Monday, December 31, 2018
It seems almost fitting that it is raining the last few hours of 2018. We had more then our share this year, setting many records and ruining many fishing trips. This morning we set out on the beach in a quest for the last striper on the calendar and two were landed. The first hit just as a hint of light was showing on the lonely beach. The fish bit the teaser right at my feet and jumped straight up from the water. Bass don't normally jump, an for a moment I was puzzled as to what I had. The second came as half the sun was showing from the ocean. The fish hit in the trough, inside the bar, and put up a nice battle. I was surprised that it was only about eighteen inches. Well, that's fishing in the ocean, as every day is different and you never know what you are going to find. My fishing partner gave up as the sun and wind rose and began to explore for shells. At the high tide line she discovered a small fish and asked what it was. There on the beach was a whiting, a "frost fish", that I heard about in my youth. Old timers would tell tales of walking the beach on a cold December night and picking up a basket full of whiting stranded on the sand. Fishermen would also catch them from the Long Branch pier and the surf. While some fisheries have disappeared over the years, others have improved. The ocean is a great mystery, dynamic and always changing. Maybe they will come back, something nice to think about while I wish everyone a Happy New Year.
Saturday, December 29, 2018
Not much to report this week. We had a nice day and gave the beach a try. It was so calm, there was no break at all and it seemed the bait was out beyond the bar and we never had a bite. The boats also had a slow week with the blackfish. Yesterdays storm messed up the surf and there is a big heave running in the ocean, so it will take a couple days to settle down. The water temps are still mild enough to try again and we may have a deep water blackfish trip next weekend.
Friday, December 21, 2018
Well, we just had two beautiful days at the Jersey shore, so we will have to wait a week to see another in this season of never ending wind. We will not be fishing this weekend as a storm is raging outside and gale warnings are extended into tomorrow. We fished yesterday, and while the bite was pretty good, we did not have the bigger fish like last week. I heard of some trophy size fish caught in the fleet and we will try to get the crew together for next weekend. Stay in touch, I will let everyone know when we will try again after Christmas.
Wednesday, December 19, 2018
Headed to the beach this morning and the mercury was showing 22 degrees. No wind and a calm surf, but we were making ice on the guides and reel and never had a bite. I am not ready to give up yet and may try farther down the coast. At least we found some really cool shells walking back to the truck on an empty beach.
Saturday, December 15, 2018
It's looking good for our blackfish trip next Saturday. Capt Steve had big fish all week, up to 12.2 lbs. I was aboard Friday and despite the rough seas the guys made a catch of blackfish, real four to six pounders with enough seven to nine pounders to make everyone think they had the pool winner. Lets get out there and get 'em.
Thursday, December 13, 2018
The cold weather is taking it's toll on the inshore fishing. We tried for flounder the other day and my fishing partner caught two nice ones while I never had a bite. There was only two more landed by the other ten anglers on the pier. It was back to the beach yesterday and today, and we only had a few small bass at first light and then they shut off. The boats did well with the blackfish on calm weather days, and picked on others. Seems they don't like the wind. It looks like a little low pressure this weekend, and then moderating temperatures for next week. We will give the bass another try and have an open boat trip on Saturday 12/22 for blackfish.
Sunday, December 9, 2018
Saturday morning was 18 degrees and we passed on fishing to do chores. The boys on the boat had an offshore seabass charter and the 5 1/2 hour boat ride did not appeal to me. They caught a mess of true jumbo sea bass and a handful of white hake. This morning the thermometer showed 26 degrees and we headed to the beach. We usually don't go out on a weekend and were surprised to see the number of anglers out despite the frigid weather. I hooked and landed a fish on the third cast and my fishing partner had one come unbuttoned before it got too cold and we retreated to the truck. We took a ride to get some flounder bait and some mussels and an old-fashion smoked whiting for the football games. On the way home we stopped to check out the resident bald eagles and Oyster Creek was covered with ice. The fireplace sure feels good this afternoon.
Saturday, December 8, 2018
We had a large group of kids on a class trip Thursday and found a bunch of schoolie bass up around the Hook. There were at least three whales also feeding on the bait to make the day more exciting. Friday morning we were back on the beach. The temperature was 26 degrees when we left the house, but there was no wind, making it comfortable. As the sun rose, we didn't have a single touch, other then a hickory shad and I only saw one bass landed. A big change from the last few days. Evelyn landed two schoolies in the calm surf and I only had one. Around 9am when I was ready to throw in the towel, I hooked a good fish that was putting up quite a battle. When I saw it's tail in the wash, I thought it may be coming home as a dinner guest, but the seven pounder measured out at twenty seven inches and went back to give the next angler a thrill. Back on 'em next week, I hope they stick around a while.
Wednesday, December 5, 2018
Left the house in the dark and it was still dark at the beach. It was only 27 degrees with snow flurries but there was very little wind and it did not feel as cold as yesterday. The tide was up and the surf was clean and green. We had to deal with some tackle malfunctions in the low light but once we got our s&@t together it was game on. As the sun rose so did the NE wind, making the fishing difficult in the falling tide. Lots of bites and releases and we left early before the snow started to fly. Catching striped bass seemed like a fitting way to honor former President George H.W. Bush on this National Day of Mourning.
Tuesday, December 4, 2018
Saturday, December 1, 2018
Well we made the trip, and it was not nice. There was a huge swell left over from the last nights storm. While there was no wind to speak of, it was damp, drizzly, and foggy. Our first attempt at anchoring was difficult in the slop and we had to head inshore to get out of the current. When we did finally get set, the fishing was actually pretty good with a mix of shorts and keepers and even a couple of striped bass. Randy was high hook with six keepers and a bass. All went home with a bag of fillets and we had a good day despite the weather.
Friday, November 30, 2018
That's all you see every day. It was too rough to go on the boat this week, so we went to the beach instead. The NW winds gusted over thirty knots, but down in the surf, behind the dunes, it was actually comfortable and you could cast a mile. The water was a little dirty, but we managed a couple of schoolie bass each day. Hmm, stay home and rake leaves or go fishing, easy choice. Good fun and the fall run has just begun.
Sunday, November 25, 2018
The local rivers and lagoons still had skim ice yesterday morning, the earliest in the season I could ever remember. The forecast was for rain developing in the evening, but I did not expect the fierce storm that woke me through the night. Around 12:30 this morning the wind was blowing so hard, I could not see out the windows and the pine trees were whipping around like blades of grass. I turned on the computer just to check and see if the world was ending, and saw reports of sixty mile per hour winds. It seems over the past two months that we only get one nice day per week for fishing.
Wednesday, November 21, 2018
Fishing is good but you have to be in the right place, at the right time with the right weather. Some nice blackfish have been caught when there were west winds and calm seas. Striped bass are chasing sand eels and you have find them while they are feeding. The sea bass and porgies have moved off to the wintering grounds, beyond forty miles, but bite good if you can get there. I hope everybody eats too much and has a great day. Happy Thanksgiving.
Monday, November 19, 2018
Friday, November 16, 2018
Ok, it snowed and no one was ready for it. I can see that the state and most towns screwed up by not responding and I have heard tales of four and five hour commutes, but to not have the roads cleared and treated THE NEXT MORNING is inexcusable. Turns out the NJ League of Municipalities was holding a big party in Atlantic City while all of this was going on and no one was home watching the store. Well, at least the NJ DOT had a plan for today, they told everyone to stay home.
Thursday, November 15, 2018
Wednesday, November 14, 2018
Last week the weather let up enough to go flounder fishing but the bite was off in the dirty water and we had to spend a lot of time just to catch dinner. Today, we figured we would try in between rain storms as the next few days look questionable. When we arrived on the pier, the temperature was thirty eight degrees and the wind was calm. There was only one other angler out and I did not have much hope as the water was brown. As the sun rose, so did the wind and we managed to put our limit in the cooler before it became unbearable and retreated home to defrost. The sea bass are moving farther offshore after every blow, but blackfish opens this week and the striped bass are still around.
Monday, November 5, 2018
Enough about the weather this season. The boat was out Saturday, trying to get offshore, and needless to say I was happy I was not onboard. Sunday was a different story. The striped bass fever spread far and wide, and trailer boats from PA were passing me on the highway. When I got to the marina, there were over twenty boats in line for the launch ramp. Well, we headed offshore on a calm ocean and away from the madness and set up fifteen miles out and the sea bass were hungry. We picked all day at nice big sea bass and only had a few dogfish, blues and porgies. A big trigger fish took the pool. The bluefin tuna are still around out there also. It was an odd nice day in between gales. The striped bass never did take hold along the beach as the water was churned up from the previous blow, but they did catch them up towards Sandy Hook. Them "Pennsyltuckians" should stick to deer hunting.
Friday, November 2, 2018
The Jersey shore is crazy over striped bass as many big ones were landed this week. On the other hand, we headed offshore in the wild west wind on Tuesday and cashed in on the sea bass bite. The fishing grounds fifteen miles offshore are loaded with big sand eels and all types of marine life are feeding on them. The 25 plus knot winds and strong current made fast and steep waves, and it was difficult fishing as you had to hang on to keep from being thrown about. The sea bass came up full of six inch sand eels, so rather then wasting time with bait, we switched to power bait tubes (gitzits), that we use for codfishing, and had a bucket full of large to jumbos in an hour. We were invited on a striper trip aboard an old and familiar boat on Thursday, but declined to go flounder fishing instead. It only took about forty five minutes to limit so we played catch and release until 9:30. Evelyn landed five and I had ten, but it was such a nice day, we headed to a local creek and threw out the crab traps and had lunch. A few runs produced nothing but empty traps, until one pull came up with four crabs in the trap, the only ones we caught. We were going to try the flounders again today, but the winds are gusting to thirty knots and it is wet outside, so we will take a pass and have flounder fillets stuffed with crab meat. The boys on the boat reported two striped bass to 27lbs, and some blackfish up to 7 lbs.
Saturday, October 27, 2018
Started off the week looking for fluke again and only found a few as Sunday's strong NW wind seemed to blow all of the baitfish out of the bay. The relentless wind also caused us to cancel another off shore sea bass trip, but we heard of some flounder caught, so we took a ride to check it out. Only 33 degrees when we arrived Thursday morning and I thought we were making a mistake as we were alone on the pier under a full moon. Evelyn hooked up with a nice big flounder right away and it was game on, and we left with our limit as the pier began to fill with anglers. Friday we started out early again, and it took a while to get them going and the pier was getting crowded. Mark and JR met us there and we all took our limits out of a bunch landed and then the boys went to try for blackfish. Mark landed a keeper right away, and they were still getting bites as we headed home early for a nice fish dinner. We will see how things shape up this week as the strong nor'easter is moving away quickly and the seas just offshore are running 18 feet.
Saturday, October 20, 2018
Now, that's a headline you don't expect to see in the middle of October. There was frost on the truck when we left for the beach and the thermometer dipped to 31 degrees in the pine barrens. At the beach it was warmer and there was no wind. Lots of bait and some small blues were jumping as we walked out to the spot and it was game on until the tide went slack. Tiny bucktails with gulp on light tackle and we had constant bites from 13 to 15 inch fluke until the tide went slack. A try for blackfish saw a few 13 inchers and some dink sea bass. After lunch, we took the long way home, through the woods, to check out the cranberry farms. Lots of fun exploring on a perfect fall day. By the way, some of the guys are doing well with the blackfish from the inlets and the canal. I even hear the stripers are biting on the "Pioneer Banks."
Tuesday, October 16, 2018
Today we were scheduled for a bluefish trip, but once again had to cancel due to gale warnings. I was looking forward to going as we would have had a chance to hook a bluefin tuna. Instead, the Crab Lady and I packed up our traps and poles and set up on a local pier. After an hour of being pummeled by the NW wind, we landed fifty blowfish and one crab and retreated to spot number two. Many crabs were caught but all were short except for three. Grilled blowfish tails on the menu. The local fish market has them for $10/pound.
Monday, October 15, 2018
We headed out in the dark Sunday morning and steamed toward the beautiful sunrise on a flat calm ocean. A big crew was aboard from the Schuyler Ave. fishing club. There were boats everywhere, like it was the last day of summer. When we arrived on the fishing grounds, there were about 40 boats and over 70 when we left for home, like an in-water boat show! Even the old "Pioneer III" came by, looking for fish. It was one drop, one stop hauling all day. Some sea bass, a few blues, and all the biggest kind of porgies you could handle. Not those little inshore models, but the biggest kind, 16 to 18 inch jumbos. A porgy beat a jumbo sea bass for the pool! Two of us cutting all the way back to the dock and full bags.
Friday, October 12, 2018
Wednesday, October 10, 2018
The Yankees lost to a better Red Sox team and in the good old days, the manager would have been fired. In this day and age of computer geek, video game, fantasy baseball it is not his fault, as he only answers the phone and the front office tells him what to do. Don't feel bad, but they accomplished what they set out to do, hitting more home runs then any team ever in history. This season was the first time since baseball started that there were more strike outs then hits recorded over the season. Now we have to watch the world series and all the metric wizards and number crunchers will try to tell me what I am seeing with my eyes is all wrong. Oh well, in six months we will have opening day and I will be leading the "Booooone" cheer when the puppet takes the field. Hmmm, that must be what he thinks the fans are saying.
Tuesday, October 2, 2018
Well now that hurricane September has passed, the weather has turned delightful. Yesterday we hit the beach armed with lite tackle and small bucktails and had a fish about every three casts. Most were snapper blues, but I landed eleven fluke and Evelyn had one that was keeper sized if the season was open. Today we went in search of crabs and took along fishing poles and it was a good thing we did. We did not find as much as a single crab, but caught a mess of blowfish along with kingfish, spot and snapper blues. Lot's of life around and it should only get better.
Monday, September 24, 2018
Fluke season officially ended but it was really over weeks ago when the east wind started blowing. Usually there is a period of east winds in September, but this year it was all summer long. We have been out a few times and catch a few porgies and throw back nice sea bass on a lumpy ocean. I would like to try an inshore tuna trip, but it has to be on a short notice as we have only been able to fish weather windows. Today the east wind was relentless and all boats tied up. It was even too rough for the beach as the high tides compromised the dunes. We spent a couple hours soaking crab traps down the road and had a good time watching the, osprey, bald eagles, kingfisher, blue herons and hawks. Just when I thought it would be a bust, a few showed up and we went home with seven big blue claws. I heard some boys in a private boat fished the "Pioneer banks" and had a good catch of blackfish up to ten pounds that all went back. Sea bass season opens 10/8, if this wind stops blowing.
Thursday, September 20, 2018
If you did not figure out fluke fishing from a boat is a waste of time, pay attention to this report. We hit the beach today at first light and had immediate action with snapper blues. An adventure out to our favorite spot produced more little blues and a bunch of short fluke. As the tide eased, we worked our way back down the beach and found a bunch of biting fish. All the "surf" fishermen, with their fancy trucks, were catching twelve to fourteen inch bluefish with eleven foot rods. Evelyn and I were landing a fluke ever other cast and at times had two on, with ten pound dinky poles. The ranger stopped by, and asked what those fish were, as no one else was catching them. At that time I hooked a good one and showed him what a keeper fluke looked like. If you have never had a fluke dinner two hours after the fluke was swimming along with a baked potato and tomato salad that was picked this week at the local farm, well....That's why we don't go out to eat. Our biggest problem is these fluke will bite for another month.
Monday, September 17, 2018
Friday, September 14, 2018
God bless the people in the Carolinas. The damage from hurricane Florence will start to be evident over the weekend. After the remnants of Gordon spawned a low pressure last Monday, we have had a never ending easterly fetch. Wednesday, the wind subsided and we wanted to try our favorite beach spot, but the fog was so thick you could not see across the street, so we headed to a local crab spot. We took our time getting there and was surprised when we had the whole place to ourselves. A few hours later, fifteen big blue claws were in the basket. Yesterday was raining here, so we took care of a few errands, and planned to hit the beach today. The ride down was damp and breezy and you could feel a hurricane was near. We walked out to our favorite spot and had some action despite the dingy looking water and all the sea weed. I had some snapper blues, a short fluke and a couple of good sized fish that came unbuttoned. Evelyn also lost a nice fish that I think was a fluke. We walked around the point to look at the ocean from a safe distance and it was wet, wild and white. When we arrived it was an hour and a half after low tide, but the water was already as high as a normal high tide, and we retreated to the truck before the water reached the dunes, just in time to beat a heavy rain band from the storm. We will try again next week as it is the last week of the fluke season.
Thursday, September 13, 2018
Monday, September 10, 2018
They never let you down. Just when you think they are doing a good job, they prove that they are only looking for ratings. Florence is coming and it is going to be bad, but today most coastal regions of the Jersey shore were under water and no one cared. Belmar, Manasquan, Ocean City, Cape May, all the local streets on the bayside of rt. 9, LBI, Stone Harbor, I could go on and on, were all flooded from the severe Nor'easter. The remnants of hurricane Gordon have been pounding the coast for over twenty four hours, with gusts to forty knots and seas running over twelve feet. Our friends on TV showed the surfcam from Wrightsville Beach NC. It was a beautiful bluebird day, with a four foot swell and kids surfing and the talking heads were telling me how bad the seas were. Tomorrow they probably will have Jim Cantore pointing to a puddle and yelling "flood".
Florence appears to be headed for the Wilmington NC area and will cause major damage. The effects will be massive, as the heavy rains will cause flooding in the inland areas, much like hurricane Irene did a few years back. That storm shut down our fishing for over a month. As the media usually starts a panic with all the hype, it seems appropriate with this storm and I hope everyone is prepared. While they are better then us at handling these natural disasters in the Carolina's, this storm will be devastating and it's effect will linger. It's coming, we can just hope and pray it moves through fast.
Friday, September 7, 2018
Tuesday, September 4, 2018
We were kind of bummed out that we could not fish this weekend, so we took a ride to our favorite beach spot to welcome the first day of "Local's Summer." All the "schoobies" were gone and only a few regulars were on the beach. We saw the first mullet of the fall season along with the usual spearing and peanut bunkers and the snappers were going wild. We spent a while trying to jig up a fluke with no love, so a switch to a top water plug made for some fun with the baby blues. None of the tackle shops are carrying green crabs yet, so I picked a few fiddler crabs from the ten million walking around and tried for blackfish. That only produced a few dink sea bass, as the water is warm as a bath tub. It is nice to have the beach and the bay back while the weather is still nice.
Friday, August 31, 2018
Thursday, August 30, 2018
The ocean has been calm all week, and the water clear like the canyon or as Capt Walt used to say "crystal clean". As far as the fishing, we had a boat limit of sea bass everyday and the fluke are biting. It is hard to tell how good the bite is most days, as everyone aboard has a boat pole and handles it like you gave them the controls to an alien space ship. Yesterday, we had a few real fisherman aboard and they had their fluke limits or close to it. We are also seeing mackerel and mahi living in the clear water along with hammerhead sharks. And here I was thinking hammerheads were only from Pennsylvania.
Saturday, August 25, 2018
Well, the weather finally straightened out and all the boats were reporting the best fishing of the season. The good news is the long range forecasts show the nice weather to continue. The crabbing slowed down, so we changed to a different spot the other day and picked ten jumbos. Yesterday we took a ride with our old friend Bob and cashed in on the Barnegat Bay blowfish invasion. We fished for a few hours and kept a few of the biggest kind for a fish fry. I was surprised to find twenty seven in the cooler along with a nice kingfish that Evelyn caught. I fried up a batch of fillets when we got home and I have some tails in a garlic-lime marinade for the grill today. Don't forget our big fluke hunt next Saturday, now's the time.
Tuesday, August 21, 2018
Sunday, August 19, 2018
This has been one of the craziest summers ever. We have had all kinds of rain, floods, wind and rough seas. And that's only the weather. The fishing has been all over the place. The ocean bottom is covered with sea bass, you can stop the boat on open bottom and catch jumbos. Fluke bite some days and hide on others. Plenty of porgies and triggerfish inshore. Lot's of tuna offshore when you can get there. Huge schools of bunker and big chub mackerel with whales and other things feeding on them. We have had anglers fishing off the bottom and filling coolers with mackerel. We have had crystal clear canyon water right to the beach. The other afternoon a big whale was coming out of the water near the boat with mouthfuls of bunker. The boat next to us was returning from the fluke grounds and came across a white water school of feeding fish and threw jigs to them and hooked up... with tuna! Only two miles from the beach! And I heard those fifty pounders were still there yesterday. While we were drifting amongst the bunker schools yesterday, I saw a large fish swim towards the stern and as I walked back to see it, the anglers started yelling "shark" and I looked over the stern to see a full grown, jumbo sized cobia of about sixty to seventy pounds that gave me the finger and cruised away. Wow, there are bonito and Spanish mackerel in the surf! And a Long Island fluke boat had two dozen Mahi the other day. Yep, just crazy.
Friday, August 17, 2018
Sunday's forecast is for crap, but they have been wrong all week. Last Monday they called for a fishable day and we were greeted with twenty plus from the NE with two months of rain in a few hours. We were trying to fish in four to six foot seas and had to return early. A young humpback whale was going crazy and jumping all around the boat, putting on quite a show. Scientists say they may do this as it is easier for them to breath in rough conditions. That whale has been around all week, as we have seen him on a few trips and we watched him feed on bunkers yesterday. When things come together, the fluke bite and most are around twenty inches. I hope we can get out Sunday, the fish are biting.
Wednesday, August 8, 2018
We headed out on a two day canyon trip early Monday morning. When fishing that far offshore usually the target species is tuna, but I watched the anglers load all type of gear, none of it suited to tuna fishing. That is when I learned it was to be a bottom trip and so it was. On the way out, we passed through the chicken canyon and encountered a fleet of boats, huge finback whales, dolphins and jumping tuna. Here we were in the midst of a tuna bite and had to keep on going! The conditions for tile fishing were close to perfect, we were drifting in 550 feet and you could hold with a twenty ounce sinker and we picked away at small tile fish all day. Just before dark, we looked over some lobster pots and they were all barren except for one, where I coxed a lone hen dolphin from the deep. Usually big dolphin are skitterish and don't bite when they are all alone and I was surprised when she turned and bit the chunk I pitched out and hooked up right at the end of my rod. The fish took off peeling line and flew out of the water three times doing all kind of tricks. Cool stuff, and the twenty pounder went on ice. After that we anchored on a wreck in 360 feet, and caught some weird stuff like chain dogfish and black bellied rose fish along with a few twenty pound pollock. We spent the night anchored on another wreck picking at ling and tried two more spots on the way home, adding some more pollock, a white hake and a few more ling. Capt Willie from the Dauntless was high hook, landing seven tiles and nine pollock. Back at the dock Tuesday afternoon with a bunch of happy and tired fishermen.
Thursday, August 2, 2018
We arrived on the fishing grounds in a freshening breeze Wednesday morning. As we set the anchors out we received word that our buddy, "Hippy" Paul Bender had passed away in the night. Paul was a mate with us on the Skylarker and also the Mary M and other boats from Barnegat Light. He was a highline fisherman and baymen and was always willing to share his knowledge. Around noon the wind piped up to twenty five knots, the seas built to four to six feet, and we returned home with a bunch of sea sick anglers, a limit of sea bass and heavy hearts.
Monday, July 30, 2018
A lot of people went fishing Sunday, as one of the party boats left the dock railed at 5 30! The lot was full by 6am and we left at 6 30 with a light crew. Capt Steve and I went over the plan for the day, and decided to concentrate on fluke. We had a bunch of good anglers aboard and I knew we would catch them. While fishing was just a pick, I would say we did much better then anyone, with 21 keepers and 18 bonus sea bass going in the box. It was a fun day fishing with old friends and I hope we can do it again.
Thursday, July 26, 2018
Not much to report this week but wind and rain. We did go crabbing Tuesday morning and it took two hours to put a dozen in the basket. The weather looks like it will get nice for the weekend, and we have "Candy Bar" Mike's trip Sunday. The fluke should be hungry.
Monday, July 23, 2018
It seems every summer that we have a week of rain and wind. This has become the norm over the past twenty years. While it may mess up some vacations, ( there are a lot of summer people around this year) the east wind should help bring in warm water and more fish. We fished Saturday morning in a building sea and had a pretty good bite of nice sized fluke and sea bass until the east wind forced us back to the dock. As always, gulp produced the keepers and bait produced trash. If the rain ever stops, we will try for crabs again in what has been the best crab year in recent memory.
Friday, July 20, 2018
Monday, July 16, 2018
A mix up in scheduling allowed us to get out on an inshore bottom trip. There were plenty of nice porgies and it was easy to catch a sea bass limit, but we were looking for trigger fish. Everyone caught a trigger and Evelyn and I had four each of the hard fighting tasty treats. Grilled trigger fish is one of the best things you will ever eat. And speaking of seafood treats, we fished through many smalls to put fourteen nice crabs in the basket this morning.
Saturday, July 14, 2018
Thursday, July 12, 2018
Saturday, July 7, 2018
Man, did it rain yesterday. We were out there with a bunch of wet farmers and the sea bass bite was red hot. Throwing back keepers and filling the box with jumbos, the biggest going about five pounds! Crabbing was good too, hour and a half the other day produced two dozen big ones. I figured the crabbing was good around here because the local Shop Rite sells crab traps. Sea bass stuffed with crab meat, mmm.
Monday, July 2, 2018
About the crabbing. I don't know if it was the full moon or the warm weather but we can sure catch them now. Hour and a half this morning produced fourteen beauties. Crab and sweet corn bisque, grilled yellowfin tuna ( a gift from a friend) , crab cakes and fresh farm vegetables, and people wonder why we don't go out to eat. Full boat limit of big sea bass and 100 ling yesterday for 25 anglers.
Saturday, June 30, 2018
Summer is settling in along the Jersey shore. Along with all the good things, it is also time to take the Lancaster county farmers fishing. Just to give you an idea, while anchoring the other day, Capt Steve announced over the PA that the wreck we would be fishing was an old barge. One of the young dirt farmers proceeded to ask "What does he mean by a barge?" And if that wasn't enough, a young girl reeled a mussel up from the bottom and happily declared "I caught an almond!" Like I always say, you can't make this stuff up. Well at least the fishing is good. Plenty of nice ling, lots of big sea bass (we can keep them again starting Sunday) and an occasional big flounder, pollock or whiting. Yesterday, Evelyn and I went in search of the blue claw crab from a local dock. Two and a half hours later, thirty-one keepers went into the basket. Yep, it's summer all right.
Friday, June 22, 2018
The spring sea bass season has passed and you will only be allowed to keep two per person for the summer. Blues are starting to bite and the fluke fishing up in the bay looks pretty good. We tried the beach again, and had it all to ourselves but only caught a few shorts. Crabbing still stinks. I am starting to think all the dredging down here over the winter has something to do with it. If you get a chance, check out Bob Nightingale's USA Today story, titled "Baseball is terrible right now". He hits the nail right on the head and I could not agree more. You can find it on line.
Saturday, June 16, 2018
The "Shoobie"" invasion has begun. The " one plater's " have all the parking spots full along the Jersey shore. We tried fishing our favorite beach spot yesterday and had the skunk for the first time this season. The water was clear, but had a dingy look to it, maybe fresh water from all the rain. There were bait fish around, but the fluke we were catching the past few weeks must have moved into the back bays. We will give it one more try before the beach gets too crowded for the next ten weeks. Now it's time to start looking for those blue claws.
Monday, June 11, 2018
Thursday, June 7, 2018
An early start on a cool morning was rewarded with an empty beach yesterday. On the third cast, my rod bent with a good fish, and then it was gone. That set the tone for the day, as the fluke would hit the jig but would not commit. A bunch of bites but only two shorts made it to the sand. Even a little striper that Evelyn brought to shore shook off. Just one of those days. With no fish for dinner, we have to hope the Yankees hit a bunch of home runs so we can go to Poppa John's.
Friday, June 1, 2018
The sea bass bite remains strong. Some days are better then others, but everyone goes home with fish. Yesterday, Evelyn and I headed to the beach for some more fluke. It was very foggy and there were only a handful of anglers and we had the place to ourselves. Fishing from land is a little different then boat fishing, as you get up close and personal with the fish. The first one to hit the sand was a nice 22 inch boxer. More shorts and a bluefish came out to play before adding another 20 incher for the cooler. The excitement for the day came in the form of a 30 pound cow nosed ray that had me running down the beach to keep me from getting spooled. After along battle, I pulled the beast to the beach and got my bucktail back from his wing. And I did all this with the "dinky" pole, ten pound fireline on a 100 sized reel and 6 to 12 lb rod. Good fun and home before noon for a delicious fluke dinner.
Sunday, May 27, 2018
We fished our favorite beach spot on Wednesday, and did not catch any of the little stripers that were biting all spring. We took a walk to look over a few holes in advance of fluke season, and landed some nice ones along with some blues. Friday morning we were up at 3 am and headed back to where we found those fluke and set up for the sunrise bite. It didn't take long for Evelyn to put an 18 inch and 19.5 inch fish in the cooler. I had a good one come unbuttoned and we added a few more shorts before the beach began to fill with anglers, and left with our bounty at about 9 30 am to beat the holiday traffic. It appears to be shaping up for a good fluke season.
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.