannah Boden witnessed during the 'Perfect Storm' of 1991, when the Andrea Gail went down in 100-foot waves and lost all six of her crew.
It's been nearly 20 years since that fateful October, when Greenlaw was the last person to speak to Andrea Gail captain - Billy Tyne (portrayed by George Clooney in the 2000 feature film) - before his boat and crew were lost at sea.
The new season opens as the wily and calculating Captain Scotty Drabinowicz renews his friendship with the veteran Greenlaw, but as the two steam toward the fishing grounds of the Grand Banks their alliance is quickly put to the test.
Meanwhile, Captain Slick and his young crew of the Frances Anne return to Georges Bank with a greenhorn who can't seem to get anything right. Will this newbie last the season? Finally, Captain Chris 'Chompers' Hansen of the Big Eye scrambles to assemble his crew after dropouts and no shows. Will his ragtag team be able to step it up and deliver a big pay day?
SWORDS: LIFE ON THE LINE is produced for Discovery Channel by Original Productions, a FremantleMedia company, and BermanBraun. Thom Beers, Philip D. Segal and Jeff Conroy are executive producers for Original Productions. Gail Berman and Lloyd Braun are executive producers for BermanBraun. Josh Berkely is executive producer for Discovery Channel.
Here's some pro reports:
It didn't take long for our spring fishery to go from just getting started to full bore frenzy. On the bay side of things, bluefish came swarming into the bay this week just as the striped bass were starting to respond to clam baits. Anchoring up with clams in almost any of the normal areas will result in non-stop rod bending action as ravenous hordes of blues race up and down the channels eating anything in their paths. This can be super fishing for everyone, as there's constant action on blues in the 3-5 pound class with mid-teen striped bass periodically joining the party to keep everyone on their toes. For those preferring topwater action, the flats on both sides of the bay are seeing schools of blues popping up throughout the day and assailing almost anything thrown at them. Early morning striper activity on the flats continues to produce occasional 20-28" fish, but has slowed noticeably in the warmer water.
On the ocean side, schools of bunker have started regularly showing up in our area and that means it's time for some trophy striper fishing. We'll be breaking out both the livelining and trolling gear this week with plans to go on the hunt for 40+ pounders on a couple of our trips this week. The ocean water is still pretty cold, so I'd expect deepwater trolling with Maja spoons to be the choice until the water warms a bit.
So things are happening around here. I still have one open date in May (5/27), and a few June dates available for anyone looking to catch the spring striper run.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters