Big boats bringing in impressive marlin and wahoo catches
If you have a hankering for some summer flounder you better jump in your car right now because this is the final day of New Jersey’s fluke season. Of course, you can opt for Delaware or Maryland after the shut down. What happens next year makes me feel very uneasy because it looks like this state is in for a major reduction in the flattie catch for 2017.
Now, on to some better news. Although we have been experiencing a rather steady northeast wind of late, the bigger boats that can handle it have been lighting up with white marlin and wahoo catches. Some have been returning to their hard-standings flying as many marlin flags as would fit on their outriggers. Some captains have reported upwards of 40 releases on a single trip. And, yes, virtually all the white marlin are released.
As far as wahoo, this could be one of the finest seasons for the ‘hoo that we have seen in some time. Some of the speedy fish are hitting the 75-pound mark. Personally, I never have hooked a wahoo but I have mated aboard boats that have, although none I can recall even approached 75-pounds. I can imagine that was a fun fight because when they start to run there is little, if anything, in the sea that can keep up with them.
Other than the whites and the wahoo, I could find very little else to report from offshore. Tuna catches were almost negligible but there were a few sharks.
On the artificial reefs fishing has been slow because of the rocking ocean. Flounder fishing was difficult because it was nearly impossible to hold bottom without a ton of weight. There were some taug but the state bag limit remains one fish.
If you are looking to have some fun, especially with kids, I recommend you head behind Long Beach Island where schools of blowfish have gathered. Blowfish are just about perfect for novice anglers because they are almost too easy to hook, don’t put up much of a fight and they delight everyone when they inflate themselves when brought aboard the boat. They also make great eating but I would recommend get the advice of an old timer before you get out the filet knife and try to clean them. And, remember to wear gloves because their sandpaper skin will do a job on your hands. How do I know that? Take a guess! Blowfish also make an ideal fish fry for the family and friends.
While you are around LBI a trip into the Mullica River might be rewarding because there are keeper size weakfish around. Unfortunately, again that single fish bag limit rears its head. Little Egg Inlet seems to be an area for picking up the better tasting tailor blues as they chase bunker and mullet.
On the Ventnor Pier there has been excellent fishing for spot but I would believe many of the shore’s piers and ocean jetties also are harboring them. Spot is another species that makes good eating, even if they are small. You will find spot on most restaurant menus when you visit coastal communities in the south. There are taug around the bridges and pilings in the back but remember that one fish bag limit on the slippery bass. For you Draculas out there, striped bass are swimming around the sod banks in the dark chasing eels and crabs.
Speaking of crabs, our spectacular season continues and with fewer people around the go crabbing your chances for a big basket full increase. Plenty to make garlic crabs, crab cakes or crabs and spaghetti...I’m making myself hungry!
The Atlantic City In-Water Boat Show begins this coming Thursday at the Frank Farley State Marina in front of the Golden Nugget Casino. It runs through next Sunday.
ACROSS THE BAY
Anglers in Delaware and Maryland are dealing with the same northeast winds plaguing the Jersey anglers. The big boats are bringing in some impressive catches of white marlin and wahoo, with the far distant Norfolk Canyon probably the best area.
There are big flounder on all the reef sites and the Old Grounds but the choppy conditions mean your success rate in generally pretty small.
With that in mind, many have taken to casting into the surf and there the success rate in high. There are tailor blues toward the surface, probably feeding on mullet and bunker. Just under them are the kingfish waiting for you to offer them a bit of bloodworm. Finally, under all of that you will find flounder, if you can get your offering through the blue and kingie hoards.
If that surf action tails off I suggest you try fresh water fishing in some of the small ponds.