Monday, December 31, 2018

Year of the Rain

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

Happy Holidays

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

More Bad Weather

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

Has Elvis Left the Building?

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

Big Blackfish

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

Next Blackfish Trips

We have an open boat blackfish trip Saturday 12/22. We will also watch the weather and try on the weekend of 12/29-30.

Winding Down

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

Winter Fishing

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

Cold, Snow and Stripes

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

Could it Be?

It looks like a prolonged period of calm wind and seas, without rain. The only draw back is cold temperatures but it is December. Ten releases from the surf this morning, back on 'em at sunrise.

Saturday, December 1, 2018

Sunday 12/2 Blackfish

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.