Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
(It is that humbling time of year when I hold the hat out for my one annual donation drive. I’m heading toward my 15th year and I promise there are a load of various expenses. Every donated penny goes to covering costs. I also want to assure that I absolutely do not EXPECT donations from anyone. Some folks have annually been kind – and I want them (and all) to realize that I’m thankful for past help but fully understand some years are better than others are.
Donations can be mailed to: Jay Mann, 222 18th Street, Ship Bottom, NJ, 08008-4418. Also, I can be PayPal-ed at firstname.lastname@example.org. )
Sunday, October 09, 2011:
Now we’re even. The Island kinda owed the tourist public a weekend after that Irene event stole one. Well, not many folks missed this reimbursement weekend. The beachfront was truly as busy – and, admittedly as inviting -- as any summer day.
The ocean-to-dune people coverage made it a no-go for mobile anglers. However, walk-on surfcasters – and, face it, utterly fair-weathered casters -- were all over the shoreline. It was easily the busiest tackle shop weekend since July.
The good part was ubiquitous small bluefish – and some small stripers. Folks casting meat (mullet or bunker) saw rods moving aplenty. Even during the breaks in the bite, it was a day to lay back, sip a drink (lifeguards are long gone) and marvel over the fact it is October 9.
I did my time on the far South End, the only area that could be driven without major conflicts with beachgoers. That’s not to say there weren’t a slew of south end strollers working Holgate. The area around the parking lot was being heavily hoofed. However, everyone I ran into, make that passed by, were super friendly. I got nary a bad look or a growl as I inched by them in my truck.
Violation! (Blink-blink, nod-nod): I was seeking nature photographs and using my favorite Zeiss binoculars. I inadvertently got a gander at something more naturist than natural. A couple gals had illegally snuck back into the remaining refuge foliage and had gone topless among some laurels. Disgusting! (Blink-blink, nod-nod). No, I didn’t take a snapshot! My camera lens wasn’t …
Today’s super low tide was one the first bayside bottom-outs since the Holgate end opened. I’m certain of that because we’ve all been waiting to clam the mudflats and haven’t had one cooperative tide since September 1. Obviously, today was of no clamming use. No clamming on Sundays, per the state’s clamming blue law. I’m thinking that tomorrow’s Columbus Day holiday will see an even lower afternoon tide. I could use some steamers so I’ll be breaking from work a big tad early. .
Here’s an important fishing report from Walt P: “Fished some spot along the sod banks on Saturday and had one short bass. Tried again today, nothing. tried outside and up the beach. Maybe a hundred boats snagging wall to wall bunker. Did not see any fish caught, but if its bunker that will bring the big fish into shore over the next couple of weeks, we should have a great November. WP.”
Those massive nearshore schools of bunker can be both a blessing and curse for surfcasting. When things are calm and overly collected, big bass will forsake the beach to dog the no-brainer baitballs. However, when winds and weather stir the big bucket (ocean), things quickly break loose near the surfline, as bass have a harder time bunkering out and seek sustenance in the suds. Regardless of how amazingly tenacious bass are when stalking bunker balls, the number one comestible for stripers is always crabs.
As for the Classic, I haven’t gotten many special weigh-in faxes/emails. The burst of big bass on the north end proved there are bigger models in the mix. Finding them is what fall fishing is all about. Slammers are going to be hard to find with ocean temps back up to 63. The thing is, when the big blues come, they’ll be arriving with a vengeance.
Didn't do much fishing this week due to other commitments (whatever gets into people scheduling weddings during fall fishing season??) but there is a lot going on. I did sneak out one afternoon for a couple of hours and it sure seemed like the cooler weather had no effect on this year's mad dog blowfish bite in the bay. I only fished for about ninety minutes on Thursday, but still managed to land 150+ with a bunch a nice ones in the 9-13" range. But that should do it for me... plenty in the freezer and much more interesting things to bend a rod.
The fall striped bass run appears to be getting started right on schedule, with bass being taken both along the beach and in the back bay. I got my first solid reports on albies close to the beach this week, and as reported last week there are plenty of bluefish and small weakfish in the area. So it looks like our fall season is getting off to a great start, and if this beautiful weather holds up we should see some outstanding fishing for the next few weeks.
Still a couple of open mid-week dates left this month for anyone that wants to combine some great fishing with this spectacular fall weather.
Until next week.
Capt. Jack Shea
Barnegat Bay Fishing Charters