Daily Fishing and Outdoor Report
Thursday, October 20, 2011: Yet another one-day nor-easter on the books. It was nothing special – and the most rain I recorded was last night: .68 inch.
While yesterday’s NE winds were also not much to speak of, today’s fairly fierce SW winds (to 35 mph) are laying some serious leafage down on yards sporting shade trees. The winds will chew up boat fishing efforts today. Surfcasting will be far more doable. Then, as I’ve been hyping, just wait until you see the elongated stretch of ideal fall fishing weather coming our way, for as much as 10 days in a row. It all has to do with a firm but north-of-us jet stream pattern – and La Nina doing her stave-off-storms thing for our region. I shouldn’t say this but this wouldn’t be the worst of upcoming weeks to play hooky.
Of more pressing weather import is the approach of the year’s highest “king” tides, even higher than last month’s, which saw Long Beach Boulevard’s right lanes regularly go under water daily for almost a week, including the day of the Chowdefest.
The upcoming king tide is going to be a particularly enhanced event, i.e. one of the highest in years. In fact, some special events have been assigned to the tide. I might even enter a photo contest that is looking for before-and-during photos of the tide showing. I think some LBI folks have already decided to photograph the Boulevard before the tide moves in, then after. I might focus on the Holgate drive-on point.
On a less fun side, it is imperative to moor your in-water vessels for doubly huge tidal swings. The 27th falls on a Thursday so many weekend boat anglers won’t be on-scene to adjust the lines. The damage from ripped out cleats can be wallet numbing. If you moor in a marina, I’m sure the dockmaster will be keeping a close eye on things.
Surprisingly, Holgate is open today, per Stu (9 a.m.). Not that it’ll be a cakewalk trying to fish the fully exposed south end with the southwesterlies hammering the Rip. Still, it sure seems that the about to be blown-out tides will instantly lower the threat of damage to the access road onto the Holgate beach. However, the aforementioned king tides will be an utter bitch to the teetering access road.
Prior to the blow, there was a slight upturn in bassing the frontbeaches of LBI. Nothing showy, just a few nice 20-pounders coming to light. Clams and bunker were working. As it is following any blow, clams should be excellent today through tomorrow.
Also, there are still mullet in the system and I netted my first overload of peanut bunker. That’s always good news for us pluggers. I have had much better success with popper and shallow swimmer with bucktail on the trailing hooks., In fact, I believe virtually all plugs are twice as effective with white bucktail trailing hooks. The reason most production plugs don’t have it is the expense. Just watch how any jointed plug comes to life when bucktailed.
STARTER SECTION: If you’re thinking about tying your own bucktailed hooks for plugs and teasers, take it from the experts: less bucktail is best – and long is strong.
All the good things a flowing bucktail can add to a plug are lost by trying to wad on way too much hair -- all too common in homemade efforts.
It is actually far easier for the likes of a bluefish to rip asunder an uncomely clump of bucktail as opposed to ripping away a discrete batch of tightly bound, resined strands. An over-packed With a clump, once a few strands come out, the pressure holding in the rest is lost. With a properly bucktailed hook, each strand of hair is not only tied in but also is adhesived in place. A good bucktail tie has the strands breaking off individually, instead of becoming unwound.
Another mistake DIYers make is not properly tying/binding over (concealing) the clipped ends of the bucktail, adjacent to the hook eye. It not only looks awful when there is a pokey cluster of exposed hair ends by the hook eye (fish can be pretty observant buggers) but it can destroy the sashay of the long trailing hairs.
One other hype of hairy hooks. Blues and bass sure seem less nervous about taking a solid swipe at a sashaying bucktailed plug tail, as opposed to a dangling bare-metal hook. Last Friday in Holgate, I was plugging the back cut to no avail until I switched over to a smaller jointed Red Fin with bucktail. The blues went bonkers over it. Another fellow showed and had no luck with a bare-tailed popper, switched over to bucktailed popper and caught three nice tailor blues, with swipes and hits on almost every cast.
Jay - in your last article you mentioned sand fleas - I haven't seen any in years and years. I wasn't sure that they are still around. I have always wanted to try them for tog but have always gone the way of the green or calico crab. I would appreciate any insight there or how/where.
(You are one of a quite few folks who haven't been able to find these top tog baits in our beachside sands. It sure seems it's all a matter of where you dig. All summer in Harvey Cedars, the kids were digging sandcrabs in hyper numbers -- the way I recall them. There were dozens, even more, in every handful of sand -- all different sizes of sandcrab.
This was doubly significant because I had been wondering if the beach replenishments were killing the sandcrabs by covering them with more sand than they could climb through to reach the surface, where they must be to forage on tiny marine and vegetative items that hang in the swash zone. Again, you couldn't find more sandcrabs than we had in HC. Recently, I got mine (extra-large sizes) in a heartbeat in North Beach.
I will note that it's harder to score sandcrabs at max high tide. Also, during low tide it's best to go up to slightly drier sand (top of the surf berms) as opposed to the digging in very wet areas, where crabs are much smaller.
Speaking of crabs, the invasive green crabs (brought in for tog fishermen) are now everywhere, bayside. As I've been scratching hard clams, north end to south, these bulky, tough-as-nails crabs are so solid they can feel like clams when pulling a rake through mud. The good thing is they are not the world's fastest pinchers. However (and I have no idea why I do this s***), if you purposely let them grab a finger, they crunch down like a clawed vise -- and won't let go. There are enough green crabs that I might soon be possible to harvest these bugger for togging. Also, don’t release unused green crabs anywhere ion the bay or inlets. It’s counter-ecological.
(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.
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. )