Tuesday, May 26, 2009: Waves: rapidly building 3-5 short-period northerly wind swell.
We’re still in the fast-change season. That’s obvious this a.m. as chilly very brisk (low fishability) ENE winds have replaced yesterday’s light and variable (highly fishable) breezes. It is going to be a tough go out there and a real bummer for those boat folks smashing stripers from Seaside down to the Bathing Beach, IBSP. I know a lot of yesterday bass bangers were up at sunrise today and cursing the gusts (to 25 mph). However, I’m wondering if there is enough east to the winds to push the bunker toward the beach to allow surfcasters —including those on the north end of LBI -- a shot at the grazing cows. It’s a long shot but that wind might even blow the bunker pods across the Barnegat channel and down along LBI.
Water temps are still edging upward with that NE flow, mid- to low-60s prevail. Even without that northerly bass mass blowing our way, there should be a beachfront surge by the resident bass. There is a lot of other bait in the LBI waters and plenty of crabs, including the start of what might be a banner stock of blue claws (the Chesapeake took its highest winter blue claw count in decades). Male sure to sign up for 2009 Simply Bassin’ so that cow you corral gets to flirt with the $1,000 first prize.
RECENT REPROT FROM BELOW: Snorkel stripering is going very well around Barnegat Inlet. Spearfishermen are nabbing nice fish, mainly along the North Jetty zone, extending back to the reinforced area. The number of fish spotted is very high. The problem has been the wicked chill to the water. Full wetsuits are tough to neutralize through a weight belt.
Divers are telling me that the tog are showing in remarkable numbers along the jetties. They, of course, are not targeting them but simply getting a good gander on them as they drift off the rocks to feed.
And, yes, spearfishermen are totally qualified sportsmen/fishermen. Remember, the entire public sector is allowed 2 bass of 28 inches or greater a day. How you can legally take them is specified in the rules and regulations of the DEP -- and using a spear is emphatically okayed in black and white.
If you have any doubts about the effort and skill needed to take your allowable bass via diving with a spear, be my guest to jump in and give it a go. I’ve spent more time underwater than most anyone you know and I can assure there has to be a full-blown commitment (and above-adequate conditioning) before you fully submerge yourself into the unknown – to swim with the fishes, as it were. I can doubly assure that it’s a lot tougher stripering via the down-under route as opposed to pulling up to the water in a buggy, throwing out a couple rigs and settling in the driver’s seat to sip some java to wait for a rod to go down. I’m now among those who greatly prefer the topside route but I still recall my goofier days of going mano-a-mano with marine life (though I wasn’t an avid spearfishermen overall).
Odd e-question: “Jay, can you give striped bass away? Some guy on the beach said he couldn’t take the bass I offered him.”
That’s a buncha of proverbial baloney. I’m sure he was thinking in terms of accepting an illegal-sized striper. Then, yes, he could be held accountable if he’s caught exiting the beach with a too-short striper in hand. It should be noted that donated bass counts toward your daily bag limit; You give one away and walk off later with two legal fish in hand, the binocular police can swoop in.
Along those same odd lines, while surf fishing I once gave away some bass to a gal and her daughter – old softy that I am – filleting the fish out for them. I was later told that borders on a no-no, since I was left holding bass filets without the applicable wrack – which I had thrown into the surf and was dragged who-knows-where by gulls. While nothing ever came of it, the more I read over those fish and wildlife enforcement reports the more I realize there have been quite a few folks who have found out (the hard way) the quirkiness of rules and regulations. But, you can give away that bass to whomever you chose providing it’s of legally acceptable size and you ask no money in return.