Monday, May 21, 2018
We left the dock Sunday with a very light crew, not knowing what to expect after the week of rainy weather. The ocean was not bad, just a left over heave and the winds were light. A moderate current was running up into the wind and it took a little extra time to anchor. The bite was sluggish, with the current, but the anglers that figured out how to tease the fish to the baits started catching. It took a little fishing to get dialed in, but then it was game on, with many double headers and some nice, big, blue, green and purple knuckleheads. The box started to fill and soon it was time to head in with full fillet bags, back to the dock at 1 pm, and home in time to watch the Yankee game. Sea bass dinners, sandwiches, maybe a pot of chowder and some for the freezer. Nothing like a fresh fish dinner after the winter we had.
Wednesday, May 16, 2018
I can agree with some bag and size limits, but I can't stand some of the "seasons", when the government tells you that you can't fish. There are plenty of fluke around now but you can't keep them. New York fluke season is open and the boats are catching. They let the commercial boats fish for fluke now, and they put a hurting on them before our season opens next week. There is no harm in keeping one or two now when they are here, but they extended the fluke season into late September this year, and everyone knows that if just one hurricane passes offshore, it's just a waste of time. The sea bass season opened yesterday and there are plenty around, but it was hard to get them to bite in a building south wind. That should get better after the new moon and a change in the weather. Speaking of weather, most of the state got pounded by strong storms yesterday. As the squall line approached the coast, I prepared for the worst. We actually observed rotation in the clouds over head, but as usual for this time of year, the cold waters of the ocean and Barnegat bay sucked the energy out of the system and just ate it up. All we had here was heavy rain, just like ringing out a wet towel. I am expecting a good catch this weekend when the winds return to a westerly direction.
Monday, May 14, 2018
It is finally looking like spring, everything is turning green with all the east wind and rain. Bass fishing was good for schoolies from the beach. Bluefish made an appearance last Wednesday, but have been hiding since the wind has turned to an easterly direction the past five days. Shark River is loaded with fluke, I saw some landed from shore yesterday. Don't forget, I will be running a sea bass trip for all my old Pioneer friends this Sunday 5/20.
Monday, May 7, 2018
We headed out Sunday with a light crew on a flat calm ocean. The water temperature was up to 50 degrees and there was life on every drop. The ling fishing was only a pick, we caught more blackfish then anything as well as some sea bass. Damien and Evelyn had keeper cod and Roger had a big, fat orange-belly ling that he declared was nothing good. What was he expecting, a Haddock? All went home with dinner, and the next open trip is for sea bass on 5/20.
Friday, April 27, 2018
We got an invite from an old friend, Capt Dave of the Tuna.Com, to fish aboard his new boat. We headed to Gloucester MA with the Skylarker crew, and had a trip to remember. Not only was the fishing outstanding,but we got to fish aboard a "fishing yacht" and had a ball reminiscing old times and catching up on life's events. The whales put on a show as we arrived on the fishing grounds and when we set anchor in 130 feet, it was game on. Many double headers and we were throwing back keeper sized fish, retaining only the largest. There is a prohibition on cod in the Gulf of Maine, and we could only keep haddock, but it was easy to reach the limit of twelve per person. I put on a jig and fly and had non stop action on cod and bigger haddock. I wanted to keep track of the number of cod I released, and landed thirty between five and fifteen pounds! We had so many fish we were back at the dock at one o'clock. Many thanks to Dave and Sandro for an excellent fishing experience. Check out the pictures on the Tuna.com facebook page.
Monday, April 23, 2018
We tried casting at the beach for a few hours this morning and it was cold as.... but warmed up quickly as the sun rose into the clear sky. I had a nice fluke that looked to be about seventeen inches or so follow my bucktail but did not bite. When I took the jig out of the water, it would turn and move back to the deep. I would cast right back there and it would follow the lure to my feet. And I was standing in the water. And it did this three times! Oh well, next time. Don't forget last chance for blackfish until fall, next Sunday, 4/29.
Sunday, April 22, 2018
We made our first trip of the new season. While the temperatures are still cold, you cold feel spring trying to break through. The ocean was flat calm and it was like fishing in a tea cup. The first drop was very lively and we ended with a nice little catch of blackfish. Four keeper sized cod also were boxed. The fish bit both clams and crabs, with clams being better as usual in the spring. We are going to run another open boat next Sunday, 4/29 for the last day of blackfish season.
Saturday, April 14, 2018
Another try at flounder fishing this week was no good. We had a few bites but saw only one small fish landed. Friday was forecast to be warm, so we changed tactics and headed for the beach. The wind was up all night and we did not know what to expect on our first trip of the season to our favorite surf spot. It was still blowing pretty good when we arrived and no one was around. I rigged a couple light rods with lures and we headed out to make some casts. As the morning passed the wind died out and it was fun casting into clear waters and we were pleasantly surprised with some bites and landed a few schoolie stripers, the first fish of a new season. We were the only ones out on the point and had the whole beach to ourselves. There were birds working about a half mile out in the inlet and it looks like spring may finally be here.
Saturday, April 7, 2018
Well, about 1/4 of the spring has passed, but you will never know it. It has been cold as winter with wind, rain and snow. We have been trying to catch a winter flounder after the good fishing last fall, but so far it's been a bust. The weather forecast called for a sixty degree day yesterday and we grabbed our gear and headed out for a few hours. It was pouring rain and thirty eight degrees on the way to the river and the day started cold and wet. A few regular anglers were on the pier and reported the first six fish were caught Easter Sunday. We saw osprey, laughing gulls and oyster catchers, making us think spring had arrived, but the waters remain cold and barren. Around the time of the tide change, one fisherman landed a big flounder, about eighteen inches. I also had a bite, that tap-tap of a flounder that kept hitting the bait on the lift but never taking it. After three hours we threw in the towel and will try one more time next week. I commented to another angler that the fluke will be in before the flounder start biting.
Wednesday, April 4, 2018
Sunday, April 1, 2018
Do you believe they have snow in the forecast for tomorrow? The strong spring sun wants to warm the inshore waters, but snow has a negative effect. Still very little life in the ocean, and I don't expect anything to happen until the middle of the month. Happy Easter, enjoy the day.
Friday, March 30, 2018
A few tries for winter flounder have not produced so much as a nibble. I had a report of a few caught at the Mantoloking pier, so we grabbed some bait and fished for three hours without a scratch. The other day we took a walk in the woods and I took along my ultra light four pound spinning outfit. A few casts with a top water plug drew some savage strikes. The pickerel were big, thick and mean as they bit off two lures. It was nice to bend a rod after a month of hard weather. Back on the flounder beat next week.
Thursday, March 22, 2018
The snow began to fall around 10 am on Tuesday. It snowed for eighteen hours and around 4 pm on Wednesday only the grass was covered. It began to stick at this time and continued snowing into the early morning hours of Thursday. Right now, we are covered by about a foot of heavy, wet snow. I may be wrong, but this is the most snow I can remember falling after the vernal equinox. While it snows into April, ( think of those Easter snows of our youth) and I even remember flurries in May, I don't recall getting more then ten inches this time of year. Snow drops the water temperature, and even though the sun is strong, the season start looks like it just got a little later.
Wednesday, March 21, 2018
Happy Spring everyone, as we are hunkered down in the clutches of another winter storm. If you don't like the forecast, just change the channel. I would have to say, that this is the most varied and inconsistent forecast in the modern times of satellites and enhanced radar systems. While most people complain about "weather men", they have been very accurate in the days of modern technology. This storm has most of them baffled. The most knowledgeable and professional forecasters are using the computer data as a tool, not like the over-hyped media that believes anything from a computer is gospel. Any way, the current media outlets are predicting between 0 and 12 inches of snow for our area. I guess they have it covered.
Tuesday, March 20, 2018
This winter will not give up. Last week we tried locally for flounders and it was a bust. The kayakers out in the deep were doing well with short stripers. Sunday, the local waters were mobbed with kayaks. Yesterday, we took a ride to where we left the flounders biting before the Christmas blizzard to find we were the only anglers there. Contrary to tackle shop reports, a flounder has not been caught here this spring, and we spent three hours trying for the first one. With more snow and cold in the forecast, we are not planning to try until it gets warmer, and that first flounder is still out there.
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
We are in the clutches of the third storm in two weeks, with snow and strong NE winds. The bay was kicked up yesterday and by evening the wind was howling. Lots of fisherman have been casting for stripers at the power plant. I want to give flounders a try, but the cold waters are dirty from the storms. There was a showing of codfish this weekend, and blackfish opens in April. I will call everyone when it's time to go, be ready, only a few more weeks.
Monday, March 5, 2018
The longer days offer the promise of spring, but winter hangs on as another nor'easter is forecast. The last storm wrecked New England and brought us strong winds that caused problems around the state, but little here at the shore.The storm brewing for Wednesday is supposed to bring some snow. Good thing we have MLB network, there is a game on every day. And speaking of baseball, it is fun to watch how things change every season. It appears the even playing field of the past four or so years is starting to tilt, as many teams are rebuilding, while others are building powerhouses. Stay warm and safe, spring is only fifteen days away and I am expecting a good season.
Friday, March 2, 2018
We are having a late season storm, with lots of rain and some wind. The media accounts of a "nor'easter" sent the general public into a panic. It is snowing in the northern parts of the state, but the wind is actually forecast to be NW and there should be minimal impact on the shore area. Yesterday was opening day for striped bass and winter flounder and while we did not investigate local spots, we heard of a few fish caught and a large turnout of anglers. We will try for flounders locally on the next nice day.
Saturday, February 24, 2018
The Yanks played their first spring training game yesterday. The young exciting team of last year has been upgraded and will be fun to watch. Baseball, like tulips, daylight savings and singing birds, lets us know that happy spring fishing days are not far away.
Wednesday, February 21, 2018
The weather has been very mild over the past two weeks, allowing us to get out and explore the southern end of our state. We found many cool places along the bayshore and deep in the pine barrens. One of the cool features of the pines is the many state parks and little local parks off the beaten path. Yesterday, we stayed local, and went hiking in the state park behind the house. I took along a rod and landed a couple pickerel. In the afternoon the temperatures were in the seventies and I put on shorts and sat out in the sun for a while.
Sunday, February 18, 2018
Every four years, the Olympics come along at the right time of year, as there is nothing to look at on TV in the evening or those winter days that keep you inside. Has anyone else notice that NBC is really fudging up the coverage? It seems to me they have been showing about ten minutes of an event and then showing an equal amount of commercials. And the same commercials over and over again. They also have seemed to abandoned the coverage of the Olympic village and the local customs that were interesting in years past. They also are jumping around different events in trying to cover everything, while actually missing the best live action only to show taped video. The only thing they did get right was devote CNBC to cover curling, a very popular and interesting game. It is the only sport where the participants would look comfortable with a beer in their hand.
Saturday, February 3, 2018
Today, it's twelve degrees and you can't even go outside. When the temperatures do rise above the freezing mark, it actually feels pleasant. Thursday was such a day and we headed to the beach. The drive out to Barnegat Light was cool as beach towns are lonely places in winter. The inlet is popular as it hosts many different type of sea ducks that migrate from the far north. Common Eider, Oldsquaw, Black Scoter, Surf Scoter, White Wing Scoter, Loons, and different alcids and gulls can be found. One of the most popular attractions are the Harlequin ducks. These brightly patterned, tough little birds migrate from Greenland and Iceland to spend the winter diving between the rocks for food. We walked out past the light house and the swells were splashing on the walk way and making ice on the jetty. A seal was swimming in the inlet and about half way out a pair of Harlequins were diving between the rocks, right at our feet. We were so close that I could have scooped them with a fluke net! We got some cool pictures and added another bird to the list. After walking out to the end, we explored the beach and headed back towards home. We drove out to the Manahawkin wildlife management area to see what we could find. Overlooking the vast marsh, it would appear barren to the casual observer, but in among the creeks and spillways, were swans, black duck and Great Blue herons. A few Northern Harriers hunted over the reeds as did two bald eagles, but we did not find the short-eared owls we were hoping to see. Lots more exploring to do when the weather allows.
Friday, February 2, 2018
This winter hit hard early, and the fishing suffered for it. Snow and melting ice drop the water temperature to the point were nothing bites. Most boats have shut down, as bottom fishing can be frustrating, to say the least. Mackerel fishing was the best game in town, but huge draggers are working the schools far from shore. These boats are freezer trawlers and can hold as much as 350 tons of fish! Our government seems to think this is fine, but it is the reason we no longer see the spring mackerel fishing. Tremendous schools of big spawning mackerel would pass the coast every year in April and would support the party boat fleet as thousands of anglers would turn out to fill burlap sacks. These fish would be as close as a half mile off the beach and boats full of anglers made as many as three trips a day to start the season. Now there are only two party boats between NY and NJ even trying, and they have to have nice weather to get 20 to 30 miles offshore. Another example of failed fishery management. Oh well, at least NOAA protected the dogfish for us.
Saturday, January 27, 2018
We made our way offshore yesterday for our last winter trip. Cold and calm, it was nice to be on the ocean and we steamed thirty miles offshore to try some wrecks. A few cod and blackfish came aboard along with a bunch of silver eels and ocean pout. All the big draggers from Cape May and Point Judith were working over the mackerel schools in the Mudhole and we spent the last hour filling coolers and baskets with the tasty treats. Whales and dolphins put on a show for the ride home. A few boats will keep sailing for the winter. The Skylarker will start again in April for the inshore blackfish bite. The last few seasons we did very well that time of year on the 50 to 90 foot spots, fishing with clams. I will give everyone a call when it's time to go.
Thursday, January 25, 2018
Monday, January 22, 2018
Saturday afternoon was so pleasant, that after taking a long walk, we sat in the back yard for a while, taking in the sunshine. Sunday morning we took a ride to the woods and hiked some trails. Quite a few people were out enjoying the day. We found some Tundra swans and a lone Merlin out on the bogs. Back at the house, our two little resident deer were making their daily visit to the grass in the yard. The boat was out today, but I haven't spoken to the skipper yet so I don't have a report. The bay is clear of ice but this is the time of year when the water gets cold and the fish don't always bite. I heard the mackerel fishing was good and cod were caught out at Montauk. We are watching for a weather window and should be out again towards the end of the week.
Friday, January 12, 2018
When the winter weather offers a window to get offshore, you have to take advantage. Thursday was the day, as it was mild and the ocean was flat calm. Capt. Steve rounded up a crew and we cast off at 5:30 am and made our way east to deep wrecks. Three drops in the deep produced a few ling, a lone cod and the ever present spiny dogfish. A passing dragger gave word of mackerel not far from our position and we spent the afternoon picking at them. All the blackfish boats were inshore with good gangs aboard, and they had a few fish. We will try to get out again Monday to try some 100 foot plus drops, looking for trophy blackfish. Let me know if you would like to come along.
Tuesday, January 9, 2018
We are keeping an eye on Monday 1/15 , Martin Luther King day. The plan is to get a crew together and head to the deeper wrecks in search of trophy blackfish. This is the time of year when the pool fish can be teen sized. While it is hard to predict weather this time of year, the long range is looking good. Give a call or send me an e-mail if you would like to try.
Thursday, January 4, 2018
While running errands the past few days, we took time to check out the ice on Barnegat Bay. There are parts that are open and parts that are completely covered. Some guys were still duck hunting and it seems like a million ducks could be seen all over the bay. The wild life viewing has been excellent. We can find a Bald Eagle just about any time, some times by just looking out the window! The other afternoon, just after sunset, I was watching a family of deer behind the house, little does and bucks and one big eight point buck. The phone rang, and "Highliner" Paul was returning from clamming with a big load. The super moon caused an extreme low tide that allowed him to access an area that was loaded. Linguini and clams, stuffed clams, chowder and what ever else I can come up with. Thanks, Paul! Fishing is on hold until the weather breaks. Or, should I say if it ever breaks, as right now there is about eight inches of snow and it's still coming down. Belmar remains relatively ice free because of the current, and we will still try to fish on the next nice day.
Monday, January 1, 2018
A charter boat posted a dive video from last summer of a wreck on Stellwagen Bank off of Cape Cod. Just google "Stellwagen bank Patriot wreck" and the you tube video comes up on a bunch of sites. If you ever wondered what it looks like down there, you will enjoy seeing all the different marine life.